Clans / 3 Mar 2010, 11:40
The best ever?
The Viper Squad (TVS) have now won 4 out of the last 5 EQL titles to add to the NQR11 crown they clinched in 2008. Few would argue that it would take something truly remarkable for them to not win a 4th successive EQL in season 11, and to me it is quite sad that QW has reached the stage where we have one clan who is achieving such lasting domination.
But how good are they?
During the years when I was an NQR admin, there was always a strong favourite for the title. But regardless, the playoffs always threw up tight finals and thrilling finishes: the amazing NQR finals in seasons 3, 4, 5, 7 and 9 are testament to that.
TVS' domination cannot be helped. Coincidence and fate mean that 4 of the strongest 4on4 active players are playing in the same team, and the remaining "div 0" players are scattered amongst several other teams. Short of forcing TVS to split up and make their members play elsewhere, there is not a lot that can be done.
Anyway, I digress. The point of this blog was something slightly different. As I wolfed down my scrambled eggs for breakfast, I was wondering how this dominant TVS machine would fare against the other giants of the past five or six years. If you could somehow make a time machine and pit the best clans from that period against each other, who would come out on top?
There was a period when it seemed as though Fragomatic (fOm) were unbeatable. With the precision skills of Valla, backed up with the almost telepathic MM2 teamplay of manulito, Xantom and xterm, fOm steamrolled every clan who crossed their path, in a rather similar way to the way TVS do it now. But we never really saw fOm come up against a real challenge in a big final. How would their nerves have handled being 2-0 down against Slackers or CMF?
Clan Malfunction (CMF) were the team that I enjoyed watching and commentating on the most. Their NQR7 and 9 squad of fix, fifi, angua, siv and hlt was one of the best rosters ever and their good nature and sense of humour made them very endearing. It was fantastic to see them clinch NQR after coming so close on several occasions. At the top of his game, Fix could rival Milton in my opinion, whilst the other guys are pretty close as well. NQR7-era CMF vs the current TVS would be one juicy match-up!
And how about Lege Artis (LA)? In the early days of NQR and the later days of Smackdown, LA were the team to beat. With the outrageous quad-running and attacking play of Riker, the error-free play of Nabbe and Striker and of course the inimitable Dag, LA at their best were a truly terrifying opponent.
But my vote for best team of recent years has to go to a clan which is still going strong after all these years - Slackers (SR). The "classic" SR line-up of NQR4-6, featuring the mercurial ParadokS, the classy Hib and the pugnacious Finnish duo of Gamer and Goljat, SR were truly a machine. Yes, they pushed their luck and the patience of admins and opponents at times, but people's opinions on the likes of ParadokS and Goljat as individuals should not cloud their judgement on SR as a unit. A great team doesn't just have excellent individuals or "solid" teamplay, but it has character and guts. If you want to see some gutsy 4on4 performances, look up the NQR4 final, where SR fought back from 2-0 down to beat CMF 3-2, or the NQR5 final where SR led 2-0, found themselves 2-2 against Disorder and then pulled themselves together to win the final map 3-2.
Slackers may have been unpopular, but not only were they vastly successful as a team in the mid-noughties, but they achieved that success against a very talented array of other clans: CMF, DS, LA, X, Divines, BGSR, Firing Squad, etc. There is no way for us to know how TVS would have survived in that climate. My suspicion is that they would have done rather well, and sure, they may even have come out on top a few times. I sincerely hope that we can see another top clan rising up in the next year or so and restore the true spirit of "competition" at the high end of 4on4 Quakeworld.