Here are my division 3 playoff predictions for EQL11.
Quarter-finalsBloodpunch 3-0 Mob of Oddballs
No surprises here. BP didn't drop a map all season and in all likelihood, they weren't about to do so here. Horatio labelled them the "div3-tvs", and with good reason. They don't have one superstar, but a solid team of experienced players that functions well as a unit.In A Blaze 3-1 Paras
Paras looked very strong early in the regular season, and I thought that they would be the team to challenge BP's domination. But their form has suffered as the season has gone on, and I'm surprised by how easily Fix and his mates won this all-Finnish match. In A Blaze have also improved steadily throughout the season, and the fact that they are now winning maps without their superstar in the team shows that they have come a long way.Dark Abbots 1-3 Fallen Angels
This was the biggest surprise of the round for me. DA impressed me throughout the regular season, and indeed beat FA in a tight match. FA's activity has fallen away, while DA has been practicing hard. It wasn't enough though, as Peppe and co fragged their way to a 3-1 win and a semi-final showdown with Osams.Osams 3-2 CPM.qw
Complacency got the better of my own team in our quarter-final against the Russian Q3 players CPM.qw. We won the opening maps, DM3 and DM2, without too much hassle and actually slowed down on DM2 because we felt guilty for spawnfragging them too much. That small amount of mercy nearly proved disastrous, with star player Steppa benching himself for the 3rd & 4th maps, and CPM.qw demonstrating superior individual skill and great teamwork (i.e. getting 2 or 3 players at every position on the map all at the same time!) to level it at 2-2. I don't mean any offence to Pattah, who replaced Steppa, but by bringing him in we completely changed our team's balance by going from 2 attacking and 2 defensive players to 1 and 3 respectively. Pattah has been a great part of our team when playing instead of Thompen in a more defensive role this season, and I guess one of the lessons we have picked up here is that Steppa and Manny need to stay in the line-up no matter what
Steppa came back for the decider, and it was "squeaky bums time". Thankfully, we put in a less than convincing performance but managed to take the match home. We need to do better in the semis!Semi-finalsBloodpunch vs In A Blaze
A few weeks ago I would have been convinced of a 3-0 victory for the Swedes, and nothing else. But the improvements from the Finns and a willingless from Fix to take on a more "proactive" role with regards to quad-running and general ass-kicking (see their match vs Osams in the regular season) means that I am willing to give In A Blaze an outside chance in this.
BP have not demonstated any weaknesses so far, and having faced them myself on DM3, I would back them to take that map home twice in a best of 5 scenario. Therefore, In A Blaze will have to pull out something spectacular on the other maps to sneak a win.Prediction: 3-1 to BPOsams vs Fallen Angels
We played FA first-up this season, in our first 4on4 since EQL10, and lost 2-1. From memory, FA's map wins on DM2 and E1M2 were very tight while we won DM3 rather more comfortably. I think that by playing twice a week since then, we have improved and solidified our routine, and we will be relying on this to give us a solid foundation if we are to get revenge in the semis.
FA's big win over DA on DM3 shows that they are no suckers on that map, but I hope that our routine and experience, plus the hot skills of Steppa/Manny should make that map safe for us. We will need to sharpen up our E1M2 game considerably to take a map off FA, so it could come down to who turns out best on DM2.Prediction: 3-2 Osams
(because there's no point going in to the game believing we will lose it