From the 34 signed up clans I'm going to try and do a coherent guide to top clans contending for a spot in this season EuroCup XXVI.
Mind you the list of clans this season is rather small and a maybe almost half of clans signed up should well be above requirements we think there are for playing in EuroCup.
From 34 signed up clans 8 maybe getting a direct invite, and up to 8 clans will battle out to determine clans that will qualify for this season top most TDM Cup, as I've gathered so far.
We should start from the most obvious 5 choices for clans that would get a direct invite based on their skill teamplay and legacy.
As they have taken the last season showing nothing but best possible team play and rather amazing aim. Lexaa, Pavel_ 421, mt_ctapocta and latrommi make a team that has yet to show a weak game. Even tho they suffer from bad routing and high ping, that doesn't stop them rushing over and winning most games they play. Rather fine addition in latrommi made their game and practice even more stable and frequent as this is one of most active clans around. They know all maps, as we have seen they don't shy from any map relying on great team play ability to compensate for ping and any other issue. I expect a lot from them this season.
A non toxic colwn you say? Another Mega quake team you say? You're right!! Depending on whether they will call upon stermy these guys are: link1n, winz, gerppa, hazrd and deus, at least on the teams players list. These guys have almost 15 years of playing under their belts and most come from a CTF background playing on big tournaments and winning. Link1n and winz you know from ic and colwn, as well as stermy and you know gerppa from Xenitorium fin powerhouse which once owned with a lineup consisting of purri , frx, gerppa, wit, Kekkie. All in all you can expect a lot from Unknown this season, even jeopardizing another Cup win off Deliberate murder. We all know a lot about these guys, and these kinds of teams so I won't go in any further. On a sidenote you might be able to get them on a newer map like limbus or terminus since they haven't practiced them yet, but I'm sure they will correct for that oversight.
This once all Italian team made it's way from lower divisions by having a very good aim base, past experience coming from players with CTF background and heavy activity and team play. Lately, though, with significant changes to their lineup you could say they've become a stronger team and a threat to top teams this season. Switches include q50 (also in Unknown APL), and dibbe (ex nEu) while remaining core players are zyrinx and dimitri. We've seen them play online and on LANs and enjoyed many entertaining games played by these players. Having won second place in last years EC they could be hungry for the gold and we should expect them to go for it!
This team is one of greatest and oldest team in QL top TDM scene. With much experience under their belts and reinforced with frs (ex Xenitorium) they are looking to be more active and play for the top spots in this season. We all know that players like nightops, ZLC, frs, blajnd, dash and gizmo can break any team around by pure teamplay even though their aim isn't lacking. We've grown accustomed to great games from this team and I expect them to go further this season.
We've seen that after qualifying last season play too the CUp serious and made good progress in it. When most people count only on purri making this team EC ready they are sorely mistaken. Players like Shuugh, senti(ex QPO), mobius make this team stand out from the rest. Not a bad player amongst them and each can hold his own. We've all come to respect how they made their way into EC without using or abusing any of the other odlschool QUAKELIVE legendary players. While most other teams disbanded or switched out their player base these guys are still sticking together and playing hard, being active and deserve a direct invite for it. One of rare cases of a stable team from which we can expect nothing but great games and best effort to win.
With 5 places for direct invites filled I would turn to what teams do we see as confirming their skill by playing and being active. Sadly not many, expecting a direct invite having personal lives and no time some of these teams are lacking in active preparation for this season. Team i'm talking about are sitto, aCtion, Unknown and maybe even play lately. With almost no games logged and serious change to map pool this season we can expect some holes in map knowledge and teamplay from these teams. But I asure you it won't be long lasting, we are talking about some of the most experienced players around, who only need a few instances and games to adapt to new maps and tactics. Unlike deliberate murder which showcased a match and can be considered one of top clans by activity, most other clans are most likely waiting for invites and a week before EC to put in some game time and prepare for this season properly. This however does not apply for all teams I've considered for this season, nor does it mean that there won't be some upsets based on changes in map pool.
Let's focus now on the remaining 3 spots for direct invites and remaining 11 teams wanting for the spots. We will first cover teams we have from previous EC season which you'd expect to get a direct invite. With disbandment of top teams like 4Kings and nEu you'd expect more room for new teams. But we've got 4 old teams and 3 spots left. When we count in newer teams we get quite a conundrum.
This team has played on top level for quite a bit now, showing remarkable skill and teamplay. Even though their line changed a bit lately they are still a big contender for a direct invite spot. Sporting players like miso, rav_pl, deith, zorre, Guismo and maybe they can still add Italian FFA star tony. This makes for quite a formidable team even though they lost a stable player in oldsplatterhand(gwynplaine) who checked in for newly formed 2K clan, and snakee who switched teams to Lemmings Effect. Supported by a legend of Quake doz3r(ex 4Kings), also this seasons cup co supervisor they are in a good place to get ready and play this season on a top level. I don't quite expect them to upset top 4 teams listed so far, but playing against play for a 5th place is easily imaginable. Main problem for this teams is providing a stable lineup for practice games and being active on a larger scale than random pickup game or 2v2 TDM match. I hope they put in more time and get prepared so they can participate and maybe win some important matches.
I very much admire this team based on their past and the way they fought and got their EuroCup spot last year. Teams like this, that start from lower divisions, represented by players from the same nation improving their teamplay each game and each season really show how much you can get by putting in time and practice in this game. Here is where it all falls into water. I haven't seen them log in any games lately. not even pickup games. one of their teams cornerstone players TripleSex switched teams to play in newly formed l0wfly, which in my eyes seriously impacts their game style and teamplay in general. I haven't seen if they have got a replacement for TripleSex but I sure as hell also haven't seen them play any games as of late and that by far diminishes their claim to more than a qualifier. I'm hoping they will rpove me wrong, stick with this season, qualify, or get a spot and play some of the best games we get to see this season, but I highly doubt it. Personally I think they should get a qualifier or maybe paly some games before the season starts showcasing their new lineup.
Interesting team that we saw in mostly polish lineups brought av3k to some serious TDM games and serious TDM level. I personally think this is great, and I love the fact that we can see a duel legend playing outside of any MEGA TDM star gather team and provide for a more versatile TDM scene. But it's not all av3k and there is more to this team than a legend dueler. On the teams roster we have nhsb (CTF background), noobakillah(ex - en3my), Kekkie (ex Xenitorium), alfaomega, x1ks. All very good TDM players with great aim and really solid teamplay. What I see as a main problem again is lack of activity and practice. These guys haven't played together lately and I'm not even sure if av3k is going to support playing TDM this season. I guess it largely depends on their assessment of their chances in EC and in getting a direct invite or needing to qualify. Personally I don't like the idea of giving spots to teams that really haven't participated in anything meaningful from the last seasons and haven't shown any games in a long period of time.
We've all seen how much teamplay this team shows when playing against some of the best. Winning usually eludes them by only hair difference in frags. During two times they played EC they haven't had a winning streak. LAst season they entered when they won a qualifying match against Lemmings Effect, adding a prominent quake talent of feeder into their lineup as well as frances unity. Main issue we see with this team other than serious lack of practice lately is ping issue making them quite a difficult opponent to most other teams. Usually they preffer playing on dutch or UK servers. Inspite adding players like feeder and unity District 9 mostly relies on all spain team and talent which is sometimes lacking in, sa I've said alreday, ping and stability. I haven't got a clue what is their current lineup, nor have they made any practice matches lately so I really can't say what is their current readiness for EC season. All I can say is that there is a strong possibility that feeder is going to support an all hungarian Team Virus this season, making them a strong candidate for an EC spot.
Given the benefit of experience I have a feeling that between 4 clans listed, remaining 3 spots could be filled but it wouldn't be a satisfactory solution for the scene. There are 7 more clans here to consider and this is where things get complicated. Not a lot of practice by teams that I've mentioned above is contrasted by a lot of practice by newcomer teams as well as some lower tier teams on the rise. Also there is a lot more to consider about a clan than their Cb past exclusively. I consider important noticing other results and leagues as well as lineups playing those matches.
Next I will list clans with very talented palyers biting at 4 teams I meantioned before and grabbing at those 3 slots with very valid reasons I think.
I enjoy watching these guys play. They seem to be having fun, and they seem to quite own this game each and every last one of them. They are: funnyB(kanin/4babies)(ex nEu, doctor+1, 4Kings), Snapcase(ex doctor+1,nEu), Empish(ex doctor +1, nEu), TripleSex(ex Skillz), Silencep(dno what exes to put here!). As you can see all very experienced TDM players and they have been active a lot lately, playing nightly and improving daily. I would call these guys better than most clans out there based on the way they are pushing them selves to limits of preparation. They have a talented lineup which for the most part stayed and played together which makes it a whole lot easier for them to get ready to play a great season this year.
This is my clan, so all objectivity fails me, but I'll try to do my best. We have grown from a div2 struggling clan into a really good clan most other listed here regularly enjoy a practice match with. We have played most clans and won against them. Rest assured our pedigree doesn't stand only on practice matches. While the summer hibernation period took out most clans, between 5 ending this years kuh3liga premiership cup Lemmings turned in 2nd while Deliberate murder finished first. Lemmings Effect is a clan that has stability issue though. while most clans have 4-5 active players Lemmings have 6-8 ranging from div1 to EC skill. Lemmings first lineup currently consists of prodx(oldschool player and ex EK), spawnz, kinko, snake, chubz, drki and we do our best to provide a good match no matter the lineup we play in. I think a lot of top tier teams have come to respect this team and talent in it and would consider us amongst top contenders for a direct invite let alone a qualifier. Since I can tell you that this clan is one of most active currently showing better and better results each game, you can also get that I'm basing my activity assessment on following quakelive clans as well as playing against them. I could go on about Lemmings and if anyone wants to know more, you only need to ask.
What to say, it seems teams with nation theme are forming closer we come to adroits. One of those teams is Team CZE led by krysa, quake legend on his own. But this time accompanied by debtorr (ex en3my/nEu), flatecek (ex en3my), wision (ex 4Kings) and any othe .cze player willing. After disbanding of 4Kings who went inactive and couldn't practice for new seasons krysa formed a team which I hope will kick ass on adroits and they have been very active lately. Even though they have but little experience playing together, they are showing an avid level of team play and have krysa to really focus them on performing better. I think they could be a top contender given another season of breaking in and maybe finding 1 more player to cover all bases. My personal reflection on them is similar to one I have of play>>. It's good to see a team with but 1 very prominent quake player gathering very good and talented players around him to for a very decent and strong team and enter TDM leagues. I hope they stick together and remain a team even after adroits passes.
Fielding an all German team also hoping to compete @ adroits TDM LAN tournament we've got randallFlag, olsplatterhand(gwynplaine), burns, ginzi as active players for 2K this season. We all know that this clan holds some of best people Quake has fielded in map makers and community guys. I've selected them based on the potential their team has to play great games when considering they have past experience playing as team GER in nation cups. I would like to see Fragmaster, mute and phyo getting active in TDM again and think it would strenghten their lineup and teamplay. But I can't say I've seen them play, or how would they compare against top TDM teams. All of this is comparable to other clans not being active only here you really are faced with a totally newly formed team.
Wow it's a third nation themed team in a row :). Well this all Hungarian team could be another contender for an EC spot. You might have noticed how Hungary gives us very high quality of TDM players like Gandhi, feeder, dash (from aCtion Ligan) etc. However my prediction is that Virus might field players like feeder(ex District 9), zlt, ark1, br4zil, Izl who have done so far in OpenCup when they last played. If you think about it these guys could easily deserve a qualifier since they've got to prove how ready they are. Why? Well, simply, because I haven't seen one game they played together in any lineup of players they have listed in a clan. They might not even go with feeder if he decides to stay in D9 this season. All of this is a lot of guesses since nothing is known for sure.
Last 3 clans I'm going to cover in this column are: Team evolution, Gentlemen Club and planB. I find these clans what most clans we see now in EC were.
Well I find these guys refreshing, a lot of talented duel players forming a tdm team and sticking with it makes it even sweeter. They have really shown progress and owned in last seasons OpenCup. they haven't been playing much since then and that is a shame, but given some preparation time and more stability and patience than in our last practice encounter, they could amount to a team worthy of taking maps, even winning against standard EuroCup clans. They currently are: ins, twister, n0ns, Freeman, and t1e of the active players I've seen either on pickups or on duel servers. They certanly are IMO the strongest teamplay clan from the OC contenders.
Team Evolution is one of more active low top skilled clan I've seen. They strive to win all their matches and have expectations of top level from their team. They currently have very talented players like fearz, dance, morpheus, ta1kun, sharpe, DM and are led by a very ambitious dude called Neyek. You can mostly find them enjoying pickups and playing anything they can. ESL, HOQ, CB and whatever else comes around. They have shown more stability and commitment than almost all the other clan listed in this column. And for that I think they do deserve a push to a right direction by giving them more serious matches and a chance to qualify for EC this season.
PlanB have been around and playing actively for a long time now. They are very talented and are showing great progress taking on teams like Deliberate murder to practice against. I would like to congratulate them on sticking trough the more hairy patches of being called cheaters and still playing and showing there is a newer pool of quake talent waiting to take over or enter the TOP TDM scene. Even thogh I can't say for sure, I find that when I consider this clan I think they could be set to qualify and ruind some other teams chances at playing this season. Also I find it refreshing to think about other clans than the usual suspects in this way.
This column is nothing but a rant and a way to get out the knowledge I've gathered about clans and what I think of them based on sign ups for this years CB EC XXVI season. I might be horribly wrong about some teams, or I might be right on spot, There is so much more to be written about them, and I simply can't do it like I've done this in one breath.
I've set 5 teams I think should get direct invites for this EuroCup and that is almost as far as I'll go. It's mostly because when I consider the remaining 3 spots and face myself with choice of removing clans like l0wfly, Team Mamut, Team CZE, or Lemmings Effect as top contenders for those spots it's really hard to remain objective.
I would however say this will be an interesting season on all levels High-Mid-Low on the TOP TDM level.
My personal directs and qualifiers are:
1. Deliberate murder
4. aCtion Ligan
6. Lemmings Effect
7. Team CZE
8. Team Mamut
** note that any of these clans could be replaced by planB team for any reason!
As for why, let's say it's mostly based on the skill and activity I've seen from these clans as well as previous encounters with them but taking into consideration their past Cb legacy as well as other results and leagues.
In the end it comes down to current supervisors and co supervisor to set qualifiers and invites and we shall see on Sunday night what is their perspective and what are their picks.