THE END IS NIGH... FOR THE ESOC GRAND TOUR SEASON 2!
The Best-of-9 Grand Finals series will be between @Kaiserklein and @Mitoe
This Sunday, November 3rd at 22:00 GMT on ESOCTV
But first... a Recap of the Grand Tour Semi-Finals!
In an all-too-familiar match-up, the Season 1 Champion Kaiserklein soundly defeated Knuschelbär, who was last year’s runner-up. Kaiser quickly took Game 1 and Game 2 with an aggressive colonial play as the Iroquois and the French respectively versus his opponent’s French and Japanese. To his credit, @knusch managed to put a dent in Kaiser’s momentum by routing his German xbow-pike army as the Sioux in the third game, but it was not enough. Kaiserklein went on to win the next Ottoman mirror after seizing control of the trade route and then he defeated Knuschelbär's Japanese again as the Germans, closing out the series with a 4-1 victory.
On the other hand, Old Man Mitoe, who came very close to retirement recently, won a hard-fought series against @tabben, the NWC dark horse returning to the competitive scene after skipping the EPL. Tabben started off strong, frustrating the opposing Iroquois army with pesky raids before crushing it with a urumi-sepoy combo in the first game. He even bested Mitoe in the following Chinese mirror with an aggressive fortress push that cut off his opponent's shipments. However, Mitoe managed to stabilize in Game 3 and even up the score by the fourth game, in which he expertly held Tabben's Russian colonial pressure as the Chinese. In the next game, Mitoe again upended his opponent's Russian colonial strategy in a decisive battle with the German xbow-pike combo. Now at match point, Mitoe's Dutch engaged Tabben's Germans in a battle of attrition over the sixth game, which resulted in Mitoe claiming the series after his opponent's coin mines ran out.
Introducing Our Finalists: Kaiserklein and Mitoe!
Kaiserklein and Mitoe are familiar faces in the ESO Community, but for those who may not know, they have a long history together. Not only are they good friends, but they have also practiced against one another countless times, to the point that they've formed their own metagame together. Both players are usually considered to have "standard" play styles favoring skirm-goon compositions, but when they face each other, those conventions are often thrown out of the window for a knock-down, drag-out fight. The last time they met on a tourney was during the finals of the Underused Cup about five months ago, when Mitoe won a heavily contested 3-2 victory against Kaiserklein. If we take their five most recent tourney meetings before that into account as well, the result is a tie; they have both won 3 series against each other. If that's any indication of what's going to happen this Sunday, we should buckle up for a match-up that could go either way at any point.
So what exactly should we expect from both players in the Grand Final? We saw much aggressive colonial action from Kaiserklein during the Semi-Finals. Of course, this may have been because the opponent, Knuschelbär, is well known for his macro-management ability to snowball his score very quickly if left unchecked or simply because of the opposing civ pick. But in his Round of 8 versus @Lukas_L99, Kaiser also admitted playing a mind game with a TP in the Germans vs Japanese match-up to make his opponent think he was going fortress. So it wouldn't be entirely surprising to see Kaiser try some high IQ colonial agenda to bamboozle Mitoe or at least throw him off-balance with non-standard gameplay.
However, Kaiserklein isn't the only one with tricks up his sleeve. Mitoe too has used theatricality and deception against Kaiserklein before, such as when he queued and cancelled 600 wood to give Kaiser a false sense of security during the Japanese vs Ottomans match-up of the Underused Cup finals. Further, Mitoe is almost certain to pick the Chinese as one of his civilizations at some point, not only because it is one of his main civs, but also because Kaiser finds that particular civ frustrating to deal with, to say the least. It is this sort of mind game in which both players try to outsmart and outwit each other that we should expect on Sunday, since even the best of friends cannot share the title of ESOC Grand Tour Champion!
Opening week for the ESOC WarChiefs Classic II and No Rush November
Last Monday kicked off the start of two $500 open events here on ESOC with the redux of a certain Sioux-lovers favorite, the WarChiefs Classic, and the first-of-its-kind NR20 Tournament, tournaments generously sponsored by @iwillspankyou and @[TLDT]Amsterda respectively.
The WarChiefs Classic II is headed off by seed #1 @lordraphael, who blessed the event with his customary one-day-late sign up, to the admins chagrin. However, after suffering a tragic loss to Handsome @Hazza54321 in the Semi-Finals of the GUA Sub Tour and forfeiting his subsequent bronze match, it's looking like a big question mark if Raph will show up for Round 1 of the WarChiefs Classic. That should be good news if you're an Allied Power on the same side of the bracket, as @kaister, who scored a major civil victory this evening winning his Ro32 match over @IAmSoldieR, is slated for the Round of 16 vs none other than the British Bulldog himself @samwise12. Speaking of Hazza, he took an unfortunate L earlier today in his match against underdog Mohammad_, a burning hot 3-2 series that was clinched after Harry's router overheated. Still, no win is undeserved, and Mohammad_, aka @babbaj, will take up the mantle as Usurper to the Ladder King @umeu, who represents seed #5 of the tournament after a long reign atop the EP Elo leaderboard.
Down by the South-Side of the WarChiefs Bracket is sleeper central, with outsider favorites like @Forjustice, @Lukas_L99, and @knusch. Forjustice came off a narrow victory over Round of 32 opponent and fellow countryman @wookl, a match which even featured some CN casting from @abadontea. The next bump in Forjustice's road will be @Mitoe, who, as previously mentioned, sees himself in two Finals this week with dreams of a third down Forjustice's bumpy road. Another underdog hit on this end of the bracket is @pérez, who after taking down NA front-runner @JackGaming in the preliminary round of the tournament is looking keen for another knockout on opponent Knuschelbär. Just a little farther north is the perennial @Kaiserklein riding high off a win over big daddy @sheckler. After @Lecastete forfeiting the tournament and his would-be opponent @OPTIMUS__PRIME pulling the monkey-see-monkey-do and also forfeiting the tournament, Kaiserklein's next opponent will be either @Ezad or @Oliveza, or someone else, too, if one of those players also forfeits. There is @iamturk, too, vying for his 3rd time meeting Kaiserklein in a tournament, always optimistic to finish this very, very long training arc by taking his first victory from the French Fury.
Operating at blitz pace, the No Rush November NR20 Tournament has been speeding by, with some matches already reaching the Round of 8 stage. One of the most anticipated matches of the tournament, the quarter-finals series between @FloKo83 [email protected] Lukas_L99, is right around the corner, slated for next Monday, November 4th at 16:00 GMT. With 2 of the top 3 treaty players of all time, it should be a good watch for anyone looking to improve, treaty-player or not. And speaking of the top 3 we have @dicktator_ on the other side of the bracket, similarly blitzing his early-round matches and presently waiting for his quarter-finals opponent to arrive. There are a few low-key characters on the scene, however, and eyes should definitely be on these competitors for some dynamic up-and-coming gameplay. @harcha, after returning from a 4-year-hiatus, is looking on form to make a Ro8 appearance himself. There is also @TheNameDaniel and @juicyfruit1268 meeting in the Round of 16, both of whom happen to be trend-setters in underdeveloped game modes like NR20, Wars of Liberty, and Deathmatch. Seed #1 @sebnan12, Monster Mongobillione, is also freshening up for his upper bracket sweep, but might meet some scruff from a supremacy pro in iamturk or Forjustice in one of the early rounds.
There is a lot to keep up with, so be sure to tune in this weekend on ESOCTV to catch a part of the action!