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Tier 2 Semi-Finals:
Here are the tier 2 predictions. The Premiere predictions can be found on another topic for easier browsing.
Stray Dogs - 250 de Ping
Stray Dogs have been doing surprisingly well this season, beating DS 3-1 and even managing a 4-0 sweep against TTS. Doctor's comming has brought some needed backbone to the marine rounds and the good activity has taken care of the rest. Right now SD looks like a decent contender all the way to finals.
The Argentinian 250 de Ping has had some unused potential all season long. They've got some skilled individuals and moments of excellent play, but the overall routine still isn't strong enough to hold the advantage in many cases. On their good moments they can threaten any team in the tier 2 finals, so it's never a good idea to count them out.
This one can go either way. Preseason I'd definitely have predicted a win for the 250 de Ping, but the Stray Dogs seem to have found a pretty good rhytm for their play and the activity just keeps making them more consistent. The Argentinians on the other hand haven't been developing their performance as rapidly, but their experience on this level of play might help out a lot. SD seemed to handle the laggy conditions surprisingly well against the Demonic Soul, so I wouldn't give the 250 pingers that much of home ground advantage here.
My guess is that Stray Dogs manage to take this home on 3rd map. 4-2 SD.
Tuxedo Men - Demonic Soul
Tuxedo Men are another steadily improving and active team that looked much less of a threat before the season. Right now they are my favourite for winning the whole tier 2. I'd expect to see a little bit more fragging from Atman, but otherwise their game seems to be very much where it's supposed to be.
Demonic Soul is once again a challenging one to analyze. They have got some extremely skilled individuals, but then again the team just seems to lack the practise partners to get the whole lineup in a well coordinated effort. For example the 3-1 loss against SD they looked disorganised and the team didn't react in time in many situations. Still, their late game marines and alien game are excellent at best, so never count them out.
My guess is that Tuxedo Men can take this. 3-1 for TM as they take veil 2-0.
Stray Dogs vs. 250 de Ping
Stray dogs finished second last in their group but that tells very little of their improvement as B group was overally more skilled than the A one. They won 2/3 of the "div2" opponents they played which would have granted them the chance for div2 semifinals but due U GO?'s forfeit to DS.kor they dropped below. Luckily Newstyled Return folded giving them a chance at div2. Unfortunatly I have very little info on their game play this week cause they either simply to refuse to play us (take over) or just have been playing bad times. Judging from their ensl match I say they have a very good chance though, gameplay priorities are often off kilometers but I guess it is the luck factor that usually makes the game interesting. They have adapted the normal mc tactic well, as well as many things like scouting at the start, good acting against Newstyled when they spawncamped the hive and occassionally nice skulk performance like Circoidro soloing phil's sg and Kuo noobifieing cappers at west. Res biting was very slow, they should have 1 biting always if its possible and otherwise game tempo was slower than it could be so dont think do it! Marine play was a bit muggy though, c-team managed to cap res easily with no resistance at all (thanks to bad scouting), but they never bothered to defend them until they were down. Lerk was also dominating them but maybe it was just because of phil. Comms priorities were off and due bad res pressure and success fades swarmed SD. Stray dog's has some potential and if they continue they just maybe something more in the future. Their fades received very much bad mouthing on HLTV but I guess they are decent at this level, Kuo seems to handle fade best despite his habit of flashing. Miglezz++ have been the lerk but I can see Doctor lerking/fading too. Kuo's shotgun was on quadkill mode against Newstyled and he will be the one receiving it again. Valo's marine skillz are a big mystery as he pwns in NSTALENT but performs half-assedly on ensl matches (must be admin hax). Miglecz++, DeZ (ppez), Doctor and Dogo also have decent marine aim but nothing really spectacular.
250 de ping have started their first season very nice although their position as 3rd in A group was decided by coin toss, they did perform almost insanely good on alien. From first 2 matches I noticed very little good things on marine play but Hitman's aim was one of them. I had to change my opinion when they played Ninelegends as they were close as what I would have called a practically won game. Still I believe they lacked the experience of long games thus failing it to the more experienced team. High ping game will have its own problems but as an Argentina team they have more experience on it, and it will be one of the key elements in this fight. Although alien play was very solid and calculated, res biting was sacrificed making earlier games longer and less predictable but I believe they have adjusted their game slightly to avoid such long comfortations. Snail will probably fade, fitoX continues as a lerk and marines will be carried by Snail and Hitman.
Stray dogs prefer three man shell pushing usually with 1 shotgun, it is the most common type of pressure while 1/2 build the base and cap the nodes while aliens focus on the attackers. 250 de ping has the faith on shotguns and they will push with 2 together or not. SD's alien play will consist mc's and silent skulks with 2 rts while 250 de ping prefer mass nodes usually with the DC upgrade. Knowing this SD have to start with an armslab as motion can be very tricky against cara lifeforms especially fade's if armor 1 is late. Like in every game, warm up/preparation/mood and choosing priorities correctly will be deciding the winner. I heard these two clans were practising with each other often before SD's DS.kor game and it will be interesting to see whether if they really know their opponent or has either one improved from the earlier. Good alien play vs sloppy to bad marine play is not a good combo and the winner will not be decided by first two map. The hard work 250 de ping have done to improve their marine play pays of in the ns_metal!
I predict 5-3 for 250 de ping.
Stray Dogs - Dogo (All around), Valo (marine), Kuo (Fade/Shotgunner), DeZ (marine)
250 de ping - Snail (Fade/marine), Hitman (marine), cond0r (skulk)
Tuxedo Men vs. Demonic Soul
Tuxedo men earned they position in div2 semi-finals by awesome activity and new recruits who have been skilling up nicely (Hanzo and orb). Their gameplay is however a little inconsistent as we have seen then take rounds from high mix's and U GO? but then getting ass-whipped by take over or 250 de ping. Apparently they did not have best possible lineup in ensl matches which is very regrettable but lets hope they can play DS.kor on good time and bring their best on. Tuxedo men will probably bring psyc0mus as Fade, Jiriki lerking and 2 marines worthy of mentioning Hanzo and atman their newest recruit. Tuxedo men proved that their marine play is not weak by taking tanith against turning point and in order to win they have to win at least 1 of them.
Demonic Soul has been playing below their skill level almost whole season, strange and sloppy executions from time to time and odd marine decisions (which isnt new btw) have cost them quite a few rounds. Invidually difference skill level and game sense is large between players and often it makes big openings for aliens/marines to strike deathly blow (killing cappers/covering for example). To overcome this is by all means no easy task and I hope to see how DS.kor plans to defeat this weakness. DS.kor's activity is a bit mystery to me again but if they are able to play 2 pcw's/day I think it will motivate and bring in the necessery sharpness they have been missing. Nec0's and effy's fades have been the most effective but effy will be lerking (RT biting silence lerk was hilarious btw) and I really recommend adreline lerk you just have to trust scouting and parasites on this one. Nec0's cunning skulk is to be feared even in high level and marine play is probably up to Nec0's shotgun dancing. Effy's lmg cant be underestimated and people will be cornered at least couple times whether they like it or not. As for tactics I think Tuxedo men go with motion in marine play as they prefer control and strike for end game with protolab upgrades. In alien play they will go with the normal 2 rt mc's tactic. DS.kor will use shotguns a lot and pressure the nodes harder than ever to erase submissiveness in their marine play. Mass nodes are not out of options on alien rounds as DS.kor have very strong skulk play when they are at their full exponential. The winner is hard to predict 2-2 is more than likely, the key will be warming up with every likely lifeform you will play (30min or so) to avoid flash lifeforms we dont want to see (or do we?). Not scouting or parasiting can change the game flow to side or another and the game will be decided by "small" things like this.
I predict 2-2 initially and DS.kor winning 4rd map 2-0 thus
I predict 5-3 for DS.kor
Tuxedo men - Jiriki (all around), psyc0mus (Fade), atman (marine), Hanzo (marine/skulk)
Demonic Soul - nec0 (skulk/fade), effy (fade)