It feels like Froyotech have been challenged ever harder by the team previously known as EVL Gaming ever since they merged with the Ronin refugees Yomps, Rando, and Bdonski. Now called Ascent, the team beat Froyotech early on this season with Paddie, and more recently they lost to them after Ma3la replaced the Canadian.

Naturally, both of the two Invite titans of recent times have successfully secured their places in the playoffs. Joining them are Gnomercy, who are themselves a team of superb talents. Four of the six men on this team have recently served with one of the top two teams, at least for a short time – Slemnish, Dingo, and Cookiejake played with EVL not long ago while Marmaduke trialled for the pocket role on Froyotech before this season.

Unlike the other three, Faint Gaming must have come into this season without much weight of expectation, but with no shortage of ambition. When they toppled EVL Gaming early in the season, and not long after gave Froyotech a very hard time on Product, it was clear this team wasn’t here just to make up the numbers. Their pre-season goal was to reach the playoffs, and that’s what they’ve done. Now it’s a question of just how far they can push it.

So, the four teams contesting playoffs this season are as follows:

  • FroyotechB4nny ● Arekk ● Botmode ● Blaze ● Habib ● Shade
  • Ascent: Corsa ● Yomps ● Ma3la ● Rando ● Bdonski ● Nursey
  • Gnomercy: Slemnish ● Yight ● Aim ● Marmaduke ● Dingo ● Cookiejake
  • Faint Gaming: Phlps ● Sandblast ● EvilMrMuffinz ● Ranga ● Campy ● Meyy

Round 1

Froyotech vs. Faint Gaming

Froyotech have been the jewel in North America’s crown for years, and as hard as teams like Ascent have tried to dethrone them, it’s never quite come to fruition in recent ESEA-I Grand Finals.

This season, Faint Gaming proved that the duty of beating Froyotech doesn’t necessarily have to fall on Ascent’s shoulders alone. In Week 4, Faint Gaming built a strong lead over Froyotech before, not a moment too soon, their opponents were able to claw it back and take an eventual 4-3 win. This was on Product, of all places, too – possibly Froyotech’s finest venue.

This ranking system considers Campy to be Faint Gaming’s star player, but he won’t be present for this opening match. It’s not clear who his replacement will be, so the projection below is simply generated as if he were present after all. The most likely prospect is probably Delpo, who played pocket with the team earlier in the season, including in the match in which they almost beat Froyotech. He played demo very effectively for EVL back in Season 22, before the team merged with Ronin. If it really is Delpo playing instead of Campy, this projection changes to 5.0 – 0.3.

Froyotech 5.0 – 0.4 Faint Gaming

 

Ascent vs. Gnomercy

When Paddie was on EVL as their pocket soldier, the team was ranked very closely to Froyotech in this system. In fact, the teams often supplanted each other as the world’s number-1. When EVL rebranded to Ascent, Paddie left and Ma3la came in to replace him. The rankings don’t have a lot of data on Ma3la from the past 500 on-record matches, and so they’re suspicious of him. He’s currently quite comfortably the lowest-ranked player on the team, on a level that’s almost certainly lower than where he deserves to be.

As long as Ascent are still capable of playing on Froyotech’s level, they should be able to beat Gnomercy by a decent margin. They’ll have to work for it, though. Gnomercy, unlike Ascent, haven’t lost to Faint Gaming all season, nor have they been beaten by any team outside of the top two.

Even with it’s pessimistic assessment of Ma3la, the projection machine expects these trends to continue in this match with a narrow Ascent victory. This would see Gnomercy demoted to the Losers’ Bracket where they would take on Faint Gaming.

Ascent 5.0 – 4.5 Gnomercy

 

Upper Bracket Final

Froyotech vs. Ascent

When these teams last met in the regular season, Froyotech took a solid win with five rounds to Ascent’s two on Granary. That’s not unlike what the projection machine is expecting in the playoffs.

Again, this system’s lack of recent information on Ma3la means it’s certainly not rating him as highly as he deserves to be, so this could be taken as a worst-case scenario for Ascent. Nevertheless, there were signs of a trend in the regular season. Ascent won their first match against Froyotech back when they had Paddie, and then they lost the second one.

Going by recent scrim results, Ascent certainly seem to harbour enough potency to challenge Froyotech. The reigning champions will need to keep, or even improve upon, the form they showed when they last played Ascent if they’re to make the projected result here come true. If they were to win, Froyo would get a ticket straight to the final.

Froyotech 5.0 – 1.5 Ascent

 

Lower Bracket Round 1

Faint Gaming vs. Gnomercy

Ascent and Froyotech have both been pushed right to the edge by Faint Gaming in the past. Gnomercy, however, have been consistently resistant to their efforts. These teams played each other twice in the regular season and on both occasions the score was 5-1 in Gnomercy’s favour.

The projection machine is expecting a continuation of that trend should these two teams meet in the playoffs. Such a result would see Faint Gaming become the first team to be eliminated from contention in the playoffs, with a final position of fourth place. They’d miss the ultimate prize, but with their pre-season targets in mind, it would still very much be mission accomplished for Faint Gaming.

Faint Gaming 1.3 – 5.0 Gnomercy

 

Lower Bracket Final

Gnomercy vs. Ascent

Because the seeding of the four teams for the playoffs exactly matches the order in which the teams are ranked in this system, the TF2Metrics simulation of the playoffs anticipates the Lower Bracket Final and Grand Final being repeats of previous matches.

The first of these is Gnomercy versus Ascent. Having dispatched Faint Gaming, this version of events would see Gnomercy take on Ascent again for the right to take on Froyotech in the final.

My personal view is that Ascent will be much further clear of Gnomercy than this system expects. However, if things do end up being quite up in the air between them as the machine thinks they might, an upset could be on the cards especially if the two teams do play each other twice.

Ascent have to be the favourites, though, and a win here would result in Gnomercy ending the season in a third place overall – a position they’ve seemed destined for ever since the team formed before the season even started.

Gnomercy 4.5 – 5.0 Ascent

 

Grand Final

Froyotech vs. Ascent

This is the second repeat, and the expected outcome is the same as it was the first time. If this projection comes to fruition, it would certainly make for a less intense grand final than we got last season.

Something worth remembering about Season 24 is that EVL were much stronger in the playoffs than they were in the regular season, where they seemed to really struggle to challenge Froyotech. Perhaps it’s because the team weren’t as invested in the regular season as they were in the playoffs, as it’s the latter where the glory truly comes. Instead of showing their cards early, they kept their powder try and ran on cruise control until the closing stages of the season.

If that really was the case last season, and has been again this season, then that should bode very well for their chances of finally dethroning Froyotech, considering they’ve already beaten them once. That’s something they hadn’t done at this stage last season.

The projection machine’s pessimistic outlook as that Froyotech should win by a reasonably big margin, but based on past trends it probably shouldn’t be as clear-cut as this.

Froyotech 5.0 – 1.5 Ascent

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