It is the dawn of the final round, and twelve days remain in which teams can jockey for crucial positions in the divisions. One of the goals for high-flying teams in any division is to make their way over into either the Cup for Divisions 3 through 5, or the Championship for Divisions 1 and 2, and today, we’ll take a look at the possibilities for which teams end up extending their season in the Cup.
Points of order:
Followers of the division will not be surprised to learn that two teams are in a dominant position here. Both Sköna Lirare and the Southgate Boiz have shown their skill. For a while, it looked like Sköna was another LE GAG from last season, orbiting above the rest of the teams like a space station over Earth, but their recent loss puts them on the same score as Southgate: 7 matches, 15 maps. Both teams need one map win to guarantee tiebreakers and two to qualify outright for the Cup, but even their current score might be enough. Emphasis on might, though, because a double loss will have repercussions elsewhere.
Earthworm Defence Force and PLagueMakers face each other in Round 9, and the winner of that will be in a very comfortable position indeed. The loser still has Round 10 to go gather a win, and if they can take a map in the loss, all the better. Losing two times can be too much: it is eminently possible for enough teams to pip over them in that case. Also on 6 matches, but with only one match left, it’s the Owl Exterminators, whose mission is very simple: win and get at least into the tiebreaker roulette; lose and you’re probably not in anything.
The peloton below the cutoff… Well, this is where things get murky. The trio on 5 matches and 12 maps of DDGG, Body Block Crew, and the Cult of Emperor Physicsman aren’t matched against each other at all, meaning there is no one do-or-die match that will decide the fate of half the places available, but a gradual trickle instead, with possibilities everchanging. Two wins for any of these teams will put them into tiebreakers, meaning they, too, are as in control as you can be in a division this close.
Below that, we have what I will refer to as the kingmaker ensemble. Duet R and FAT Bugbear both have at least one match against a team already mentioned in this piece, and are on 11 maps won this season, leaving them unable to definitively guarantee playoff eligibility, but they can put themselves in a very good position, or at least make other teams’ position very uncertain. FAT Ogre, FAT Sloth, and Team UnMatched are all ready to throw serious wrenches in plans as well: DDGG is matched with two of these teams, for example. Lastly, still theoretically possible, we have CoB Antimeta, but if that happens, we’re looking at winning-the-lottery levels of chicanery.
And yet, it is Heroes Lounge, and Division 5 is historically volatile and often has teams that can’t participate in the Cup. Here is a division where everything might come down to the single last match being played. Good luck to all!
The top of the standings might not be that at the end. Sure, Jormungandr is the first formally qualified team in this blog, but of the others sitting in a qualification spot, only Death by Monkeys has two matches left in the season. They will qualify with two maps in any combination of overall results. Cupcakes Anonymous are also on seven wins, but also do face off against Jormungandr in the last round, which will hinder their efforts significantly. They can definitely qualify with a loss, even without winning a map, but then you’re reliant on other teams clowning. This isn’t ideal, even if you probably have decent odds to make it through anyway.
Six wins is unlikely to be enough. Mathematically, four teams are guaranteed to get to seven wins, one of which is the winner of Treehouse Gaming and Czech Mates’s match in the last round. Even a win isn’t enough to mathematically guarantee the latter, while the former is at least guaranteed tiebreakers in that case. Rounding out this second tier of potential qualifying teams are the Potatoes007 and Killer Koalas, whose map wins put them in a position of strength over the other contenders that have won five matches. Crucially: the Koalas also have no entanglements whatsoever with any other teams mentioned in the Division 4 part of this blog, potentially sneaking in as if they’re a submarine deep under the surface.
If you’re on five wins and at or below eleven map wins, you’re not in a good spot if you want your season to be extended. Fish Named Wunda, CoB Saltshakers, and From Scratch are all hoping someone above them makes mistakes on eleven map wins. The former and the latter have a mano a mano in Round 10 as well. The Saltshakers, like the Koalas, have no entanglements elsewhere in this blog, giving them perhaps the best odds of sneaking in, but two wins aren’t a full guarantee. HotsTough (From Scratch), Zchmerglings (Potatoes007), and The Sops (Death by Monkeys) all have chances at playing kingmaker for individual teams, but at this juncture, I’d not hold out to see these teams in the Cup: not winning a single map as they lost a match hinders them tremendously.
It all starts tonight, as the match between Death by Monkeys and Potatoes007 is crucial for most calculations in this division. The chances of anyone else on five wins rise decently if the former wins, and it has come to the author’s attention that Potatoes captain Zembar would like a Lounge holiday, but… Potatoes. In playoffs. Is it finally time?
Rising up like a rocket being shot into Low Earth Orbit, BrownHorseGang has made Division 3 their playground. They qualify, and the resident Lounge personalities of Sloth Sanctuary are in a very good position to do so - even if it is not guaranteed - as well with a single win in their Round 10 match, but otherwise? Strap yourselves in, because when this blog hits the next paragraph, you’re going to see some serious &%^$.
There are six teams on 6 wins and either 13 or 12 maps. Team TableFlip and For The Murlocs have the map advantage, but they face each other in Round 10. This is one of those matches whose repercussions are felt in the rest of the division in importance. It’s not quite a situation in which the loser goes out guaranteed, but that last round loss is ill-advised indeed. Moreover, both of these teams face another team on 6 in Round 9: Team Streichholz and RIP Convection respectively. Streichholz have had the luck of being drawn into a qualified BrownHorseGang, so they’ll be extra motivated to win the Round 9 just so they have the buffer. Hordlinge and Murder Inc. have a shared opponent and an opponent not in the cluster of six: Murder Inc. looks up to defeat the Sloths, while Hordlinge has a second 5 win team. There are a ton of interconnections, meaning that every single map you can take at this point is crucial for any of these six, and one win at least is probably required.
The end result of the above is that there are, by my count, at least five teams guaranteed to reach 7 wins. It follows logically that the large group on 5 wins is in a precarious position indeed. Team Lilium is an exception to that, though: they are actually in a position where their results influence the rest of the division a great deal. They face Hordlinge and Murder Inc, and their 13 maps won so far means they have an advantage in the inevitable 7 wins pile-up, should they reach that number. Bomb Squad Kittens and Crème Fraîche are slightly worse off, but their 12 maps do provide them with a similar advantage.
This isn’t to say that the position of 5 matches, 11 maps is too dire. Two wins gives the teams of: CoB Last Action Heroes and Mentally 10 a decent shot at qualification, but decent might not be good enough in this highly contested division. The odds of the Budgeville Bush Bashers to be able to defend their second place from last season are even lower: when there are at least six teams above you that you do not meet and who do have a map score advantage… Yeah, two wins is only the start, and then you need things to go incredibly right. They’re not the true lottery-winning-longshot - that is FAT Liopleurodon - but casters’ tongues might not be twisted this Cup; or at least from this Division.
Map wins are so, so important, and this division showcases that more than any other. Not all defeats are created equal, and not taking a single map in their losses might cause some teams to lose out. It might even be possible to create situations in which even winning one map in a lost match is not going to be enough: that is how tight it is here. Luckily, certain matches are hugely important, but that does add pressure to the ones playing in them. Who will shoulder this best? We will have to wait and see.
Join me again on Wednesday if you’re interested in the Championship, and do shoot me (Oment) a message if you have questions or complaints about your team’s portrayal in this blog!