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Netherlands Mr_Bramboy
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20 May 2020, 10:20


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Welcome to the much-anticipated playoffs of the ESOC Premier League Season 2! If you have not been following this tournament, the ESOC Premier League (EPL) is a team-based tournament where 6 Team Managers draft a squad from a pool of players and duke it out in round-robin style to secure their ticket to the playoffs. In the playoffs, two teams will face off to determine this year's reigning EPL champions. After many weeks of fighting, the Cuirassier Management Company and the Mandarin Duck Squad have secured themselves a playoffs ticket. All in all, we are surely guaranteed some amazing games and an incredible conclusion to this event. CMC undeniably has the juggernaut player in the form of Kaiserklein, but MDS arguably has the more well-rounded squad. We hope you're just as excited for this match as we are, and we hope you tune in to the stream!

Written by @Vinyanyérë

Image CMC's Pathway to the Playoffs Image

Kaiserklein | Lecastete | OPTIMUS__PRIME | KEVINITALIEN | bwinner

CMC's EPL1 lineup was stacked. The team assembled a killer roster and started out positioned as the tournament favorites, but ended up barely missing a playoff spot after tying in wins with SKG and losing on the tiebreak. While Daniel and Kaiser's EPL strategy consisted of picking out a suite of top tier players and running them, their draft in EPL2 ended up giving them three French players in Lecastete, KEVINITALIEN, and bwinner, the elusive but inconsistent OPTIMUS__PRIME, and some scrub who doesn't matter.

The EPL2 peer-rated Power Rankings put team CMC as the favorites to win the league. These ratings estimated Kaiserklein, OPTIMUS__PRIME, and KEVINITALIEN to all be the top players of their respective slots, and additionally for bwinner to be a slot-4 caliber player playing against opposing slot 5s. Things were shaping up to be a dominating season for CMC.

It's this that made the first week of EPL2 so surprising. The New World Challengers, rated in the Power Rankings as a 5th-place team, defeated CMC with a convincing 15-10 record. What's more, the records of the players in the first week looked abysmal. Kaiserklein, the team's champion, managed to take a 5-0 against diarouga and wipe away any doubt that he was the best player in the league, but the other players took a mere five games between them and ended the week with a 25% win rate. Only KEVINITALIEN managed to win his series, even then winning with an unremarkable 3-2 score. Lecastete and OPTIMUS__PRIME, on the other hand, lost their series 1-4, and poor bwinner couldn't even take a game against Stanley_Winston. In a single week, the Power Rankings had seemingly been overturned, with NWC being the top team to beat and CMC running full damage control.

As it turned out, NWC would continue on to put up big results throughout the remainder of the league, while CMC's early weakness proved to be an illusion. The team went on to defeat the Hudson Bay BIGs, another team that had taken a week 1 upset, 14-11. And while Kaiser still demonstrated his carrying abilities by beating Lukas_L99 5-0, the rest of the team started pulling their weight. OPTIMUS and KEVIN both won their series 3-2, and bwinner, though his series against Oliveza started off looking dicey, managed to keep his composure and turn a 0-3 deficit into a respectable 2-3 loss. Only Lecastete suffered a rough series by losing 1-4, but he had the defense of his opponent being the BIGs' champion Samwise12.

Following that, CMC went up against the other playoff team, Mandarin Duck Squad. In this Kaiser would face Mitoe, perhaps the only player in the league with a realistic chance of beating him. And while Kaiser did drop a game against Mitoe, he dropped only one - with a 14-1 record following week 3, Kaiser was clearly the best player in the league and looked unstoppable.

The matches for the remaining players ended up having the inverse result compared to their matches against the BIGs, although CMC ended up with the same 14-11 score. Lecastete won his first series of the league by going 3-2 against Jerimuno, and bwinner proved his viability by taking the surprise 4-1 and minimoult21. KEVINITALIEN lost his first series against Pérez's league debut, while OPTIMUS__PRIME found himself going 1-4 against KINGofOsmane.

As the league went into a break week, analysts across ESOC took stock of the situation. CMC had lost to the then-first-place team NWC, but had beaten the 2nd- and 3rd-place teams BIGs and MDS. Even though they were in 4th place, they were looking strong, and it was agreed that scheduling, not skill, was the primary culprit of their seemingly low placement. With their next weeks going against the poorly performing Nilla Ninjas and Somali Kabuli Gaming, it was looking increasingly likely that CMC would be a playoff contender.

And it was exactly that which happened. In week 4, CMC set the record for "greatest milking of EPL2" by beating the Nilla Ninjas 18-7, a score which tied the greatest milking of EPL1 when the Ninjas themselves beat Mandarin Duck Squad 18-7. Not content with that score, CMC immediately broke their record in week 5, beating SKG 19-6. You might point to the fact that the week 5 games were not quite as serious as the earlier weeks, seeing as CMC's playoff spot was virtually assured and SKG's virtually impossible, but nonetheless, CMC looked dominant across almost all of their weeks.

With a final score of 75-50, CMC takes first place in the standings and a spot in the playoffs.

Image MDS' Pathway to Playoffs Image

Mitoe | KINGofOsmane | Jerimuno | Pérez | minimoult21

In EPL1, duck and Mitoe attempted to build out team NA, a team consisting of all of community's top North American players and supplemented only by Lukas_L99. It went pretty terribly, with the team bottoming out the EPL1 standings at a 28-47 record. Mitoe himself, the team's champion, was among the worst performers in the league, losing every one of his matches 1-4.

Things looked a little better for the hopes of the Duck Squad when Mitoe came 2nd place in the Winter 2020 Championship. Although he lost to Hazza54321, Mitoe showed a number of convincing results over the course of the tournament and indicated that his EPL performance was an outlier rather than a trend.

During the draft, MDS assembled the top players from the YumiW clan with KINGofOsmane and Jerimuno. They rounded out their middle lineup with Pérez, a player who had put out an impressive showing during the Winter Championship, picked up the relatively unknown minimoult21 as their slot 5, and added the Chinese Community member wookl as the substitute. The Power Rankings estimated this team as the third-best behind CMC and SKG, with a huge part of that ranking coming from the Spanish player Pérez.

Pérez had been picked up by the Duck Squad for the low price of 1,625 duck coins, an amount far below what would be expected from a player of his skill. With MDS having two slot 3-level players, they would be able to dominate the middle rosters of other teams and accumulate many easy wins. Why did the other managers let MDS get Pérez for so little? The caveat was that it wasn't clear if Pérez could even play - with coronavirus fears at their height and Spain under lockdown, Pérez found himself separated from his PC with no clear timeline on when he'd next get access. Any team looking to field him would be taking a massive risk - they would need to move their slot 5 up a tier and field their sub for an indefinite amount of time, and, even if Pérez would eventually play, would need to quickly derust a player who'd been inactive for several weeks. MDS was banking on tough early weeks being offset heavily by victories later on, and this came to define their progression through the weeks.

In week 1, MDS played against the Nilla Ninjas. Things seemed on track with their plan, as they took a close 13-12 loss that week. Mitoe and Jerimuno won their series 3-2 and 4-1, respectively, while KINGofOsmane and minimoult21 both lost 2-3. Only wookl would take a heavy loss by going 1-4 against GiveUAnxiety, but this was according to plan.

Week 2 catapulted MDS to the top of the standings. The team went 16-9 against a lackluster SKG, with KINGofOsmane and Mitoe leading the charge with a collective 9-1 score. Even wookl managed to keep afloat, losing his match to Fard only 2-3. If the team could manage to get into 2nd place without Pérez, it seemed as though they would have no problem staying at the top with him.

Unfortunately for MDS, things got a little rockier in week 3. Although Pérez started playing for them, the team lost to CMC 11-14. They maintained a high position in the rankings, being in 3rd place and down only a game against the BIGs, but it became evident that their playoff spot was not guaranteed. As the rest of the teams played their matches, the standings began to shake out. While NWC had taken an undisputed lead in 1st place, both the BIGs and CMC were contesting MDS for the 2nd playoffs spot. And while MDS had started off with a high placing, it turned out that they had gotten there by starting the season against the two weakest teams. While CMC's weeks started hard and grew easier, the Duck Squad's weeks started easy and grew harder. Even with Pérez playing, it was looking like the team might break against the surprisingly good BIGs and the seemingly insurmountable NWC. Their path forward was no longer certain.

The Pérez bet paid finally paid off in week 4, however, when he took Oliveza down 5-0. With the rest of the team trading an even 10-10 against the BIGs, MDS took a 15-10 lead for the week and suddenly had their playoff hopes rekindled. It wasn't going to be an easy route - not only were they going up against NWC, the up-to-then best team in the league, but they needed to win by a 15-10 margin. In some sense, they'd need every single one of their players to go 3-2 in their games to steal the playoff spot from NWC's grasp.

Week 5 started off well for MDS, with Mitoe beating diarouga 3-2 and minimoult21 beating Stanley_Winston with the same result. The ratio of games they needed to win was unchanged, with them needing to go 9-6 or better in the remaining matches that all fell within a single eight-hour block on a Saturday.

Jerimuno had been a quieter player for MDS. He had performed very well against Forjustice in week 1 by winning 4-1, but since then had had unspectacular results, going 2-3 in every series thereafter and being at an even 10-10 record in the league. That changed in week 5, when he handily defeated his opponent 5-0. Mandarin Duck Squad went from needing to win 9 games out of 15 to 4 games out of 10. Pérez followed it up by going 3-2 against KingOwnage_2nd, leaving NWC player SoldieR with the daunting task of going 5-0 against KINGofOsmane to keep NWC's playoff spot. On a lengthy game 2 on Dhaka featuring Osmane's Russians against SoldieR's British, Osmane set up an unbreakable contain on most of SoldieR's hunts, slowly strangling the life out of him and NWC's playoff dreams. After making the playoffs, Osmane continued on to win the series 3-2, ending his last game of the regular season with his trademark Yumi-Wall play.

Image Pairings Image

KEVINITALIEN vs. Pérez - Scheduled for Thursday 14 GMT

The best performer of CMC's regular roster faces off against MDS's auction centerpiece. When these players met in week 3, Pérez was making his league debut, bringing MDS into their Unleashed form and easing minimoult and wookl's workloads. Pérez ended up beating KEVINITALIEN 3-2, winning two Ottomans vs. Spanish matchups and once as Aztecs against the Iroquois. Overall, KEVINITALIEN's record in the league is 16-9, a +7 spread, while Pérez has the same spread but fewer games, standing at 11-4.

The rematch is expected to be close, and both teams will be looking to start the week off with an early lead. On one hand, KEVINITALIEN has been on a great streak during the EPL and has been see as a major up-and-coming player, being looked at very favorably by the community's top players. On the other hand, Pérez took their first match in a situation where he had less than a week to practice on an unfamiliar setup after a month of inactivity. The results of this match will be an indicator of which team has practiced better since week 3.

bwinner vs. minimoult21 - Scheduled for Friday 16 GMT

bwinner's EPL started off rough with a demoralizing 0-5 against Stanley_Winston and a 2-3 defeat against Oliveza that had a better score but may have been equally demoralizing. However, he managed to pull together in subsequent weeks, and now has an even 10-10 record. minimoult21, meanwhile, has been more consistent, going 3-2 and 2-3 in all of his matches with the notable exception of his week 3 match against bwinner, where he took a devastating 1-4 loss.

Despite their head-to-head match in week 3 going strongly in bwinner's favor, this matchup is also likely to be a close one. minimoult21's mechanical playstyle gives him the strong fundamentals that are important in an extended play-all-seven series, while bwinner is infamous for being an Ottomans one-trick that can only win two games in every series. The reputation bwinner has gotten may be a little unfair at this point, as he defeated both minimoult and hatamoto_samurai (a player that minimoult lost to) with 4-1 records, but the extended series will still favor minimoult.

Ultimately, this will be a clash of playstyles and will come down to which player forces the other to play his game. If minimoult is put into build-focused situations featuring a lot of China and Ottomans, he will struggle to match bwinner's expertise in this area. Conversely, if bwinner is forced into lengthy Fortress Age skirm-goon wars, he'll find himself outclassed by minimoult's multitasking and positioning.

OPTIMUS__PRIME vs. KINGofOsmane - Not yet scheduled

Mandarin Duck Squad has no true team carry, with every member of the team having fairly close (positive) records. Nonetheless, KINGofOsmane is the closest the team has to one, having never lost a series more than 2-3 and putting up big results in other weeks against a number of big names. OPTIMUS__PRIME, on the other hand, has displayed much of his famed inconsistency - some weeks, he'll lose 1-4 to KingOwnage_2nd, a player who micros by dragboxing; other weeks, he'll take down Knuschelbär, the best drafted player in the league, 3-2. MDS's best result in week 3 came from this match, where KINGofOsmane took the series 4-1 and easily so.

The rematch is likely another Osmane-favored match, as he is ultimately the better player and unfazed by OPTIMUS__PRIME's unusual style. Still, the exact score of this will depend on whether Optimus brings his PR 40 skill or his PR 20 skill to the fray.

Lecastete vs. Jerimuno - Scheduled for Sunday 15 GMT

Lecastete is a returning player for CMC, having played for the team during EPL1 and now finding himself as the team's slot 2. His overall record in EPL2 hasn't been great, being 10-15 over the season and the team's worst performer by win rate. However, in week 3, he did beat Jerimuno 3-2, and we'll see if he can replicate that success in the playoffs.

Jerimuno went through EPL2 with a fairly mild record, starting the league off with a 4-1 against Forjustice (who underperformed expectations) and going 2-3 in every series from weeks 2 through 4. It wasn't until week 5 that he found his real breakout performance, going 5-0 against Ezad and virtually guaranteeing MDS's spot in the playoffs.

In their week 3 match, Lecastete took an early 2-0 lead in the series and looked poised to win by a large margin. However, Jerimuno managed to pull the series back to a 2-2 tie and almost pulled off the reverse sweep before losing the final game and putting the overall result at 3-2. Although Jerimuno's record in the league is better, Lecastete is rated as the slightly better player, had harder opponents, and won in their first matchup. Then again, perhaps Lecastete has also been playing too much Counterstrike for his own good. This one will be another close series, and, as the likely second-to-last series of the playoffs, will add critical context to the match between the champions.

Kaiserklein vs. Mitoe - Scheduled for Sunday 18 GMT

This is the one that we've been waiting for and might be one of the most exciting matches of the year. Kaiserklein crushed the regular season, finishing the league with a 23-2 record against champions and top players of all other teams. Mitoe, meanwhile, had more modest results, winning most of his weeks but winning them with 3-2 or 4-1 scores instead of 5-0s. When these players met in week 3, Kaiser had a 10-0 record and it looked like Mitoe would be the only player with a chance of stopping him. As it turned out, he couldn't, and Kaiser defeated Mitoe while dropping only a single game.

While EPL1 Mitoe might have tilted off a cliff after a 1-4, EPL2 Mitoe took it as an opportunity to practice hard and get in form. He put a ton of work in after his loss to Kaiser, even briefly stealing the #1 Elo rank from him at one point and showing dominating play in his series vs. Lukas_L99 and diarouga in weeks 4 and 5 (despite dropping some games).

At the end of the day, it still might not be enough. Kaiserklein is the best active player right now, and a play-all-seven match between these two is still likely to favor him. But Mitoe is ready to unleash his fullest potential, and will fight ferociously with Kaiser over every point.
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Great Britain TheNameDaniel
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ESO: danielek
Location: UK

20 May 2020, 11:30

Love this, some mistakes have been found tho.
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Kiribati SirCallen
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ESO: DJ2Strong
Location: Midwest best west

20 May 2020, 15:31

Lots of good propaganda in this post.
Defunct Analyst. Amateur de-tilter. King of Catan. Father to three beautiful smurfs :smile:
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China Zeke
Posts: 188
Location: Turtle in base xD

21 May 2020, 01:30

Add the showmatch plz if it is decided!
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United States of America giveuanxiety
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ESO: GiveUAnxiety

21 May 2020, 07:07

nice write up
Lasol wrote: :hmm: just Saw a YouTube video with giveyouanexiaty. He Said check youre stove, if you Want to improve youre aoe3 skills.

WHAT does check your stove means? And how do you do it?

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