Even though I haven't been following this season very closely I do have spectated a few games here and there. From what I've seen thus far, and combined with a decent knowledge of what's going on in the scene in general and division one teams in particular, I decided to give a preview of the upcoming semifinals along with some predictions.
Semi-Final 1: The Viper Squad vs the norse
The Viper Squad is back for yet another playoff in the European Quake League, this time with some changes made to the team. Missing compared to last season is
Diki, whose been replaced by the new recruits
Darkki. Signed up for the team is also the experienced players of
blAze who, If I'm not mistaken, both has been in the clan from the very beginning. Last, but definitely not least, we find the machine
Milton who always seem to find that extra gear when needed. After a - from the clans perspective - disappointing loss against Suddendeath in last season's final, they are for sure looking for revenge and to regain the title this season.
In the other corner we have the newly formed team "the norse" which, ironically enough, no longer consist solely of Norsemen (blame a Hungarian!). This initiative by
Rikoll and his Viking squad of
trygve have just in time for playoffs got reinforcement in the form of
zero who ordinarily plays in their own clan Slackers. This rather unexpected development makes the conclusion of the season even more interesting.
In the regular season tVS haven't had any significant troubles winning all their games except one (vs SD) while TN have had a more bumpy road. Both games between the teams has ended in a 2-0 victory for tVS. Notable, though, is that more or less every map they've played - dm2 x 2 and dm3 x 2 - have been very close encounters. Their last mutual game was decided by a combined frag difference of no more than 27(!) frags.
In this semi-final, which I undoubtedly think will be the most interesting of the two,
Milton and his mercenaries indeed faces quite a challenge which they must overcome in order to reach a second consecutive final. Not many expected TN to became this big of a threat so quickly. TN will try their hardest to achieve an upset against the favourites. They will enter the playoffs with the mindset that they've got nothing to lose and if I were to choose one game that has monumental drama potential this season - this is the one.Factors speaking for a TN win
Factors speaking for a tVS win
- Late addition of ParadokS and zero which seems to have triggered a motivation boost for the whole team
- Very high and even skill level of the presumed lineup
- The Norwegian and Norse raider himself, Rikoll
Prediction: tVS winning 3-2Semi-Final 2: Suddendeath vs Firing Malfunction
- Milton, arguably the best 4on4 player around at the moment
- Experienced core players naturally finding each other teamplay-wise
- Rock solid performance throughout the entire season with no real weaknesses.
- Again, if there ever were any doubt... Milton!
The reigning EQL champions - Suddendeath - has since the start of the season been favourites along with tVS. With the Swedish hardcore quartet of
rst - just as in the previous season - the team has slowly but steadily the last couple of seasons developed a somewhat unorthodox teamplay style which seem to suits them well. The only change this season is that
mawe is signed as their fifth player, although he is far from as active as his clan mates.
A lot of people raised their eyebrows when they saw the "Firing Malfunction" appearing in the signup list when the season was announced. In the team, combining the clans Clan Malfunction and the Firing Squad, we find big names such as
fix accompanied with the skilled and experienced players
keyser. Many probably had high hopes for this team to be a serious contender for the title this time around. Pretty soon it became apparent however, that the team lacks the most important variable - activity. As far as I'm concerned the team haven't even practiced once. Official games seems enough for them, and
fix haven't even played a single map! As
razor a few days ago put it: "pracs are so 97'!"
This is a reality we simply have to face in today's scene - that players don't have time for Quake, or simply place it at the bottom of the priority list. It's great to see all those players returning to the game however, and as we all know, It ain't over till the fat lady sings!
Suddendeath comes out of the regular season with a total of 21 maps played. 13 won and 8 lost. I'm sure they expected a more comfortable ride thus far. Those numbers tell just how close the struggle have been for participating teams trying to secure that playoff spot. CMFS on the other hand, have had a real roller coaster ride overall, loosing both their games against Suddendeath 0-2 and 1-2 respectively, though managing to squeeze a dm2 win in their last encounter. Suddendeath is the team having the pressure on them since most people expect them to win rather comfortable.Factors speaking for a CMFS win
Factors speaking for a SD win
- Being clear underdogs might cause SD to underestimate them
- They still might have an ace up their sleeve - fix!
- High individual skill level of key players - great potential
Prediction: SD winning 3-1
- Very high standard in terms of teamplay
- High activity in their main lineup, with high potential in a somewhat inactive mawe
- The new superstar carapace which, since his return to QW, have lifted the whole team and at the same time keeps getting better for each game.