ESEA Finals Preview

BY Andrew Miesner / November 5, 2009

ESEA LAN Finals Preview

We are just about two days away from ESEA’s Season 4 LAN Finals, and things are looking up for a very competitive ending to this ESEA season.

Matches are set to begin at 11:30AM EST on Saturday morning, following Friday night’s fun-skilled skills event. Players will be vying for the $50 prize for winning the entire skills event, while each individual match will gain them $20.

After that, all the fun goes away and the serious competition starts as teams will be competing for a piece of the $12,250 prize pot.

Placing Prize
1st Place $5,000
2nd Place $3,000
3rd Place $1,750
4th Place $1,100
5th Place $700
6th Place $700

Excello comes into this weekend’s finals as the 6th seeded team, after what could easily be described as an up and down season. Finishing off with a 9-7 record, Excello went through some changes and easily contain one of the best roster’s they’ve had.

Even if it was during the season, Excello was able to beat three of the other five teams competing in the LAN finals. EG and were the only teams Excello did not defeat, and they only played each of those teams once.

One big issue that may have an effect on the team’s performance this weekend is the status of its roster. Compared to last season, or even during this season, the roster has seen a significant amount of new faces.

And the results with this newer roster, like their season, have been mixed. Their last six matches saw an even 3-3 split; while dropping the first three of that series, they closed out the final three matches of the season with victories (one being a forfeit win).

Whether or not they can prepare enough for this event, and whether that slight momentum from the end of the season carries over, will tell a lot about how they might fair in the finals.

Like Excello before them, their season was also a mix of ups and downs, finishing with a similar 9-7 record. Loaded never lost more than two matches in a row during the regular season, something they will definitely need to draw on if they want to do well during this weekend.

One caveat to that note is that of the five teams other than themselves at this event, the only team competing in the playoffs that they were able to beat was DINC, in the very first match of the season.

Loaded, like many of the other teams at this event, carries an experienced and well-versed roster of players in a LAN environment. Against such good opponents this weekend, subtle nuances of experience and teamwork might hold the edge over others.

Starting out as Infamy Gaming during the season, things shifted near the end of the season as they left Infamy, and went to reside with the DINC organization.

This group of players is one team that may get underrated as they arrive at the finals. While they had a respectable record, going 11-5 during the season, all five losses came against playoff teams; being Loaded, Turmoil, EG twice, and compLexity.

All 11 of the other wins, including a winning streak of eight matches, came against the bottom half of the teams in Invite. Does that tell the whole story? Certainly not.

During the latter portions of the season, DINC made a few roster moves, first acquiring Jimmy “LiN” Lin, and capping that off with David “Xp3” Garrido, who took the place of Robert “Ph0bius” Irey.

Unfortunately for DINC, Lin will be unable to attend, and they have since replaced him with Paul “Adrenaline” Baker for this event.

Given the changes and the results of the regular season, which may or may not be indicative of what will happen, it will take some huge individual performances for DINC to make a run at the top three.

For Turmoil’s ESEA season, it was seemingly business as usual. Ending the season with a 12-4 record (one loss being a forfeit), Turmoil’s only losses came against playoff teams, being EG, compLexity and Excello.

During the season, Turmoil was also faced with a significant roster change, losing Thomas “thoMz” Garcia to compLexity. The ever-consistent Garcia was replaced with compLexity’s odd-man out in Scott “evolution” Cavallero.

Turmoil, to some people, has more recently had the disctinction of being third best in the USA, behind EG and compLexity.

It seems though, that no team has had more tenacity than Turmoil, who have continually stuck with it. That tenacity was rewarded when it manifested itself into a 2nd place finish at WCG USA, where they will go along with EG to China.

Given that turn of events, this team will be realistically shooting for a first or second place finish.

Recently overcome with less than ideal results at LANs, including losing out at WCG USA, coL.cs will be trying to put themselves back on the right track.

Posting up the second-best record of the regular season, compLexity was downed only three times
during the season; losing their opening match of the season to Excello, a loss to EG and an overtime loss to Ruins on de_lite.

As aforementioned, the team made a roster change bringing aboard Thomas “thoMz” Garcia, while letting Scott “evolution” Cavallero go.

So far, the results of that “transaction” have been good, where compLexity has not lost in ESEA since acquiring Garcia, going on to a six match winning streak to close out the season.

Like Turmoil, anything outside of the top two is going to be a disappointment, and it’s unsure of what another loss early might do to this team.

Currently the undisputed #1 team in the US, EG has another chance to add another win to its collection, after winning ESEA last season, and coming away with the win at WCG USA.

Running through the season with a 14-2 record, they started the season after their ESEA championship win on an 11 game winning streak before being demolished on de_lite by MoB.

They continued their winning ways after that match picking up three wins, before forfeiting the final match of the season to Excello.

Not much can be said about this team that hasn’t already been said. They have a solid and relatively unchanged roster (outside of swapping for WCG), and have continually found success online and on LAN.

All that said, a first place is the only acceptable placing for this team.