Church of Skill

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by [EmP] Celyth

     This is a write-up of my OWN PERSONAL perspective, feedback, and etc for the MWOWC MechCon 2016 Event, and maybe a little bit of horn tooting for my team.  This write-up will encompass, opinions of people, the setup leading to MWOWC, the work ethic, the drop analysis, the critiques, thoughts on the venue and the finale in that order.

   Next up, the people themselves; the crowd was amicable, and the employees that got hired to serve were also nice (I hear they were cheering for us, hahah) to Coburn and CarNaGe X.  It was cool to see a good lot of everyone, even if I couldn’t quite hear their some of their names over the loudness (I do remember you -42- guys though, helps that you do hang around Church so the name sticks better, lol).  228th’s dudes were pretty stand up and happy-go-lucky (as a matter of fact, so was Bandit and mdm), as my team can attest to.  EON is mmm, a lot like my own team.  A couple rude dudes (like me) here and there, with some nice, tame guys sprinkled in.  An example of my rudeness was the fact that I didn’t use my teammate’s real names even though I damn well knew their names; you can’t let the chance of calling someone “Twinky” IRL publicly slip.  I didn’t do the PGI Office Tour going on the day before though, so I have little input on the developers themselves.
   So, we get to the setup.  Going into the tournament finals, I told my team that it was straight up IMPOSSIBLE to lose two best of fives.  Twinky and Proton, to me, are straight superior to every other Assault pilot on the field.  I knew Da Red was a great light player and as a team leader, should be cunning and likely on parity with my own lights; but Igor could not come as the 2nd light for EON.  Our lights generally edged out unless they foolishly ran into Kodiak fire, which did happen.  As for the medium and heavy classes, I knew there were slight advantages in our favor there; Legolas’ name has always stuck to me back in Lords because he traded well.  I got an earful from Writhen and Proton about overconfidence and underestimating the opposition, but the first step to being the best, is believing you’re the best or will be the best.  After that comes work ethic and then execution.
   We watched a few of EON’s matches in the World Championships and MRBC beforehand, as they should’ve for us I suppose.  Things we knew going in… if we focus Cico, he’ll flip out and mess up their comms, if we can neuter Da Red, they lose their primary drop caller.  One of the funniest moments of the big day (which is now a meme on my team I suppose, much like “redrop,” etc etc, came from ) was when we had Cico and Quintt in a room with us waiting to receive the cheques and the first time we heard “dude” my team (not me or Nova, we missed it) went “DOOOOOD,” Cico summarily got slapped over the head by buddy Quintt, definitely a highlight.  It must’ve been embarrassing for Cico, so sorry.  I also knew that their tactics were ill refined and that they don’t seem to focus on caps (much like we didn’t at a point).  They would ball up, meet opposing forces, and attempt to outtrade, which would be suicide going against my team on the conquest mode.  There were a couple other things I knew, but they are clandestine, sorry.
   As for work ethic, 8v8s were set up every weekday pretty much for 4~ weeks leading up to the finale.  It was only 8 drops a day or so on average, but they were fairly intense, to the point where I’d get into a few arguments with select teammates about silly strats that may take us by surprise (like when the subject of Shadow Cats were brought up, asking that we wouldn’t know how to react when we already faced them when SJR used them).  Eventually, instead of the Shadow Cat, going into the drops, it was a Summoner (by Zeleglok) that would be the wild card we did not prepare for.  I did not play much of any public queue drops as well, so personally, other than strategizing and tracking performance, I only “played” around 2 hours per weekday.  Most people did significantly more, a few did significantly less.  Prior to that, we’d only “tryhard” these practices during the “Division A” matchups in the round robin and during the Regionals.  But overall, the practices, much like MLMW era practices, were generally much harder than any of the MWOWC matches (as we would actually lose a pretty significant number of drops, like 5-3 odds significant), followed up by SJR’s matches (also drops we would lose).
   We’re now at 1st set of execution.  Tourmaline went as expected, we refined our strat on Team 2 (the side we didn’t practice as much because we focused on Team 1 for the Regionals) to receive pushes better (after that defeat at the hands of SJR in the Regionals), the same tactics in my older blogpost were used.  For drop 2 positioning was off and it the match was a little close for comfort.  Drop 3 was the moment I realized, “these babies got teeth,” when they managed to trade on parity or outtrade us.  The spiders worked pretty well for them in Canyon, as we’d be stuck trading 5v8 (Twinky was pretty much hiding, as he was trained to do).  But as I said before, their strategies were ill refined and we took the win off conquest.

After the 1st set of matches, I knew it was straight up impossible to lose a single drop to EON.  I addressed my team that drop 3 was the closest they would be able to get to winning, and it would be downhill tilt from there.  When asked by journalists (You may have read his article already, thanks for the interview by the way, it was my pleasure) how it would feel going into set 2, I would reply with a succinct “very confident.”  Back home, team members on the Teamspeak got a hold of us and gave us a few tips here and there.  Specifically, heim and myself were playing too aggressively, and getting rekt too hard, but that is the price we pay when we need to peek out and see the field to make calls.  We also were told to focus the Summoner’s arm off to neuter it, which is why a Timber Wolf is generally a safer option (if we didn’t have access to the good hardpoints of the live client).  Being a long day already, I took caffeine into the bloodstream (drank energy drinks) right before the match and away I go.  Drop 4 went the same way as Drop 3, except this time I wasted a lot more ammo on their Spiders.  Before the time it was over, I was spent, and knowing that the enemy spiders would come from my home cap, I did the good ol’ power down trick on Kappa, on the opposite side of my home cap.  Others mentioned that Bandit’s voice got projected into Da Red though and he circled back to finish me off (Another reason we needed soundproof booths or something better to cancel noise).  Da Red was right next to the stage speakers, probably 4~ or so feet away, so it wouldn’t be too surprising.   It was a close match, which kinda forced me to think about alternatives to the deck we could put up to relieve trading pressure on this 5v8 trade mech deficit, but ultimately, we decided to just roll with the same thing going into Drop 5.  Drop 5 went a chunk better, the Tiltening was in full effect and my assumption that they would crumble came to fruition entering Drop 6.  When interviewed again post-game, my reply to what I thought of Drop 6 was that it was simply “desperate.”  We honestly expected more pushes coming from EON, which is why we shortchanged our decks on trading mechs.  Evidently, we found that happy medium where we could win caps, potentially outtrade them, and have breathing room just in case of a brawl.

Now for some critiques.  On top of the logistical critiques like the sound issues that could’ve arose, there are a couple or so things that should be done for the next time.  Solitude mentioned that the teamspeak channels weren’t locked when we got to the computers, so enemies could theoretically sneak into your channels, it got fixed shortly after.  A rule should definitely be made that once you join a lobby, you can’t swap your robots.  I thought it was common knowledge, but EON did swap out 5 tons, my team asked me to raise my hand high, but after 5 seconds or so, I told my team to roll with it going into drop 4 or 5.  At home, I couldn’t find a definite ruling on it anyways, so it wasn’t a violation.  Referees standing behind the teams would also be pretty good to scout out these shenanigans (as Bandit and mdm were too busy talking and casting).  The map banning idea was very cool and all, but playing on Canyon over and over, on the SAME SIDE AS MOST OF MY MWOWC MATCHES AS WELL, was a huge intelligence disadvantage.  We took pretty much the same positions as we did vs SJR and 228th in the Regional Qualifiers and throughout the 4 Canyon matches.  EON generally got closer and closer to winning when it came to drop 3 and 4, I would’ve liked at least a team swap to shake it up a bit (balances things out too) to keep both parties on their toes on strategy execution.  Perhaps there should be like…a map ban phase, play a map on each side once, then another map ban phase, play a map on each side once again, and make it a best of 7, or win by +2.  I would’ve also liked for my teammates a soundproof booth or something (I personally had no issues with the crowd cheering, nothing we’ve already had a feel for on Twitch as a combatant or gladiator). 

The event also lasted quite a bit long from what I gathered from others; time flew by fairly fast for me, I just walked around outside and took in sugars at certain times to avoid crashing.  The round robin phase was definitely long, but I didn’t mind it, I was more bored of the fact that it was only 1 match per week, and sometimes not even, with teams no showing.  I also believe that SJR and 228th’s Black Watch should’ve been invited to the event to play.  I know SJR is slightly stronger than EON (Early onto the tournament, we scrimmed SJR and won 5-1 on Canyon, so they do have that edge over EON) but the EON and 228th BW matches would’ve been great to spectate, much like the 228th vs SJR matches in the Regional Finals.  228th themselves always play well against my team as well, and that would’ve been a cool spectacle to see.  The regionals themselves could’ve been a best of 5 too, best of 3s seem too…short.  The NA tickets and stuff surely weren’t as pricey as the OCE or EU ones anyways, so perhaps next time?  I also wished we could’ve stayed at Vancouver another day or so to celebrate, I would’ve gladly taken it out of my team’s earnings to do so, BUT the next concern would shoot those wishes down regardless.  This concern was (and these happened to the EU d000000ds as well) that the event was too…close to finals times, a bit rough for both sides from what I hear, juggling play time and study time for mere humans.  Luckily for me, I’m not a mere human; but neither is anyone else who trades in their humanity; after all, natural talent does come with costs.  The event and locale itself; going into MechCon I heard from the Launch Party that food was scarce and there were technical difficulties aplenty.  So my expectations were pretty low, but when I got there the venue actually blew away my expectations.  The food served was, as Imminent said, amazing, especially the sliders and chili dogs.  The venue looked good, although there was leaking of water from the roof here and there in certain spots from the heavy raining.  There was enough room, a cool VIP area, and back rooms to rest, get silence, or discuss plans after matches.
Finally, I’d like to thank PGI for setting up a great first MechCon, solid 8 outta 10, and wish them luck with any future ones and endeavors. The turnout from even older, extinct players like hairpiece, Schopenhauer, and Sun Cobra (I wonder if he liked college and/or matured a bit) was c00l.  It was a very enjoyable…unique…memorable…you name it, experience, and it is my pleasure to serve and lead my fine men to victory. I would also want to thank them for their commitment to making my (theirs too) legacy strong.  If you told me a year ago that this would happen, I probably would’ve scoffed at the idea, but I would’ve still done it regardless. 

See you at Church.
-Celyth, The Greatest, The Divine Mastermind