Group Stage Wrap-up
This article is to be started with unfortunate news as the double champion Lorrydriver declared that he can’t continue on participating in the league due to personal matters taking its toll. We are sad to let you go, Lorry, and will of course be happy to see you come back later stronger and with an unmatched strategic insight you provided across the board.
Overall, the League had a lot of mood swings between the players, with some game throws and forfeits unleashing the mental side of the competition. Still, we are through to finally complete the group stage and into the playoffs which are, as you’d see even in this article, to be full of surprises.
I wanted to wrap this up quicker, so may have missed some interesting games around which you should definitely watch yourselves by grabbing the replays from archive. Most of the decisive ones should be following below.
Tailix Killa Mentor 1-1 Jur (Recruits Alpha, R11):
Starting off from the bottom of the grid, some peculiar gameplay around in a division I probably neglected more than it could have been. Double Pitfight salvo!
First game saw Jur having an “I was there first” moment when he came onto Tailix‘s double mine expansion just 3 seconds faster than Tailix himself. The standoff was bloody and relentless, both sides calmly gathering ore in the process; Jur‘s mistake might have been not gathering from the half of his main, which led to money shortages and eventual overthrow by Tailix.
For the second game Jur opted for a soviet faction. Soviet grenadiers are of course better than allied ones, but still pillbox is better. And it looked like Tailix was so impressed by that fact that he sold his conyard and just drove all his forces into Jur‘s base, only to be destroyed by some flame towers. Jur hasn’t realized anything for some time though, which allowed Tailix to capture a Service Depot (already having built the WF), produce an MCV and get back on tracks, so it could have worked maybe if Tailix wasn’t so eager on losing his forces to defences.
Chewey 2-0 mechANIC (Minions, R09):
Chewey did an interesting opening in the first game on Shadowfiend II, opting for 2 light tanks on 3 ore trucks. That quite unexpected for mechANIC as he lost one of the powerplants before eventually gunning the tanks down with several rockets. Top-left expansion was fought over by Chewey, and on the bottom-right one he prevented mechANIC from taking over, winning the game.
Tank trick didn’t work second time on Stanitsa, Chewey only managing to squash several foot soldiers before driving back to base. Again the game went the usual way until Chewey snuck a huge force right on mechANIC‘s main, chilling under the vision of his oil derrick for a while. By the time mechANIC even saw the attack half of his base was already gone.
Sotsch 2-0 eskimo (Minions, R08):
Sotsch absolutely needed points from either eskimo or Chewey to get into top4. eskimo tried his best to allow him that, going tech center from main on Badger Hills. Just several tesla troopers and V2s weren’t enough to fight their way through tanks and then artilleries by Sotsch, and Sotsch just had a much larger army mass.
Second game on Pitfight saw a quicker expansion by Sotsch and late MCV by eskimo because why not. Sotsch went too adventurous on his basepush around eskimo‘s doublemine exp. Then it went to tier3 for both sides, as Sotsch managed to sneak some spies into enemy ranks:
At the same time eskimo opted for a Tech Center spam, what a fake.
eskimo played France to the bone and even had two MGGs, trying his best at deceiving. Five medium tanks of his made a brave attack, destroying an ore truck before being scared off by technicians. The replay got exceedingly buggy at this point, and the game itself likely was too, so at 22min mark eskimo just gave up, though the backside attack by Sotsch with Tanya and an imminent Nuke might have played some role too.
Sotsch 2-0 Chewey (Minions, R06):
Game on Face-Off again saw Chewey running his 2-light tank move. Again, it was proved to be a risky strat, as Sotsch had his default 2-3 rockets ready by the time which scared the tanks away. Middle was taken by Chewey without much of a fight, but then Chewey completely missed the direct attack on his main, and basetrading was out of the question as well.
Pitfight saw Chewey run the unconventional game again, doing a fast soviet double-tech into tech center and mammonth tanks + shockies. Unexpected came from both sides in this game however, when Chewey’s ore trucks found some mines on the expansion. Chewey could have a much better outcome in this fight, but missed the IC on one of his mammonths and lost all the troops in the engagement, forcing himself to get stuck in the middle; new mammonths were just too slow to have enough map control with them. This continued to be a pure mammonth/shock force for Chewey, and Sotsch smartly switched to medium tanks and hinds and in a much greater numbers. Tanya single-handedly killing 20 or so shock troopers was the last nail into Chewey’s attempt at high-tech play in this game, and then the game in general, as Sotsch sent him into the stone age with attacks on power, sweeping infantry and flaks with an unstoppable hind force.
Orb 2-0 Blackened (Masters, R08):
Blackened 2-0 Smitty (Masters, R10):
Careful start from both on Borrowed Time, with Smitty taking a forward center expansion on min5, successfully defending it, and then he also drives Blackened‘s MCV off the bottom patch; all in all the start looking dire for Blackened who’s outpositioned, outmacroed and outteched at this point. But then happened something that required me to restart replay – most of Smitty‘s base was gone. A side attack by Blackened caught Smitty completely by surprise, even though he should have heard the fences crushed. All this turned the tables completely, as instead of destroying the left expansion, Smitty opted to try and salvage what was left of his main, which given the distance was futile.
Then came Trapped, the map name that should remind everyone about Rorschach’s prison quote from “The Watchmen” when you play here against Blackened. Smitty got a slightly off build order and positioning there, while Blackened opted for a heavier army buildup before MCV. And this worked as he rolled over the top-right base of Smitty with a regiment backed by 4 heavy tanks, complementing that with a push on the right side.
Smitty 2-0 Orb (Masters, R05):
First game on Face-Off, always a race for the middle even when one of the players doesn’t feel like it. This turned out to be a greedy tech-up attempt by Orb, going Factory first, which was denied by a flock of Smitty‘s rifles destroying his only power plant. Smitty thought it to be enough advantage and pulled out, still being first on the mid-gems. Top expansion MCV by Orb then got right into enemy army, which however played into his hands as Smitty had a slight loss of concentration and 2 of his expansions, reverting this game back to ground zero. In the end it still was Smitty’s game as Orb completely neglected the bottom side of the map for a long time which gave Smitty the decisive economy advantage.
Second game it was Orb to try and force infantry against a power plant on Race Tracks. It didn’t work; and the aggressive infantry push after that didn’t work either as Orb was just gifting Smitty the advantage with each troop’s death.
Barf 0-2 Gatekeeper (Masters, R07):
Race Tracks is definitely a map to see some fireworks as the space is too condensed to do pretty much anything. Nothing much happened to Barf and Gatekeeper here for a good part of the game though, up until 5min mark when Gatekeeper had his trademark tank crushes and then cought a forward MCV off-guard. By this time the game was already looking over, with Barf refusing to accept the inevitable for some following minutes. Well, maybe not that overwhelming as there was a moment Gatekeeper might slip, but he held the game in the end.
Second game on Shadowfiend II was again the display of Barf‘s mighty ranger, as well as sudden soviet play by Gatekeeper where he does a rocket drop and then forgets the APC alltogether. Probably it was strange for Gatekeeper to play soviet as well, but then Barf gave him too much ground; and afterwards Barf was late on defence, missing an attack on his main coming from double-mine side and hesitating to do anything with his army as well.
Barf 0-2 Orb (Masters, R09):
Almost looked like Orb knew about coming grenadiers from Barf on Face-Off – scout rifles were placed just in the right spots to kill them. The game took a slow development afterwards, with Barf taking the middle and Orb now trying to get both top and bottom expansions instead of how he missed the bottom one against Smitty. Still, he lost the bottom-right corner to a small force, but managed to push Barf from the middle, while Barf placed the most forward Radar Dome there could be right into the face of Orb‘s rocket soldiers. Barf fended off the enemy troops from his middle expansion, raised a second Radar and even got tied on assets, but he left much of the top-side for Orb to grab without contention, and when he finally made an attack there, Orb pushed through the bottom, without much resistance, whereas Barf‘s army was outpositioned.
Second game was on Pitfight, the map that both players definitely knew to the last corner tile. Barf managed to sneak both oils from Orb in the beginning, slightly losing on MCV timing afterwards, but forcing Orb to unpack in a suboptimal position while his own MCV got it. Orb accepted the base wars, delaying Barf as much as possible while managing to grab Barf’s doublemine ucontested and fortify it so that when Barf finally came in it was already too late. Barf was in a very bad shape eco-wise at this moment, and it was only a matter of time for Orb to get this finished. With a demo truck.
This season gave as an all-american playoff roster, with Barf completing the top4 due to Lorrydriver forfeiting. Blackened, Orb and Smitty are all tied for 1st place with absolutely identical stats and circle 2-0 results between themselves, meaning they’d require a Best-of-1 Round Robin to decide who will play Barf in the first leg of Masters Playoffs.
FiveAces and Gatekeeper are tied for 5th and can also set a tiebreaker which doesn’t matter much in terms of the league as it’s out of the prize spots.
Check on the playoffs notes shortly following this article. The brackets are up now on the Scoreboards and Fixtures page.
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