EQL13 launches today, so it's time for a long-winded, hilariously inaccurate and unproofread preview article from yours truly.
It is pretty straightforward to decide who is the favourite for EQL13’s division 1 title: I can simply not see beyond Slackers
(SR) at this point. Having played bridesmaid to The Viper Squad
in recent seasons, SR should be able to take advantage of tVS’ siestita
and win their first EQL since season 7. SR have made a small but insignificant change to their roster for this season: en_karl has rejoined TeamKillers
(TKs), and it looks as though his spot will be permanently taken by Striker, who played occasionally last season, with SR veteran Krab as a handy reserve.
Behind SR there are a clutch of teams who have a realistic chance of causing an upset. For my money, two-time NQR winners Clan Malfunction
(CMF) are the strongest challengers, and if they are in good shape, their first choice line-up of Fix, Fifi, Hlt and Darkki will be very difficult to overcome. Activity and practice have been issues for CMF ever since their last NQR title though, and this is one area where SR and a number of other clans will have probably an edge. Fusion
(F) is one of these teams, and their roster has been improved with the smart additions of Blaze, Squeeze and Dimman for this season. Valla (Nitram) is reportedly going to be inactive, but he has been spotted on the servers in practice rounds, and I suspect that the pull of 4on4 will be too strong for Fusion’s key man. A well-drilled line-up of Blaze, Nitram, Dimman and one other from F’s talented squad will see them right up there. Suddendeath
(SD) are another team with a good chance of winning, if things work in their favour. They already demonstrated their skills on TB3 by winning a “moral victory” in the EQL12 semi-finals against Slackers and then carving their way into the EQL:pro final. SD lost out on that occasion but SR and other teams will know that on their day they can beat anyone. Bps will be their key player for sure, but watch out for the talented men in the back room like Mawe, Molle and new signing Grisling.
That’s four clans name-checked already, and I haven’t even finished with the serious contenders. There are 9 clans in the division list at the moment, and it will be interesting to see how the EQL team will setup the playoffs for division 1. Presumably we won’t see 8 clans in the playoffs, leaving them with the option of a 6-clan playoff (with the top 2 receiving a bye in the first round) or a 4-clan playoff. If it’s the latter, then one of the top 5 teams is going to be disappointed. On paper, I would say that CCCP
are the weakest of the top 5, but they are practicing regularly, and the addition of Swedish stars Moltas, OD and Votary to their line-up certainly makes them a tougher proposition than in recent seasons. Add XN (unnamed) to that list and you have a formidable division 1 team.
Outside of these top 5, we have 4 other clans who will probably be battling it out for the last few spots. TKs impressed me in EQL:pro with their TB3 play, but the loss of Squeeze to F is a big blow to them. The fact that Ganon is still on their roster is a big plus-point for them, and they are capable of taking maps off the top clans. Elsewhere, Demolition Crew
(DC) will be keen to build on a promising first season at the top level and like all Polish teams since time immemorial will be hard to beat on DM2. Likewise, the Polish+Maga unit of Fairy Tail
(FT) will probably find themselves down the bottom of the table but may be able to threaten the top sides on that same map. Finally, Slackers’ 2nd team (SR2) will be battling it out with the other 3 to avoid the dishonour of the “wooden spoon”. They have some talented players on their roster, but they will need to improve the cohesion of their teamplay from EQL:pro if they are to pick up many points.Division 2
Wow! What a division 2 we have this season. Picking a winner here is far from cut and dry, and I think most teams will be able to take points and maps off each other. It wouldn’t be a surprise if the team that tops the table at the end of the regular season loses 4 or 5 matches along the way. I think the winner will be either KOFF or FU, but to be honest the likes of LB, SSC, BLT, CSN, WP and more have a chance as well. Here are a few words on each team. Lava Beds
(LB): on paper, a very strong roster of players such as hedfuk, Marvel and wimpeeh from Western Europe who have a lot of experience at the lower end of division 1 and the higher end of division 2. If they are active then I would expect to see them reach the last 4 of the playoffs at least. Lastentarha
(KOFF) : The spiritual successor to the great division 1 clan "KOFF" had a tough time of it in division 1 last season, but I would expect them to be there or thereabouts this time around. Scenic will be their key man and in this division he could run riot. Bad luck troopers
(BLT): Every time I think of this clan, I get hungry. Don’t know why… Anyway, Knave, Kapo & co won division 2 last season and impressed many people along the way. They are pretty much the same unit as last time around so they will again be in the top half of the table. However, I have a feeling that the strength of the clans that have dropped down from division 1 may be too much for them to repeat their success. Demolition Crew 2
(DC2): These guys had a difficult season in division 2 last time, and although they will be helped by the map pool’s reverting to TB3, I don’t think they have quite enough class to push into the top 8 or so here, and I expect to see them near the foot of the table. Dinosaurs & Noobs
(D&N): This team has the potential to be division winners. They have former Death Team players from division 1 like slam, max_power, glad and B1aze, along with shit-hot-aimer Anupko, who has signed from Fallen Angels. If D&N get their shit together and keep practicing then they are capable of winning the whole she-bang. Fraggers United
(FU): Like KOFF, they have dropped down from division 1 after a difficult season there. They have lost Niomic to SR2, but they retain Persuader (Kassim) and their all-round experience of 4on4 will see them finish near the top. Immortals
(IM): I have to say, I don’t know a lot about these guys, but from spying them on QTV and the like, I think they are more likely to be scrapping at the lower end of the table than pushing for playoff glory. Prove me wrong, fellas! Chosen
(CSN): Last year’s beaten finalists have lost their star player Rkd to SD, but have arguably replaced him with a better player in OK98. They have also added the experience of Hagge to their team. CSN is seemingly always active and I would expect to see them amongst the top 4 or 5 clans. O Clan
(O): O Clan struggled in division 2 last season until they added Marvel to their ranks. He has defected to LB for this season, and they have replaced him with Swedish player Adde, formerly of A2K. Adde is a useful player but I’m not sure that he will be able to give this team of Americans and Brazilians the added X-Factor they will need in this crowded and talented division. I expect to see them in the lower third of the table. Pew Pew Blaster
(Pew): This is a clan of very talented Russian 1on1 players, including the likes of Bulat, Tempo and Razor[X]. I expected to see them in division 3, but they certainly have the individual talent to cut it in division 2. I think they will finish towards the bottom of the table, and they will need Bulat to pull his weight if they are to avoid finish dead last. Psychosis
(Psy): This clan competed in division 3 as “Pussy” last season. They practice regularly and good routine on DM3. From my own experience of playing against them, I think they will be able to hold their own on that map but may be undone on the other maps. I think they will be another one to be fighting it out just below the playoff line. Satanic Slaughter Clan
(SSC): SSC surprisingly lost to Magnum 44 in the playoffs last season, and they will probably suffer slightly from the loss of the custom maps from their arsenal. Regardless, their team is very experienced and the addition of Xenic will only make them stronger. They will be in the playoffs for sure, and if everything clicks then they could go all the way. WarPigs
(WP): This clan is basically a continuation of Rusty, the team that played in division 3 last season. They have added some meat to their line-up with the signings of Trygve and Lethalwiz, and Eggarf’s old wingman Swing also appears to be back in the picture. These guys are practicing a lot and have already produced some good results therein. Playoffs? Yes. Winners? Probably not – at least not this season. Magnum 44
(M44): M44 are renowned for being a flaky bunch. On some days they appear as though they have never played together before, and on others they can turn on the skills and take down other, supposedly more skilled teams. Nothing demonstrates this better than last season’s playoff game against SSC, where after a season of flattering to deceive, the Poles slapped down Slaughter & co 3-1.Division 3
Like division 2, division 3 looks like anyone’s game. My own clan Osams
is back down in the basement division after having our arses kicked in division 2 last season, and we are keen to have a productive season. Last time in this division we finished 2nd to Bloodpunch, who absolutely dominated every team. I can’t see any clan in the line-up this time who looks capable of dominating in the same way, and I think most teams will be able to take matches and maps off each other in tight games. I would certainly hope that Osams will be in the mix come the end of the season and in a position to challenge for the title. Mob of Oddballs
should be praised for their innovative recruitment strategy since the last season. They now have two squads, and their first lineup (“MOFO”) will definitely be amongst the best clans in this division. Defcon5 was their key player in EQL11, and he will be joined by experienced low division battlers like Darff, Fer and Rotten. Concept BlitzKrieg
(CBK) are a new clan made up of QuakeLive players and led by ex-TKs man Stev, and they have impressed many observers with their practice performances to date. Paras
will be up there once again, and fellow Finns In A Blaze
(ABLZ) will also be tough opposition for everyone, even without Fix in their roster this time.
So, on paper I think it is between Osams, Paras, MOFO and CBK, but ABLZ and other teams like Fallen Angels
, You Must Be Judged
(YMBJ) and Machinery
have a good chance of winning maps against these teams too.
Here’s to a great season!