Naturally, EU was also afflicted by the December announcement from Blizzard, but that hasn’t stopped teams from continuing to compete. As the season’s end draws ever nearer, old and new both are in with a shout for making it to the playoffs.
You would think that a team with a name like Need4Feed would either find themselves at rock bottom if they do the feeding, or all the way at the top if they manage to induce it upon their opponents. This season it’s the latter. They lead the standings with six wins in six series, beating out previously undefeated team and accurate descriptor of western European winter Heroes of Inclement Weather last night. They have a wide hero pool - 31 played in total in six rounds - and map pool - 7 of 9 - both, and although they lost a map in all of their last four series... They still won those series, and that habit of being able to keep their head will serve them well.
Also giving chase are For The Murlocs, whose results are a lot better than last night’s Murky-related teams, and EnCore. No seasonal Murky appearance has happened yet for FTM, but they are men and women of their word, and I shall await the saviour’s return with bated breath. (Please don’t hit me with the fish! Or the conch! Or the shark!) EnCore, meanwhile, are back for more after a generally successful previous season in which they barely missed out on playoffs in Division 2. These four teams are going to do battle in Round 7 - Need4Feed vs the Murlocs, and Heroes vs EnCore - so expect the standings to change and for other teams to maybe try and take advantage.
It has also come to my attention that I wrote falsely in a previous blog. The longest name of the season does not belong to a Division 7 team, but to one in Division 3: The Aggressive Expansive Attitude of Catherine the Great. (And I still maintain it should have been Imperialistic Creative, not Aggressive Expansive, but that’s the Civilization IV player in me.) Their running it down with Muradin might need a bit of work, but the Jaina is on point. General Winter is on their side, it seems, and they might just be a bother for the teams up top, having two matches in hand and theoretically easier opponents.
Theoretically is the right word, though, as they will have to deal with one of the more ambiguous yet clear names in the entire Lounge in Round 6. Sure, you can read Murder Inc. two different ways, but both are pretty clear that there is killing on their mind, and they have done so excellently so far this season, rocking 100 % winrate on four of their five most played heroes. They don’t particularly like Towers of Doom or Cursed Hollow, though, so perhaps the best cure for murder is to involve the Raven Lord?
Blood has been spilled over here. Everyone has taken some damage on the way to reaching the playoffs, and currently, it seems like old and crafty wins the race. Senior Citizen Club didn’t have the greatest amount of success in previous seasons in Division 1, but here, they are leading. With a burning hatred of Diablo - banned 10 times - and being denied a Genji pick of their own - banned 7 times against them - they are one of three teams sitting at the top. 4B1B and Health Angels are the other two. The latter is back after a season off, and while they do heavily prefer Muradin, Raynor, and Blaze… It’s won them games, so they’re probably not complaining about having a smaller core. 4B1B, meanwhile, really prefer the Infernal Shrines to play on. It was their highest winrate map last season, and for now, they are undefeated, picking it up four times. (Incidentally, this means my old team is the only one that has defeated them on that map in the past two seasons. #notsohumblebrag)
Two promoted teams from lower divisions present here are Jormungandr and BrownHorseGang. Currently right next to each other in the standings, the world serpents are yet to play Round 6, which could see them move into a safe spot for the playoffs later on. Losing might put them in the same spot as BrownHorseGang, though, who aren’t doing bad per se, but could do with knocking out some direct opponents for playoff spots. They’ll have their chance in Round 7, and probably more to come as the end of season nears. What they will also need to do is to look at who they pick or where they go, perhaps. Jormungandr should probably lay off the Garrosh and Fenix who haven’t brought them a great amount of success, and Infernal Shrines is no place for a brown horse, or so it would seem.
Not so lucky are some more veteran teams. Gaming in the Rhythm and The Forever Alones are both on 50 % - the same as BHG - but without the benefit of winning maps in series they lost. This has, in the past, come back to nearly bite these teams as they vied for playoff spots. Gaming in the Rhythm have a harsh task ahead of them, first having to go up against Jormungandr and then 4B1B, while The Forever Alones’ insistence on Malfurion is perhaps exploitable for any scouting opponents. Making it to the playoffs will require both of them to probably do better than they have done so far.
The team that won the previous two Championships is no more. In its place, various others seek to fill in the void that has appeared, and so far, two teams have come out way ahead. Perpetual runners-up Memeldors Meme Machines and the fusion team of Epikk SFD are both undefeated, and are going to be facing each other in Round 7. Now, these teams are pretty known, Garrosh one-tricks and all, but the most amusing bit here is that SFD Gaming and epikk actually faced each other in Round 3. From enemies to teammates in a few scant rounds, oh how the world changes.
Hell nor high water nor game-ending announcements will stop the meme teams in this Division, as both Griefers On Safari and Don Our Fedoras still exist. With the usual medium levels of success in the top Division that we are accustomed to of them, at that: they are both hanging right around the spot that would see them qualify for any end of season playoffs. The Griefers should probably not grief themselves with the Lord of Terror and stick to banning him, while the Fedoras remain the Fedoras, meaning that Alarak is front and centre in their line-up.
As I am typing this paragraph, Ryzing Gaming just cemented their third place in the standings, beating out No Rofl, who have been a very successful new team to the Lounge this season. They defeated the then-unfused epikk - who were last season’s #3 team in the Championship - early on and have continued on their merry way ever since. Ryzing, meanwhile, are not afraid to go hard and ham, as the Queen of Blades is prone to showing up in their drafts, with great success to boot.
Though we don’t have any more #goatfacts, there are Fish Facts floating around in Division 1. They’re doing okay for themselves, 50 % winrate and all, but more importantly…
#fishfacts: Seahorses are the only fish that swim upright.
And with that, this Season’s series is over. Perhaps I’ll see you for another iteration, but regardless, I hope you’ve enjoyed my scribblings.