Once again doing this because I like when discussions aren't centered around TSM. This time in the main discussion thread I see more comments about teams besides TSM but I figured I might as well do this because I did one for semi-finals. I honestly feel less...worthy...of making this post because I was so busy cooking and cleaning for most of it, but here goes my mostly unedited thoughts:
Bottom 20 (scuwry, vein, Onmuu):
Hate starting these write-ups on this note but I didn't get to watch them all that much. It's kind of difficult for me to be interested in a Crypto-Caustic team because that just screams ability-crutches. Just for the record I don't think that's how they actually are, because all 3 are really insane, but just the team composition doesn't attract me.
Complexity (Monsoon, Reptar, iShiny):
They mathematically already clinched a playoff spot just by qualing for finals, but of course they wanted to secure their spot by popping off and finishing with a top placement. And honestly, congrats to them on managing to navigate around all those Caustic teams that were trying to hold them out of key positions, and when I did spectate them they did some great pushes on bunkered up teams. Monsoon was making some great portals and his aggressiveness on Wraith, even with the hitbox change, just puts him in a league of his own. They probably could have got 1st Place this tournament, but there were some missed Mastiff shots at the end of Game 3 that resulted in them missing out on a lot of KP and additional placement points. It also helps that they did not have Absolute Monarchy attempting to 'contest' them every game.
Counter Logic Gaming (Madness, Lou, Vaxlon):
I never really got to catch the moments of when they died from their POV but I did tune in enough to listen in on them. I liked how vocal Lou was being and it seems like he's slowly taking more of a leadership role with this team when the going gets tough, while Madness is vocal and confident when things are perfectly fine. Out of all the Tier 1 teams, I think this team is the most inconsistent. Last time, when I wrote about the Finals of OT3, I mentioned that I hope the results from that doesn't snowball into future tournaments. Now we'll have to see how they fare in Playoffs to determine whether things are going downhill.
Down with the Thiccness (Hiarky, G7Dank, Hambino):
Going to be honest, I made the mistake of not watching them during semi-finals so I just went all-in and gambled on not watching them again. I'm just one guy, I can't possibly keep track of everything so I had to put someone to the side, and I'm sure the PlayApex broadcast wasn't paying them much mind either.
Farmboys (FarmerLucas, ImpulsiveDream, Stompez):
Allegedly this team got contested every game, so it's possible that they were fighting Lonely Fans off drop Honestly it's hard to tell because so many teams were not streaming finals! I was a bit surprised with the game they won because I didn't hear other teams making comms about where the Farmboys were leading up to that final circle, but after they won their game they started getting pointed out by a few teams. This was their first finals together as a team. Lucas made the last playoffs through LCQ if I remember correctly, so I wouldn't be surprised if he did it again. A lot of people think that LCQ should be pretty easy for the top contenders but teams like the Farmboys are super underrated and can easily throw a wrench into any plan because of how unpredictable they are during the first round. Stompez's old teammates GobbleFPS and Y0YO competed with Navelow this OT but they got 2nd rounded I believe. Just goes to show how far Stompez has come as a professional player.
HRN (HillCST, SimplyRKN, Eureice):
The playful banter and jokes that I witnessed in semi-finals yesterday from this team mostly disappeared today. They managed to pull off some insane resets today and they clearly have chemistry. It's just so unfortunate that they don't automatically qualify for playoffs because Euriece's breaks meant that they don't have enough points. If they choose to play LCQ this team is easily the favourite to get in.
KSZ (Knoqd, StayNaughty, ZachMazer):
First off, congrats to this team on a job well done. I've heard Zach get roasted by other 'pros' for not accomplishing / winning anything despite being a Day 1 player, so those jokes can finally be put to rest. Knoqd is one of the nicest guys in the community and interacts with his chat the most, and StayNaughty deserves all the accolades he can get. In the past I've been a critic of ZachMazer's IGLing dating back to the Silverfox days (I also didn't like his general attitude as well, but I'm not going to get into that) but ever since his return he has been a new player. The leadership dynamic on this team reminds me a bit of SolaFide and MouseAndKeyboard, where there is one guy who's the most vocal but they always come to decisions together so that they can operate as one on pushes, against pushes, rotations, etc. Knoqd is in prime form mechanically and is enjoying himself more in Competitive as he (probably unintentionally) sharpens his tools in the ranked grind. No one wants to fight this team in a close-range 3v3 if they can avoid it.
Lonely Fans (Blight, BlueBerrySmalls, alyssareid):
Blight proved everyone wrong by even reaching this far. Once again I don't think anyone on this team streamed unfortunately but Blueberry said on Twitter that they got contested every game.
MouseAndKeyboard (Xenial, Frexs, Claraphi):
Another team that I paid attention to because I'm recognizing this lowkey team as one of the best teams in NA. Frexs is a lot smarter than people realize despite not being spoken of as one of the 'big brain' players, Claraphi was once on the 2nd best team in NA (SolaFide last year) and Xenial for the longest team was the top F/A in ALGS points. They loot Lava Fissure so efficiently and they rotate so fast. In the time it takes for me to flip my chicken in the air fryer they've gone from their drop spot to a great spot in zone and are chilling with their armours off to avoid taking EMP damage. This team can probably do well in any meta and I genuinely believe that they'll be representing an org during LANs.
MST (Metro, Sickks, Pandxrz):
Pandxrz, who said that his team might contest Lava City but ultimately didn't (I was looking forward to it), led the tournament in kills despite his team only finishing in 9th place. Part of that had to do with wiping out the other team contesting dome about half of the games. Last game was the only time that they actually lost the 50, and in anger the team collectively blamed that one game as the reason they will have to play LCQ, but you have to look at the fights from start to finish: sure the flight paths to Dome was trash. However, the other team (MTW) beat them to Dome every single time. You can blame the drop ship for that, or you can vent a bit and then figure out what is wrong with their jumping that led to them not landing where they need to land in time. Gun skill is important, but if you're planning on going to the edge of the map then you should probably fine tune your jumps as well. I remember back at the beginning of Season 1 for Series E, COOLER was complaining about Team Rockstar only beating them in Lava city when they got their first, but end of the day having a good jump master is an underrated skill. Enough about that, this team is pretty solid and a lot of Sickks plans were able to happen because Pandxrz has the best R9 on controller (sorry Genburten). Another team that, if they don't qualify for playoffs off the LCQ then it will be a MAJOR upset.
MTW (daviswave, ItsMasked, TechedCandy):
Literally just talked about them in the paragraph above, but they didn't really get to play all that much because they kept running into the Pandxrz Express (one game he pretty much one-clipped all 3 of them after grabbing an R9 off drop). The long drops actually helped them play out 2 games because MST just couldn't stretch the jumps to dome. Still they should be proud of what they accomplished, reaching this far and still picking up a comparable amount of points to other teams. The homie TechedCandy only got his first taste of comp during the Autumn Circuit with 303 and has been improving ever since. One tournament I actually watched him squad wipe an entire team (who will go unmentioned) with P20 Hammerpoints.
NRG (nafen, rocker, SweetDreams):
I don't really have much of an opinion on what they did because I didn't really get to spectate and I didn't really see anything from them that stood out to me. No one could have predicted that Sweet would lead the team in kills today.
PB Sandwiches (Bowswer, Sauceror, PowPow):
I kept a closer eye on this team more than most because I felt like I was missing something about how this team is able to perform. The soft vocal tone of this team literally never changes no matter what happens, which means their voices never drown out other teammates and all comms can be heard clearly. It was very odd to watch. This team is probably the perfect example of a Caustic team that all the pros complain about; they always rotate early but they will only take fights if Bowswer has his 'gas grenade'. It's not like Bowswer lacks mechanical skill or anything, he's actually really good at fighting. It's just that it does seem like this team's play style crutches heavily on Caustic. I think even with the upcoming Caustic nerf they can run him just fine because the general purpose of Caustic on this team is still achieved despite the lowered damage. I'm not sure if I'm completely sold on this team as of now, I guess we'll see at LAN.
Sentinels (Retzi, Senoxe, Crust):
Sentinels as usual were super aggressive today; they play the way people think Complexity plays. They're becoming consistent but they still have some work to do until they're mentioned in the same breath as COL, TSM, sF, Liquid, MNK, CLG and NRG again.
SolaFide (Gentrifyinq, Dezignful, Resultuh):
They were bound to have have an off day eventually after how insanely hot they were in their previous 4 ALGS tournaments (2nd in AC Playoffs, 1st WC OT1, 5th AC OT2, 2nd AC OT3). They were gifted 2 thermal zones (luckiest team in NA with zone pulls) but only got 1 point for one of those games and misread where the zone was pulling the 2nd game. This was their tournament to win just based off of that. You really can't look too deep into their disappointing results for this tournament unless it becomes a trend, but they'll figure things out once again. It feels like the more difficult the lobby is the better they perform, so watch out for them in the playoffs.
South State (Bronzey, Pride, mercyonlyy):
Wanted to pay attention to them but I was so busy watching other teams that it I couldn't really tune into them all that much. It did seem to be a quiet tournament for them. They purposely landed Countdown because they're not a beacon-scanning team and they like the free shields in the middle, but I guess you don't really need a beacon scan when MouseAndKeyboard is right beside you; Bronzey was openly saying on stream that they needed to wait for MNK to rotate so that they can know where to go as well. That's smart, but probably not sustainable long-term. They'll need to start recognizing circles and not rely on following another team or just hanging out on edge with no gameplan.
SZN (Clane, Keni, FunFPS):
Wasn't a great tournament for them but they still managed to qualify for playoffs. They took a chance by dropping Lion for FunFPS, who didn't have ALGS points like Lion did. It's looking like the gamble might pay off if they can get a Top 5 placement in Playoffs, but they'll have to bring a much stronger effort next ALGS if they hope to do it.
Team Liquid (Albralelie, Flanker, Nocturnal):
This team had nothing to prove or really to play for in this tournament and you can see it in how relaxed this team seemed to be for the most part. Hodsic said that Liquid would be running Bangalore in Finals "Unless they got cold feet" and I was pretty disappointed until I was watching Hal's POV of the last game and one of his teammates was shocked that there's Bangalore smoke. This team finishes the circuit as the top team and it's incredible what adding one world-class player in Alb has done for this org that seemed to be on the verge of shaking everything up.
Team SoloMid (ImperialHal, Reps, Snip3down):
Their performance today compared to their last finals is night and day. I guess not having to deal with a super stressful semis lets you conserve energy for the finals. I was shocked that they were the winners of Game 3 because they were hard gatekeeping teams near tree for quite a while, yet somehow managed to travel all the way from there to the other end of Thermal without scrapping and crawling. Maybe it's just me but ever since TSM started getting contested it seems like they've started embracing playing edge a bit more and are no longer just picking up the first 2 guns they see and sprinting to God spot. Obviously their placements in the 4 OT's of the Winter Circuit were not what they were hoping for, but developing a hybrid play style and getting a warm-up on how to fight for Fragment East might actually be the training they need to defend their World Championship at LANs.
Well, there are my thoughts. Hopefully I didn't embarrass myself too much. LCQ is coming up next and I generally think that it will be far more difficult than most people think it will be. I know that most of the teams don't have the god-tier mechanical skills of the top players but that doesn't matter nearly as much when teams have enough experience and skill to make things interesting. Flash Point (aka YoMomma, because I just saw on Battlefy that this is the name Teq, Kruhmmy and Rambeau signed up under), Farmboys, MST, F8, Rare Xcellence, Absolute Monarchy, Bottom 20, Team Cruelty, WestSide Gaming Club, SMILE, HRN, FYP, Lonely Fans, Dudes Night Out, Off-META, MTW plus other beast teams that could come out of nowhere (think of teams with Stuhni, HelpingXD, LionFYD, Upsushi or Cubski on it). I honestly think that a few teams that think LCQ should be theirs are going to be in for a rude awakening.
Hey bro, just wanted to say the writeups you do are awesome! I missed most of the algs and I feel like I get a better understanding of the teams from your posts (and other similar ones ) rather than the algs broadcast . Too bad more teams don't have at least one person streaming, especially the lesser known ones.ID: gq6r8em
Thanks a lot. The fact that I'm making a difference for someone actually makes me want to continue doing these.
Great stuff Jevvy, props to you for following so many teams at once. Don't stop these write-ups, they actually help new people to get to know the region.ID: gq6ra24
Thank you, I'm starting to realize that it is indeed helping people. Sports benefit when more than just a couple teams get shine so hopefully some consistent finalists can start getting new fans.
Just wanted to say that as an EU guy who cannot watch (all of) NA, I really appreciate these posts.ID: gq6uq2d
Thank you, it means a lot 🙂
How do you manage all these perspectives? I feel this would murder my brain listening to all these teams at once.ID: gq6ukz7
At most I would listen to 3 teams at once, you have to do a lot of POV hopping lol. I have like 12 streams open all at once in MultiTwitch and I don't get ads or purple screens so it helps. I wish I had the ability to completely absorb everything that was happening with each stream at once with full audio playing but I'm not a genius.
As someone new to the scene, keep it up! It’s been great learning about teams through this and even getting little nuggets of how they compare to their former selves. Look forward to reading more 🙂
This is a great summary, might call you Jevvy the 2 Cents guy from now onID: gq6t2mz
lmaooo, please just stick to JevvyMedia
Awesome write upID: gq6t33q
Thank you for another well written article
Hal messed up in the last game by using his ult to early. They had the best spot for final circle but only got 4th. They should have won that game. Good learning experience though.