Hi there, we are trying to get the predictions running now. As previous seasons, TrC and I are doing the preds. Big thanks to TrC for helping me out with these again.
Right now the matches to predict are a bit of a mess. Half of the week 2 is played already and there is still a match from week 1 left. Professors - (PNH) also got played before I could finish the pred post from my part. Hopefully we'll get properly back on track next week.
Professors vs (PNH)
Professors newly formed clan with few activity monsters (noway, Necros). They are probably the clan with highest chance to improve in this season. Their team is pretty balanced skillwise (unlikely take over) allowing them to use anyone for any task. The very little I have witnessed of their play, shows that they lack team "leader" who calls the shots and small mistakes may cost them points as opinions differ heavily. They are the number one candinate for div2 in this group A.
(PNH) started bad in the first week, they lacked pretty much every aspect you can and even luck wasnt on their side. (PNH) play is too dependable on their few players whos performance fluctuate every now and then. Despite the bad start I believe they will show us excellent team coordination in next games as their opponents will be slightly of less skill.
Professors are the favorite here, but with a slight mistake or exceptional play by (PNH) the momentum may change sides. Professors prefer DC's and shotguns over the usual tactics, while (PNH) prefer the most conventional means, MC for mobility and silence. (PNH) highest chance lies in frustrating the enemy thus early victory is crucial for both teams.
I predict 3-1 for Professors.
2BALLS vs Stray Dogs
Stray dogs season started poorly, unable to field 6 own players in either pcws or ensl match they lack the very activity that lead them previous ensl div2 championship. Despite the major player changes there are few capable players left and SD will strife for div2 championship again. Thanks to Russian standard for giving SD a chance to still competite and lets hope that SD can come over the loss of those activity pillars SD had.
2BALLS clearly a strong team, their roster is full of known names and they will be aiming for the div1 finals. Pretty much everyone can do any job decently but I would think sublime will be lerking and Tane fading. Their teamwork was a wreck against take over but no were near as weak for lower tier teams to take advantage off. That said, with a good level of activity and rage I find it hard for this team to drop before finals.
2BALLS plan on destroying SD and will succeed without a doubt unless Dogo pulls off a few magic tricks to confuse this veteran team. Lets say Dogo actually pulls something off and manages to get 1 round off this team.
I predict 3-1 for 2BALLS.
Stray Dogs - Russian Standard
Stray Dogs haven't yet opened their season, so this is going to be a blindshot for the most of it. The inactivity is never a good signal though. The SD lineup has gone through some changes from their last season Div 2 champion team. Most notably Doctor isn't commanding anymore and the lineup seems to lack an experienced commander. As for the rest of it, the inactivity of old teams like Quaxy and TeamF has supplied SD with some relatively oldschool Finnishing power. All in all, the lineup has got quite a bit of skill and experience in form of players like Mulk and Sub Zero, but I feel the lack of marine leader and activity is going to hurt them quite a bit.
The Russian Standard is another bunch of relatively new (in terms of NS scene) Russian players I'm not that familiar with. The most significant thing in their lineup is the lack of known carryplayers as both Almaty and Snake are missing from the present Russian lineup. _PC and Ares are probably both capable of decent commanding, but the shotgunner and lifeforms seem like anyone's guesses to me.
Apparently the Russian Standard more active than the SD, so I'm placing them as a favourite here. The two biggest factors for SD will probably be their commander and Sub Zero's marine performances. For the Russians it's a top priority to try to shut down Sub Zero's marine round before too much damage is done. Ru also needs decent performances on marine all over the lineup to make up for the lack of total KO punchers.
My prediction is 3-1 for the Russian force.
Rambos - Russian Standard
Rambos were the runners up in last Nightcup and qualify for the top tier teams this season. Their nightcup lineup has gone through some changes, most notably the departure of frG, aA and Multivac, but also the addition of wltrs(!). On marine rounds they've got Sonder commanding. He has solified his positions as one of the good commanders left in NS, but I think the inexperience still shows sometimes a bit on unnecessary risks and less optimal strategies. On other key roles they've got Almaty lerking almost for sure, but after that they've got a few options for fading and shotgunning. Snake can do both in a decent manner, but having wltrs, even if rusty, in the lineup might be a too big boon to pass on those roles.
I wrote my thoughts on the Russians on the SD-RU prediction. I'll get back to them once they've played some matches.
Rambos seem like a clear favourite here. They simply have enough of individual skill to match Ru on every area. At that point the Russian team simply runs out of players who can deliver that extra bit to put the oppositing team off-balance. So, I'd expect somewhat even rounds that still steadily turn into the favour of Rambos.
My pred is 4-0 for Rambos.