I feel like I'm always starting with apologies - but I apologise for the lack of posts the past few days. I've suffered with motivational/creative issues on what to write about and really my mind was solely focussed with G2 and the whole Cryn/Sirboss situation that was ongoing and how I could best prep the boys for playing Empire.
That being said... Pro League is over and done with for this half of the season. I'm going to take a look at EU first, then NA - given these are the main two regions in my mind. Should I feel compelled I might hit up LATAM and APAC at a later date.
Starting with EU then
Rogue have performed very well and remain the only team across EU to be unbeaten over 7 games, only TSM can match this record of 0 losses. Rogue have, over the past few seasons been traditionally very strong online and relatively weak on LAN, which is interesting and therefore not necessarily a surprise that they're top of the pack coming in to the half.
They looked a little shaky early days with draws but their form over the past 3 is W-W-W so they'll be fancying themselves to have a good SI 20 and get to Season XI finals.
Empire are a team most would class as top 2 EU, potentially even the best in the world. The bookies think that Empire are most likely to win SI and for good reason, they're the current Major Champs, finals of last SI and have looked crazy strong in Pro League.
So despite that, they definitely won't be happy with where they're at. Sure they're second but they've only achieved their desired result in 4 out of 7 games - with a draw vs Rogue and a loss vs ForZe and G2. They'd have expected minimum 15 points, so not far away but not where they wanna be at.
I still suspect that they will go deep at SI, They've got all the skill and talent to do so, when they're been good this season, they've been really good.
I mean absolutely no disrespect here, but this is huge for Vitality. I don't think many people would have sat Vitality here. I have much love for Vitality and I'm good mates with their analyst - Affy - but I did see them going through an adjustment period with 2 new players and therefore Id have put them around 6th/7th.
Their round differential is -5 which shows what kind of season they've had. They've been absolutely slapped, twice, on Border (Empire + Rogue). Other than that they've been strong generally.
Vitality appear to have 3 very comfortable maps, after that they seem quite shaky. Their Villa, Kafe and Bank are very strong - winning all of those maps this season however beyond that they appear to struggle - especially on Border.
Well, obviously I've got a vested interested and its a personal view. But...
I've enjoyed this half of the season, genuinely given the stuff that has been ongoing with the Cryn change and picking up Sir Boss - I'm pretty content with our position. Hopefully going on to good things with SI and the remainder of Season XI.
Had a few rounds gone other ways, we would have more points. VS Vitality we threw, hard. VS Rogue we had a few communication issues that led to us losing a 1v1 and a 2v1 - if they go the other way we're sitting pretty top of the pile. However - we're not pondering, we know we're good enough and we're gonna keep at it until we're where we want to be,
We had some very strong results too, putting BDS, Empire, Forze and NaVi to bed.
If you see value in my content, please consider making a small monthly donation via Patreon - all monies help with the ongoing running costs of the blog
Well, BDS moved out Panix and picked up Elemzje in a move that attracted a lot of hate/criticism. Their coach also leavine during the whole fiasco. It didn't look good, not going to lie but also their performances and results are about what you'd expect given they're a promoted team and had a new player.
They're only just in with a shout of making top 2 at end of Season XI and with a few stronger performances against the traditionally better teams, you'd hope they could get there.
They beat the teams you'd expect them to beat and have lost to the teams that you'd expect them to lose to generally - no real shock results either way.
They'll be looking for a good showing at SI and hoping to get out of their group.
NaVi really have been poor this season so far. I mean that in the nicest possible way as they will know it and as does everyone else. They've lost games they shouldn't have but they appear to be getting back on track with a solid win over BDS on Coastline recently.
Pro League is stacked this season, and NaVi seem to have suffered the most with it. Likely to do with the long term absence of Doki from their main line up. Pie is a good player, but in my opinion Doki brings a lot more balance to that team.
To say NaVi overachieved in Season X would be very harsh, but to maintain that kind of form in such a stacked Pro League was always going to be hard. In terms of SI they find themselves in the Group B of Death. Rogue and TSM top of their respective regions and SSG who are very strong on LAN.
I hope that NaVi truly have something spicy up their sleeve to pull out, its not been great for them but I believe that they can replicate their Season X finals form and go far.
Chaos are Chaos, nothing changes it appears. I don't mean to give any kind of disrespect but Chaos seem so consistently inconsistent it sometimes hurts my brain.
Now they beat us (G2) and Forze, but have lost to everyone else in actually what has been a lot of closer games than you'd expect - nearly taking draws off Rogue and NaVi.
I feel like Chaos have all the experience to be a really solid team and on their day genuinely can beat anyone - they surprised us. But they often aren't on their day fully and individual performances seem to let them down. When looking at individual ratings, the ratings are lower, KOST is lower. I don't really know what their issue is, as I say they have capacity to do very well, but they're not quite hitting it.
ForZe took Raleigh by storm, Tier 3 and Challenger League by storm. Hitting Pro League with relative ease - unfortunately they've become more of a cloudy patch rather than a storm.
At the start of the season, ForZe will have been hoping to beat Empire and NaVi and expecting to beat the teams they thought would be in and around them. They managed the first bit, two huge wins over Empire and NaVi - unfortunately for ForZe its the lesser games that they've struggled in.
ForZe know theres no relegation this season, so possibly thats playing in their mind. Get experience and really go for it next season - it will be interesting to see.
Overall, we've had a solid 1st half of Pro League with genuinely any team beating any team. Surprises have come, odd map choices, operator bans and general playstyles have been and gone.
Its no real surprise to anyone that Empire and Rogue make up the top 2. I dare say its not really a surprise that ForZe and Chaos make up the bottom 2 with the other 4 teams being G2, Vitality, BDS and NaVi all fighting in the middle ground.
The second half of the season really will be interesting as 5 teams have a realistic chance of top 2 and PL finals - maybe even ForZe, Navi and Chaos could with a good run.