Invite Grand Finals Preview
Week 13 - Galactic Kids Next Door vs. IRENE
While AD certainly went out with a bang on Lakeside last week, we end up with the finals that everyone was expecting: KND vs. IRENE, an echo of the numerous KND vs. dK finals we’ve had in the past. Both teams have been ranked above each other at certain points in the season, but by just barely securing the 1st seed in the regular season, KND comes in as the technical favorites, but we’re in for a great game tonight.
Given the teams’ regular season matches, the map pool consisted of Product, Upward, Steel, Swiftwater, and Cascade. IRENE bans, KND picks, IRENE picks, KND picks.
1. IRENE bans Product.
Keeping in line with what they’ve done all season, Jarrett revealed on air last week that IRENE played product before their roster changes, meaning that they feel they’d be a week behind on the map if they started playing it now. Considering KND’s season-long dominance on the map as well, it’s not a bad ban at all given the maps. The only issue with banning Product, though, is allowing...
2. KND picks Upward.
No surprise here; given KND’s steamroll of IRENE on this map in week 6 them picking it is the best move they had. I’d say the map pool favors KND overall, as Product and Upward are both maps where they seem to have a large advantage on, and IRENE can only ban one of them. IRENE didn’t have to play AD on upward either as they didn’t make it to map 3, so KND flexes their first seed advantage by taking a map that’s very favorable for them.
3. IRENE picks Cascade.
And this is the reason why the map pool only slightly favors KND as opposed to totally. While KND didn’t have their full roster and have supposedly gotten stronger at Cascade, IRENE dismantled them on the map back in week 3 and with some of the testament from AD players, they’ve only gotten better at the map. I highly doubt this’ll be the same rout we saw back then, but IRENE’s gotta be thankful the small map pool denied KND a ban, as this map is their best in the whole rotation for getting a win.
4. KND picks Steel.
Out of Steel and Swiftwater remaining, KND decides to take us to the Highlander classic for a BO3 that’ll likely go the distance. Whether or not its historical dominance on the map or the memories of losing to >> on Swiftwater still in their minds, KND looked at IRENE’s strong performance on Steel last week and wants to one-up them on it. Assuming the first two maps go as predicted, this should be an un-ironically epic conclusion to the Finals if we make it this far.
Scout: arekk vs. b4nny
Teammates in 6s, rivals in Highlander. It’s a fitting clash between two of the very best scouts in the game, unfortunately spread across a Bo3 that are unfavorable to scouts. While I personally fear arekk’s playmaking ability a little more than b4nny’s, Grant’s consistency is likely going to be the difference-maker between the two. In the case of Cascade, we saw b4nny absolutely pop off against KND as well, so I think he gets the edge given the maps. Verdict: slight advantage b4nny.
Soldier: Etney vs. habib
While these are class comparisons, I think it’s important here to point out that having oblivion back on pyro for KND is only going to make Etney look better by comparison. Habib’s at his best when b4nny’s able to play combo and he’s able to bomb, and with oblivion being arguably the pyro in the league right now that hurts his effectiveness a lot. Comparatively, Etney’s a lot better at The Sit, controlling ground and being a thorn in the side of IRENE, only going in when he’s sure he’s going to get something. We saw habib’s impact be rather muted last week against AD under the same circumstances, and I expect to see something similar this week. Verdict: advantage Etney.
Pyro: oblivion vs. Billysaurus
As stated above, I think oblivion’s the best oyro in the league right now. He’s notorious for spychecking, while still having extremely consistent reflects and rarely getting caught out. Billy had a rough match last week against AD, being heavily outperformed by River, while also letting Madringme through onto Jarrett and Skye too often. I don’t doubt he’ll bounce back this week, but KND didn’t start rolling against until after obliv returned to the lineup and there’s a reason for that. Verdict: large advantage oblivion.
Demo: Bowl vs. Jarrett
New KND vs. Old KND in the demo matchup. Jarrett’s got the experience over Bowl and arguably the consistency if you look at KND’s slump weeks, but I think Bowl brings a youthful explosiveness that Jarrett, in his relative old age, can’t match. His ability to make plays and get make picks out of thin air is countered by his over-aggression and disrespect of sightlines, but given that SGC is more of a consistency player over a “moment of glory” type, having that unpredictability somewhere else is exactly what KND needs. It’s worth noting, though, that Bowl’s been exploited a few times this season by solid snipers, including by bo4r on Cascade, so there’s a path for IRENE to shut him down. With how KND’s been playing these past few weeks, however, I just don’t think they will. Verdict: advantage Bowl.
Heavy: Kresnik vs. carcin
While not exactly old vs. new KND, the heavy matchup is somewhat of a mirror of the demo matchup, with KND having the wizened elder in Kresnik and carcin the younger, more aggressive player. Both are extremely skilled and some of the best we’ve seen on Heavy, but I have to lean slightly towards carcin. I said that on the Upward match and Kresnik made me eat my words, but just like with Bowl, I have to favor the more explosive player here. Verdict: slight advantage carcin.[/b]
Engineer: scratchy vs. Jordan
Another very close matchup. With two stopwatch maps we won’t see too many huge individual plays out of these two, so it’s hard to call this one. Both have a ton of experience, top DM on their class, and teams that know how to back them up. Both have had some phenomenal games but also a few middling games, so I’m going to say Verdict: tie.
Medic: Nursey vs. Skye
I don’t think there’s anyone that can come close to Nursey for Highlander medic. She’s more experienced and grisled in our chaotic game mode than Skye, with Mad exploiting an awareness weakness last week that Dimento’s going to do his best to exploit as well. Nursey’s one of the few medics that puts out positive K/Ds frequently, and her positioning and mechanics are both top notch. I still think its important to mention that, just like Bowl, we’ve Nursey shut down under pressure by both >> in w2 and IRENE in w3, but a betting man would bet on Nursey every time. Verdict: large advantage Nursey.
Sniper: SGC vs. bo4r
Feels like KND’s matches always come down to this. SGC is, and has been the most easily exploited member on their roster, especially compared to the star potential that bo4r has. While SGC’s been steadily having a solid season, never actually being shut down like he has in the past, the ability to drop 40 bombs in a half is something he’s rarely been shown to have. Bo4r, on the other hand, has a track record that speaks for itself, infamous for pulling 4ks out of nowhere and winning rounds his team had no place winning. He’s been considered the best for such a long time for a reason, and if IRENE’s able to pull off the win tonight it’ll no doubt be in no small part due to bo4r’s efforts. Verdict: advantage bo4r.
Spy: Dimento vs. feint
I gave feint benefit of the doubt last match, but Mad blew him out of the water. He got picks when he needed to, but got caught out tons of times and wasn’t able to have the same impact as his counterpart. Dimento’s got a leg up on Mad in both experience and spy mechanics, which makes me fear to think what’ll happen to IRENE’s backline if Dimento’s given the space Mad was. I still don’t like sleeping on feint, but he’ll need to step up big time for this match. Verdict: advantage Dimento.
OverallI’m super excited for this match. Both teams have verbally stated huge improvements over the course of the season, but I’m still expecting the first two maps to go they way they did in the regular season, meaning we’ll see the culmination of the season come down to a BO3 on Steel, which would be incredibly hype. The major factors I’m watching for this game are: SGC’s ability to find key picks as we saw on Upward, Skye’s survivability, how hard IRENE’s able to shut down Bowl, and which of the heavies are able to get the better of the other. Ultimately, we’re going to be in for a great match, one fitting to close out this great first season.
Upward: 2-0 KND
Cascade: 3-1 IRENE
Steel: 2-1 KND