Final stages of EQL4

Friday 24th November, 2006 | Skip to comments (7)

Here we go again, the same story as always, it has been way too long since I wrote my last column. But you might guess it, it’s getting worse this time, I promissed to write the playoff predictions for division one, two and three and as you probably know, the first games have already been played …
Despite the games you are still reading this, it just felt too bad if I wouldn’t write anything.

Let’s kickoff with division three, the final rankings have been heavily influenced by activity of the different teams. The team that played most games, Hippusnik, claimed the first playoff spot and with this is garantueed a promotion to division two next season. That is something that might count for more than just the two best teams this season because it’s sure that division one is going to be larger than it is at the moment, twelve, sixteen or maybe eightteen teams, what it’s going to be will be sure at the start of next season. Several teams made sure that they wouldn’t get in the playoffs by not playing enough games to be able to gather enough points. Title candidates Växjö for example only played four games and then had enough, Unidentified Quake Entity and BaconMen got stuck on six games and a fair amount of points but couldn’t get more played than that.

At least it was clear that this division had too many teams because nobody played all games, there were fourteen teams, Hippusnik played most games with eleven, two short from all, average number of games played is around 7.5, not even near the thirteen that could have been played. This is something we didn’t see in all divisions, the fact that some only had ten or nine clans really helped. Division six had trouble playing all their games having only six teams but in division two, four and five almost every game has been played which is rather extraordinary.

Let’s move on to the first game which took place last night between JUGS and Hippusnik. Looking at it beforehand this had to be an interesting game in all matters, both teams have quite a history build up even though Jugs has played under different names than this. More of you might remember Paranoids who played in division two several seasons ago and of course Milamber used to play in Inner Circle while later on we saw Zero in Hyphen. All in Paranoids is one fine Hungarian team, just the luck of the draw to pick Hippusnik who are from Finland, low ping game garantueed …
Hippusnik has been around since NQR5 where they played in division seven, I guess it’s safe to say that they have improved quite much through time while they have only took in two new members since then, both are starters though, ex-Koff Bandit en ex-Paranoia Mingle.

During their groupgame Zero’s fragrank went off the charts on dm2 and e1m2 while hips put on a solid performance on dm3 and won it. This time the things were different, during the groupgame Jugs had the pingadvantage with all of their players on 38ms while some of hips had 51ms, now it was the other way around with all of hips players on 38ms while two JUGS had 51ms. One thing was the same though, on the maps where Hippusnik changed Miroslav for Oyf they lost. Maybe their teamplay doesn’t work but it’s rather obvious that it happened before, what did happen before but not this time was Zero going on a fragstreak. JUGS did manage to win one dm2 but that was all they could do and thus Hippusnik advanced to the final with a 3-1 win under their belt.

The fourth map was dm3, like the first map, this probably has to do with the rule on best of five games. A few seasons ago I harassed the admins because they didn’t have a rule about them at all, then they talked about it and came up with this ridiculous rule that says play TB3 first then as fourth and fifth map the maps that both teams picked first. I’m not sure but if the rules say that you have to play tb3 first what is there to pick in the first three maps? Besides if you turn out to lose the first map bigtime you might want to change your pick, wouldn’t that be nice anyway to give an option to play a different map? That is the only reason they said that you have to play tb3 in first instantion, basically because they don’t want that one map is being played five times in a row. A bigger problem with this rule is that the fifth and deciding map is always the homemap of the team that was leading 2-1 after three maps. I’m not sure but I can’t remember a league in which the decider has been set as the homemap of one of the teams by rule …

What they got on divisions with five maps is just hilarious, all they say about the playoff games is: “First there will be 5 maps to pick from even in the playoff or qualification matches.” and then they go on about how to pick the decider in regular season games. Now a good rule, like in normal leagues, is just based on logic. Both teams pick a map, if it’s 1-1 after those maps both pick one map again. In case one of the teams is leading 2-0 the team that is down can pick the third map and in case they win it the other team picks the fourth of course. When the score is 2-2 teams can agree on a decider and if they can’t do that they throw maps away until one remains. Then if you really want to have the precious diversity in maps just add a note that maps can’t be played three times in tb3 divisions (this means you get exactly what happens now concerning mapdiversity, two maps being played twice and one once in case of a five mapper, it is possible that one map remains unplayed in a game that ends 3-1 though) and that all maps have to be played in five map divisions or whatever they want. I’ve tried to make them change this often but it won’t work, don’t ask me why because the rule is very unfair now and let’s face it, there isn’t even a rule for divisions with five maps.

Enough with the whine, the other game in division three features Rebellion of Thunder and Easy to Kill. We all know Easy to Kill of course who started out in NQR7 division four and worked their way up to division one in EQL2 after they did a good job in division two from EQL1. At the moment they entered division one most of their players went inactive and they got smoked, not winning a single map. Last season they still had some trouble in division two where they only gathered one point thus we find them in this division now. They have picked up a decent level of activity again to make sure that they won’t slip away more than they already did and we’ll see them in division two again next season. Rebellion of Thunder on the other hand is quite an old clan compared to most and used to be totally Portuguese, these days there is little more of that left than the flag on the eql site and the names of the old players. With players like Cruelty (ex-4k^Tryso), Latency (he was in SR for a day or two), Macavity (jerp from Dqm), Pericles (ex-3tk), hedfuk (ex-fs) plus the englishmen swoop and splif (ex-4k too) they got quite some big names in one division three team while Nitemare is the only of the old Portguese players that is still active. It seems to me that they are doing well these days without practice, just playing for the fun of the game rather than being the best and there is nothing wrong with that.

In the groupgame RoT won two-nil with Latency playing very well. Both maps, e1m2 and dm2, were close though with forty and fifteen frags difference. My guess is that this game will prove to be likewise, high pings for both teams (fifty to sixty) with especially RoT depending on the form of the day from their players. All of their players can do well but some are a bit inconsistent, playing great one game and not being so well in the next. It seems like their most stabile players are Latency, Hedfuk and Pericles but things just have to work out. This season Easy to Kill added Domin and Capone to their roster which increased their activity now that HangTime and Son are inactive, Pericles left for their opponents in this match and Ayv is not around too often.

Easy to Kill has always been a dm2 clan, with Slabiutki, Cia and Tom who have been in 3tk since the start they are doing a good job there. They had some close games this season but seem to be building up some teamplay now their activity increased. I would have to give RoT the advantage on e1m2 while dm3 could go either side. Both clans have showed their skill on this map during the season. Since they didn’t play it in the groupgame it’s hard to say who’s going to win that, like I said before it seems like a lot will depend on the form of the day of RoT’s members and who they field. Despite that and the fact that the pings will be high it should turn out to be a great game, if both teams can get their things together we will see some good quake being played. My guess is that RoT will take things home 3-2 with 3tk winning dm2 twice but things can go either way.

Next up is division two, this season turned out to be one of the closest ever, almost every game was played and the only team that couldn’t keep up with the others was Tribe of Tjernobyl. Their lineup has changed a lot lately but they are getting more active now with some of the older members picking up activity like the oldskool Lethul and others like Psycho_Dad, Hamorai and White making appearances again. As I said before it was all very close, Oblivion who ended second last had ten points, being five points away from making the playoffs. Freedom with the always fancy duo Valla and Znappe was the clear winner during the regular season, getting 21 points, only losing to Osams who didn’t even reach the playoffs. Since I’m so late writing this Freedom already played and lost their first game to Eläintarha three maps to one. Quite some drama was what we saw in the groupgame they played before this game where Freedom would have given Zoo a map to make sure they would make the playoffs instead of D2. All of this is guessing of course, since Freedom lost three maps to them in the semifinal it seems like they earned their way in the playoffs without any doubt.

One reason that could be given that Freedom didn’t achieve as they normally do is that Sweep played instead of Dahmer. The latter played about every map during the season while Sweep hasn’t been active for two years. Despite all that Zoo is a very stabile team with some great players, actually it surprised me that they weren’t promoted to division one last season after they made the division two finals and added Diki aka Lohjan Dag. They have been in division two for about five seasons now, several times they played good enough to be promoted but it never happened, I think it’s clear that they will move up this time. Their lineup is very solid with players like Diki, Niomic, Ananas, Jkova and Mursu.

In the semifinal with Freedom they were whiped out on the first dm3 thanks to Valla and Znappe who showed why they were clear first during the regular season. Then on dm2 it seemed like it was game over after a few seconds already when Znappe got low and secret while Valla picked up high and quad. Zoo managed to take over in a few minutes though turning the odds in their favour. They showed their skills by holding the lock pretty well despite Freedoms attacks. I heard several people say that Freedom should just give all the rls to Valla if they want to win and maybe they were right, most attacks from Freedom weren’t succesful, only in the very end they managed to take over but by then it was way too late. E1m2 was a map worth watching, control switched often like it’s supposed to be and I don’t know if I ever saw Zoo flooding enemy rl’s this good. On contrary to Freedom Zoo showed some great teamplay while Valla had almost as many frags as Sweep and C together. In the second half of the game Zoo got control of ya/gl and build up a lead big enough to lose it in the last minutes. They went hiding and Free couldn’t catch up, fourteen frags more for Zoo. This put Zoo in a 2-1 lead, Freedom chose to play dm3 again of course where we saw Diki and Ananas showing some skills to win the third map in a row. Valla was topfragging again but Znappe had a serious offgame which didn’t help Freedom. There we have the first upset of this season, Zoo advancing to the finals where they have to face USSR or Losers Squadron.

These two teams have been around for quite a while too, that is if you see USSR as a combination of Death Team and 4H. Their clan at least has some of the core members that were in Death Team like XN, Gorgoroth and Camperoid while the Glad, B1aze, Disconnect and Doom used to form 4H together. At the start of the season it seemed like USSR wouldn’t play their games but after they added XN they got active and showed some serious Russian skills making just enough points to make it into the playoffs. Losers Squadron on the other hand has some oldskool players who have been in many teams together like TheChosenOne, PreMortem, TiMMi and Hixo. They had Arnette added as a late addition and he might be of great worth in the playoffs. It seems like their best lineups are XN, Gor, Camp and probably B1aze, because he’s been more active than the others, for USSR while LS would have TCO, Pre, Hixo and Arnette.

In their groupgame LS managed to win two to one, winning dm2 and dm3 while USSR took e1m2 home. I find that rather surprising because TCO tends to put on a show on e1m2 while USSR does that on dm2. Both teams probably didn’t play with their best players though but if we’ll see something like this in the semifinal it will be an interesting match without any doubt. With the addition of Arnette I will have to give LS the upper hand while you never know what USSR can pull off if XN plays his game. There is a very good possibility that this match turns out in a good five mapper with some close games. I think LS will win dm3 and e1m2 while USSR takes home dm2 but since USSR managed to win e1m2 in the groupgame they might surprise us, take home another map and take it to the fifth where I think LS will have the upper hand and face Zoo in the final.

This leaves us only one division, division one. I have seen quite some whine, especially from Dahmer, on the EQL site concerning the fact that the so called div0 would be too good and have to be banned from QW. Now this is an interesting statement, let’s ban the best players from div1 and give them a division of their own where they can play two games a season! Ridiculous of course, actually if you take a closer look at the division one table you will see that only the top four teams have played all their games. The other six teams all had two or three games left to play and those games would all have been inside the lower ranks themselves (since top four played all games), as you understand this means that the div0 teams gathered a lot of points because they are so good plus played all games, things wouldn’t have looked as bad as they do now if everybody just played all games.

That the number of games played really is an important reason of the difference was kindly shown by LegeArtis who played six of their nine games and are now outside the playoffs because Suddendeath who played all of their games got one point more. Personally I expected more of this season but some teams let me down. The just mentioned Lege Artis is one of them, I thought they would make the playoffs without any doubt with their starplayer lineup of Riker, Nabbe, Shiva and Xantom but it turned out to be more of an FFA lineup than LA ever fielded plus the fact that they didn’t play any pracs after the first weeks of the season. Clan MalFunction made me rather sad, they won NQR9 and since Angua is back from the army I thought he would put up a nice show with their starplayers Fifi and Fix but nothing turned out to be less true.They might have been the least active team of them all, played with different lineups every game and weren’t as close as good as they were last season. With those two active there would have been at least five good teams instead of three.

We saw the Satanic Slaughter Clan playing some great games with Slackers and Lege Artis in both they won a map, especially ex-Noskill teammates Milton and Skisso showed they didn’t forget how to play QW on the highest level. Antiquad kind of played like always, being a decent team in mid-div1 while Veterans and my own Dead Rabbits were kind of sad last with two points. Veterans got their two points winning us while we got one from them and one from SD. Personally I expected more from DR but Interceptor went idle just before the season, DARKL0RD is busy with studies and Grisling lost his connection about a month ago. Time to write about the things that lay ahead of us.

The two semifinals will be played between Slackers and Firing Squad while the other features KOFF and Suddendeath. I’m afraid this last one is going to be a rape like game. KOFF has showed very solid teamplay, in earlier seasons their team had a weakest link but it now they all seem to be on top of their game being rather equal having Gamer, Eh (Zygot), Scenic and Jukka.
Contrary to KOFF the lineup of SD has changed a lot through the different EQL seasons, we have seen players like Stiker, Retic, Nussi, Splash, Daizuki and Primus pass by. This season Sassa was inactive too, he just came back this week. The whole the season SD played with coreplayers Bps and Ok98 while Molle (ex-SD2) and Mille (ex-Vets) stood by their side. I must say they did a good job getting in the playoffs, even though that is of course because LA and cMF didn’t claim it but SD deserves it. I just hope they won’t get raped as bad as in their groupgame with KOFF. I must say that KOFF seemed to be better in the first half of the season than they look now but SD should be a small hurdle for them, my prediction is 3-0. It will be interesting to see what KOFF can do in the final.

Now we’re at the last semifinal, Slackers against Firing Squad. We’ve seen this game very often in SD and NQR playoffs. All but once (NQR ICC final) Slackers came out on top, these guys really used to be FS nemesis. Slackers’ lineup changed though, maybe the feeling in the FS team changed too. There has been some controversy about this game already since ParadokS might not play, he has been away for a few weeks and it seems that he lost the eager to play so SR might be fielding the old Leftovers lineup of Murdoc, Dragon, Insane and Krab. The last of those has been lagging bad lately so if ParadokS is really not playing it might turn out to be one weird match. SR played their groupgame against KOFF with the same lineup and didn’t even do that bad, they won dm2 with two frags, In$ane was hot while Krab had some serious trouble having ping 66 pl 6 (can’t be good). On dm3 Zygot and Scenic secured the victory and on e1m2 Gamer showed his former team (even though none of the current Slackers played with him) how it’s done.

Firing Squad on the other hand seems to be totally back in shape, for a week or so it looked like Reppie was out of shape, at least he didn’t show the skills we except him to, but we are spoiled. Last week he seemed to be totally back and in their game with KOFF Razor and Spoink showed that they are in superb form. Now if ParadokS does decide to play this is going to be one of the best matches in a long time. Both teams showed their strenght not only this but in the past seasons too but Firing Squad has had their best season in quite a while. During the earlier EQL season they had some activity problems as both Razor and Spoink lost their connections when they moved during EQL1 and Spoink only played the playoffs in EQL2 after he quit to focus on studies during the groupstages. In EQL3 they only played three games and then seemed to have had enough. This season though they have been very active and had a stabile lineup with Reppie, Razor and Spoink playing all games, having Keyser as fourth in most and Blixem in a few, their teamplay is very solid.

Since their groupgame took place in week one it’s hard to draw conclusions from that, both maps went to Slackers with about forty frags in that game. Another point is that neither of the teams seems to have a weak map which should make things very interesting. The outcome of the game will depend for a great deal on the fact if ParadokS plays or not, it seems rather unlikely that he doens’t play but even if he plays Slackers will suffer from the fact that he has been away lately and thus they have had little practice. Nevertheless he will have to play to make this a great game and I think it will be. In case ParadokS shows up I give Slackers the upper hand to win 3-2 but still it’s just a guess since FS has showed some serious good form lately, question is if they will suffer from their SR trauma again in this game, at least I hope not. My prediction is that FS wins 3-1 if Krab plays and that SR wins 3-2 in case ParadokS plays, that it will be a five mapper seems inevitable and FS still has a just a good chance of winning as SR (maybe even better looking at FS form lately and the inactivity from ParadokS) but I give SR the upper hand because they won FS so many times in the playoffs before.

Since that was the last game it’s time to round things up. All I have left to say is that I would really like to see a bigger division one next season, I was talking with an EQL admin this week and he confirmed that division one will be at least twelve teams in EQL5. Important is that we will have to see who signs up next season to play, maybe new teams are being formed, tVS could come back or maybe we will see f0m again. Things like those will be important to make the decision on how many teams will play in division one. Personally I like the system used in NQR7, with 18 teams split up in two halves. Has to be said that back then QW was more active and there were a lot more teams that would have qualified for the regular division one but still it would be nice. Besides that, the lower teams get more games with regular teams rather than the div0 teams since they will of course be divided too.

Now the only thing left is that the games have to be played, I expect to see some great matches and hope that someone will give us commentary. See you there!

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