I’ll wait until the last ESEA Week 3 matches are done before finalising the next update. Those matches are happening tonight, and the post ought to come the day after on Monday.


ESEA

Faint Gaming vs. Froyotech

Faint Gaming is the team that just keeps on defying expectations. Last week, they beat Legalize Ranch 5-0 in a match that I and the projection machine had expected to be close. They’ve already taken a surprise win against EVL so, even at this early stage in the season, they have an impressive trophy cabinet. Froyo shouldn’t be within their reach, but that’s what EVL thought as well. That goal the team proclaimed at the beginning of the season, to finish among the season’s top four, looked highly ambitious at the time (to me, at least). Now it looks totally feasible.

All of Froyotech’s players comfortably outscore their Faint Gaming counterparts in this ranking system. Nevertheless, the projection machine does give them capacity to maybe steal a round away from their great opponents in this fixture. A couple of weeks ago, they wouldn’t have been given even a sliver of a chance.

Projection: Faint Gaming 0.6 – 5.0 Froyotech

Legalize Ranch vs. Meat Market

Meat Market have shown signs of strength in several of their matches so far, but they’ve only had one win as of yet. That one came against Fable eSports, who currently reside in last place in the ESEA standings and in the TF2Metrics ranking system.

It’s possible that Legalize Ranch could be within their reach. The machine says that a round win at least is certainly on the cards. The fact that this is Viaduct week could shake things up yet further.

Everyone on LR outranks their counterpart on Meat Market except for Jarrett, who is just slightly behind Mae at the time of writing.

Projection: Legalize Ranch 5.0 – 1.2 Meat Market

Hibbleton vs. Gnomercy

Hibbleton’s status in the hierarchy is uncertain. It feels like they might be hovering near the top four, having beaten teams like Meat Market, contested Faint Gaming quite closely, and lost badly to Froyotech.

With a record like that, a win against Gnomercy sounds like an unlikely, but perhaps not impossible, prospect, and that’s the conclusion the projection machine has reached.

Generally, the Gnomercy players have their Hibbleton counterparts beaten in the rankings. Botmode is the biggest exception, who’s currently about 70 points clear of Marmaduke. Highfive also outranks Dingo slightly, but much of his reputation was built on scout rather than demoman.

Projection: Hibbleton 1.7 – 5.0 Gnomercy

Froyotech vs. Legalize Ranch

Depending on how things go against Meat Market, this could turn into a difficult week for Legalize Ranch in the context of their loss to Faint Gaming. Even ignoring that, I don’t think anyone would expect them to be able to beat Froyotech. The machine suggests we shouldn’t be too surprised if they get 5-0’d.

Projection: Froyotech 5.0 – 0.5 Legalize Ranch

Meat Market vs. Lunatik eSports

Lunatik eSports is one of those teams that’s still struggling to properly get their season off the ground. So far, their only win has come by virtue of a forfeit courtesy of Fable eSports. Having not seen the team earn a victory in real battle, the rankings remain suspicious of Sighguy’s team.

The projection machine is expecting a result quite similar to that which came when Meat Market took on Fable eSports in a match which resulted in a 5-2 win for the former.

With regards to the teams’ individual players, it’s a bit of a mixed bag. Lunatik’s Bo4r is considered to be the best scout that will turn up, and Sighguy comfortably out-ranks BroKing (but it’s important to keep in mind that much of his score is based on his time playing demoman). Meanwhile, Meat Market’s Froot, Mae, and Zheep out-rank their counterparts on the side of Lunatik eSports.

Projection: Meat Market 5.0 – 1.2 Lunatik eSports

Gnomercy vs. EVL Gaming

EVL may have dispatched Froyotech in their recent match, but the feeling I’m getting is that Froyo have them beaten in one very important aspect – consistency. EVL’s raw power is unmistakably great, but from looking at their stats in games against teams they should (and usually do) beat easily, sometimes things appear to not quite add up right. Often it seems to come down to Rando. EVL will need to avoid letting things get lax if they’re going to have an easy time against Gnomercy. They’ll need their roamer here.

Even if EVL perform at their best, the projection machine thinks Gnomercy have the ability to take a couple of rounds in this engagement. None of their players out-rank their EVL counterpart, but the one who comes closest is Marmaduke – less than 40 points adrift of Rando.

Projection: Gnomercy 2.0 – 5.0 EVL Gaming

Fable eSports vs. Faint Gaming

In just three short weeks, Faint Gaming have separated themselves from some of the other new teams hugely. Nowhere is this more so than with Fable eSports, who have yet to win a match so far this season.

As of yet, nobody on Fable has achieved a score in these rankings higher than 148. Faint Gaming, even though many of their players are still relatively unknown, don’t have anyone with a score of less than 489. That’s why they’re expected to dominate here.

Projection: Fable eSports 0.0 – 5.0 Faint Gaming

Lunatik eSports vs. Hibbleton

Hibbleton’s roster of established talent generally outscores Lunatik eSports’ more mixed selection. In score, Bo4r is almost a match for Scizor and Sighguy is ahead of EvilMrMuffinz. Everywhere else, Hibbleton see higher numbers. The machine thinks it’s likely that Hibbleton will be able to prevent Lunatik from winning even one round in this match.

Projection: Lunatik eSports 0.2 – 5.0 Hibbleton


Ozfortress

Damage Inc. vs. Jasmine Tea

Jasmine Tea have been reliably dispatching their fellow Prem teams all season long, but Damage Inc. could turn out to be their toughest challenge yet. Jasmine Tea’s scouts and soldiers all out-rank their Damage Inc. counterparts, but the demo and medic spots are less clear cut.

The rankings see Crud as Damage Inc.’s star player, and at the time of writing he actually has a very slim edge over the great Paulsen. Together with Enrith and Deft, they’re two of the four Australian demomen in what this system sees as the world’s top 50 players – a figure that goes up to five if you include YWL. Meanwhile, North America has four (if you include Highfive) and Europe only has two.

The other point of contention is the medics. Buddah has a much less populated CV than Halfwrong, and at the moment he remains slightly behind the Damage Inc. medic in the rankings.

Projection: Damage Inc. 1.5 – 3.5 Jasmine Tea

No Safeword vs. Xenophobiaphobia

Xeno have already taken a beating recently at the hands of Jasmine Tea, and next they’ll be at No Safeword’s mercy. At this point in the season, Xeno’s playoffs aspirations are as good as over, even if they do manage something extraordinary against No Safeword.

We didn’t learn a great deal when Xeno took on Jasmine Tea, as it seems they didn’t take the match super seriously. Perhaps a better result is possible against No Safeword, but the projection machine doesn’t hold out a great deal of hope. All of No Safeword’s players comfortably out-rank their counterparts on Xeno. Perhaps a single round win is all the latter can expect.

Projection: No Safeword 4.6 – 0.4 Xenophobiaphobia

Dog the Boys vs. Right Wing Death Squad

Both of these teams should be feeling pretty jubilant after their matches last week. Dog the Boys managed to beat Jamane very nicely, and RWDS took a map away from Damage Inc.

Dog the Boys’ acquisition of Arnold has definitely given them a boost in the rankings, which rate him highly (certainly higher than Left – RWDS’s new medic), but that alone won’t be enough to defeat RWDS. kpc remains ungilded so far this season, whereas Zildjian ended his own streak last week, so he’s ranked higher than RWDS’s roamer. Other than with him and Arnold, the RWDS players comfortably outscore those on Dog the Boys.

The machine certainly expects to see RWDS win this, but it makes much more allowance for Dog the Boys than it ever did before last week. It could be possible that Jamane won’t be the only team Dog the Boys beat this season.

Projection: Dog the Boys 1.4 – 3.6 Right Wing Death Squad

Jamane vs. Nature Walk

After taking a grand total of three rounds off of No Safeword last week, Nature Walk should by rights be expecting to easily beat the team that lost to Dog the Boys last week. Rightfully so, according to the projection machine.

Nature Walk’s players outscore their Jamane counterparts on every count, with only Doge coming anywhere close on the latter’s roster. This is why the machine gives Jamane only the slightest of chances of winning a round in this engagement.

Projection: Jamane 0.1 – 4.9 Nature Walk


ETF2L

Lowpander vs. LEGO

This could be an excellent match. It seemed like LEGO could do no wrong in the first half of their season, but then they got a nasty reality check at the hands of SE7EN, and last week they dropped a map to Unexpected (albeit with iZon mercing for Pot8o). With Lowpander, they certainly have a very tough fight on their hands.

The impression had by the rankings is that Lowpander has LEGO out-classed in terms of scouts, with both Mr. Epic and Funs over a hundred points ahead of Yppy and Pot8o. Uubers is seen as one of the best pocket soliders in the world, and he’s over 200 points ahead of Josh at the moment (a phenomenon that certainly isn’t helped by LEGO’s recent Prem absence). Hildreth and Domo are a bit closer, but again the Lowpander player is preferred.

Things turn around with the roamers and medics, with Muuki and Crayon both outscored by Dmoule and Dr. Phil respectively by about 70 points each.

The overall balance comes out noticeably in favour of Lowpander, which is why the machine expects to see them score perhaps twice as many round wins as their opponents. If LEGO can re-conjure their great early-season form, they could very feasibly do better than that.

Projection: Lowpander 3.3 – 1.7 LEGO

Arctic Foxes vs. nerdRage

nerdRage have acted as an excellent Litmus test so far this season. The only teams to have beaten them on both maps so far this season all look like obvious playoff contenders. Arctic Foxes are the only team among the current top four in the group stage standings that aren’t yet a part of that club.

Based on the rankings, it looks like they should be able to beat nerdRage quite convincingly. This is one of those cases where every player on the team out-ranks his opposing counterpart. This is especially so with Feeling over Glastry – the latter still ungilded so far this season. The score gap between them is a hefty 550 points.

All in all, the balance is tipped enough in aF’s favour for the projection machine to favour them heavily in this match. They might win six rounds for every one that nR take.

Projection: Arctic Foxes 4.3 – 0.7 nerdRage

Unexpected vs. SE7EN

SE7EN are drawing closer and closer to the top NA teams by the day, and it seems like there’s little Unexpected will be able to do to prevent them from adding another win to their ever-expanding sumé. 

While Kaidus continues to amass enough on-record matches to support a representative rank (at this point he’s well inside the world’s top 100), the rankings see Adysky as a potential equal of the Brit. Other than him, only Sorex comes anywhere close to challenging his SE7EN counterpart in score (770 for the Italian, 820 for Stark at the time of writing).

Unexpected have won some excellent rounds and stolen away some splendid maps this season, especially so in last week’s match against LEGO, but you’d be brave to believe that SE7EN aren’t a step too far ahead. The machine thinks just a round win should be Unexpected’s target this week. For SE7EN, Unexpected should just be another step on the road to becoming the best team in the world.

Projection: Unexpected 0.4 – 4.6 SE7EN

The Absolute Nuts vs. Antic

‘Simple’ is perhaps the least appropriate word for describing Antic’s season so far. Every week something disruptive seems to happen – disappointing results, having to ditch Thaigrr, difficulties with Puoskari, and so on.

It’s not perfectly clear who will be the team’s sixth man in their match this week. It could be considered a much-needed act of mercy that they ‘only’ have to beat The Absolute Nuts this week. To phrase it like that doesn’t do the British team justice for their mature and spirited performances all season long, but their position at the bottom of the points table could be indicative that it won’t matter too much who exactly Antic choose to field this week.

It seems there’s a chance that Puoskari could be benched. Having said that, I’ve seen the Finn playing with the rest of Antic again (minus AMS, plus Thaigrr) since the SE7EN match.

While uncertainty surrounds the Antic roster, the projection below assumes that Puoskari will stay on.

Projection: Antic 4.4 – 0.6 The Absolute Nuts

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