Here are a few "stream of consciousness" thoughts about the season so far...
Slackers are going to win this season without too many problems. They have only dropped one map so far (this week against Fusion) and have comprehensively crushed all of their rivals on at least one map: the two big victories over Clan Malfunction have been particularly bruising for the opposition.
For me, the season is now about who is going to come second. Suddendeath and CMF look like the closest teams, although Fusion have put their hat into the ring this week with their map steal over Slackers. CCCP are looking an impressive unit as well and it is tough to call which clan will reach the final. If the table stays like it is, we will see CCCP-SD and SR2-F in the first round of the playoffs, and I would epect to see F face off against SR and CMF vs SD in the semis. On that basis, I'd have to marginally favour an SR-CMF final, but an SD-CMF semi would be gloriously close and could go either way.
At the bottom end of the table, Demolition Crew are only 2 points outside of the playoff zone. That they have played 12 matches and only won 1 map and can still be in a position to reach the playoffs suggests to me that the points system needs a little work. I'm all for rewarding activity, but with a maximum of 3 points available for a match win, there is too much room for a poorly performing clan to finish high in the table in a division of low activity.
1) Get rid of the activity point completely and award 3 points for a match win and 1 bonus point for a map win in a 2-1 defeat (3-1-0). This gives a clearer reward to clans who win matches rather than maps, but does not reward those who play their matches.
2) Increase the number of points available for a match win. For example, award 4 points for a match win, 2 points for a 2-1 defeat (1 for map + 1 for activity) and 1 point for a 2-0 defeat (1 for activity).
There are a few variations on this second one but this would be my favoured approach. To me the current system is weighted too heavily towards map wins and activity rather than match wins. A new system can still reward these factors without making them the stars of the show, as it were.Division 2
Speaking of which, Dinosaurs & Noobs top division 2 by dint of playing the most games
THey will not stay there if the other teams play most of their games. Lastentarha (KOFF) are the team with the best performances so far, with a 14/2 map record and one match loss. That loss was to Bad luck troopers, where they played without star man Scenic. BLT have also impressed, and boast a 15/3 record at the time of writing.
KOFF are clear favourites for division 2 in the same way that Slackers are in division 1. Similarly, there is a scrap for the places below that - BLT, WarPigs and Fraggers United all have a good chance of reaching the final if things to their way. In the middle of the table, the likes of OClan, Magnum 44, Chosen and Satanic Slaughter Clan are battling for the last few playoff spots. SSC have the worst record of the bunch (4/14) and will probably fall below the cut-off line if the others play a few more games. Pew Pew Blaster, Psychosis and Demolition Crew II look like falling well short of the playoffs, whilst Immortals and Lava Beds look likely to be deleted from the league altogether.Division 3
Division 3 is the only one without a clear favourite, even at this stage. My own clan, Osams, has been playing pretty well and we have a 17/6 map record from 9 games with just one match defeat. That defeat was to In a blaze, who have a record of 16/6 from 10 games, and the Finns sit in second place for the moment. In 3rd, Mob of Oddballs have the best win:loss ratio in the division with a 13/2 record - both map losses were to Osams in a 2-1 defeat. In 4th we have Paras, who have lost several games you would have expected them to win (Oddballs, Itaklyan Harraste Quake). Like Osams, Paras have not always fielded their best lineup though, and it is difficult to gauge how well they will perform in the playoffs as a result. If Paras can field feari, final, netspider and panjabi then they are capable of beating every team, as their "tight as a tiger" first-up match against Osams should show.
The division 3 title will be won by one of these 4 clans. For my money, Mofo are the strongest team and are the most active. In a Blaze are probably the outside bet as they lost 2-0 to Mofo and Paras and could well have lost 2-0 to Osams had it not been for some unfortunate timeouts for yours truly. That said, any one of these 4 clans can beat the others on the right day, and the fate of this division could well come down to spawn luck, packet loss or pixel-perfect execution of a few rocket jumps. It's all rather exciting for those of us who are fragging away in this division!
Outside of the top 4, Russian clan Aut Vincere Aut Mori (VM) are improving with every match and have registered a couple of wins having started the season looking likely to be the whipping boys. Concept Blitzkrieg have recovered from the ignominy of the Jack/Robocod drama and have put together a couple of match wins and have a 5/10 record. Oddballs (MOFO's B-team) sit in 5th spot and should quality for the playoffs thanks to a good activity record and a few impressive wins.
Odd and VM will probably make the playoffs, and the last 2 spots will be battled for by CBK, Machinery and Boomstick Ownators. These last 2 clans have only played 5 games so there are plenty of points to be had. IHQ can also sneak in if they pick up their activity as they have several winnable matches remaining, while YMBJ will probably fall short as they have the worst record in the division at 1/14. TPA and Fallen Angels look likely to go the way of Lava Beds and Immmortals.