The passive and slow Metalworks is done with...and into Granary we go. Home of one of the most uneventful stalemates in TF2 history, and infamous wraparound strats. It's crunchtime for everyone with just three weeks left in the season. Teams in the bubble need to give 110% in the remaining games if they want to be booking a trip to Dallas and with some of the matches this week, you better make sure to tune into the stream for fantastic TF2 action.
This week's power rankings will be a deluxe version. Not only will we be taking a look at the recap and power rankings, but we'll also do the LAN race piece (some of you may recall this from the last two seasons) and preview the remainder of the season, who teams play, and how things could look come the end of week 8 and the prelude to the season 14 LAN. Power Rankings + LAN Race. Let's go.
High Rollers Gaming (10-0)
Here's a recap of HRG's Metalworks week: Shade's perfect game. Movign on, the remainder of the season shouldn't be much different than it is now for HRG. They only face one potential threat, and that threat will be Tri Hards this coming week. Since it'll be the MOTW, I will leave it for later, but a repeat 16-0 and 1st seed is almost a guaranteed outcome.
Tri Hards (9-1)
Is Blaze the most dynamic roamer or what. He went 30-27 against Mad Men, 26-6(!) against Runaway 5. And that is merely the face value of the numbers. Combined with the near-flawless play from Clckwrk and Boomer, Tri Hards will carry the strongest flank in Invite to LAN. But the combo is certainly no slouch either. Dummy doing work and kbk keeping single digit deaths leaves little to be desired. They play HRG and Mad Men on Granary. Honestly if the more passive Metalworks led to a slow roll over Mad Men, I expect Granary to be faster. Tri Hards are just about as comfortable as HRG in terms of getting a LAN spot. While they have to play HRG, Mixup, Mad Men, and Top Guns, they've proven that they can take the latter three handily, and even if that wasn't the case, games against Vector and Root make them 11-1 and a secured LAN spot, with 11-5 being the worst possible record, but 14-2 seems more likely (or they could upset HRG and go 15-1!).
Classic Mixup (7-3)
Another week with a difficult decision for the bubble spots, but for now I'm going to bump Mixup into the #3. The rematch against AG was very close during the first half, but Mixup started to pull away in the second half, punishing Indust's drops and AG's worried and desperate plays. Speaking of drops, hi Seagull. You're really the star of the Mixup show right now, with your clever and stealthy traps that even make me (a bad Medic) shudder when I hear the drops. Alongside Harbleu and his typical antics, you're making many Medics very antsy. Platinum worried me when he went just 17-18 in the win over R5, but redeemed himself against AG, taking solid ubers and putting out nearly 20K damage. Mixup's Granary schedule is quite the easy one, playing Vector Gaming and Root. Plus Six. I don't expect any nonsense anywhere and do expect a pretty quick 10-0 Granary week for Mixup. As mentioned earlier, Mixup should be at a very comfortable 9-3 after Granary week. The major trials for the rest of the season include Tri Hards and Mad Men, the latter they've bested before. I just don't see Mixup losing to R5 or Solace, upping them to 11 wins and a potential 12-4 finish (win against Mad Men, lose against Tri Hards) finish. Mixup going to LAN is a very convincing possibility, but it's a question mark whether this Mixup will come to LAN like the Mixup of seasons past, capable of winning it all.
Apocalypse Gaming (5-5)
The roamer show continues. Boink has been playing impressively, outperforming Rando by a sizable margin. Squid also went 44-28 in the game vs. Mixup while Kapoww and Sweater have been quiet. Indust, while arguably the most consistent newcomer to Invite Medic, had probably his worst game with four UCD's. What's surprising is that even with those drops, he had the same number of ubercharges as Smaka, so you could imagine the possible momentum and rounds off of those lost ubers. This 10-team scheduling is something I'll never get used to. AG plays Top Guns again but this time Top Guns will have their full roster and I expect a closer set. Another rematch is the game against R5, where if you remember AG actually lost 3-5 to them during Process week. It should certainly make for a good game, but I'm calling AG pulls their stuff together for a 5-1 win, running off Rando and Squid's frags. Not having to play HRG anymore certainly is calming, but with important trials in Mad Men and Top Guns, AG has no time to relax. Outside of R5, AG hasn't lost to anyone that isn't a LAN contender, so I think they can take games over Vector, Root, and Solace to be 8-5 not counting Granary week. This week might be the most important for AG. Should they win both matches, they can be 10-5. Not only would they knock Top Guns down to a sixth loss but they would be in a more comfortable position to take revenge on Mad Men, bumping up to 11-5 with a win.
Mad Men (7-3)
You thought I was done talking about roamers? Hey MemphisVon. Did you submit your invite to join AA? That headshot onto kbk from valley was so ridiculous I cringed and shouted at the same time. Oh yeah and your Soldier flanks were nice, too. Told you the roamer show this season was gonna be amazing. Nothing really happened this week besides getting the slow roll from Tri Hards and a forfeit off Root Plus Six. But hey, the schedule never fails and they'll be seeing Tri Hards yet again. Do I expect a different outcome? Not really. I believe it was Ruwin who said this on stream about Nosferatu, and I'm paraphrasing: “He plays well but when the going gets tough he crumbles.” Besides some deaths off crazy Blaze play, he ended with 7 less ubers and 11 more deaths. He has a chance to shine though against Top Guns. I think it'll be a more close affair than the Gravel Pit meeting, with Alfa, Seanbud, and PYYYOUR spearheading the counter offense. I'm going to go with 5-4 Mad Men. I'll be honest, Mad Men is probably the team I'd want to see the most at LAN, but I'm not entirely sure if it'll possible given their schedule. HRG, Tri Hards, and Mixup have proven that they're different giants and will most likely lead to a 7-6 not including the should-be close game against Top Guns this week. They can take down Solace for 9 wins but the rematch against AG on Viaduct will be the most crucial of the season.
Top Guns (5-5)
So after weeks of shuffling and backup usage (hi Boulder, I know you exist), Top Guns look to settle on six with Seanbud, Alfa, PYYYOUR, Relic, Zbryan, and Ninjanick. Well, once Zbryan is back from vacation. As expected, this is the strongest version to date and aside from chemistry with Alfa things should be going rather well. Like others, this week on Granary will be very important for Top Guns, going right up against Mad Men and AG. Seanbud and Alfa easily have what it takes to shove back the Scouts on both teams, while grape can play better than bl4nk and be more consistent than rando. While Relic hasn't been as incredible (say the S10 LAN form) like other top Invite roamers, his contributions have been enough. I believe the ball is in Ninjanick's court. If he can step up and bring out his inner-Shade, he and trusty grape will make quick work of either enemy combo giving PYYYOUR more breathing room to put out damage. Both games have strong potential to be very close and I can only hope it'll at least be a 5-3 either way for both games. While Top Guns are sitting decently, with two more likely wins down the road in Solace and Root to be 7-5. All the other games are no joke though. HRG and Tri Hards, AG and Mad Men that we mentioned before. Outside of Granary week a likely record is the still-even 7-7. It's up to the poop dollar squad to win Granary week and of course force upsets against the #1 and #2 seeds for a LAN spot.
Solace Esports (3-7)
Solace played HRG for the last time and also picked up a forfeit(?) win. Nothing much to recap there aside from the possibility of playing Vector sometime this week. They, like Mixup have a pretty easy Granary schedule, with matches against R5 and Vector. They previously 5-0'd R5 on Snakewater when djc first filled in for pocket, now we'll see if they can repeat or if it was just a fluke. I don't think it was a fluke though, and another 5-0 or 5-1 is probably in order. Anything other than a 5-0 against Vector would be pretty surprising. Milo to put on his big boy shoes and go big, with Xalox following up. Solace definitely can end this week at 5-7, but after that, the kiddie gloves come off. Mixup, Top Guns, AG, Mad Men are all LAN possibilities and I don't think Solace will have enough of an answer from their flank to bring them to wins against these four teams. I expect a good show from the Chimpfeet / Milo combo and a handful of rounds in their favor with a 5-11 finish.
Runaway 5 (3-7)
Metalworks week was so-so for Runaway 5. They put on a strong show against Mixup where the 5-2 didn't quite reflect the frags and they put out 2K more damage than Mixup (Duwatna factor). The other match against Tri Hards was a decent 5-0. This week is more forgiving, with Solace and AG. They've been 5-0'd by Solace before so unless djc and Duwatna bring their A-game I don't see much of a chance to get revenge. However, if R5 can get some early rounds against AG, they could get inside the AG member's heads and Mumble, and possibly bring their morale down to keep momentum. While it could happen, I certainly think AG's beyond that, after the impressive showing against Mixup last week. Yuki vs. Squid, Skarlett vs. Boink, and Duwatna vs. Sweater will be the key matchups where I think R5 can gain the upperhand. I'll say the opposite result of the week 1 matchup, a 5-3 win for AG. Outside of Granary, Runaway 5 have two games to win and two games to lose. Root and Vector should be wins, and Mixup and HRG should be losses. Their performance this week will be crucial in determining where they'll stand at the end of the season. 5-10 should be the record excluding the match against Solace, and a win there would put R5 over Solace (6-10 vs. 4-12) and a loss will put them under due to the head-to-head comparison.
Root Plus Six (1-9)
Root Plus Six is two forfeits away from being marked dead. Something about backups on vacation and such or whatnot. I know forfeiting the next two matches wouldn't mean much (Mixup and HRG) but that would make them a dead team and nobody wants any dead teams in the first season of the larger Invite. I certainly hope and don't think they'll die, but they won't really be able to do anything against b4nny and lansky, Platinum and Harbleu. I would guess 0-5's across both matches, but some good numbers to show from Loronix and Marmaduke. The remaining games look to be similar to this week. Tri Hards, Top Guns, and AG should place Root Plus Six at 1-14, just above Vector. I do like the odds against R5 as it'll be the first showing of these two teams on 5CP, but Runaway 5 will get propelled off Duwatna's damage and Yuki's Scout / Sniper and take Viaduct 4-1.
Vector Gaming (0-10)
Despite some mini-drama with Phife leaving the team and ringing for Top Guns this past week, by this point I think it's a little late. They play Mixup who they haven't seen since week 1 but Mixup has only gotten better whereas I'm not too sure about the Vector group. Match comms suggest the Metalworks game against Solace will be played after their Granary matchup also against Solace. The winner of the first match should ride the momentum into the second, and I wouldn't be surprised if the team that won Granary went on to win Metalworks as well. I don't think it's actually possible for Vector to win any games this season. Maybe if R5 plays very very sloppy during Gullywash, but HRG and Mixup among others are too much for them. They'll take 10th with a 0-16 finish.
Match of the Week
High Rollers Gaming (10-0) vs. Tri Hards (9-1)
There's just no getting enough of Tri Hards, I tell ya. Not only is this the fourth appearance for the Tri Hards under this section, but this is the match of the week, possibly of the season, with HRG showing that they're still perfect and Tri Hards being the only close chance to break the streak. During the last encounter on Snakewater, HRG said that they felt Tri Hards didn't play aggressive at all during the first half which led to a 3-0 half, but when Tri Hards got aggro they brought back 3 rounds. That being said, Tri Hards should play aggressive as soon as the match starts, playing off their heavies on middle. Better hope Dummy doesn't mess up his rollouts though, b4nny will punish him hard for it. The notorious stalemate will only be more stalemate-y once HRG takes control of middle, waiting on the Tagg bomb to make plays and then receive their push and retaliate. Will it be the same bombs on Granary though? It's fairly easy to see when the jumps happen and kbk can easily duck inside shutter (or Crossbow Tagg in the face). Then again, it's the Tagg factor. It's really onto kbk to survive during these predictable moments to keep the ubers even with Shade.
And you know what? I'm going to go with the upset here. The past loss aside, I'll put my faith in the Tri Hards flank to overpower, and kbk will play the same or possibly even better against Shade. Any play Taggerung goes for will be thrown back twofold with clckwrk and Blaze. This will really get everyone pumped for LAN, hopefully regardless of score (please don't roll anyone).
Prediction: High Rollers Gaming: 4, Tri Hards: 5
Players to Watch: Shade, blaze, kbk
- High Rollers Gaming
- Tri Hards
- Classic Mixup (+2)
- Apocalypse Gaming (-1)
- Mad Men (-1)
- Top Guns
- Solace Esports
- Runaway 5
- Root Plus Six
- Vector Gaming
Previous Week: Week 5 Power Rankings