Hey everyone, Dooms Day here. It’s that time of year again – playoffs are upon us. It was a very enjoyable and competitive Halo 4 AGLA season this year and honestly anyone in the field, in my opinion, can take the ship. As a captain, I got to know all of these teams very well and I’m going to be taking a look at the first round of playoff action for the Halo 4 league. Keep in mind these are just my opinions and I don’t mean to offend anyone by them. With that said lets jump right in to two Wild Card match ups:
Wild Card 1
Vital Signs (12-4) vs. First Strike (11-5)
Season Series: 1-1
Vital Signs Projected Starting Lineup:
Spares: Rekamcipdiputs / ArmanMaNarma
First Strike Projected Starting Lineup:
Spares: Nuclear Taco 42 / WhiskeyFourNine
Vital Signs Overview:
This team’s success is based on one thing, Reign’s tanking power. Due to the shallow bid pool this season, Reign’s skill makes him stand out more than usual. Flat out, the guy can tank and tank well. I’ve found that when he connects to the host and leads his team in kills and plus/minus, that they will most likely win. In this kind of atmosphere, that’s all it can really take for Vital Signs to roll through an opposing team. If Reign goes off, and you know pretty early on in the game if he’s going go, than its most likely GG. It will be interesting to see how Niko and First Strike handle being on Reign friendly host for possibly two games as, once again, I’ve found that if Reign connects and does well, his team does well as a result. Now, there are people on this team besides Reign, obviously. BUNiSAURUS aka QueenoftheSea is also a great tank in her own regard. She compliments Reign well and they’ve played together a good bit which means they have a lot of cohesion between them. Freakshow is another solid tank that works well with both of BUNi and Reign. He’s not going to really overpower you, at least that’s the impression I got from his role in this Reign team when I played them, but he is able to control the game very well and slow it down when needed. The main question I have for this team, and it’s the same I’ve had since the beginning of the season is, who is going to be their forth? The last time I played them they plugged in johnmo97 and he actually played very well. Since Reign/Freakshow/BUNi are all tanks, the forth on this team is obviously going to run the ball. Can you trust john to do that in a playoff atmosphere, especially against a Niko team, who is always defensively minded and extremely well run. I don’t know? But if he displays a similar skill set as he did the final time my team played Vital Signs, I do feel like he do just fine in the playoffs (if he does indeed end up playing).
First Strike Overview:
Niko knows what he’s doing when he makes teams. I don’t think people give him enough credit as a captain, both as a bidder and as a tactician. He understand the ebb and flow of the game well, better than most of the other players I’ve played with in the league. First Strike is built on this foundation. They play a smart game. Not a lot turnovers, strong defense. Pretty much what you expect from a Niko team. After a rough start, Niko turned this team from a possible train wreck into a true championship contender. And I’m not just saying that because his team was the only one to beat mine twice. If I haven’t mentioned this already, this team is just very solid. Niko is a very solid tank and can be a downright dominant one when he gets on a host he likes. Crobar is a fantastic runner, for pro or ammy. I truly believe he’s in the top 10 runners in league, not just because of his running abilities but because he’s can be a downright dirty tank when he wants to be. Ullr is a great compliment tank. Like Niko, he’s very smart and understands the game better than most players in the league. And ReactiveWinter is the wild card. When on her game, she can be just as dominant as most of the tanks in the league. But the question is, will she be on her game? She made great strides since the beginning of the season and seems to have gotten back to her former level of play. If she plays like she did the last time my team played First Strike then I feel like this team will be in pretty good shape with players 1-4 heading into the wild card game.
This is going to be a close series. A lot is going to come down to whether or not Niko and his team is able to adapt to a host that Reign choses for games one and three. The last time I played Reign’s team, he used Bear is Clutch’s host and the only person that could connect was Reign, which meant that the game was pretty much unwinnable. If this happens to Niko and squad than I really don’t think First Strike has a chance. On and even playing field though, I take First Strike to win. I think they’re a deeper team and figured out a lot of things with their struggles early on that made them a better team in the long run. But here’s the thing, this is NOT an even playing field. Reign has home court for games one and three. And I believe he uses this to his advantage and takes his tank heavy lineup and makes them almost unbeatable in games one and three. I still think it’s going to be a close tilt in each game, but I’m taking Reign’s team in this one simply because of tanking advantage he and his team has on host. Sorry Niko, maybe next year.
Game 1: 5 – 2 (Vital Signs)
Game 2: 5 – 3 (First Strike)
Game 3: 5 – 3 (Vital Signs)
Winner: Vital Signs
Wild Card 2
One Hit Wonders (12-4) vs. Eclipse (10-6)
Season Series: 1 – 0 (One Hit Wonders)
One Hit Wonders Projected Starting Lineup:
Rage More Nerd (C)
Spares: Broley the Legend / NAV Rebel
Eclipse Projected Starting Lineup:
Solace VIII (C)
Genesis in 8Bit
Spares: Triumph Penguin / Teaguey222 / GLORP
One Hit Wonders Overview:
Right from the start of the season, I had feeling this team would be good. Rage is really smart when he puts together teams and by picking up NOPLEX he had one of the best 1-2 punches in the league right off the back. You already know what Rage and NOPLEX bring to the table. Both can run if need be and both are pretty good tanks. You can argue that, apart from Reign, Rage is the best tank in this particular bid pool. No the questions for OHW come with their third and forths. I had great reservations coming into the season that Taz and xSco could handle playing at this level as every day players. The two have a lot of experience playing with each other in their limited Grifball experience, so picking them up together was a smart move for Rage. He clearly did his homework as both have performed very solidly this season. Taz really impressed me with what I saw of him last Halo 4 season and he continues to impress me as a tank each time I see him play. xSco, well, he’s xSco. It’s been interesting to see him evolve as a player since he came into the league. He’s improved his tanking tenfold and his running has improved along with it. Still though, there are times when he can go off on his own, tending to go for spawn kills when it’s not the time to, or go for punches that are not needed – and those mistakes can kill your team in the playoffs. I have no doubt that Rage and NOPLEX have a lot to do with Taz and xSco’s play and evolution as players this season. The question headed into the playoffs is, can the two young rookies handle the added pressure that comes with being in the playoffs? I’m honestly not sure, but both of them continue to prove me wrong so, honestly, that’s probably going to be the case this time.
As the team that slid into the last wildcard spot, Eclipse has a lot to prove. Captained by Solace VIII, this team from the start already had one of the best tanks in the league as a foundation to build a team around. Solace went out and got another solid tank to compliment him in Cutthroat912. He’s a control tank that matches Solace’s pure push style well. After Cutthroat though I wasn’t really sure who would get playtime on this team coming into the season. NinjaYoAss is a player who continually impresses me each time I see him play. I have no problem with him being a third/forth on a team right now as there’s nothing I’ve seen the past two seasons to change that mindset. The interesting piece here is Genesis in 8Bit. Coming into the season, I really thought that Triumph Penguin was going to be the forth but Genesis snuck in and ran away with the spot. I’m not really sure how much experience Genesis but from what I’ve seen he’s actually a pretty solid support tank. In a normal ammy season, I think he could have been one of the best pickups of bid pool. It will be interesting to see, much like OHW’s ammy duo, how these two rookies perform. Much of this battle will come down to which duo performs better.
As I mentioned, I believe this matchup will come down to which ammy duo plays the best. Will it be Taz/xSco or Ninja/Genesis? When it comes down to it, I just think that Rage and NOPLEX have gotten their rookies in better playoff shape than Solace and Cutthroat have. Also, Rage has home court advantage for two games, so he and his team will have the tanking advantage on paper for games one and three. I do think this series will be closer than most people think it will be, but in the end, OHW’s squad and rookies are just a little bit better than Eclipse’s. That being said, regardless of who wins, I can’t wait to watch these games (hopefully) on stream and I hope you all are too. There’s a ton of young, new talent in this series and it should be great to watch.
Game 1: 5 – 2 (One Hit Wonders)
Game 2: 5 – 4 (One Hit Wonders)
Winner: One Hit Wonders