17:00 CEST NSL Open tournament #3 Group Stage http://ensl.org/contests/412
Season 15: The Final Rounds
The Premiere Finale:
9L vs Saunamen
The premiere final is a clash between two very familiar and succesful team. Both Saunamen and Ninelegends play big roles in European NS history and there's always a bit of extra excitement when the veterans face each other in the battlefield.
As for the upcoming Finals, it's a tough call. The teams haven't been very active lately, which was clearly visible in their semi-final games that involved quite a bit of mistakes here and there. Still, both teams also displayed the characteristic calmness and adaptibility that the most succesful teams are known to showcase. All in all both teams still play very entertaining and fluent NS that is always worth watching.
The inconsistent settings make predicting even more of a guesswork than usual. In general I think 9L is a few notches ahead in skill, but Saunamen have shown such fluent teamwork and strategy execution that neither of the teams seem to have too decisive of an advantage. One of the notable factors is that Marko is most likely playing in the 9L ranks, which eliminates one of the former Sauna cornerstones from their potential lineup.
The maps are another notable factor on this match. 9L has picked Veil, which favours their skill intense play, while Saunamen have picked the traditional Finn map, Origin. Both of the maps quite clearly favour the picking team, so a 1-1 after Veil would put Saunamen into a good position while 9L will be looking for a 2-0 in the same map. The tiebreakers should be quite even. 9L might have a slight advantage in the most familiar Tanith, while Peach's adaptible commanding turns into Saunamen advantage on less played maps.
If I had to put my money on the line, I'd put them on the more active 9L lineup. However, neither of the teams has shown flawless game lately, so there should be a good fight for each round. My prediction is 4-2 for 9L, taking Tanith 2-0. If it goes longer than 3 maps, Saunamen grows the favourite to me.
The Div 2 Semi-Finals:
changin THE METAGAME vs New Team
If the season so far is any indication, this should be an extremely even match. THE METAGAMERS have got a slightly stronger season so far, but not by a very notable margin. Also, the regular season game between these to teams finished in a draw, so there's no clear favourite here.
New team has been practising a bit lately, which might give them the advantage they need. Otherwise it's a coin flip, a lot depending on the METAGAMER lineup. The depends on little margins like lifeforms living or dying on the high ping server or early rushes damaging the economy for a bit of extra breathing space.
Knowing that New Team has had some PCWs and not having heard so much from the METAGAMERs, I'll call New Team a slight favourite here. 4-2 for New Team.
250 de ping vs Stray Dogs
This one should be a bit easier to predict. 250 de ping has been victorious in every match this season. They 4-0'd SD in the regular season match between the two teams and have a far stronger record than SD in general.
SD has been practising at least a bit lately, but I feel it's not going to be enough to turn around the whole match. Interestingly the first map will be ns_metal, which rarely gets seen in the final picks. It's probably the map where SD has the better chance of making a big upset and surviving to the div 2 finals. If Metal doesn't work for them, 250 de ping should be quite comfortable in securing their final spot.
3-1 for 250 de ping, SD taking metal aliens.