The new season of Ozfortress is officially starting this upcoming week. Eight teams have been selected for the Premier division, and here we’ll see what the TF2Metrics Ranking system makes of them.

As is often the case before a new season starts, there are numerous new players on many of these teams that this system doesn’t recognise. Unknown players have a default score in the Rankings of zero, so unfamiliar faces can really drag down a good team to a degree that really isn’t deserved. This is an issue that solves itself once those new faces get some games under their belts.


Preliminary Rankings

1) No Safeword [score: 602]

Since Season 18 ended, the new face of No Safeword has been influenced heavily by the resurrection of Jasmine Tea. This event, naturally, lured Elmo and Geoh away from No Safeword, meaning the reigning champions have a stability issue to deal with. Johno and Laan are gone, too.

The solution to the problem has essentially been a merger with last season’s Mad Men. In have come V4na, Hertz, and Lock – the former two on scout and Lock on medic. YWL and Enrith are still here, remaining on the pocket and demo roles they excelled on last season. The new roamer appears to be SoLe, who is completely unknown to this Ranking system.

2) Nature Walk [score: 573]

There are a couple of teams this season that, as far as I can tell, are exhibiting a great deal of stability. These are Damage Inc. and Nature Walk. It’s a very helpful quality to have in this Ranking system, because it rewards experience within the covered eight-ish month time frame.

Nature Walk’s roster looks like it’s had a nice easy off-season, retaining pretty much everyone. One change is that they’ve brought Explode in, presumably to fill the medic role. Other than that, such classic Nature Walk faces as Dubious and Pause are all seen on the roster.

This is a team of seasoned players, and although none of them really threaten No Safeword’s best in the Rankings, their consistently good scores are what merit them the preliminary rank of second-best in Australia.

3) Damage Inc. [score: 533]

As far as I can tell, this team is pretty much unchanged from last season. All six of the Season 18 gents are still on the roster. As with Nature Walk, it’s this stability (rather than god-tier players, necessarily) that powers their current rank.

This team managed to earn themselves a playoffs spot last season, and maybe they’ll be able to do it again this time. In Crud, they have what this system believes is the second-best demoman in Australia. But is all this really enough to top Jasmine Tea?

4) Jasmine Tea [score: 530]

When news of this team’s revival first broke, it basically consisted of the i58 iteration of the team, except with Madness replacing Zaka on roamer and with Elmo filling in for him on scout. It looks like the Jasmine Tea we’ll actually see will be a little more sedate than this, though.

Yui’s playing in Intermediate now, and I’ve not seen Dave in the team’s scrims for a while. In have come Rky and Buddah to fill the empty spaces, the former predominantly on roamer and the latter predominantly on medic.

While Elmo, Geoh, and Paulsen were all playing in Prem last season, Madness was more elusive. This means he’s not ranked especially highly at the moment, and the same applies to the two newcomers to an even greater degree.

If these really are the six men who will make up Jasmine Tea this season, their total score in the Rankings, for now, is 530 – three shy of Damage Inc.

5) Right Wing Death Squad [score: 405]

This is a very interesting team, as it features a mix of Ozfortress and AsiaFortress regulars just like Asia’s Burger Apocalypse currently does.

On the roster is a Singaporean contingent of Fwishy and hsr, who also play on AsiaFortress’s P00tis team. They’ve joined forces with a couple of seasoned Prem veterans in Ben and Moop (representing a portion of Mad Men that didn’t join with No Safeword), plus kpc and Kelier, the latter two being unknown to the Rankings.

There’s definite strength here, then. With the Mad Men DNA they’re carrying, they might do well.

6) Xenophobiaphobia [score: 346]

This is Paulsen’s old team, and he’s left big boots to fill. The new iteration of Xenophobiaphobia features a list of very solid names. Shifta, Kure, Muppet, and Mac are all expected to be returnees, the latter as Paulsen’s successor on demo. Joining them are Yauch (formerly of Salt Free Gaming) and Xander.

Although it’s a list of familiar faces, Mac is perhaps the only one who really stands out in the Rankings. Nobody else has a gilding percentage higher than 31%, and half of these players don’t even have a single gilding at the moment (including Xander, who is unknown to the Rankings). This is why they’re starting quite low in this list, but if they perform well they could rise very quickly indeed.

Nevertheless, the Rankings suggest that this team may struggle to repeat its third-place finish from last season.

7) Jamane [score: 219]

Half of this team’s players have a Rankings entry, and half don’t. In that former category are Vanquish, Doge, and Bird. These three are a bit of a mixed bag, with the former two spending last season backstage on Mad Men’s roster, and Bird coming in from World’s Blankiest Blank.

Here, they’re joining Dr. Awesome, Hyper, and Gstar, all of whom are unknown to the Rankings and therefore default to individual scores of zero.

8) Dog the Boys [score: 66]

Rounding off this list is a team that has only one member with a pre-existing record in the TF2Metrics system – Sadgasm. Everyone else on this team is unknown. These additional five are Spade, Heebs, Zildjian, Tetrx, and Apodyopsis.

Because of all this, it falls on Sadgasm to contribute six men’s worth of score to his team. Naturally, this leaves them last in the preliminary rankings.

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