So as HammerTime 3 draws to a close, I thought I'd write up a mini-review of my season, whilst it is still quite fresh in my mind. These are just my own personal opinions based on a set of games I played, so don't get offended by anything I put here
I am, first and foremost, 4v4 player. I very rarely duel, perhaps a couple of times a year vs andy. Since Reunion LAN back in 2003, the only duel tournament I have played it was Quakecon@home last summer, which was over very quickly losing both my matches. However with a bit more time on my hands I decided to enter HammerTime as the map pool looked quite appealing. I was placed in a higher division than expected, for example it seemed odd to me that Turbo defeated me in Quakecon yet was in a lower division, but there you go. I played a few prac rounds before the tournament to get to know bravado and shifter a bit.Rghst
: This was perhaps a bit of a false dawn for me in HammerTime; I expected a fairly even game against one of the most active players on the scene, but ended up winning 5-1. As the tourney progressed, it became clear that rghst was misplaced even more than myself, recording only 7 map wins. In particular I was pleased to get a win on Bravado, but in hindsight, picking Aerowalk vs him was a mistake as he was quite strong there, whereas I won a prac round on shifter afterwards. He's a nice guy and I hope he isn't too disheartened by this season, and can maybe play a lower div next time around.Tumult
: My second game was another relatively 'easy' game compared to what was to come, ending 3-3. I remember this being quite a fun match to play, with a close game on dm4 in particular that I possibly should have won were it not for some obvious mistakes. One of the things I've learned through this tournament is it's actually pretty easy to spot errors in my play, which I guess is a good thing as there are lots of obvious avenues for improvement. I was both surprised to win dm2 (with a bit of hiding from me at the end) but also found him to be surprisingly efficient on skull (which I had been doing ok on in practice games vs random people), although it was quite a crazy game with a lot of missed shots in the centre room! Learning from the game against rghst, this time I rolled out shifter to good effect, Tumult clearly lacked experience there. Like my first game, I struggled on Aerowalk but overall 3-3 is probably a fair result despite me feeling I could have taken it 4-2.maCLer
: I knew this would be a tough game as he was one of the favourites leading into the competition. As an oldschool player I was wary of facing him on tb3/aero but actually my picks of skull and shifter were a disaster, with me registering just 3 and 1 frags respectively. Clearly he has a good brain for duel. In hindsight I probably should've stuck to what I know, and maybe gone with Aero given how well I performed there against the other Polish players later in the season, but having lost to my first two opponents on Aero I figured I was too weak there. From memory I think I messed up a few times on dm6 and should have made that closer, whilst dm4 was another entertaining game. On both of those maps I was leading after 3mins or so, so I need to learn how to take better advantage and retain control against good players. The one saving grace here was I was able to win ztn to avoid a white-wash.skurk
: I'd say this was probably the opponent I 'underestimated' the most, in the sense that I thought I perhaps had a good chance to take say 3 maps vs him, but ended with only 1. His shifter play was really good in terms of controlling the low centre and lg area from high centre, it was very hard to get going vs him. Dm6 I felt I should've won, going down by 1 after some mistakes, and skull was pretty close. Dm4 I remember he played very smart, a lot of +back, use of mega/ammo rooms, just generally leaving me to do all the chasing. I think he has the potential to become a good tournament player.Samon
: Samon proved to be a good allround dueller, in particular his timing on dm6 was exceptional, always entering mega room at the right moment, knowing how to launch attacks and get back to RA etc. Probably the toughest dm6 player I faced. He was also good at exploiting control on ztn meaning I lost my first ztn of the season. Shifter I just couldn't get going until near the end (zero frags at halfway) - overall he played well with the exception of a surprising Aerowalk win for me.Nitro
: I can't remember too much about this game other than we were generally quite well matched (ending 3-3); he was very strong on ztn (restricting me to fewer frags than any opponent all season) but also weak on dm2. This is where my research before the game paid off, I'm not a big fan of dm2 but I could see he was generally struggling there so picked it for an easy win.NLK
: This guy's Aero game was mental, very good armour and mega control, nasty angle shots, definitely my toughest opponent on aerowalk this season. Dm2, I remember getting a good start but then walking into some spam at path, one of those situations that you see coming before it happens but you just can't help yourself, you think you have enough stack to push through it and take secret but end up getting killed as you enter the box. I think I was doing well in fights at bigroom but generally lacked the game craft, and gave a way a run of spawn frags at one point. He was strong on skull (as I'd expected from research with some decent performances against higher div players) and quite weak on dm4, making a lot of the same mistakes that I often used to and sometimes still do (rushing to LG a lot, and not denying red enough). It was a bit of eye-opener for me seeing how easy it was to play dm4 vs a player with that style, which is what it must be like for my opponents sometimes! Overall, a nice series to play despite a couple of big blowout scores.Thunder
: My final game was vs Thunder, who by now had established himself high up the league table so I knew I'd be on the end of another beating. The difference here was, he was the only player to beat me 6-0, playing well across all maps and in particuar being good at exploiting control to double-down on frags. This was quite evident with my heaviest defeat on ztn, although it's the short of map that happens on if you give up and just start rushing (in the past i've lost by 80 vs someone there, and then won the next time). Overall, I'd say he was the best player I faced this season, although his Aero game could use some work as he let me back into the game there and with fewer mistakes I could perhaps have punished him.Overall
: I'd say I come away from this with the following conclusions:
If I put the effort in, I could definitely improve simply by practicing more, learning the newer maps, keeping better track of item timings and eliminating some of my mistakes.
I seem to nearly always be able to get frags on dm4, with only skurk suppressing me really. If I continue with duel in future, I might try and develop my game a bit there.
A key success factor is what I do when I die. In 4v4, when you get killed you can often get away with giving away say another 5 frags fairly quickly (perhaps pushing to kill a weak enemy). In duel, you can literally lose the whole game in 30s if you panic or don't play smart. I think my many years of FFA hurt me a bit here, where my brain is tuned to rush to a weapon ASAP.
Duels still are generally not that enjoyable to me compared to 4v4, you get these occasional big adrenaline/dopamine hits when you pull of a really nice prediction kill or whatever (YES! I OUTSMARTED HIM!) but there are some games where you know you can't win and just go into autopilot mode waiting for it to be over. That's a key difference from tdm, in 4v4 I always (apart from some dm2 games) feel there is something I can work towards, some bigger purpose I can contribute to, and losing is fun. Less so in 1v1, when you are matched up against experienced duellers.