Well, as I said in my column last week, it is the end of the season for most… or is it? Apparently not, as ETF2L Highlander will wrap up their regular season next week, and ESEA has decided to give us all a wonderful winter break and decided to start playoffs the first week of January.
But enough of that. It’s time to cover our latest results.
First of all is the TeamFortress.TV ZOWIE Invitational conducted this past Sunday. The first tournament conducted of its kind by TeamFortress.TV, it comprised top teams of North American 6v6 in a competition for mouses and mousepads. Great job to those at TF.TV for their handling of the tournament, although there were some improvements that they could definitely make. Many surprises were had throughout the tournament, but we ultimately got to see the matches that everyone was expecting and hoping for: Classic Mixup vs. iT. iT easily dispatched Classic Mixup in the upper bracket finals, but Classic Mixup came roaring back to take the grand finals by storm, managing to defeat iT in a best-of-3 series. Although this tournament had no LAN implications or ESEA implications whatsoever (iT still remaining 16-0 for the season there), this was an exciting preview with iT showing the first chinks in their armor with a close defeat on Granary and a shutout on Viaduct that should seem awfully familiar.
On Tuesday and Thursday, UGC playoffs concluded with the grand finals. Street Hoops eSports was stunned by a surging MenaceToSociety who took the first final by winning Swiftwater and then Granary. However, the battle wasn’t over for MenaceToSociety, as Street Hoops eSports, being the upper bracket winner, would get another shot to take the title, if no longer undefeated. On Thursday, the two teams met again, this time with the winner going home with the gold. Street Hoops eSports started off with a very strong start, crushing MenaceToSociety on Upward and taking the series lead 1-0. MenaceToSociety still hungered for the gold, however, and sitting at 2-1 with less than a minute to go on Gullywash, they took advantage of a few breaks in their favor to tie up the round and force it to a tiebreaker, which they would manage to win. With both teams tied up, the teams moved to Viaduct to duel it out. Ultimately, Street Hoops eSports would show their mettle and pull out a 3-1 victory over MenaceToSociety in order to take the crown as Season 11 UGC Highlander champions.
Finally, to end the week, the ETF2L grand final for 6v6 between Epsilon eSports and willy wonka’s chocolate factory. This match was not without controversy, as members of willy wonka’s chocolate factory claimed that they were threatened prize forfeiture if they forfeited and struggled to field their full lineup for the match, although they managed to get them all in time only to get summarily rolled by Epsilon on Gullywash and Viaduct. Thus, Epsilon eSports takes the title for yet another season, and this is rumored to be their last together. If anything is clear, it’s that today’s match was a waste of time for all involved , and that we might actually see some competition in European TF2 with the superteam finally fading into the shadows. Stay tuned.
Of course, that puts us here and now. ETF2L still is conducting Highlander matches, and ESEA is scheduling playoffs for after the holidays, so not many high-level matches will be available for the viewing in the next few weeks. Playoffs in ETF2L won’t be known until all matches are finished after break, but the ESEA playoff teams are as good as set in stone with the regular season over: the top 4 teams in Invite (of course at LAN), the top 4 teams of Main, the top 8 teams of Intermediate, and the top 16 teams of Open will all be playing for cash prizes come January.
That’s it for now. Given that there are no leagues that I’ll be tracking closely during the break, I’ll take the opportunity to wish all of you happy holidays! The rest of December will be comprised of articles discussing aspects of competitive TF2 that aren’t quite focused on current events, if you know what I mean.