17:00 CEST NSL Open tournament #3 Group Stage http://ensl.org/contests/412
The Semi-Final Coverage!
I've been looking for PCWs to spectate all week, but it seems to be almost all gathers at this point. For the most of the teams the last HLTV demos are 3-4 weeks away and before the inactivity. So... Right now I can only throw some nearly blind guesses on how the teams are doing and whether they actually are capable of fielding a team in the first place.
Take Over - 2Balls
Both the teams have some active members, but I haven't seen either playing any tougher games within a week or so. Both commanders, x-man and jiriki seem to be active in gathers, but obviously just gathering isn't going to help team coordination all that much. Some members from both teams have played occassional gathers and pub games, but otherwise the shape of the team seems like anyone's guess.
Before the inactivity, 2Balls and tO* seemed to play a lot of draws, which doesn't help predicting one bit. I think right now we are playing a bit closer to 2Ball's comfort zone with all the inconsistent play going on. Their regular season games are somewhat close to what I'd expect to see on this match unless some team magically recovers their full shape. Take Over also needs their top lineup to fight this one off. Without King Yo's lerking, x-man's commanding and Fana's field experience they are already a far less formiddable team.
Like I said, not that many facts to predict on. If tO* can play somewhat on their level and we'll see a high quality match, I'll call it 4-2 for Take Over. However, any sloppiness will still result in 2Balls rocking past them and taking the final spot. Almost too close to call right now.
Quick update: Yesterday 2Balls lineup showcased some convincing victories over a makeshift Take Over lineup with 2 mercs. I don't know if it's any indication of today's match. 2Ball's marine round was amplified by Peach's commanding, while the Take Over was missing x-man's commanding and clearly suffered from the lack of a regular lerk. Should Peach play and Take Over field a makeshift lineup, I'd rank 2Balls the favourite here.
Rambos - NewstyleD Return
There have been a plenty of rumour of forfeits on this one, but I'll try to scrap up some thoughts on this one too.
Rambos have been all quiet for the last 3 weeks. Snake, ret and pyro have been seen on gathers, but that's roughly it. I've still got some confidence on their play though. Considering how quickly Sonder has improved in his commanding, I think he'll feel pretty natural in the chair even after the break. The biggest question is rambo probably the Rambo alien round, especially with Almaty's lerking just recovering from the break.
I haven't seen that much from NewstyleD either. Multivac is putting up big hours of gather and public play, but the rest don't seem to be that active. NewstyleD was dependand on Multi's performance even before the break, but right now the whole team lives or dies with his performance.
If this gets played, I'll still give Rambos the upper hand. 3-1 for Rambos.
Stray Dogs - New Team
The series is 3-3 at the moment, all alien wins. Both teams are playing pretty standard, but seem to lack the true big hit performances. Almost every round has been somewhat even struggle, but neither of the teams simply manages to push the 2nd hive or manage their late game good enough to field the dreaded proto army in it's full power. So far SD has been closer to taking the marine win, especially on Veil they were close to reaching the critical mass of jetpacks and map control to secure the victory.
Depending on the tie-breaker maps, it could be either of the teams. I think SD will have a good chance of sealing the deal if Veil gets replayed, but otherwise both of the teams require a bit of extra on their performance or help from the opponent to take the marines. Before Veil gets revisited, it's as even as it gets.
That's all for now. I'll get back to you when I've got some match results and demos to work with.