ESOC Premier League Season 2
P O W E R R A N K I N G S
— Event Info — Stream Schedule — EPL2 Standings — Tour Schedule — Gameplay Rules —
— ESOCTV — Tournament Discord — ESOCTV2 —
Welcome to the 2nd edition of the ESOC Premier League, and the 1st edition of the EPL Power Rankings! For those just learning of the ESOC Premier League, the EPL is an AoE3 league style tournament where teams of players are drafted in a live auction. Teams are headed by a Team Manager, who oversees the Team's purchases at auction and other administrative duties, and a "Champion", a player who is selected before the auction for free and who basically functions as the team's assistant manager. Teams then compete against each other week by week in a round robin, facing every other team in the league in order to make Playoffs, where the two strongest teams compete for this year's EPL Reigning Champs title and the lion's share of the tournament prize pool.
The Power Rankings are a peer-rated conglomeration of all league participants opinions to assemble what should be a definitive valuation of each player's skill level. Every manager and player drafted to the league was asked to provide a list of players in order from strongest to weakest. These lists were then aggregated to give us the numbers for these rankings.
For those new to the community, this article should serve as a great way to immerse yourself in the AoE3 competitive scene!
Written by @occamslightsaber, @Vinyanyérë, @n0el, @gibson, and @Cometk
#1. Cuirassier Management Co.
Kaiserklein (1) | Lecastete (11) | OPTIMUS__PRIME (13) | KEVINITALIEN (19) | bwinner (21)
The Cuirassier Management Co., much like last season, takes the title as strongest peer-rated team post-auction. Team CMC is coming off the back of an underwhelming first EPL, having just missed playoffs by a single point in the final match of the round robin league stage.
This year sees CMC again managed by TheNameDaniel, with French juggernaut Kaiserklein taking the Champion role. The next supplement to the roster is Lecastete, a player who was also on the team last year who has since risen through the ranks and established himself as close to top-10 active player. Kaiserklein and Castete round out the teams top-end this year, and make a formidable duo as the two have good synergy, both being French compatriots and having worked together in the past. The team's core features OPTIMUS__PRIME and KEVINITALIEN, a wildcard and a newcomer to the scene. On paper this combo should be quite powerful, but may face some rough patches due to the variability of the former and unprovenness of the latter. The last slot is up to none other than bwinner, the master of Ottoman himself. Daniel also picked up tournament scrub Riotcoke for their substitute position. This team statistically fields the most dangerous roster, with solid top to bottom positions and is one of the most feared by other players. It's up to the EZ4CMC spirit to see if they can make playoffs this year.
#2. Somali Kabuli Gaming
The_LastSamurai (?) | SomppuKunkku (10) | India_Bot1999 (16) | Flontier (22) | kaister (25)
Somali Kabuli Gaming enters the fold next after CMC. The SKG crew is recovering from heartbreak last season, having made Playoffs and only lost to the Nilla Ninjas on match point, missing out on the EPL Reigning Champs title in a 17 points to 18 points final score all after losing a crucial player in the pivotal week. They entered the new season with manager PrinceofKabul at the helm again, with new champion Hazza54321 replacing SomppuKunkku from last year's team.
Speaking of Somppu, while Prince was unable to purchase him at auction this year, the Somali returns to the team as the second top-end player after orchestrating a trade with the Nilla Ninjas. The team's middle player is India_Bot1999, a player whose peer rating has slightly dipped after a lukewarm Winter Championship performance and some attempted inactivity. Still, Miggo is a solid Slot 3 position, given how closely ranked the entire cluster of Slot 3 players is. Next up is Flontier, who was also picked up in the same trade package with the Nilla Ninjas, who is quite a step up in skill from the player they traded away. The crew is rounded out with kaister at the bottom slot, a player who has fielded some surprise tournament results, taking down several big names in last year's WarChiefs Classic. Longtime SKG and original tutor of PrinceofKabul, Fard takes the substitute position this year.
So what is the glue that binds the team together, and makes them one of the most feared rosters? The writer cites several factors: 1) their infrastructure and spirit that exists outside of the EPL event, being the highest-rated clan for years on end, 2) the Somali Kabuli strategical brain, and 3) champion Hazza54321's recent Major tournament title win.
Unfortunately, not all is alright in Paradise. The team underwent an emergency roster change, with their champion player Hazza54321 being substituted out for The_LastSamurai. While TLS is a respectable competitor, filling the shoes of a top 2 player as a top 10 one is a tall order. Furthermore, recent metagame changes have proven less than favorable for most of the players' preferred civilization lineup, serving as a rather demoralizing factor for the members. It's hard to tell if SKG can still live up to their original second place valuation, but the wind is in their sails to prove themselves this season.
#3. Mandarin Duck Squad
Mitoe (4) | KINGofOsmane (9) | Jerimuno (14) | Pérez (17) | minimoult21 (30)
Mandarin Duck Squad is third in the power rankings. With a disappointing end to team NA in EPL1 and their champion, Mitoe, looking on the verge of retirement, things are now looking up after Mitoe took the Silver in the Winter 2020 tournament. Post-draft, MDS built a team organized around the infamous YumiW clan, with KINGofOsmane and Jerimuno taking the top spots. Pérez joins Jerimuno in the middle seats of the roster, while minimoult21 and wookl round out the squad.
In theory, the team looks stellar. Mitoe and Osmane, while perhaps not the best of the seat 1 and 2 players, are highly competitive in the slots and can take series from anyone on good days. Jerimuno and Pérez in seats 3 and 4 is the best middle lineup in the league, and minimoult21 together with wookl form a respectable pair for the seat 5 position.
Two things keep this team from victory: firstly, of course, is the fact the coronavirus quarantine makes Pérez unable to play for at least the first two weeks of the league. In that time, the Mandarin Duck Squad is forced to field a much weaker team and hope that they can stay competitive until Pérez joins. Secondly, however, is the tilt factor: most players on this team do well when they're winning, but easily come apart when things get hard. A team that needs morale to win that also commits themselves to at least two weeks of playing from behind is a dubious one. That said, if they're able to avoid dropping too many points in the early weeks, get Pérez online and practicing, and keep their heads clear, this team has a chance to reach the top.
#4. Nilla Ninjas
iamturk (5) | Knuschelbär (6) | Forjustice (19) | GiveUAnxiety (26) | hatamoto_samurai (29)
The reigning champions of EPL are back in action with a solid lineup. Two players outside of the champion iamturk have returned to the Ninjas - the highly-coveted Knuschelbär and enigmatic Forjustice. Knuschelbär enjoys a position of being perhaps the best non-champion player in the league - he certainly enjoys a top 3 spot at the least, and even has a dangerous edge against some of the champions. Forjustice, meanwhile, has moved from being a fifth seat or sub for the Ninjas to being their third seat player. With the average level of players being lower than EPL1 and the players being spread across six teams instead of four, many previous fourth and fifth picks are finding themselves now as the backbones of their teams. It may be too tall an order for Forjustice, whose timezone and relative separation from the community will make practice and synergies challenging. Even so, he's a capable player with a stellar record, and Aizamk was evidently willing to shell out top duck coin for him.
In the lower section of the Ninjas' roster are GiveUAnxiety, hatamoto_samurai, and Dennis234. The fact that GUA has been memed to death may work in his favor: he's a solid player who's been practicing a ton, and teams need to be careful not to underestimate him because of a few funny Twitch clips. hatamoto_samurai has limited experience in tournaments but good results in them, making him a perfectly respectable seat 5.
Like EPL1, the roster that Aizamk has put together lacks obvious synergy and looks a little thin in the lower slots. But the Nilla Ninjas won EPL1 despite all analysts' expectations and their new roster shares a lot of similarities. We may be in for another surprise.
#5. New World Challengers
diarouga (3) | SoldieR (12) | King_Ownage2nd (15) | Ezad (18) | Stanley_Winston (27)
New World Championship 2019 contender WickedCossack assumes the mantle of this debut team's manager position, as a man who very nearly reached the pinnacle of AoE3 eSports excellence last year. His Champion is none other than the NWC 2019 Winner himself, diarouga. Both are somewhat like-minded individuals, being STEM aficionado's, having worked together as the only team to create a statistical model for their drafting plan of action for this year's Auction. WickedCossack was also 2019's best strategy award winner, and diarouga literally wrote the handbook on AoE3 strategy. They're a match made in heaven, or hell if you're an opposing team.
The team is headed off by diarouga and SoldieR, who may seem like the weakest top-end duo in the field, just going by the numbers. These players also have two vastly different playstyles; diarouga is a build-order, analytical type player who likes to nail every little detail in his strategy beforehand, whereas SoldieR is a go-with-the-flow loose cannon who would rather have a roulette decide his civilization choice. However, with cooperation and strategical consultation with manager WickedCossack, these two might be able to pull off unexpected wonders. The backbone of the team features King_Ownage2nd and Ezad, this time an on-paper very powerful duo. These two are likely to need less practice or advisement than the former two, but will nonetheless benefit from tactical dialogue by proxy. The main roster is finished off by Stanley_Winston, a player who's only recently come back to activity, but who has quite a high skill ceiling. With some motivation, this player could prove to have some major upside to him. Sheckler takes the cake as the substitute position, a fervent game-spammer who will provide ample practice and team spirit for the rest of the crew. Despite being quite lowly regarded by their peers, this team sports a handily dangerous crew, and it can't be put past them to earn a Playoffs position.
#6. Hudson Bay BIGs
Samwise12 (7) | Lukas_L99 (7) | Conquerer999 (23) | theonlybaus (24) | Oliveza (28)
The Hudson Bay BIGs, newly formed for Season 2, round out the list as the weakest team in the pre-season power rankings. The BIGs, however, have a host of familiar names to the EPL now assembled on a unified roster.
The BIGs are managed by ESOC big businessman n0eL, with Samwise12 as the champion. A familiar name to some, Samwise is one of the highest ranked players through the history of AOE3 and a former ESOC Major tournament winner. Close by is the formidable Lukas_L99. Formerly on the Mandarin Duck Squad, Lukas was the best player on his team in Season 1 and is looking for a repeat performance this season. The balance of the roster features other former MDS players Conquerer999 and theonlybaus, and newcomer to the League, Oliveza. On paper this combo looks relatively weak compared to other teams, but baus and Oliveza played in the Pro Divison of the last Winter Championship and Conquerer999 is perhaps one of the most experienced players in the event. The bench features empireboss, an extremely solid Russian player, and none other than Zutazuta. Perhaps a world exists where the BIGs have clinched their playoff slot, and Zutazuta comes out for a takedown on MDS in week 5.
This slot comprises some of the best (and the sweatiest) players in our community. They are PR40+ brigadiers, major generals and lieutenant generals and collectively, they have 2 major tournament titles, 3 minor tournament wins and many more weekend cup victories under their belts. Nearly all of these players are champions of their teams with incredible knowledge and skill in the game and as such, they function as a coach for all other players in their respective teams as well.
- - #1 - Kaiserklein - Power Ranking: 1.64
Professionals have standards and apparently for Kaiserklein, it’s to be at the top of every ESOC power ranking. In the last season of EPL, Kaiserklein did not get the run he had hoped for and his team Cuirassier Management Co. ended up coming in third place. As a result, he channeled his pent-up fury and frustration towards the subsequent tournaments, smashing his opponents and reclaiming his rightful No. 1 place in the Grand Tour Season 2 and the WarChiefs Classics II. During the 2020 Winter Championship, however, Kaiserklein fell short of expectations, getting knocked out by the eventual champion Hazza54321 in the semi-finals and finishing in third place again. His unexpected defeat in the quarter-finals of Incog’s Empire Cup likely added fuel to Kaiserklein’s rage, which actually serves to enhance his gameplay accordingly to the man himself. So we can reasonably expect that Kaiserklein would be going into EPL Season 2 fully amped up and it might be just what he needs to lead the CMC to victory.
- - #? - The_LastSamurai - Power Ranking: OVER 9000???
Under extenuating circumstances, new SKG champion The_LastSamurai is called in to fill the shoes of his predecessor Hazza54321. Because of these unfortunate circumstances, TLS was not included in the original power rankings estimations and thus sits unranked. It's hard to know if TLS matches the caliber that Hazza was on. TLS was knocked out in the Pro Division Round of 16 of the Winter Championship, only losing to the eventual tournament finalist Mitoe in a reasonably close series. He also had a respectable performance in the Advanced Division, defeating BIGs Champion Samwise12 in a best-of-5. These credits don't quite match up to the fear-inducing Winter Champion Hazza54321, but considering the players proximity, and TLS' seemingly strong motivation to put up results for big boss Kabuli, maybe TLS can step up to the plate and help bring home the Reigning Champs title for SKG.
- - #3 - diarouga - Power Ranking: 3.84
After his victory in the New World Championship, diarouga has been maintaining radio silence through much of the subsequent ESOC tournaments. Besides competing in the Supremacy Cup #4 of the Grand Tour Season 2 where he finished in solid second place, he abstained from all other competitive events, including the first season of EPL, leaving many to wonder what he was up to. Well, the wait is finally over and diarouga has returned to us as the champion of the New World Challengers. From fans and opponents alike, there is much guesswork about what to expect from this veteran player who's been out of the loop for a while. No doubt he has been watching from afar, carefully studying the strategies of top players in the new meta and planning his return to the stage. But would he display any signs of rust due to being away from the competitive scene for so long? In any case, many eyes will be on diarouga to see how well he can adjust to the new meta following his extended hiatus.
- - #4 - Mitoe - Power Ranking: 4.04
For this seasoned player, last year's EPL was a painful yet important lesson to remember. While several top players under-performed in the first season, Mitoe seemed to have the most trouble for some mysterious reason, to the point that it nearly drove him to retirement. Mitoe wondered what he was missing that the other top players now had and his supporters even set up a whole prayer thread to appeal to the supernatural for help. Mitoe's first EPL run continued to haunt his gameplay for the remainder of 2019, with Mitoe suffering more losses than usual in the Grand Tour Season 2 Playoffs and the WarChiefs Classics II. On the bright side, whatever that was afflicting Mitoe's gameplay seems to have stayed behind in 2019, as evidenced by his reinvigorated performance in the 2020 Winter Championship. Despite being bested by Hazza54321 in the grand finals after an intense 5-3 series, Mitoe showed that he was still a force to be reckoned with in the competitive scene. Mitoe's comeback has been a long time coming and it might as well culminate in this new season of EPL to redeem the Mandarin Duck Squad as a whole.
- - #5 - iamturk - Power Ranking: 4.77
If there's anyone booming with supreme confidence going into EPL2, he may go by the name of iamturk or iambestmechanics. Turk is heading into the new season of EPL fresh off his victory in Incog's Empire Cup. He is also the champion of the last year's EPL champions, the Nilla Ninjas, and supported by its veteran manager @Aizamk. Among top players, Turk is known to have had one of the better EPL runs in the first season, having won a comfortable 4-1 victory against two opposing champions. Even after the first EPL, Turk has maintained a good track record in the subsequent supremacy tournaments, always finding himself among the top 8. Admittedly, it won't be easy to replicate last season's success with more formidable competition in the pool this time. With great power comes great responsibility and as his team's champion, it would be largely up to Turk to deal with the heavyweights of other teams.
- - #6 - Knuschelbär - Power Ranking: 6.58
Knusch was one of the most coveted players in the Season 2 auction, initially drafted by SKG for 4300 duck coins and later traded to the Nilla Ninjas for SomppuKunkku, and for good reason. In EPL Season 1, Knusch proved himself to be worth every duck penny that the Nilla Ninjas spent on him. He held his ground against LordRaphael and SomppuKunkku, just narrowly losing to them by one game and he even bested Kaiserklein in a hard-fought 3-2 series. In other tournaments since then, Knusch has won the bronze prize twice in the GT Season 2 Playoffs and the WarChiefs Classics II. He managed to reach the quarter-finals in the 2020 Winter Championship and although he under-performed in Incog's Empire Cup, he was far from the only top player to do so. No doubt, Knusch will be a valuable asset for the Nilla Ninjas to help neutralize the opposing teams' heavy-hitters and perhaps even their champions.
The Slot 2 players may not have as many fancy tournament titles as the Slot 1's, but they were some of the most expensive and sought-after players during the EPL2 auction since champions weren't up for grabs. All of them are veteran players possessing extensive experience with the game and its mechanics and they have all compete against Slot 1 players at least once in past tournaments. This group consists of high-ranking colonels and brigadiers with PRs between 37 and 39.
- - #7 - Samwise12 - Power Ranking: 7.04
The former pick of CMC, now the champion for one of the new teams in EPL2, the Hudson Bay BIGS, Samwise12 is showing a return to the form which resulted in his previous status in the S tier. His ladder rating has floated in the rarefied air above 2050, joining with the likes of Mitoe, Kaiser, Hazza and Lukas. His Winter Championship performance may have left him desiring better, but match point losses to Aizamk and TLS show that he is a threat to win any series. A non participant in the eggnog Empire Cup, EPL2 will be the first time we see the wise one since his 2-3 defeat in the Winter Championship.
- - #7 - Lukas_L99 - Power Ranking: 7.04
The new big boy on the scene, certainly someone that people want to find right away when any new bracket is released. Lukas has had a great run since his stellar performance for MDS in EPL season 1. The obvious highlight is his 4th place in the Winter Championships, besting NWC LAN qualifier and former major champion snowww along the way. A tight 2-3 loss against eventual 3rd place finisher, Knuschlebar, in the TWC 2 and a loss to Somppu in the round of 8 of the Empire Cup round out his recent performances. Given his trajectory, I think we can expect Lukas to show up to play against anyone in this EPL.
- - #9 - KINGofOsmane - Power Ranking: 7.80
Although KINGofOsmane has been a long-time participant in AoE3 tournaments, it was only recently that he found his real breakout performances. He put up a great showing in the Advanced Division of the Winter 2020 Cup, with wins against Pérez and PrinceofKabul and a close 3-4 loss to LordRaphael. He repeated this success in Incog's Empire Cup, taking out Conquerer999, Lecastete, Mitoe, and SomppuKunkku before finally losing in the finals to iamturk 3-4. This is a wide suite of players and an impressive list of wins that gives credence to his 4200 duck coin price tag.
In addition to his recent record, Osmane can look forward to an EP8 that features a resurgent Japan and a set of maps encouraging his playstyle. As the lead advocate of the infamous Yumi Wall style, KINGofOsmane has the dual role in the Duck Squad of throwing up big wins in a favorable meta as well as bringing the lower-ranked team members into the YumiW fold or refining their play. It's a tall order for a player who in EPL1 might have been written off as a 3rd-seat adequate-but-not-exciting pickup, but this tournament may be Osmane's finest hour.
- - #10 - SomppuKunkku - Power Ranking: 10.08
After leading SKG as its champion in Season 1, SomppuKunkku has decided to take the backseat this time and let his fellow princeofkabul disciple Hazza54321 take the reins. Admittedly, Somppu had a rather underwhelming season last year, only managing a single narrow series win versus Knuschelbär in the playoffs. Following another stinging defeat at the hands of Mitoe during the quarter-finals of the GT Season 2 Playoffs, Somppu took a brief hiatus for the remainder of 2019. He returned to the competitive scene with the beginning of the 2020 Winter Championship, although he was knocked out early in the Pro qualifiers by Oliveza after a brutal 3-2 series and opted out of continuing in the Advanced Division. Somppu found more success during Incog's Empire Cup and made it to the semi-finals before facing the eventual runner-up KINGofOsmane. Once infamous for his sepoy-sepoy combo with India, Somppu is still a formidable contender in EPL2 as a former champion and as indicated by his hefty 4,000 duck coin price tag.
- - #11 - Lecastete - Power Ranking: 10.81
Although Lecastete doesn't yet have any notable tournament accomplishment, his quick rise to the rank of colonel is notable enough. As the new kid on the block full of sweaty pros, Lecastete has been accumulating much experience throughout the past year. He partook in the first EPL with CMC and scored a solid 4-1 victory against GiBthedurrty in the first week, but he underperformed in his only other series against Forjustice, losing by 4-1. Still, Lecastete was good enough to be seeded into the pro division during the recent Winter Championship. Despite his initial loss in the pro qualifiers, he continued in the advanced division and evened the score versus Forjustice after a hard-fought 3-2 series. He also won his Round 2 against SoldieR, who had technically been the higher seed. Lecastete continued to hone his skills in Incog's Empire Cup and now as Kaiserklein’s deputy in CMC, he will have to hold his ground against some of the best players.
- - #12 - SoldieR - Power Ranking: 12.19
#MOTHERFUCKINGSOLDIERHYPE, champion of NA, always bouncing in and out of the top 10 ELO, looks to show similar or improved performance from his season 1, 8-7 record for the Mandarin Duck Squad. His recent tournament history has been very up and down. After losing to fellow NA brethren, kaister, 1-3 early in the TWC 2 event, he rebounded with a 3-0 over Swisspro and an excellent seven game set against #bestmechanics iamturk, with an unfortunate loss in game 7. In the Empire Cup, he advanced to the round of 16 where he fell to snowww, who subsequently bested Kaiserklein. Is EPL 2 his time to shine and make NA proud?
This slot consists entirely of colonels with their PRs around 36 and 37. While they are not quite top-tier players, these players have consistently displayed good records throughout past tournaments. They tend to specialize in two or three civilizations and with a bit of coaching from their champions, the Slot 3 players have the biggest potential to bring their A-game to the scene.
- - #13 - OPTIMUS__PRIME - Power Ranking: 15.16
Opti was one of the major contributors to the Nilla Ninja's victory in the first season of EPL. With some 63% win rate, he never conceded a series to his opponents, who were no pushover either. Despite facing off against veteran players like Jerimuno, SoldieR and Samwise12, Opti managed to pull off a close 3-2 victory each time. During the playoffs, he won big against Jerimuno again with the score of 5-2. Opti’s performance has been less impressive outside EPL, however. In the Winter Championship, he was defeated in the pro qualifiers and again during Round 1 of the advanced division. He fared better in Incog’s Empire Cup and reached the Round of 16, but still no cigar. Now drafted by CMC, Opti will have to prove that his triumphant performance during last season was no fluke, but an accurate demonstration of his true skill.
- - #14 - Jerimuno - Power Ranking: 15.85
The Mandarin Duck Squad's third seat belongs to Jerimuno. As a Yumi Waller and one of KINGofOsmane's prime disciples, Jerimuno can look to his team for an extra edge in synergy and coaching. Perhaps that's all he needs - Jerimuno's second claim to fame is that he's his own worst enemy, and can easily fall apart if he falls behind, but a team that can navigate him to good opponent pairings, good matchups, and a good mental state can pull off wonders. While some players can be left to their own devices and be counted on to go no worse than 2-3, Jerimuno is more like a weapon that needs aiming - in the right circumstances, he can mop the floor with his opponents, but it takes work to get there.
- - #15 - King_Ownage2nd - Power Ranking: 15.88
King_Ownage takes #15 on this list, almost halfway down the main roster slots. From the previous power rankings article, this is a big step up for King, who last appeared at the #19 position. King_Ownage has done well to prove himself the past few months after taking a hiatus of several years. He had a decent performance in the Winter Championship, putting down GUA in the Advanced Division Round 1 and only getting edged out at match point in a tight series with Pérez in Round 2. He has also been building up a reputation on ladder, tearing up the competition and peaking #6 on the ESOC Elo leaderboards. His unique civilization pool also makes him a difficult opponent to play against, and he has an advantage over opponents in the late-game, previously being the #1 ranked Treaty player for years before quitting the scene in 2015. King takes the usual Slot 3 position for the New World Challengers, establishing a solid core for the team with fellow player Ezad.
- - #16 - Pérez - Power Ranking: 16.42
At this point in the tournament, Pérez represents possibly the biggest unknown. It wasn't until recent months that he became a player of any real notability, where before he seemed content to sit in the Captain-Lt. Col. brackets of tournaments. But in the Winter 2020 tournament, his performance sparked some new life, with wins against King_Ownage2nd and OPTIMUS__PRIME and a close defeat against Knuschelbär. On Mandarin Duck Squad, Pérez and Jerimuno could theoretically switch off on seat 3 and 4 positions, with each of them getting the seat 3 matchups they're comfortable with and seat 4 matchups they can walk over with ease.
What's the problem with this strategy? Unfortunately for Pérez and the Ducks, COVID-19 has led the Spanish government to put heavy restrictions on movement, and Pérez finds himself separated from his PC. It's unclear if or when Pérez might be able to get to a PC, and even then, unclear how several weeks of inactivity will affect his skill. Keep an eye out on this slot, as it may make or break the hopes for the Duck Squad.
- - #17 - India_Bot1999 - Power Ranking: 16.64
India_Bot1999, aka Miggo, makes a showing on this list among the Slot 3 field. Miggo's peer rating has taken a slight dip since last season after a lukewarm Winter Championship performance and some attempted inactivity. Still, he played a crucial role as CMC's Slot 4 player last season, ending the season with a positive W/L record despite going up against a death row lineup of opponents. After some attempts to quit AoE3 and some short hiatus' from the limelight, it can be said that Miggo might not be on top of his game the past few months. However, in the company of friends on SKG, he should have the motivation to perform to his relatively high ceiling and repeat his stellar showing last season.
- - #18 - Ezad - Power Ranking: 17.08
Ezad takes the seat as the last of the Slot 3 players. After barely missing qualification for the Pro Circuit of the Winter Championship, Ezad was relegated to the Advanced Division where he posted a crushing 3-0 victory over OPTIMUS__PRIME in Round 1. He was also the slayer of goongoon in the New World Championship 2019, who was a previous ESOC Major tournament Finalist. While he hasn't quite had the long-term breakout tournament success to solidify his name among the greats, he's a well-enough respected player to get a fairly high valuation among the EPL2 field. Together with fellow backbone player King_Ownage2nd on the New World Challengers, Ezad, positioned as the Slot 4 player, finds himself in a good spot to put up a killer run this season.
The Slot 4 competitors aren't too different from the Slot 3's, so they are certainly no push-overs. In fact, the average skill level for these slots hasn't really changed since the last season and they form the flexible backbone of their teams, able to fill in the slots above or below them if necessary. Due to their strategic importance, EPL manager have spent no small sum to fill these positions with the price going as high as 2100 duck coins.
- - #19 - KEVINITALIEN - Power Ranking: 17.88
KEVINITALIEN storms into the scene blazing hot, with the EPL Season 2 being his debut tournament appearance. For a tournament newbie to take the #19 position on this list is pretty impressive, as it points to a credibility that exists well beyond the confines of ESOCommunity. Kevin has made a good name for himself on ladder, having almost 2200 rated games on the ESOC Patch. He's peaked at PR36 Colonel, and while his Elo peak seems rather modest in comparison to some other players, that's probably because he's willing to play against the absolute zenith of powerful opponents. His somewhat negative W/L record can largely be chalked up to the fact that he's consistently playing against PR40+ players. This purged-by-fire penchant might forge Kevin into one of the strongest up-and-coming players, and an immensely valuable asset for CMC.
- - #19 - Forjustice - Power Ranking: 17.88
Forjustice may not be the most competitive player in EPL, but he has proven to be the most reliable one so far. He had the highest win rate in the first season at whopping 76% and he never lost a series as well, even against a skilled player like Lecastete. Simply put, when his manager gave him a job to do, he got it done and he got it done well. Even beyond EPL, Forjustice continued to punch above his weight and surprise his opponents. He managed to reach the Round of 16 in the WarChiefs Classic II before being defeated by Mitoe. Also worth mentioning is that he narrowly lost to Lecastete in the Advanced Division's Round 1 of the 2020 Winter Championship. It's small wonder that the Nilla Ninjas wanted him back on their team, even at double the price they paid for him last time.
- - #21 - bwinner - Power Ranking: 21.52
bwinner, known affectionately as "botto" for his Ottoman play and less affectionately as "bloser" when he underperforms, is ranked as a seat 4 player but gets to enjoy the privilege of playing in CMC's seat 5. This could make bwinner an extremely valuable team asset, as he'll be playing people under his skill level and racking up points. In theory, the Botto Doctrine states that he can always go 2-3 or better in a series by playing Ottomans twice. But CMC will be looking for more than that, and the true test of bwinner will be in whether his high ranking stems from other teams' understanding of the Botto Doctrine or from his raw skill.
Unfortunately, things aren't off to a good start for him. After going 0-5 against Stanley_Winston in week 1, CMC is no longer able to rely on a 2-3 score at the least in their seat 5. They'll need to get bwinner back on track quickly, as they're effectively playing without a substitute - unless they decide to actually field Riotcoke, who's about as likely to win a game this tournament as Zutazuta.
- - #22 - Flontier - Power Ranking: 22.20
Flontier joins the ranks this year after being passed over and remaining undrafted in EPL Season 1. Originally purchased by the Nilla Ninjas, Flontier finds himself a part of the SKG crew this year after a trade agreement between the two teams' managers. Since last September, Flontier has continued to put himself on the map as a player in a big way, making his way through the Winter Championship Intermediate Division and claiming the winner's title after a hairpin 4-3 victory over Mongobillione in the Finals. Establishing himself as a consistent PR34-PR35 face makes him duly slotted for SKG's Slot 4 position.
- - #23 - Conquerer999 - Power Ranking: 22.64
After a disappointing EPL1 on the MDS, in which he posted a 3-12 record as the 3 slot player, some have said putting him back into the 3 slot is a disaster. Those some, are likely to be terribly wrong. While the 3 slot of EPL1 was probably a little bit out of Conquerer's league, the EPL2 3 slot is ripe for taking. He will be the most underrated player among the names he faces each week, but will be one of the most seasoned. Between his regular runs to the finals of Treaty tournaments and his top notch play in the weekend cup series, he's been there and played the best. That counts for more than most are willing to admit, and this time Conquerer is likely to drastically exceed his ranking.
- - #24 - theonlybaus - Power Ranking: 23.27
A fringe back up player for MDS in season 1 of the EPL, the only showing for the onlybaus was against NN's MVP forjustice, where he performed better than any of his other competition for a narrow 2-3 loss. Since then, he's been relatively quiet, competing in the Winter Championships and the TWC2 tournaments. Seeded into the Pro Division, he dropped 1-3 to KINGofOsmane, bested Risi123 in his first advanced bracket series and then fell 0-3 to TLS. While making it to round 2 justified his initial seed, will his EPL2 performance back that up?
Slot 5's are where the real heroes are at. Good managers and champions would be spending much time coaching their Slot 5 picks, as they have the potential to show the most improvement. Not to mention that a win in Slot 5 is no lesser than a win in Slot 1, which is all that matters in the end. The Slot 5 players are a much more diverse bunch than any other slots in terms of skill levels and play styles, so their games may be the most relatable for average players as well.
- - #25 - kaister - Power Ranking: 24.20
Kaister enjoys a ranking at the top of the seat 5's. As the only NA player on SKG and one who lives on the west coat, he may find it difficult to find times to practice with the other SKG members. Then again, his Elo page shows a number of games against SomppuKunkku in the past few days, and more than a fluke's worth of them are wins. In tournaments, kaister's breakout performance was in TWC2, where he defeated SoldieR and mongobillione 3-2 to make a quarterfinals finish. Mr_Bramboy has informed me that I'm legally required to say that he also played in SamuraiRevolution's tournament, where he lost 2-0 to Mr_Bramboy.
- - #26 - GiveUAnxiety - Power Ranking: 25.64
Taunt 115. LET'S GO! Competitive AOE3 and community tournament host and commentator, GiveUAnxiety, is back for EPL2 after a season 1 debut of 3-2 against bwinner. While a predominantly British player, and definitely favoring European civilizations, he 3-0'd Conquerer999 in the RO32 of the TWC2 tournament, before losing to eventual runner-up LordRaphael. Seeded into the advanced division in the Winter Championship, he made it to the second round before losing 1-3 to fellow NA player KingOwnage. In a classic High IQ play, GUA took German and not British in the EmpireCup, and lost to danielk in the round of 32. With two wins available as British, GUA should be ready to go in EPL2.
- - #27 - Stanley_Winston - Power Ranking: 25.77
Stanley_Winston, the father of ESOC, the one whom without we are nothing, has graced us with his presence this EPL and been drafted by the New World Challengers. Returning to activity right before the start of the Winter Championship 2020, Stanley was unfortunately knocked down to the Beginner Division by hatamoto_samurai in a wipe-out 0-3 series. Fortunately, his fellow beginners were unable to withstand Our Father’s wrath and Stanley proceeded to win the Division with relative ease. Having recently regained the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, Stanley is eager to prove that he no longer belongs with the beginners. Expect to see strong results from Stanley, who has been a high-ranking player in the past, making it to the Round of 8 in the ESOC Spring Championship 2017.
- - #28 - Oliveza - Power Ranking: 26.16
Aka jokulu, aka Eliza, relatively unknown until he burst onto the scene in the Winter Championships. Initially seeded into the pro division, with a lot of fan fare suggesting that he didn't belong, then proving otherwise. In his round round matchup against the Somali lord himself, he took the series 3-2 with three wins against the India of Somppu. His reward for that win was of course one of the top 8, and he ran into his new teammate Lukas and dropped 1-4. Will he show that he is truly a player that belonged in the pro division? Or will he be a slot 5 player, as the rankings suggest.
- - #29 - hatamoto_samurai - Power Ranking: 27.12
hatamoto_samurai, or Harcha as he more commonly goes by, is another player who's been a round for quite a while, but until recently had not participated in any ESOC tournaments. In his first Supremacy tournament, the ESOC Winter Championship 2020, Hatamoto placed well, earning a Bronze title in the Intermediate Division, having defeated worthy adversaries in Stanley_Winston, Kaister, and Mr_Bramboy. Demonstrating strong play with a variety of civilizations, it was no surprise to see Hatamoto picked up Nilla Ninjas. A sort of dark horse, it will be interesting to see if his opponents can properly prepare for his style, or if he’ll be able to cut through them in a similar fashion to his namesake.
- - #30 - minimoult21 - Power Ranking: 29.36
minimoult21 represents a relative unknown. At rank #30, he comes at the very bottom of the theoretical main rosters. He has only one ESOC tournament to go off of, where he played a couple of series in the intermediate bracket. He is, however, a lieutenant colonel with a relatively fast upward climb. Coming off of a one-year hiatus in October, minimoult made a climb from captain to lt. col. With Pérez joining the tournament late, the Mandarin Duck Squad may be forced to field him against other teams' seat 4 players - if so, minimoult will prove either to be a valuable and underrated pickup or an unfortunate sacrifice positioned out of his weight class.
- - #31 - wookl - Power Ranking: 29.5
As one of the representatives of AoE3's Chinese community, wookl is like Forjustice in many ways. His skill level in the broader ESO community is uncertain, his style unorthodox, and his potential for upsets apparent. However, while he'd ideally be trading seat five matches with his ranking-adjacent teammate minimoult21, wookl will often be fighting in seat 5 more often than he - or MDS - would like. While Forjustice outperformed his cost in EPL1 and is now a linchpin of the Nilla Ninjas' squad, wookl is untested and unproven. He and the rest of his team will need to put in work to keep him from being a liability. Even so, his unpredictability will mean that other teams will have a hard time preparing their seat 5 players for him, and careless play could see his opponents looking at the wrong end of a Flamethrower.
- - #32 - Fard - Power Ranking: 30.80
Fard is one of the most storied players among the list of substitutes this year, being the tutor of PrinceofKabul and therefore an SKG progenitor. He was a big player in the high-level team game scene from 2013-2015, and achieved a max rating of PR38 Brigadier. That puts his skill ceiling head and shoulders above a lot of players drafted this season, save for one thing: he's rustier than the Statue of Liberty. It's been years since Fard's last competed, and as evidenced by his 0-3 icing in the Winter Championship Intermediate Division Round of 32 by the likes of KickAss, he has a lot to do in regards to developing his metagame knowledge to be able to compete on the big stage this season. Still, with some dedication and support, he is very capable of being sharpened into a Slot 5 pickaxe.
- - #33 - empireboss - Power Ranking: 32.36
empireboss, despite being an otherwise lowkey character, is probably the substitute player with the highest likelihood for over-performance. He already has a more substantial tournament history than most other subs on this list, but particularly excels as a ladder warrior. He has innumerable wins against PR35+ players under his belt, which shows his propensity for punching above his weight. Despite having comparatively modest PR and Elo ratings, boss is a player who could prove especially lethal for the BIGs in a tag team duo with other bottom-end player Oliveza.
- - #34 - Dennis234 - Power Ranking: 32.71
Wouldn't you like to be a 234'er too? Dennis represents the Nilla Ninja's pocket player picked up for 500 coins. Having recently peaked in the Lt. Colonel skill bracket, Dennis is a player to look out for among the substitute positions of EPL2. He has yet to score a notable tournament series win, but seems to have a fair degree of mechanical talent per his intermittent livestreams. He also commands a breadth of knowledge over a diverse civ selection. He could be another player with tabben-like trajectory, but we'll have to see if he will be slotted over Slot 5 player hatamoto_samurai. Regardless, he should be a notable practice partner.
- - #35 - sheckler - Power Ranking: 33.46
Big daddy sheck, the substitute position for the newly formed New World Challengers. Besides consistently defeating the player just below him on this list, sheckler has yet to have a breakout tournament performance on ESOC, instead having established himself as one of the most high-spirited hardcore ladder grinders on the scene. Never a match without a "GG" at the end, sheckler pumps more game(s) than a pick-up artist in Las Vegas. As his skill level seems to have stabilized at the PR29 Major level for the past year or so, his value to the NWC crew is likely in his fastidious ability for practice, the team's fervent sparring partner.
- - #36 - Riotcoke - Power Ranking: 34.79
"3275... so Daniel needs to bid here, he gets the player, then he picks some scrub up who doesn't know how to play in 5th place!"
Such were his own words, describing CMC Manager Daniel's drafting strategy after picking up penultimate player Lecastete. Little did he anticipate that he would become the scrub picked up. Closing in on the bottom of this list is Riotcoke, a power caster in the ESOCommunity whose competitive credits run out just about there. With a peak rating of PR28 Captain, Riotcoke also fields the lowest max ELO of any player drafted this season. Riot does not sport a single tournament match victory to his name, so, ironically as someone who has accrued clout via his speaking talents, it seems the less said about Riot the better. Daniel's 500 bid on Riotcoke most likely constitutes a CMC graphics design contract.
- - #37 - Zutazuta - Power Ranking: 35.52
AoE3's Hugh Hefner, Zutazuta curbs out the bottom of this list. Zutazuta actually had a glimpse of a return to the scene, playing in his first ESOC tournament in - well, actually, ever. He entered the ESOC Winter Championship 2020 and very quickly lost in the Intermediate Qualifiers to Victor_swe in an 0-3 wipe. He was dropped to the Beginner Division, and lost again to Frenchman 1st lieutenant MRT44 in the Beginner Round of 64, in what was admittedly a riveting match-point series. The BIGs' Bruce Wayne, it's unsure that Zutazuta has much gas left in the tank to make another AoE3 tournament appearance. One might think that Team Manager n0eL's decision to pick up the Zutes was a ploy to get into the playboy's coffers. While Zutazuta might be a meme millionaire, he has no stock in the game and will likely not see play over the BIGs's other bottom-end players.
Still curious to see if Opti can prove that he's the #13 also. Gotta agree that CMC's line up is scary though. In fact, it's the 2nd best line up after NWC according to the model.
Also, it seems a bit weird to include Perez in the MDS ranking, when wookl will be playing half of the games...
let's see some BIGS in the chat!
Mate, kindly watch us poop on BIGS this week
[Armag] diarouga wrote:Playing Aztec is a 10% handicap
LoOk_tOm wrote:I have something in particular against Kaisar (GERMANY NOOB mercenary LAMME FOREVER) And the other people (noobs) like suck kaiser ... just this ..