THE CURSE OF IM
With all regular season matches out of the way and the playoff brackets ready, it's time we took a look at the folklore hanging around the shoulders of the Intermediate division. It goes by many names, but most know it by "The Curse Of IM." The most common interpretation of this curse is that no 16-0 team has ever won the division. However after doing some pointless research, I've expanded this to all 1st seed teams and looked at their performances come crunchtime. And the results...oh boy.
Because ESEA is dumb and doesn't keep any team name history for whatever reason, I only went off memory and what their current roster name is. As such, some of these team names are lost to the sands of time. I couldn't figure out the best way to format this shitpost but I've listed all 1st seed teams by season starting from way back in the day, including their record and how they fared during playoffs. Because of the way the prize pool is structured ESEA has never cared to decide between 3rd and 4th so that placement "difference" doesn't really matter. Same with 5th/6th and 7th/8th.
S7: CheckSix Gaming (14-2) -> 3rd/4th
S8: Goin' Heavy (16-0) -> 3rd/4th
S9: Whazzle Dazzle (15-1) -> 5th/6th
S10: Whazzle Dazzle (14-2) -> 2nd
S11: High Rollers Gaming (16-0) -> 2nd
S12: xensity (14-2) -> 2nd
S13: chill2good ratio (14-2) -> 7th/8th
S14: Knights of Grillz (14-2) -> 2nd
S15: Off Top (13-3) -> 3rd/4th
S16: xensity (16-0) -> 5th/6th
S17: Blockback Mountain (16-0) -> 2nd
S18: cafe monster (14-2) -> 1st
S19: Luca Goers (15-1) -> 1st
S20: bird noises (14-2) -> 3rd/4th
S21: dog1 (16-0) -> 2nd
S22: DBMG (15-1) -> 1st
S23: 130ms (15-1) -> 3rd/4th
S24: Dexter's Lab (14-2) -> 2nd
S27: mr_popo (15-1) -> 1st
S28: mr_popo (15-1) -> 3rd/4th
S29: HappyBOIS (14-2) -> 3rd/4th
S30: Excellent Adventures (13-3) -> 3rd/4th
S31: Six Paths (15-1) -> ???
#1 seed tendencies:
1st - 4/22
2nd - 7/22
3rd/4th - 8/22
5th/6th - 2/22
7th/8th - 1/22
As you can see, the 1st seed in IM has won the division four out of 22 seasons, a disfortunate 18% success rate. Though 50% of all seasons they at least make it to Grand Finals. You're twice as likely to get 2nd through 4th than you are to win the division. Shoutouts to chill2good for being the only #1 seed to get bottom of the barrell playoffs placement. Keep in mind too this was when playoffs were double elimination (one map per match). Oof.
The #1 seed didn't win IM until cafe monster did it Season 18 which is honestly crazy. They're also the only 14-2 team to win IM, as the other three 1st seed champions were 15-1 and we know how the 16-0 teams did... Speaking of, IM has not seen a perfect regular season since S21, when dog1 lost to eL cLaSsIcO in Grand Finals, ensuring that the 16-0 variant of the curse remains unbroken in ESEA. We've also never seen a 12-4 team as the #1 seed in IM, which I'm sure says something? about the competitiveness of the division but I'm stupid so I'll let you guys figure that out.
Perhaps the lofty expectations of dominating during the regular season are too much to bear, and what went right starts to collapse when it matters most. Perhaps the intense atmosphere of playoffs ramps up the drive for the other teams, allowing them to topple the #1 seed over at any phase. Perhaps this curse only affects ESEA and RGL / NACL / whatever the next league's IM champs will all be 16-0 every season. Perhaps none of this shit matters. At the end of the day, good luck and have fun. May the odds be in your favor, Six Paths. Have a nice evening.