July 31, 2007

There were so many great things I could name this interview: "Wimsical Interview", "Interview on a Wim", "Getting to know TheUnknownFactor". It definitely appealed to my love of puns and wordplay, but instead I went with the same boring format so people knew what the heck it was before they started reading.

But someday, there will be a pun on this website that involves Wim, or his forum handle, TheUnknownFactor. You can bank on that.

Before the questions, I just want to give a quick thanks to Wim for doing the interview, and of course all his hard work in CAL, CGESA, and on zBlock. It's an awesome program, and I can never sufficiently thank people that are willing to dedicate so much time and effort to improve the gaming experience for everybody in the community.

1) Before we do in-depth questions, I’m curious about your history as a gamer. What have been some of your favorite games to play? Do you play in any leagues right now?

Barelds: Even though I’ve always been a ‘computer addict’, there’s not a whole lot of games that I have been involved with. When growing up I always loved fighting games, FPS, and the occasional racer. Wolf3D, Doom 1 and 2, Stunts (amazing game), Dune 1 (Much better then any Dune past it), Sango Fighter, StreetFighter, One Must Fall, The Mortal Kombat series (Up to version 3, Version 4 was a poor attempt at 3D, and I’ve never been a console gamer), Duke Nukem. Past these oldtimers, I stopped playing games for a short while, doing more with PHP and things alike. I got back into gaming with the successor to OMF 2097, in One Must Fall Battlegrounds, a PC fighting game that was actually quite fun to play, however sadly the single player mode had no real replay value, and the online community for it was too small to keep people interested. After that I got into Counter-Strike: Source, which I’ve been faithful to since :p.

Wim, do you take this Counter-Strike version to be your lawfully wedded game, and to always be faithful?
2) I remember your time as the head AC admin for CAL very fondly, as many others do. It seems like the whole department benefitted from your time there; were there any techniques or processes that you brought to the table that are still in use?

Barelds: I made a lot of internal as well as external rule changes. When I got the position, there was practically no communication at all, the staff forums for AC did not exist/had been unused for about a year, and none of the 3 member staff that I had to start with was used to chatting on IRC. I started off with getting the forums started, and as far as I know, all of the stickies in the admin forums that I wrote are still used to this day. I also produced and “AC test” available for new recruits to the AC department to test their skills. This AC test is something I still host for the AC staff, and is also still used to this day.

3) After you left CAL, you became part of CGESA. What’s your role there?

Barelds: My role in the CGESA is also AC manager, however since CGESA actively invests resources into improving itself, I am far less limited in how thoroughly I can do what needs to be done.

4) CAL has a stranglehold on the casual gamer, and CEVO has been the place to go for competitive online play for a few seasons, now. Where does CGESA fit into that picture? Are you trying to cater to the professional gamer a little more by offering pay-to-play and prizes like CEVO, or are you hoping to target a wider user base by improving on CAL’s model? In short, I’m wondering what the pitch is; why should teams leave CAL or CEVO (or focus less on them) to join the CGESA?

Barelds: CGESA intends to cater to any gamer regardless of his position, we will be hosting pay to play divisions as well as free to play divisions, both will come with prizes, though obviously the pay to play divisions with the far larger prizes. Not only will we stick to our online leagues, we will also be hosting LAN’s and other events.

5) I’ve heard about the CGESA for a while, but to my knowledge there’s been very little game action. When’s the league hoping to get underway? In one of the forum threads on the site I read a quote from an admin to the effect of “why would we start our league when two others are in the middle of their seasons?” But CAL is launching into another season right after this one ends, and the CEVO-P season hasn’t even started yet. Is there a set deadline now, or are you still waiting on something (site development, etc)?

Barelds: The real delay has been in the AC Client, it takes a lot of time to develop a decent application that not only is secure, and detects cheats, but also doesn’t hog resources. We realize that no one (including ourselves) could take us seriously if we were to do everything we plan on doing without providing an environment secured with AC software.

6) Although I’m sure a lot of people know you from your time as an admin with CAL/CGESA, even more are familiar with the zBlock plugin. Generally, I don’t feel comfortable speaking for the community, but I think I can safely speak for everybody when I say “thanks!” and “if you ever stop updating, there might be a riot.” How long have you been working on zBlock, and what spawned the creation?

Barelds: I really can’t give you an exact date on when it started, but I can definitely give you something for your other questions. zBlock was spawned by an exploit that allowed you to see through walls relatively easily, it started out very small, and I honestly doubted it would last more then a month at the time. After we’d started working on zBlock however we started to better realize how exactly the at that time used “CSP” functioned, we soon learned that it was incredibly simple to bypass it, and decided to add it’s functionality into zBlock. From there on out, an ever growing community has relied on zBlock to provide it’s players with a saver environment.

7) zBlock deals more with blocking console commands than detecting, say, a wallhack. I’m curious to see your opinion on the ratio between people exploiting commands and actual hackers. I’ve long thought most of the people that get accused of hacking are actually “configging” in some way. You can get some of the same advantages (seeing through walls, etc) without risking a VAC ban. Which do you think is more prevalent in leagues: outright hackers, or people that tweak the commands/game bugs for an unfair advantage?

Barelds: There used to be primarily people using material wallhacks, this issue is practically entirely resolved now (assuming sv_pure 2 is used, which many public servers do not use). Thanks to VALVe and zBlock working together a lot lately, ‘configging’ has also been reduced to a minimum. Outright ‘hacks’ have never been utilized by a huge number of people, however at this point it’s the main group thanks to recent updates and alike.

Wall? I don't see any wall. Those people are flying!
8) Is there any way the community can help you make zBlock even more effective?

Barelds: A lot of people neglect reporting issues they find assuming we either don’t care, or already know. I’m happy to say that, yes we probably already know, however I’d rather hear a thousand people report a problem we’re already aware of, then a single person neglecting to report an issue we weren’t yet aware of. I am very open and easy to contact to anyone.

9) Out of every, say, 100 players, how many do you think are using a program or exploit that gives them an unfair advantage?

Barelds: In my opinion cheating has always been overrated, I’m sure I can speak for every single player that’s reading this when I say that we’ve all had these “Wow, what just happened there!?” moments, these thoughts often end up broadcasted on ventrilo which leads to accusations. Now a large problem is that most people really have no intentions at all to back up an accusation, if you actually bothered to record a sourcetv demo, or asked the player in question for his demos, you’ll more often then not find that this player is as legitimate as can be. Out of 100 players, I’d say there’s maybe 5 illegitimate players (which is around 1 illegitimate player for every 4 teams you play against).

10) zBlock and an AC client form a pretty effective team, but what would your idea of a perfect AC system look like? Obviously, nothing could ever be perfect, but get us as close as you can, and resources aren’t an issue. In this hypothetical, you could have 50 Wim Barelds clones reviewing every demo, if you want.

Barelds: As you said, nothing can really be perfect, however hardware solutions are often very effective. Intel recently announced that they had plans to produce a chip for the purpose of preventing cheating (That’s right, Intel), it would compare mouse input with mouse output, practically eliminating aimbots and alike. I believe things like these are really a huge step in the right direction if they’re done right, as for this solution, as with any other anti cheating solution, it’s going to be worth nothing unless it can and will be updated as exploits come out.

11) Here’s a question for the general community, and probably one that anybody in CAL-Open or Intermediate has faced: what do you do when you think somebody on your team is hacking? Are AC admins generally willing to watch demos if you submit them, or should you handle it “in-house”? What are some things that you look for in a teammate’s play if you think he might be cheating?

Barelds: Sadly AC admins are often restricted from doing private services, when 1 AC admin reviews a demo as community service and publicly says “hey this guy cheats”, and later a dispute is cleared on that same base of that demo or player, all hell breaks lose (“Corruption!”). Every so often I get a request to review a demo myself, if I have time for it, I’ll usually do it, the problem is people who ask you to watch a demo, and entirely disregard your opinion if you disagree with them, even if presented with facts about why you say what you’ve said.

12) What’s your impression of the CGS thus far? Things they’ve done well, things they should improve upon, etc? Should we start a movement to nominate you as one of the GMs if they decide to expand the number of franchises?

Barelds: Things they’ve done well are marketing and setting up relations with the communities (at least in the US), especially seeing people like Yoi (The Asian interviewer) come onto the CGS forums and responding to threads about her is really great to see. Things they could improve upon are gameplay coverage (Especially CS, which in my mind is also the most difficult to cover properly), and further relations with the community members. I can’t really see myself as a general manager, I believe I could be far more valuable in other positions.

13) Last question, and it’s only limited by the depths of your imagination. You’ve spent a lot of time catching cheaters. If you could mete out any punishment you wish, what would it be? Just a couple thoughts to get you started: banning from the whole internet, moderating the CAL forums and manually changing every swear word to ****, being Chuck Norris’ training bag. I encourage you to explore your vengeful side, while keeping it PG-13, hopefully.

Barelds: I believe making them think is the best way to go about it, a reformed cheater is much more valuable then a punished, however still cheating cheater. It’s hard to say how exactly you’d make them think, something a European league (ESL) has is an “admitting forum”, where if you properly “confess to your sins” you can get back into the game. Now, they really do a poor job at it, and I believe their idea really doesn’t go near as far as it should, but I do believe it’s a good start towards reforming a cheater.


Usually, at this point we could talk about which teams will be in the playoffs, and which are out of contention. The only problem is there’s such a backlog of games to play, I think EXTREMITY could come back from the dead and they wouldn’t have lost a step. These predictions are two days late, and none of the matches have even been played. Only one match was played from the last week after the predictions were released.

Or, in other words, it’s following my homework pattern: late, later, latest.

But, that means we have a full set of seven predictions this week, and that can’t be bad, right? (Don't answer that.)

Notice there's no writing on the page. Sounds about right for my high school career.
CAL Predictions: Week 6-2 (de_train)

Featured Match

LucK vs. Check-Six – This is the best matchup of “name” teams, but I’m not sure it’s going to be that close. These teams played each other in the eMazing Finals, and x6 won both matches in a best-of-three, 16-7 and 16-8. I’d feel a lot better predicting a close match if those scores were 16-12, or so.

LucK has a new face on the roster, Chris “lakai” Cook, formerly of EXTREMITY. He joins his former teammate, eXigenT, although I’m not sure that both (or either) will play. LucK’s roster has been Allbrook, messiaH, Loosecannon, Gutter, and 5th, usually. Maybe they can fight it out for the last spot, or kick Gutter to the gutter.

It’ll be interesting to see if lakai can give them a little spark, but I don’t think it’ll be enough, in the end. Check-Six is just going to be too much to handle, especially on a map like Train where brawwwr can AWP through train hitches, cracks, corners, nooks, crannies, fences, grates, and probably a straw if you gave him a chance.

x6 > LucK 18-12

Legerity vs. The Real Untouchables – TRU has had some roster troubles recently, and they just picked up two new players: bowser and goostoff. Don’t know much about either guy, except that Bowser has a mean fireball and he likes causing problems for Italian plumbers.

Legerity hasn’t done much this season, but I think they should be okay on Train. It’s a tough map to break in new people, and I think that’ll give them enough of an edge for a small upset.

Legerity > TRU 16-14

electrify! vs. eMazing Gaming – Early in the season, aka when elecrtrify! was somewhat active and eMg was not, this would have been a predicted win for e!. Oh, how the tables have turned! The hunter has become the hunted!

Well, maybe not, but I definitely would have predicted a win for electrify!, earlier. But eMg has been practicing more, and their results have been much, much better. Like the difference between Theo Ratliff and Kevin Garnett. 

electrify! is still dangerous; jaywizzle is a good leader and they have solid strats. How much of a threat they are depends entirely on momentum and their chemistry on the map. If they’re good on the map and have natural chemistry, they still have enough talent to pull off the victory. If eMg can keep them down and doesn’t let them get momentum, it could get ugly really quick. 

In the end, I think electrify! will drop the match, but it won’t be a blow-out. They’ve still got very talented riflers, even though their primary AWPer is temporarily inactive, and it’ll be those guys that keep it close.

eMg > e! 18-12

"No more dog collars!? CHECK THE BACK ROOM AGAIN!"
Hyper vs. Cyber Phenom – Hyper has done very well all season, and I don’t think Cyber Phenom has the guns to take them down. This doesn’t mean I’m endorsing the use of knives by CP; I think that would be a bad (although fun) idea.

CP also lost TerroR, who, while not a super-duper-mega-uber all-star, was definitely a solid player for them throughout the season. 

Hyper should take a win pretty easily heading into the playoffs.

Hyper > CP 19-11

Devastation vs. itasamassacre – It’s a massacre!

Dev > IAM 35 - 0.5 (half a point for being nice guys)

I’ve wanted to that since they got moved up, and this might be my last chance. I think they’re the only team in Invite with a name that could double as a whole prediction. A crappy, short prediction, but a whole prediction, nonetheless.

The real score won’t be that lopsided (unless IAM trades in their guns for tasers) but I do think Dev will get the win. Plain and simple, I think they’ve got more talent.

That doesn’t mean IAM is untalented, I just expect Devastation to be in the Finals or very close to it, and IAM hasn’t proven they’re up to that level yet.

Dev > IAM 19-11

recKoning vs. PK
– It’s amazing how a couple 24-6 wins will improve your stock in the eyes of a predictor. Trust me, if you want to be predicted for a win, I highly recommend blowing out a couple Invite teams by about twenty rounds. It’s like Miracle-Gro for your Chia Pet.

I trust you can see where this prediction is going.

recKoning has been a little up-and-down this season, to me, but they’re my darkhorse in the playoffs. If we see the team that qualified for CEVO-P, and just ripped off those big wins, they could easily make a run at the championship. If we get the mediocre recKoning, they won’t have what it takes to get past Check-Six, in my mind. 

But, that’s a story for another day. For now, they should be able to take PK, a team that’s been basically in the middle of the pack all season.

recK > PK 17-13

Mug ‘N Mouse vs. ajnin – ajnin has been struggling with “roster shifting/revamping”, which means I can say, “welcome to Invite!” You’re not really an Invite team until you go inactive, make major roster changes, or stop scrimming for no apparent reason. 


MnM has been good all season, and they’re coming off a 16-14 win over x6 on Train. That doesn’t bode well for ajnin; I think MnM will take the match pretty easily.

MnM > ajnin 19-11

I came to a fork in the road, and I took the prediction less traveled. Along my way, I found good luck to all teams, the predicted winners winning, and the predicted losers proving me wrong.

July 30, 2007

There was a post a couple days ago that I want to look at from a different angle. A while ago, I wrote that somebody should go backwards to cause a collision, thus helping his/her teammate to move up. Skittles, a PGR player for the San Francisco Optx, did just that, and in the GotFrag article I linked to, it said that admins stepped in and ruled on the “play”.  They decided to penalize her and have a restart. Here’s the referenced quote from the article:

In one instance during another PGR 3 race, a small dispute arose over a move by Skittles to reverse course and interfere with the competition. After a few seconds of surprised looks and chatter around the room, Levine stepped in and paused the match. A decision was quickly made amongst Levine and admins with a penalty being given and a restart. Although there was not a specific rule for this incident, Levine and company made a quick fair decision. Not only did the CGS resolve the issue quickly, they also revised the rules for the game to include the infraction as illegal. The next night franchises signed off on the revision to that rule in the nightly pre-match meeting.

After the shock from my idea coming to pass wore off, the Official Brother of LANDodger posed an interesting thought: was the CGS right in pausing the match and assessing a penalty?

I'd rather not taste the rainbow if I end up like this guy.

Surprisingly, I found out my reaction was, “no”.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not making an argument that the maneuver should be legal. And really, I think it’s good that the CGS is organized and involved enough that they can pause a match and come to a conclusion on a ruling on the spot. That’s something that usually leads to a delay at LAN tournaments. That being said, assessing a penalty on the spot is unfair to the players, and, in some ways, dangerous for competition.

Admins will always be needed for matches because there will always be ruling on whether things violate the rules of the game. The problem is there wasn’t anything in the rules that said going backwards was illegal. When the PGR match started, that was a completely legit move. And then, all of a sudden, it wasn’t.

You can be sure other leagues have run into the same problems, and to my knowledge, they’ve been handled after the game, or even after the season. “Boosting” in the NFL comes to mind. Players used to be able to jump off other players, or get boosted, etc, to help block field goals or punts. But they didn’t change that rule in the middle of the game, the NFL has competitions committees and things like that to assess rules after the season is over.

MLB, of course, has had similar problems. The “spitball” was legal for whole seasons. Here’s the real kicker: even after they made it illegal, seventeen pitchers were still allowed to use it. How’s that for a curveball?

(On a pun scale of 1-10, I believe that rates as “LARGE GROAN”)

Why would they do that? Because it’s incredibly important. The teams tacitly agree to play by those specific rules before each match; when you’re playing, something is either illegal or it isn’t. Changing a rule in the middle of a competition changes the whole game. You’re no longer playing the game you were when you started, and that’s a problem because the new game emphasizes different skills and strategies.

A quick example: changing the rules in a fantasy league. In fantasy baseball, some leagues decide not to have a limit on how many innings a pitcher’s spot can earn. That means you can pick up a new pitcher every day and pitch him to gain extra wins and strikeouts, if you wanted (this is called “streaming”). Sometimes, the players aren’t aware of that strategy, and after the league starts and one manager is streaming, they decide to outlaw it.

Well, guess what? The streaming guy usually gets pretty ticked off, considering he built his whole team around that strategy, and now he won’t be able to brag around the water-cooler about beating his fellow nerds in fantasy sports.

In PGR, forbidding what Skittles did might mean a player shouldn’t get into a collision at the start, because you’re just as likely to end up in fourth, after a thirty-point turn-a-round, as you are in first. Even such a small, and maybe even obvious, change results in drastic changes in strategy and emphasis on different skills.

The last thing that I just want to mention, briefly, is that altering the rules like that makes it easier for a corrupted admin, or easily influenced admin, to have a huge impact on a match. What if that happened in the Finals, in front of thousands booing people? People are influenced by crowds, and sometimes the decisions we make are, too. And to be honest, I don’t think you want to open that door, even just a crack.

(By the way, I don’t want to insinuate that the admins on hand were biased, because I don’t think that’s true at all. But when you set this precedent, I think you’re raising the chance of something like that happening. It’s still incredibly small, but worth nothing, in my opinion.)

So, if I was Lou Piniella, this is where I’d be throwing my cap and kicking dirt on the umpire. Of course, if I was Lou Piniella, I’d have enough money to hire somebody to kick dirt on the umpire for me. I’m going to end it much more mildly: I appreciate that the CGS had the wherewithal to make a prompt ruling, but in the interest of competitive fairness, I think they should make changes to competitive rules in the offseason.

Just like the other professional leagues.

July 29, 2007

Now that the first CGS season is over, we can look back and start to see some team identities forming.  NY, for instance, is probably still defined by their Source team, even though Wizakor was undoubtedly their star player.

I’d say the same thing for LA, but compLexity actually didn’t create that much noise during the season. We expected them to win, and they did. The bigger story, by far, was their DoA 4 players. Belle and sWooZie went a combined 2-22 on the season. Ouch.

When I think of the Optx, I think of Vanessa dominating DoA 4, and their Source team placing second in “Rounds For”, despite being the last CS:S team picked. Chicago has their PGR duo, and they’ve been the frontrunners all season in the CGS, and in my opinion they’re probably favored to win the championship for Region 1. Dallas was the biggest disappointment this season. They finished in last place, and their Source team also finished there despite being the third team picked. They just never seemed to create much buzz, as a franchise.

That leaves us with Carolina, which I can sum up in one word: controversy. Say what you will about their draft picks, players, and general manager, but they’ve probably received more attention and coverage than any other franchise.

Here we go again.

First of all, I have to point this out. If you haven’t read Dolven’s most recent interview on GotFrag, do it. Do it now, or else you go to bed without dinner.

I’ll get to the rest of the interview later, but when I read it, the last sentence of the first answer jumped out at me.

... Number Two because while I wanted Pandemic, but I knew that whatever Source team I drafted, I could manage the proper way to get the most out of them, so it didn’t matter which team I got. 

Keep that in mind while I refresh your memory of something he said just after the CGS draft.

One of the biggest factors in managing a Counter-Strike team is learning what makes a team tick and how to maximize their results. With such a limited amount of time before the start of the season, the team that I already knew how to manage was Pandemic. Dave, Jason, and Alex had all chosen their respective previous teams, so by not having to focus on learning how to manage my Counter-Strike division, I didn't fall behind these guys early on.

So, he drafted Pandemic, in part, because he knew what made them tick, and he could get the most out of them. But he knew that whatever Source team he drafted, he could manage them properly so it didn’t matter which team he got. Is this really Mark Dolven speaking, or did he hire Tony Snow to do these interviews for him?

That being said, his team is in the Region 1 Finals, and they’ve got a berth in the World Championship. Overall, he did a pretty good job. I think their strategy is something like: cream everybody in DoA 4 Male, hang tight in PGR and DoA Female, scrape by in CS:S, and get blasted in FIFA, which isn’t worth as many points as the other games. Seems to be working.

And honestly, Dolven deserves some credit for that. Obviously, the players are the ones driving the team now, but he did a good job assembling the right parts. Could they have been better? Yes, absolutely, and I’ll cover this a little bit later. But at the same time, it’s not fair to rip him for the bad picks and ignore the good ones.

Even though it might be fun.

July 28, 2007

Don’t believe me?

This is what I wrote about PGR a few weeks ago.

Now, check out this article on GotFrag. It’s a good article in general, but I recommend you focus on the last paragraph on the first page.

First, it’s a penalty. Then, it’ll be new CGS rules.

And after that, I’ll rule the world!


Get out your clothespins, some duct tape, or maybe some little sticks; if you blink, you’re going to miss the CGS playoffs. I blinked, and the semi-finals were already gone like a hot girl that didn’t want to talk to me. For reasons known only to the people working at the CGS, it’s a single elimination, best-of-one format. Which means if you started the CGS playoffs the same day I started hosting Man vs. Wild, I’d still be plugging along when the whole thing was over.

(Granted, I might have a parasite for every inch of intestine, nausea, heartburn, upset stomach, indigestion, and diarrhea, all from one ill-fated attempt to drink water. And if I was Bear Grylls, I could probably fashion some Pepto-Bismol out of a flower, a rock, and a boa constrictor (or I could have the camera guy pick some up at the motel). I might be crippled, but I’d still be going, at least.)

Oh dear.

You can’t say the same thing for the CGS playoffs. Two days, and they’re done. The first “round” happened after a one-day break from the end of the regular season. That, I don’t mind so much. I think they could have done a better job building it up if they gave it an extra day or two, but the pure brevity of the competition is a much bigger concern. Is there any major sport that voluntarily chooses having fewer games like eSports?

Don’t give me football. If football players were physically able to play more than once a week, they would do it. Anybody that thinks the sponsors wouldn’t push for it, and teams wouldn’t happily oblige having more games (and selling more tickets) is, in my opinion, just plain wrong. But the physical nature of the sport is too much to endure more than once a week. Especially at the top levels when a 6’5”, 300 pound guy that runs a 4.4 forty-yard dash is trying his best to turn your skeleton into a ten-thousand piece jigsaw, and will probably get a salary bonus and an ESPN interview if he does it.

No, if there’s been one constant, it’s that leagues add more games to the playoffs. Basketball added two games to the first round, which used to be a best-of-five series until 2002-2003. MLB has expanded their playoffs continually as their league grew, adding whole rounds and expanding the number of games played in each round. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of an organized league cutting down their playoffs because they were too long.

The reason for this is pretty simple: the more games you play, the more the best team will rise to the top. If you had the Royals play the Red Sox in a best-of-one series for the MLB championship, we’d have to say, “and here they are, your World Series Champions, the Kansas City Royals” two out of every five years. It hurts just thinking about it. Does anybody not living in 1980 think the Royals are actually better than the Sox? I hope not, but when you’re just playing one game, funny things can happen. Luck becomes a much bigger factor in determining the outcome. One pitcher could get hot and throw a shutout for the Royals. A hitter could have a big game and drive in five or six runs. But over the course of time, the Sox would prove themselves to be the better team.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from the recent NBA playoffs, and the criticism for them, it’s that you absolutely, positively, MUST have the best teams advancing. If you don’t, the level of play decreases instead of increases, fans get angry, and Bill Simmons has an aneurysm.

In the NBA, part of the problem is a convoluted playoff system that stems from the large number of teams in the league and the playoffs. The CGS doesn’t have that problem, and it’s easy to ensure that the better team is moving on: make it at least a best-of-three series. It’s the standard at every LANs, what is there to gain by changing the format? Hell, even CAL and CEVO use best-of-three, and there’s comparatively little on the line in those leagues.

But, instead of increasing the number of games and ensuring that the best team advances in one of the most ambitious undertakings in eSports history, we’re left with “who’s hot today” playing a major role in determining the champion because the CGS decided to buck tradition, and, I think, common sense.

There's one thing I want to stop short of saying, and it's that either team that moved on is undeserving, because I simply don’t know. If they played a best-of-999 series, the same teams might have won. In that case, I’d accept the winner as the better team. But one player hot player can change one game far too much for me to be anything but disappointed and, quite frankly, dumbfounded that the CGS only had a best-of-one semi-finals, with a best-of-one Finals on the schedule.

This doesn’t need to be changed next season. This needs to be changed yesterday, or at the very least, before the Finals. I have a feeling that it won’t, though, so whatever you do, don’t blink.



Is it too late to predict recKoning to beat Cyber Phenom 16-14, and Mug ‘N Mouse to beat x6 by the same score? The results page says “yes”. I say, you’re only as late as you feel. And I’m feelin’ early, baby.

recKoning vs. CP – I don’t see any way recKoning can win this match. I think CP is going to blow them out 30-0.

Wait, no. I changed my mind.

recKoning > CP 16-14

Mug ‘n Mouse vs. Check-Six – I’m tempted to go with x6 here, but I was visited by the Ghost of LANDodger Future, and I think he said MnM pulled out a close win. Either that, or he wanted to finally rest in peace. It could have gone either way.

MnM > x6 16-14

Wait, the phrase is, "you're only as old as you feel"? Well, I can't delete it now, I'm typing in permanent ink.

Obviously, I'm joking. Those matches were reported a while ago; the x6 match even happened before the eMg tournament, I think. That leaves only five predictions for this round, but there’s still plenty of interesting matchups. Also, if anybody wants to do some internet sleuthing, read here.

On with the real predictions!

eMg vs. ajnin – Don’t look now, but eMg’s been playing a lot better. They’re only 3-6 on the season, but they’re 2-1 in their last three matches, and the loss was only 13-17. A little birdie told me they’ve been practicing now, and the results certainly back that up.

ajnin’s 3-5, so it’s not like they’re clearly a better team. Their three wins have been by scores of 16-14, 16-14 and a 19-17 OT victory, but they’ve got a couple lopsided losses on the other side, including a 8-22 loss to CP and three 11-19 defeats. Overall, I think they’re doing alright for their first season in Invite. 

So, what we have here are two teams that have been stuck on “underwhelming” for most of the season. (Don't worry, "underwhelming" is the only gear I have.) eMg has been turning it around, and that gives me a little confidence.

A very little.

eMg > ajnin 16-14

its massacre vs. electrify! – electrify!, to my knowledge, hasn’t been riding the practice train, either. That might have changed in recent weeks, but it’s showed in their record before the breakl. They’re more talented than your ordinary 2-5 team, they just need to spend some more time together.

Unfortunately, as part of their lackluster play, they had a 1-29 loss to Hyper. Now, that score isn’t indicative of how much better Hyper is; electrify! ended up leaving the server with quite a few rounds left to play (I can’t remember the exact number, but it was around ten if I think). Despite the shady circumstances, that violates my predicting rule: anytime you lose by a margin of more than twenty rounds, I can’t predict you to win. 

Even without taking that into consideration, its massacre has been playing all their opponents very closely, and they should be able to get a win here. They’re a solid team, and they have more than enough talent to capitalize on any openings due to electrify!’s inactivity.

IAM > e! 18-12

Yes, he's actually a police officer. And you think Chief Wiggum could scarf down donuts ...
LucK vs. The Real Untouchables – TRU is pretty much the definition of average (and that’s not a bad thing). They’re going to beat most of the subpar teams, hang with the elite teams, and pull off an occasional upset.

But, I don’t think they’re going to upset LucK. I’ve seen LucK play a couple times on Train, and you absolutely have to get momentum on them as terrorists. Their CT rotations are very good, and if they get a few rounds in a row, you could be looking down the barrel of a 10-1 deficit very quickly. LucK’s T side is also very solid; their outside strats are well-timed and executed. 

If TRU wants to escape with a win, they’ll need to lock down their own CT side like Shaq locking down a box of donuts. Then, all they have to do is scrape together a few rounds on offense.

That’s the plan, anyway. Executing it will be a lot harder.

LucK > TRU 18-12

Featured Match

Hyper! vs. Devastation – This may or may not be the last prediction for “Devastation”. They recently signed on with the Flow organization. If this gives any of you déjà vu, don’t worry, the windows didn’t get filled with bricks. Dev had a brief, moderately disastrous, stint with Flow earlier in the year.

When I say moderately disastrous, what I really mean is it was your basic relationship breakup. Each side had their own story, it went public, friends of both sides came running to the defense, and there was even some porn (those were for your own personal use!). If you’re going to do it, go all the way, I guess.

But, from what I gathered about the story then, and recent comments from Devastation, the problem wasn’t with the organization, just one person. That person isn’t with Flow anymore, and they feel it’s not quite like getting back with your ex. So, good luck to the guys with their new organization, and I hope you find more happiness there than you did last time, which, let’s face it, shouldn’t be too hard.

As for the match, it should be the most exciting one of the round. Devastation is 6-3 after dropping their last two matches, and Hyper is 6-2 with a forfeit loss. Both teams recently lost 6-24 to recKoning, which is a strange coincidence, although it was on different maps. They’re two of the top three teams in Invite, along with x6.

I’m going to give Hyper a slight edge in the match. I think they’re a little more motivated to do well in CAL, and Dev hasn’t played well, lately. They lost 13-17 to x6 in Invite, along with their loss to recKoning, and they dropped two huge matches to x6 during the eMazing Tournament. If this was a championship match with something on the line, I’d give Dev the edge. But, considering how both teams have done recently, I think Hyper comes out of it with a close win.

Hyper > Dev 17-13

Legerity vs. PK – Legerity finished fourth last season in Invite, but I’m just not seeing it. I don’t know if it was a war of attrition, and they were one of the last teams left standing, but their 2-6 record is certainly not where they were hoping to be.

I don’t know if that was due to roster problems stemming from roby’s suspension or what, but a fourth place finish this season seems pretty unattainable.
Then again, when you look at their schedule, three of their losses have been 14-16, and they have an OT loss. Get a little lucky, and they’re 4-4 or 5-3. They took Hyper into overtime before losing, and they barely lost to MnM (5-4), last season’s Invite champions. I think they’re definitely better than their 2-6 record, but I’m not convinced they’re at the same level they were last season.

PK is sitting at 6-2, meanwhile, and they’ve done well for themselves after their huge roster turnover. They’re 3-1 in their last four matches, with a close loss to x6 and a forfeit win against Hyper.

In the end, I’m going to give them a close win over Legerity. They’ve been a little stronger so far this season, despite a somewhat unproven roster, and nothing Legerity has done in Invite or the eMazing tournament suggests that they’re ready to break out of their mini-slump. Dep^ was impressive during the eMg tournament, if Legerity has a chance to pull out the victory, it's on some stellar play from him.

PK > Legerity 17-13

Sorry again for the lateness of the post, but not many matches from last week have been played, so hopefully everybody will get a chance to read these before this week’s matches take place.

If you’d like to receive good luck, the predicted winners winning, and the predicted losers proving me wrong, please sign on the dotted line.

And initial here, here, and here.

Oh, and sign here, too.


I’ll be releasing the CAL predictions for week 6-1 shortly. I’ll apologize in advance for the late posting. I was busy traveling to California yesterday, and to be honest the predictions just slipped my mind. Lame excuse, I know.

I’m finally in Los Angeles though, and I’m getting settled in. I checked my e-mail, ESPN, fantasy teams (I’m dominating, thanks for asking). There’s a nifty little program called Mint that tracks page hits, referrers, and things like that for LD, as well, so I gave that a peek. There was a very minor traffic spike, but I was somewhat curious, so I checked it out.

The site got around 60 visitors from a forum thread on the CAL forums. I tried to follow the thread to see what all the hub-bub was about, but apparently it was removed by an administrator.

This only piqued my curiosity even more. What was the thread about? Did somebody advertise for LD, and the admins removed it? Was somebody bashing a poor, defenseless, charitable eSports blogger? I need to know these things! Obviously the thread violated a posting rule. Now I just need to find out which it was, and, possibly, who was talkin’ smack.

So, if you’ve ever wanted to be an internet sleuth or you know what happened to thread 153303 on the CAL forums, contact your nearest eSports blogger. I’ve established a special e-mail hotline (not really), and I’ll even reward tips and information. In fact, I’ll even let you name your own price.

(Offer void on Planet Earth.)

You may now resume normal internet browsing, and check back for the preds in a couple hours!

LD News

July 24, 2007

In an earlier article, I went through and figured out the average margin of victory in the five CGS categories to point out how inherently unbalanced the scoring system was. One of the interesting side effects is that it gives us some insight into a difficult question: who’s the best player in the CGS?

Before we go any farther, I need to distinguish between the best and “most valuable” player. Everybody will probably have different definitions, but to me, the best player is the most talented. The most valuable player is one that helps your team win most often. 

Best pitcher: probably. MVP: hard to say. Killer of mojo: definitely.

These aren’t necessarily the same thing. Johan Santana might be more talented, proportionally to the average pitcher, than Albert Pujols is to the average hitter. But Pujols plays every day and affects the outcome of more games than Santana does, which is one of the reasons why pitchers don’t get many votes for “Most Valuable Player” in baseball.

“Best” is very hard to judge because people don’t play the same position. It’d be a lot easier to figure out if Santana is more talented than Pujols if they were both hitters that destroyed Brad Lidge’s mojo. They’re in the same sport and it’s still difficult, but with all the different games in the CGS, it’s like figuring out if Albert Pujols is better than Peyton Manning. No matter how many statistics you use, there’s never going to be a consensus.

With that in mind, it’s still fun to talk about and think about. I want to find the best player in the CGS because I think the MVP is somewhat obvious; PGR has an inherent edge in points per match, and Jason X/Ch0mpr have dominated the game. The organization they play for, the CHImera, is also the #1 seed heading into the playoffs. That's pretty much case closed, in my mind.

First, to have any kind of baseline to compare the best players against their peers, I went back through and updated the margin of victory statistics to reflect the completed regular season. Here are the final numbers:

DoA Female: 3.29 points per match
DoA Male: 2.91
Source: 2.78 (3.20, 2.35)
PGR: 4.22
FIFA: 2.28

I need to explain two of the numbers. For DoA Female, I threw out Belle’s scores because I think she’s a statistical anomaly. With her scores in, the margin of victory jumps to 3.75 points, and that means all the other performances are devalued. Since I’m trying to figure out the difference between the first and second ranked players across multiple games, having one game dragged down by numbers that are clearly abnormal didn’t seem to be right. You may disagree, so I included the original number, and I’ll give two values for DoA.

Source ran into some of the same pitfalls. Out of all the matches, five of them finished by a margin of eight rounds or more. Those matches brought the margin of victory up to 3.20 points, even though in twenty-four of the thirty-six matches, the match was decided by two points or less. Or, in other words, two out of every three matches finished as 10-8 or 10-9. A margin of victory of 3.20 seemed too high. The worst part about those five scores was that the best team, compLexity, didn’t account for any of them. The high scores seemed to be more random than based on the skill of the two teams. Instead of throwing them out I decided to use an average between the margin of victory with and without them. Hence, 2.78 points per match, and in parenthesis the numbers with and without the high-end scores. I think that fits in pretty well with the expected outcome.

So, now that we have the (new) average margin of victory (MoV) for every game, we can compare that to how the players actually did and get a ratio of their performance to the average performance in that game.

Basically, we’ll be taking a player’s point differential per game(how good they were during the season) and dividing that by the MoV to account for any inherent differences between the games. I’ll call this statistic “Domination Factor” (DF).

One quick example: Vanessa. She had a Points For/Points Against of 60/8. She outscored her opponents by 52 points, or 4.33 points per match. When we divide this by the average margin of victory in DoA Female, we get a DF of 1.32 (1.16 if we don’t use the Belle-adjusted number). I’ll list some DFs here, including their rank in the game and which organization they play for.

DoA Female

Vanessa (#1, SF):  1.32 (1.16 with Belle’s scores)
coolsvilla (#2, NY): 0.18 (0.16)
Belle (#6, LA): -1.42 (-1.24)

DoA Male

OffbeatNinja (1, CAR): 0.92
Master (2, DAL): 0.37
sWooZie (6, LA): -0.74

CS: Source

compLexity (1, LA): 0.87 (1.03)
Optx (3, SF): 0.45 (0.53)
Venom (6, DAL): -0.84 (-1.00)

Project Gotham Racing

Jason X/Ch0mpr (1, CHI): 1.18
Phantom/Rex (3, CAR): 0.27
IndigoFerret/chaos (6, DAL): -0.63

FIFA ‘07

Wizakor (NY): 0.84
KreeganBG (LA): 0.58
Novusnaim (DAL): 0.66
Anomaly (CHI): -0.55
Stermy (SF): -0.58
peekay (CAR): -0.95

I listed all of the FIFA players because there was such a sharp drop after the #3 player, Novusnaim. All the other games had at least two players/teams grouped in the middle, but in FIFA you either stunk or you were really good, apparently. In Source and PGR, I included the third place teams because they had the second best point differential despite being in third.

I’ll be referencing these numbers more in a future article as I look back at the draft, so I don’t want to get too much into surprises/disappointments yet. For now, let’s just focus on the best players: Vanessa, Wizakor, compLexity, Jason X/Ch0mpr, and OffbeatNinja.

This is the opposite of the Pouty Manning Face. This face belongs in a Levitra ad.

Wizakor doesn’t have much of a case because of how close FIFA is. Comparing him to the other top players, it doesn’t seem like he’s that much better than KreeganBG or Novusnaim, and that, in my mind, is important in determining who the best player is. You could make good cases for compLexity and OffbeatNinja, but their DF numbers don’t hold up the rest. They’ve both been excellent, but they aren’t dominating the competition like the other top players.

That leaves us with Chicago’s PGR duo, and Vanessa, which isn’t surprising considering they’re also top candidates for most valuable player. Personally, I think Vanessa is the best player in the CGS. She’s the only undefeated player, she has the second best point differential (to Jason x/Ch0mpr), and she’s got the best Domination Factor. The gap between her and second place seems to be the biggest despite being limited to how many points you can beat your opponent by. I think that’s impressive, and I’d give her the title of “best” player, even though I think PGR is more valuable to the franchise.

In the end, anything like this is subjective, as well. Even though DF gives us a little bit of insight into who the best player might be, it’s just the tip of the iceberg, statistically speaking, and it’s incredibly hard to compare gamers across the genres. I’m not telling you who the best player is, but merely making the case for Vanessa. 

I’d love to hear what you guys think. E-mail me or leave a comment in the box: who’s the best player in the CGS?


If you’ve spent any time around the forums or following the CGS, you’ve probably heard more than your share of complaints and problems with the CGS. I’ve written about some of them, as well. But let’s face it, the problems in eSports aren’t even close to what the major sports are going through.

The NBA has a broken playoff system, falling ratings in their Finals, and now one of their referees is in a points-shaving scandal with mob connections. Baseball is home to, arguably, the world’s most famous and recognizable record, and it’s about to be broken by a guy that nobody likes that may or may not have used performance enhancing drugs. The NFL is turning into a penal colony. The NHL needs to start a mullet-for-TV trade-in program just to beat reruns of Night Court in the Nielsen ratings. One of the most famous players in golf says steroids are already there. Even poker has a problem with online gambling restrictions because it hurts the development of new fans.

Forget Michael Vick, somebody get PETA on this right away.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg. If you want to dig deeper, you could find more stories than you can handle about strikes, lockouts, holdouts, scandals, corruption, collusion, and more forms of cheating than even Harry Potter can shake a stick (wand) at.

The point is that when we talk about CGS problems, we need to realize how big they are on the grand scheme of things. The CGS has a bad scoring system, does anybody think that’s worse than steroids? Their coverage is hard to find, but I bet the NBA would trade us Tim Donaghy straight up for that (providing it worked under the salary cap).

The problems “we” face really aren’t that big. Are they important? Damn straight, they’re important. But they’re probably not going to bring down the league, either, and they’re a lot easier to fix than most of the issues in sports. That’s the worst thing about forum posts about the CGS; there’s so much hyperbole, every little blip gets turned into a major catastrophe. The CGS isn’t going to fold because they picked Source instead of 1.6. They’re not going to die because everybody thinks Dolven made a bad pick, or because Belle and peekay have struggled to get a win. 

Think of it as the Sports Law of Inertia. Leagues that are in motion will stay in motion until an outside force acts upon them. The major leagues can survive major scandals because their fan bases and corporate sponsors are so huge. And, personally, I think it’s going to take a lot more than scheduling and packaging problems to sink the CGS. There are simply too many people that want eSports to become mainstream, from the sponsors to advertisers to other leagues to the gamers themselves to have small, fixable, problems derail a league in its first season. If this was the tenth go-around and these things were still major issues, maybe it would be the death knell, but for now, I think it's small potatoes compared to the momentum of all the people that want the league to succeed.

Although, someday, when we grow up, maybe we can have a mob scandal of our very own.

CGS, eSports

July 23, 2007

Sorry for the sporadic posts lately, I’ve been a little bit under the weather. I’ve also been planning a trip to visit the Official Brother of LANDodger in Los Angeles, and I think I used up all my gusto on that. Whenever I sat down to write, it felt like somebody was 5-0ing Belle inside my head.

I leave tomorrow evening for LA, but I’ve got a lot of great posts planned before we leave and during the trip, including some more CGS related material, a wrap-up of the eMg tournament, and hopefully an interview or two. Hope you guys enjoy them, and sorry again for the lack

LD News


Got a couple points of interesting feedback regarding the CGS scoring article that I wrote, and I figured they were worth addressing in a post.

First, thanks for the feedback, even the person that just said “hi” through the comment box. I don’t know who you are, what you want, or if you’re stalking me, but you didn’t leave a way to contact you. So, “hello”, mystery person. I look forward to continuing our deep philosophical conversation at a later date.

A friendly "hello" from LANDodger. Now put your name on the message, coward!

As for the scoring, there were two points I wanted to address. The first was the math for the margin of victory. In the example I used, coL played 3D and went 2-1 by scores of 13-5, 10-8, and 8-10. The average margin of victory I used was to add the margin from each match, regardless of who won. So, eight plus two plus two (8 + 2 + 2). Then, of course, divide by the number of matches to find the average. So 12 divided by 3, which, of course, equals four.

The point of some contention was the last number. It’s important to keep the numbers all positive, because when we add in the negative numbers it implies we’re looking at it from the perspective of one team. For instance, if we looked at those numbers from the perspective of 3D, they’d be -8, -2, and 2. But that wouldn’t be the margin of victory, that would be 3D’s margin of victory. I wanted to figure out the expected point differential of a CS match for any team. If anything, I should have used more examples to make that point clear.

As a quick example, using the suggested method, imagine if they played four matches, and split them 2-2 by a score of 10-8, 10-8, and 8-10, 8-10. If we used negative numbers, that would be 2 + 2 – 2 – 2. Of course, that leaves us with a margin of victory of zero, when I think it’s clear the average margin of victory for those matches was, in fact, potato.

Just making sure you’re still paying attention. In those four matches, I think it's clear the average margin of victory was two rounds.

The other idea I wanted to address was another solution to balance the scoring: awarding points per victory in each game. For instance, an organization that won PGR, DoA Female, and CS:S and lost DoA Male and FIFA would win the matchup 3-2. There could be variations on this idea, such as awarding two points per win, and one point for every overtime win, but the basic idea remains the same.

I consider that a step forward over a clear imbalance in the games, but it still leaves the problem of a player going 0-fer getting into the playoffs based on the strength of his/her/their teammates. It wouldn’t be as bad as, say, the best PGR team making up for three below-average players simply because PGR players earn more points, but I still think separating the games is the best solution. If the CGS is looking for a compromise, though, a point(s)-per-win system might be the way to go. I'm hoping for more, but I wouldn't be surprised if it never happens.

Thanks again to everybody that provided feedback, and don’t hesitate to use the comment box or e-mail me. I’m always up for a good discussion, new ideas, or even just a friendly hello.

But, if you’re only going to say “hi”, at least give me a name. That way, just in case you are a stalker, I know what to put on the restraining order.


July 19, 2007

CGS Scoring System

There’s an article on the CGS website that brings up an interesting debate: is the CGS scoring system working? Apparently, there’s been “a lot of bad press bashing the CGS scoring system.” I know I’ve written about it twice. Is the criticism justified?

Redeye, the writer, argues that it’s not.

To that, I say this: I accept your challenge, sir. Let us meet on the field of battle, where the winner may impale the loser with a virtual pen. (But only if I win. Even virtual pen-stabbing sounds painful.)

I find your lack of faith disturbing.

Just so there isn’t any confusion, I think the CGS scoring system is brutal. Just awful. Mike Rowe "stuck cleaning a rat infested sewer in 120 degree heat while being bit by hyper-aggressive monkeys" awful. That’s the bad news. The good news is that it’s incredibly easy to fix, and I’ve got that covered, too.
First, the bad: the system they use now doesn’t weigh all the games evenly.

In fact, I don’t know if it’s even possible to do such a thing. Imagine starting a New York franchise across all sports under the CGS rules. The Knicks, Yankees, Jets, Giants, and Rangers would comprise the organization, and the points would work as they currently do for all the games, and the organizational totals would determine the winner. How could you possibly balance all the games?

The point differential is too much to overcome. Even if the Yankees could dominate baseball, the margin of victory is much smaller than, say, a football game. Same thing for hockey. If you use a point system similar to what the CGS has, the game with the biggest margin of victory is artificially important to a franchise. There’s no competitive reason for football or basketball to be more important in our fictitious league. We could add tiddlywinks, make a victory worth pi points, and it would make just as much sense. The only reason the imbalance is there is because of the rules we created.

The CGS is running into the same problems. I went through all the games and figured out the average margin of victory for every match (through nine matches for each franchise). A quick example: if coL and 3D played three CS matches, with coL going 2-1 with scores of 13-5, 10-8, and 8-10, the average margin of victory would be four rounds ( (8 + 2 + 2) / 3).  Even though I think it’s obvious the games could never be balanced, I was curious to see exactly how they stacked up to each other. Here’s what I found:

PGR: 4.26 Points
DoA 4 (Female) : 3.67 Points
CS: Source : 2.96 Points
DoA 4 (Male) : 2.78 Points
FIFA: 2.30 Points

It got even worse if you threw out a few strange matches. For instance, I don’t think Belle’s performance is indicative of the expected point differential between two DoA female players. If you take her matches out of the question, it bumps the average margin of victory down to 3.06 points per match.

Source had some of the same problems. There were three matches that had round differentials of 8, 8, and 10. Those weren’t the norm. Out of the 27 CS matches played, only eight matches were decided by more than two rounds. Or, in other words, a whopping nineteen out of twenty-seven matches finished with a score of 10-8 or 10-9. Basically, the 2.96 margin of victory might be too high. When I took out the “abnormal” Source scores, the margin of victory got bumped all the way down to 2.25 points.

What that means is you could have the best Source team, and the best FIFA player (total margin of victory: 4.55 points), and you’d barely have an advantage over the organization that has JasonX/ch0mpr.  Even if you don’t take out Belle and the high Source scores (which is probably mathematically dubious, anyway), PGR is still waaaay in front of everybody else. I don’t see how that system can be considered fair. There isn’t any competitive reason to value PGR over any of the other games, just like there isn’t a reason to value football over baseball in our fictional league.

Or, look at it this way. If Organization A wins PGR 7-1, there’s absolutely no way their DoA Male or Female player can make up for that deficit. Same goes for a large FIFA score, because it doesn’t have a scoring cap. Why? Why can’t Vanessa have a chance to lead her team to victory? It doesn’t make any sense. If my organization is down six points, I’d rather have the worst FIFA player in the history of gaming than Vanessa, because it’s technically impossible for Vanessa to win that match for me. It'd be like pulling Kobe from the game while you're down two points because the NBA said only players shooting under 50% from the free-throw line can make three pointers. Now you're passing the rock to Kwame Brown, and praying that the jet engines you put in the air conditioning system, just in case this situation arose, can properly funnel the ball into the basket.

It's good to see that season after season of disappointing results hasn't diminished his stink-eye.

Sadly, that isn’t the worst part. The worst thing is yet to come, and the prime example is the LA compLexity. They’re teetering on the edge of the playoffs. If they make it in, the fans lose. If they miss the playoffs, well, the fans still lose.

LA’s Source team is 8-1, KreeganBG is 8-1 in FIFA, and Chavisan/GeeTeeOh are 7-2 in PGR. I’m not sure if Jason Lake was abducted by aliens while his body double was ranking DoA players, but that portion of his draft didn’t go so well. sWooZie, their DoA male, is 1-8, and it’s been well documented that Belle is 0-9. There are two options under the CGS rules: coL advances into the playoffs as a whole organization, or everybody clicks their ruby red shoes and goes home.

If coL makes the playoffs, Belle gets to play over more deserving candidates.

If they don’t make the playoffs, the #1 CS team, the #1 FIFA player, and the #2 PGR team (through nine matches) get left out.

Seriously, what happens if Belle gets into the playoffs because the rest of the organization is so strong? I don’t mean this as an attack on her, and I think she would admit that, based on her performance, there were more deserving DoA 4 candidates. Then again, if she’s out of the playoffs, that means coL (Source) doesn’t make it either. Whatever CS team ended up making the Finals would always have an asterisk attached – sure, they went the distance, but the best CS team in North America didn’t play.

In either situation, the CGS is compromising the quality of play in the playoffs for the benefit of the “organizations”. But, it doesn’t have to be that way, and I think there’s an easy solution that makes sure the best players are competing in the postseason and the league is still promoting loyalty to the franchises and not their individual components.

First, you separate all the games. Take the best finishers from each game and send them to the playoffs. Separating the games is the best thing for fans and for competition. Now you don’t have to worry about undeserving players being on the biggest stage any more than the NFL or NBA, etc. That makes fans happy, and there are better ways to incorporate the organizations.

The CGS has made a conspicuous effort to promote the franchises, so based on where they finish in the playoffs, award the organization points. A championship is worth 4 points, a second place finish is worth three points, etc, for the organization those teams/players are associated with. Then, at the end of the playoffs, you can crown a CGS champion, award bonus money, a free trip to Kazakhstan, or whatever prizes they’re planning on offering.

(This system should have an added bonus: they can schedule the matches at specific times. I’m already tired of a match being scheduled between two franchises and not knowing who is playing when. I think they did this specifically to trick CS fans into watching PGR, DoA, and FIFA. Jerks!)

If you separate the games and award points based on finishes, you’re getting the best of both worlds. The level of play is going to be the best it can be, and there’s still a focus on the whole organization, but it’s in the background instead of being more important than the individual components.

It all boils down to one simple thought: leagues are about competition. And I don’t know about you guys, but I find the natural competition between players in the same game infinitely more entertaining than the artificial competition between two franchises.  The level of competition in the playoffs is going to be sacrificed in favor of organization loyalty, and that, more than any statistic about margin of victory or player dominance, is why the CGS scoring system needs to be fixed.

July 18, 2007

I released the information for the Season 8 Playoffs and Season 9 Placement Tournament earlier, but there are a couple small corrections to make.

First, I mentioned there would be a third-place runoff to determine the winner of the eMg prizes. This was a little unnecessary: the loser of the consolation bracket finals is the third place finisher.

There was also a slight clarification/addition to the playoff schedule. The correct schedule can be found on the CS:S Main page, and I’ll update the original post, as well, to reflect the change. One round was missing, and it’s been added on the same day as the lower bracket finals.

If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comment box or in the forum thread on the CAL page. Sorry if there was any confusion.



I was perusing through my IRC channel, which has swelled to ten idlers and is bursting with excitement and conversation, and I came across LooseCannon from LucK saying, “mike getting lazy on hisss preddsss =p”. My first thought was concern for my precious idler; I thought Sir Hiss might have eaten him and taken control of his computer.

The 1973 movie reference is so obsssssscure, Hiss gets a Wikipedia link and a picture.

Quickly remembering that was just a nightmare I had about Disney movies, I thought back to the eMazing tournament page, which I’ve visited about 750 times to look up the bracket and get background information for teams in previous predictions. I vaguely remembered thinking it was weird that Round 6 was being played on Tuesday.

Wait a minute, I thought, today is Tuesday.

Oh crap!

Upon further investigation, the situation wasn’t as dire as I feared. Sir Hiss wasn't involved at all, and there’s only one match to predict because Legerity and n3mesis either rescheduled or they’re going into their 48th overtime. I’m assuming they’ll just play later, and I’ll post that prediction when the matchup is known.

Since there’s still one match to be played, my record from last week is incomplete. I’m 2-1 thus far, avoiding the Round 5 Apocalypse, and bringing my total record to 92-30.

Round 6 (de_contra, de_train, de_dust2)

LucK vs. It Takes Five – I feel like I’m the villain on the “eMg Predictions” episode of Scooby Doo. The dog gets all the tasty treats, and I’m in handcuffs yelling about those meddling kids. 

The meddling kids, in this case, would be It Takes Five. They’ve spoiled another one of my perfectly good predictions by beating Unheardof, which is just another example of how ego-centric society has become. What about my needs as a predictor!?  Back in early 2007, the good old days, teams respected their predictors. They nodded politely as we told stories about how we shared files by uploading them both ways, through the snow, at 1 kbps.

In all honesty, congratulations to IT5, once again. They’ve played well, and they deserve the praise. They didn’t get here with five forfeit wins (yes fragout!, we’re looking at you).

Last round, they took the bookend matches on Fire and Strike. Not to toot my own horn (read: commence horn tooting!), but I mentioned that as a possibility during the FragTech/Legerity prediction. The lesser known teams have more reasons to be motivated, and because Fire and Strike aren’t standard maps, they could easily make up any skill difference with hard work and preparation. For anybody who is curious, the scores were: Fire 16-12, Nuke 6-16, and Strike 22-19 (double OT).

LucK’s matchup wasn’t as close; they beat OSG on the first two maps (16-11, 16-3). Because I’ve done so many predictions, I feel like I’ve gotten to know the teams a little bit. So at this point, I wish a fond farewell to Unheardof and Old School Gamers. They both played very well, and I’ll pour a virtual 40 for them the next time my CS avatar is binge drinking.

If you remember from the last prediction for LucK, I mentioned that their practice schedule hasn’t been strenuous for the eMg tournament. It won’t make as big of a difference as it did last round, because Contra, Train, and Dust2 are standard Source maps. In fact, I think IT5’s best chance of winning is to come out with a vengeance and take the first two maps. 

Contra, while standard, is still a tough map to play on without practice. You need really good communication on rotations so you don’t end up with three people at the same sewer entrance on a site retake, or splitting when you should be rushing on a T side adjustment. And, from previous predictions, IT5 is not to be taken lightly. I think they’ll win Contra.

Train poses some of the same problems with rotations and communication, but to a lesser extent. I watched LucK play on Train earlier in the tournament against cyberXtreme. The score there was 16-10 in favor of LucK, although cX played with a couple backups. They weren’t coL-impressive during the win, but they were solid. The best hope for IT5, in my mind, is to have a shut-down CT side and then squeeze out three or four rounds on T side to win the map. LucK did a good job of coming out strong in each half, but cX came back after that initial push. IT5 needs to avoid that situation at all costs.

In my opinion, Train is the critical map. If LucK takes it, I think they’ll move on to a comfortable win on Dust2, just like Unheardof had a big 16-6 win on Nuke over IT5. But, if IT5 can eke out the win on Train, I think they’ll end up taking one of the other maps and move on. 

In the end, I’m sticking with LucK, even though IT5 has burned me twice. I think they’ll be able to take Train and D2 after dropping Contra. It should be a great matchup though, and, as a fan, I hope it comes down to the last map.

LucK > IT5 2-1

Contra:  12-16
Train: 16-14
Dust2: 16-10

Focus on my swinging watch. You’re getting sleepy. Very sleepy. When I snap my fingers, you’ll wake up, all teams will have good luck, the predictors winners will win, and the predicted losers will prove me wrong.


July 16, 2007

I’ve been looking at the scoring systems for the CGS (as you’ll see later, in depth). The more I think about it, the need, and market, for extra statistics becomes clearer. I've been thinking specifically about DoA, so I'll roll with that for now.

Let me illustrate the need with an example. I’m from Illinois, the only state in the U.S. where physical education (gym) is a mandatory class. To avoid it affecting your GPA, you could take it as pass/fail, which is exactly what it sounds like. If you scored 61%, you passed. If you scored 59%, you failed. This was especially helpful if you were a 5’0”, 300 lb. brainiac with a peg leg that wanted to go to Harvard. You could just do your best and pass, basically.

He would have failed gym because of that leg. Or because he was always drunk.

The problem is that it doesn’t score things very well. The difference between barely passing and barely failing is wafer thin, but the difference between a "P" and "F" is a lot more than a little curve connecting two lines. A person that works their tail-fat off gets the same “P” on the report card as everybody else that passes. This isn’t a big deal when it’s gym class, but when we’re trying to figure out who the best players are, and the best way for ranking them, I think we need a little more.

Bringing it back to eSports, right now, a perfect round in DoA is scored the same as a close victory. You either pass (win the round) or you fail (lose the round). Vanessa could score five perfect rounds on Belle, and it’s the same as Mystik beating Rasberry Tea 5-0 with a sliver of health each round. 

Now, don’t get me wrong, I don't think we need to change the scoring system itself. The best players are, presumably, still winning. But if you look at Belle and Vanessa, I’m not sure what we have now does their scores justice. Belle only has one round, but does anybody know how many perfect rounds she’s given up? Has Vanessa been giving up half-bars to her opponents, or quarter-bars? Let’s face it, the more information we have, the more precisely we can gauge performances. 

I used DoA as a quick example here, but you could say the same thing for CS:S and Project Gotham Racing, too. How far ahead of his opponents is JasonX, on average? We’re used to stats for Source, and GotFrag has some of them, but their list is far from complete and it’s on a completely different website. Get some stats, CGS!  People love stats! There’s so many cool things you could keep track of, and, to my knowledge, nobody’s doing it.

So, if you’re a 5’0”, 300 pound peg-legged braniac with a love for math, and you want to build a statistics empire that would make John Hollinger or Bill James envious, now is the time. You don’t need in-depth, crazy statistics, like those guys, because there’s a huge market and virtually no competition. You’d be the only drink of water in a scorching desert; even if you’re murky, muddy, and smell like sulfur, people will still love you because they’re tired of drinking sand.

All I ask is when you’re raking in millions of dollars as the eSports Stats Guru, you give me a shout-out … and a small finder’s fee.


Don’t worry, this isn’t going to be a post comparing the action in boxing to eSports, like people do with football. Personally, I think most comparisons to the NFL are far too ambitious. It’s like comparing your current girlfriend to a supermodel. Unless your girlfriend is Jessica Alba, she’s going to seem ugly. We should be starting low and working our way up. Your girlfriend looks a lot prettier, and everybody’s happy because you tell her that.

Drink it in boys, drink it in. But only if you don't have a girlfriend, you chauvinist pig.

eSports doesn’t look nearly as bad when you compare it to the NHL. Sure, we only have programming on channel 101 on DirecTV, but they’re on Versus. At least I know where to find the eSports channel; it’s right there in the name. I’d need a guide to find Versus. And not the TV guide, I’m talking about a person to help me navigate the dense channel jungle and make sure I don’t pick up any diseases like Seacrest-itis (symptoms include obnoxiousness and being short). 

Even still, hockey is probably too ambitious. It’s on ESPN, or at least ESPN2. They cover the highlights, but they also broadcast games along with some of the regular network channels. Plus, they have a Hall of Fame, unions, TV contracts, and fans willing to pay money to see the games. eSports still dreams about those things.

So we need to take it down a couple more notches. I think we should look at boxing. It used to be wildly popular, but if it keeps falling this quickly it’s going to start losing viewers to Oxy-clean infomercials. In fact, I think the talk about how boxing can regain the limelight doubles as advice for eSports. 

First of all, you need to understand how much I know about boxing: virtually nothing. I don’t follow the sport, I only hear occasional news stories when sports shows like Pardon the Interruption are obligated to talk about it. The talk is almost always focused on the decline in viewership and fanbase, though, because my lack of knowledge seems to be a generational trait. There are two major problems with eSports and boxing, in my mind: lack of access to the product, and not enough organization.

You would think organization wouldn’t be a problem in boxing, considering how long it’s been around. Then you look at the list of weight classes and current champions and realize if you’re going to spend that much time memorizing anything, it might as well be one-liners from Office Space. Yeeeeeaaah.

Right now, there are four people claiming to be the heavyweight champion of the world.  This seems like the perfect situation for a fight.

Boxer 1: “I’m the heavyweight champion of the world!”
Boxer 2: “No! I’m the heavyweight champion of the world!”
Boxer 1: “Let’s fight!”

Apparently, it doesn’t happen as often as you would think. That's what I call bad organization.

The eSports correlation is, obviously, the number of tournaments and games. There are champions for ESWC, CPL, WCG, CAL, CEVO, NEL, and lord only knows how many other leagues. And that’s just for Counter-Strike. The list is even longer if you take console games and other PC games into account. 

The most popular sports don’t have this problem. There’s one championship every year, and in some cases an Olympic champion. That’s it. The most telling leagues are NASCAR and the PGA Tour. They’ve both adopted a points-per-win system that leads into a championship at the end of the competitive year. These are recent changes to the old tournament/race system that’s similar to what eSports and boxing have today. If they thought it was a good change, considering their popularity, I’m not going to argue.

The other major component is product exposure. Boxing is almost completely pay-per-view, and pundits suggest that’s part of the problem with creating new fans. Leagues like the CGS and the WSVG are trying to increase their TV exposure, both on cable and network television.

Basically, the lacks of exposure and confusing systems have one huge effect: losing, or ignoring, the casual fan.

For boxing, they have better things to spend their money on than pay-per-view fights (like beer, beer mugs, and beer hats). The NBA, the NFL, and MLB do a better job of catering to those people. They have special promotions, easy access to the games, and the Wrigley field bleachers. You don’t have to drop $50 to watch your local team. They come to you inside the television. 

I’d give an eSports example, but I don’t think we’ve ever had casual fans. In my mind, that’s what the CGS is charged with. They should have more exposure and a more intuitive championship/league structure. (Whether they do or not is another thing, but they should.) Even those don’t guarantee success (I’m looking at you, U.S. soccer and hockey), but it’s something all the major sports do very well, and something boxing has done horribly as they take the popularity plunge. I don’t know if those are the only causes, but it seems logical that they have a significant role.

Unfortunately, making those fans isn’t something that happens in a month or a year. It’s a gradual process. So hopefully, in a couple years, we’ll pass boxing as we go in opposite directions. Maybe we’ll even kick the NHL off Versus.

Or ESPN. Either one would be fine.


July 13, 2007

eMg Predictions: Round 5

This round scares me to death. There’s a decent chance for an 0-4 prediction apocalypse. I wish I could outsource these predictions to India, or at the very least hire some schlub to take the fall for me. Anybody? Anybody? 


(Has anybody else noticed that Bueller's never around? Why do we keep calling on him if he never answers?)

Zoltar: now offering prediction lessons, only $1 each!

I’m not going to waste my material in the introduction, though. So let’s get the updates out of the way and move onto the good stuff. Last week I went 7-1, bringing the overall record to 90-29, which I think is pretty respectable. Maybe not as good as Zoltar could have done, but not bad for a mere mortal.

Also, the tournament switches to a best-of-three format from here on out. This makes things a little tricky for the predictions. If I predict a 2-0 series win, I’ll still add in the last map score just in case it goes the distance. That’s probably the best option for everybody, and I don’t think anybody will complain about extra content.

Round 5 (de_fire, de_nuke, de_strike)

FragTech vs. Legerity – I’m glad this matchup is first on the list, because it’s a perfect microcosm of what I meant in the introduction.

First, we have to take the maps into account. I think Fire and Strike are played about as often as Dogma is played at the Vatican. That’s not quite true, I don’t think Dogma has ever seen the light of day there, but they’re certainly non-standard maps, especially as you go higher up in CAL. This season, Invite doesn’t play either map, Main is playing Fire, and Intermediate plays both.

FragTech happens to be in Intermediate, while Legerity is an Invite team. Who has a better chance of being prepared?

Then, we have to consider motivation. If Legerity practices really hard, they can win the tournament. That nets them $500, a ventrilo server for 6 months, and a “pro” gaming server for 3 months. Or, as I like to think of it, $100 per player and two things they already have or don’t really need.

FragTech, on the other hand, probably doesn’t have a pro server, and if they do, it’ll wager a chocolate chip cookie it’s not sponsored. If they win, it's a huge boost to their popularity and reputation. Legerity doesn’t get that, either.

It comes down to this: FragTech has more reasons to be motivated, and that means it’s likely they’re practicing more than Legerity. If they were playing Inferno, Nuke, and Dust2, it might not matter as much. But with the non-standard maps, the team that prepares harder is going to have an advantage. If that’s not enough, FragTech took down recKoning, another Invite team, in Round 4. That makes it clear that they’re good enough to capitalize on mistakes their opponents make. 

It was close match against recKoning, and I think it’s going to be another hard-fought win here for FragTech. I’m going with the upset win. I expect Legerity to make an impressive showing on Nuke, but fall just short on the bookend maps.

(Of course, sometimes all a team needs as motivation is some crazy prediction to lose to a CAL-IM team. I hope this isn’t one of those times.)

FragTech > Legerity 2-1

Fire:  16-13
Nuke: 10-16
Strike: 16-12

Featured Match

Check-Six vs. Devastation – Before I get into the real prediction, I need to take a second to honor the commitment of fragout!, the team that just lost to Check-Six by forfeit. Their totals from the tournament: four opponents, three forfeit wins, one forfeit loss, zero frags. How does a team with the name fragout! become so averse to fragging out? These things are beyond me.

As for the actual match, I’d like to have two for here, and another to go, just in case I get a CS craving later tonight.

Why are you looking at me like that? You don’t get CS cravings after fourthmeal?

This is the biggest matchup of the tournament based on name recognition, and I just hope it lives up to the hype. These teams have already played once during the Invite season, with x6 pulling out a 17-13 win on Dust2. I’d be happy with three scores like that.

I’m not sure what Dev's roster will look like for these matches. Griff has been playing to fill in for dubs, who has a competition ban for evading a forum ban and disrespecting CAL admins. But Funshine was missing in their Round 2 match against Nuccastyle. I’m not sure if that was a temporary absence or not, but they’ll need him playing if they want to beat x6. Plus, the possibility of a Brawwwr/Funshine AWP duel has me salivating. Mid on Fire, ramp/outside on Nuke, and Mid on Strike are all good places for AWPers to show off their skills. If you, too, wish you could be called an AWP whore on dust2 pubs, I highly recommend watching either of those guys.

As for x6, their roster is rock solid. You can count on the same five guys playing every match. The only thing that concerns me is their play on Nuke; they played Pandemic during the Combine and barely pulled out a win. Even with a little bit of roster problems, Devastation has enough talent to force the third map, and I think they’re more likely to get a win on Nuke than Fire.

In the end, though, I’ve got x6 moving on. They beat Dev in the regular season, and I don’t think Fire and Strike will be kind to Devastation’s roster. 

x6 > Dev 2-1

Fire: 16-12
Nuke: 14-16
Strike: 16-13

As a predictor, I predict this picture will not make sense until the end of the predictions. Catch the good luck!

LucK vs. Old School Gamers
– This match has similar qualities to the first one, especially since I’ve heard that LucK isn’t exactly bootcamping to make sure they win the tournament. 

Believe me, there are few things scarier, as a predictor, than trying to judge how a team will play if they’re not practicing. Some teams can rely on raw talent and blow everybody away, and some teams have played together for so long they have a natural chemistry. On the other hand, I’ve known teams that fall apart faster than a house made of wet toilet paper. Which, having never seen such a house, I can only assume is really fast.

That being said, I think I’m getting a little reprieve, in this case. LucK has messiaH and Allbrook, who should be familiar with each other from their days as Forbidden teammates. The other members of LucK have been around the block once or twice as a team, too.

Because of that, I think they’ll have enough familiarity, and talent, to overcome the lack of practice. If we need any proof, just look at their last two opponents. cyberXtreme and Default are both Main teams, and LucK gave up 10 and 11 rounds, respectively. I don’t think OSG poses more of a threat than either of them. Look for LucK to take the first two maps in a quick series.

Luck > OSG 2-0

Fire: 16-12
Nuke: 16-9
Strike: 16-12 (if necessary)

Unheardof vs. It Takes Five
– I have to come clean: I’m not a genius. I get a lot of things wrong, and the things I get right are usually through sheer luck. But, there’s one thing I do know: it’s always a downer when your teammate craters in a critical 1v1 situation. It’s just not good for team morale. With that in mind, it’s probably good that guy isn’t active for IT5 right now.

That didn't happen in the eMg tournament, though, and IT5 has played really well so far. Unfortunately, I think the ride ends here, but no before they take Unheardof to the brink. The one time I predicted a loss for IT5, they got a huge win. I’m not going to underestimate them again.

I have no idea how the matches will actually play out, but it feels like they’ll need Strike to decide the winner. Just from talking with a couple IT5 members, I think they’re excited to be here and want to prove themselves against top-notch opponents. This is their chance, and I’ll think they’ll be able to steal Fire through sheer desire and preparation. 

In the end, though, Unheardof is just a little more talented, in my mind, and a little more experienced. They should be able to bounce back on Nuke, and I think they’ll pull out a close win on Strike to close the series. 

It could go either way, but trust me when I say this: the series will be a lot more intense, and rewarding, than falling off a ladder.

? > IT5 2-1

Fire: 13-16
Nuke: 16-11
Strike: 16-14

I am the predicting piñata. Beat me with a stick, and good luck, predicted winners winning, and predicted losers proving me wrong will come pouring out.

July 12, 2007

We’ll be getting back to CGS coverage shortly, but the article I planned to write for today got a little out of hand. You’ll see what I mean tomorrow, probably.

But, we love content at LANDodger, and this is a perfect time to release my interview of x6\\Misty.

Chances are you’re familiar with him for three reasons. One: he’s a part of x6, the CGS taxi team for Dallas, and they were one of the teams mentioned as more deserving of a draft spot than Pandemic. If that doesn’t ring a bell, he coded the stats page you currently see on LANDodger.

If those don’t jog your memory, and you still know Misty, it’s probably from posting crazy, random, and often disgusting pictures on the CAL forums. It’s kindof his thing.

Needless to say, there were plenty of topics to cover, and personally, I love his answers. I think you’ll agree. Thanks to Misty for taking the time to answer them, and I’ll see you on the other side. 

1) For anybody who’s not familiar with you, can you give us a brief history of your CAL teams, experience, etc?

x6//Misty: My name is Andres Gunaratne, I'm 20 years old and I've been gaming for seven years. I started playing CS:Source season 3 of CALeague and was instantly hooked. It all started when a friend from 1.6, Yack, asked me to ring a few times for his css cal-main team Rookies -- where I apparently made a good impression and was asked to join. Yep that's right, I skipped CAL-o +}. A few weeks later the team did a nose dive and died, so Yack and I found ourselves joining the hurt Distinct5 -- and I've been with the same core group for nearly two years now (brawwr, classified, myself). Other than playing with the Distinct5/Zombler crew, I was on Upper/Check-Six for a brief two months. Now I'm back with my hunni bunnies :DDDD

I think this is hunny-bunny brawwwr, but I'm not sure. Where's Hazel when you need him?
2) Most people that know you probably recognize you as a CS:S player, but what are some other games you’ve played and enjoyed?

Misty: I actually enjoy playing Battlefield 2 and Insurgency (go get it! www.insmod.net). I'm really into games where you can just grab a teammate and go crazy Rambo mode on everyone. Remember, games are only fun with Friends :)

3) What’s been your favorite LAN, and do you have a good story?

Misty: My favorite LAN has to be The Bridge Qualifier for CGS. What's better than getting a pug together, naming yourselves nSync, having zero prep. time/strats, and knocking out Pandemic from the Double-Elim? Good story? http://www.gotfrag.com/css/stats/match/2731/ . It speaks for itself.

4) What event/LAN were you most impressed by (in terms of size, teams, how it was run, etc)?

Misty: The CGS Combine had to be the best. It was the best competition a source lan has ever seen. It was run almost perfect too. There were no technical problems, no big delays, matches were on time, and the admins are great :p

5) I think x6 turned a lot of heads with their strong play at the CGS combine. What was it like to have such a good performance on a huge stage?

Misty: It was very satisfying to place well at CGS combine, especially at Buy.com lan. Someone even suggested we change our name to "Lower Bracket Warriors" :D . While we're up on stage we tend to focus on the game at hand and completely disregard what's going on in the background. I think that's what makes us thrive more on LAN -- we have the ability to block out what the other team is saying and don't need to shout and hype ourselves up (Which is also a Minus for CGS). Only after the match do we realize what we've accomplished.

6) Obviously, there’s been a lot of talk about Pandemic being picked. Were you in the crowd when it happened? What was the actual draft like?

Misty: I was in the crowd when Pandemic was picked -- and I have the best story to follow this up. We were sitting right next to team GoodGuys, and the second the word "Pandemic" came out of Dolven's mouth, one of the players from GoodGuys instantly threw up on the ground. Perfect Timing. The draft was fun altogether. Trying to copy the NFL draft was sortof iffy and could be improved on, but meeting Jason Kidd made up for it. Also, I think they lowered the standards to become a Bunny :( :(

7) Was being picked as a taxi team enough to ease the disappointment a little bit, or was it kindof like that old line about somebody having a “great personality”? (It might even be true, but it doesn’t change the fact that the situation still sucks.)

Misty: To be honest, I knew we weren't going to be picked as a CGS Primary team, unless we came in 1st. Rumors of the GM's having biased opinions becoming true wasn't unexpected either. Throughout the event Simp would joke around and say "Well you guys showed up, you didn't do so great, but you're great guys with great skills. Hell, I'm comin' with ya!" And having a great personality was only part of the decision-making. These franchises are out to win. Ok, I lied. Everyone but Dolven is out to win. There are six franchises, and only four make it into playoffs where the prizes will be up to $500,000.. so winning is clearly more important than putting on a show for the camera and audience.

Didn't get drafted? No $30,000 salary? Here's a hat, now go away.
8) I’m not sure the CGS has done a good job of explaining exactly what a taxi team is or does. What’s your role within the Dallas organization? Are you being paid? If you get “called up”, do you get paid a full salary? Do you have to scrim against the Venom? You don’t have to answer all those questions specifically, but if you could give us a description of what’s expected of you/the team, I think it would clear things up.

Misty: The only thing we got out of being a taxi team is a Dallas Venom hat :< . Our role as a taxi team is to help the primary team with whatever they want. Taxi teams are not contracted, so they don't get paid. If a taxi team is 'called up', each player will get a monthly salary of $500, not the full salary of $2000 like the primary players. We are supposed to scrim against the Venom, but it hasn't happened yet. In fact, they don't even talk to us! There's nothing really expected of us. We're just 'there' in case a primary player gets injured or the GM feels a change is needed. The chances of any taxi team on the current franchises replacing the primary team is slim to none. Once a taxi team/player is called up, the primary team is no longer able to retain their 'primary' spot. GM's can only make their move once, and this goes for every game.

9) Will you be able to enter the combine/draft again next season, or will you still be bound to the Dallas franchise?

Misty: Taxi teams are not contracted under their franchise, so I expect all taxi teams to participate in the next Combine. I just hope they require the new Six GM's to get an understanding of each game -- and avoid any Dolven Jr's running around +}

10) What kind of plans does x6 have in the future? BadappleS has been playing with you guys recently, is that a permanent addition, and if so who is he replacing?

Misty: Cory (badapples) will be replacing Rob "simp" Bair, who has gone somewhat inactive to focus more on school and play leisure games like World of Warcraft (which should be called World of Walking). Cory will be our new permanent fifth, and our Super Commando Squadron Elite Force plans on attending every upcoming LAN and League there is -- while we wait for Season 2 of CGS.

This the most feared World of Walkers guild. They're all Level 80 Power Walkers.
11) +}?

Misty: http://tehw00t.net/doosh/zomblerz.png Beat that.

12) You did 99.9% of the work for the stats that I’m currently hosting on the site. Is there a preferred e-mail address where fans can send you praise, or should they just contact you on IRC?

Misty: IRC. You can find me in #LanDodger :)

13) Is there anything else in the works regarding the stats? Improvements, modifications, etc?

Misty: There is currently being a plugin developed by JeDi, with the appreciated assistance of Wim "TheUnknownFactor" Barelds. This plugin will allow players to upload their scrim/match logs straight from in-game! No more going through your FTP finding which log goes to which match. Another feature the plugin will consist of is the infamous 'PlayerInfo' feature, used in the previous DSP Plugin CALeague was using.

As for improvements to the stats, I hope to include features where you can do Team-vs-Team and Player-vs-Player comparisons, as well as updating and managing your own Team/Player profiles. After that is done, I'll be expanding to more games (CS 1.6, DoD:S, DotA, CoD2). I will also be launching one of the biggest demo archives out there! Over 100GB of demos will be available to users. If anyone has any suggestions, by all means, contact me via irc @ #LanDodger and tell me :) I'm running out of ideas.

14) Do you have any other projects that you’re working on?

Misty: Currently I don't have any other projects that I'm working on, and I hope it stays that way. With the future additions I'll be making to the new site, I don't see how I'll find any spare time to swat flies or spread the +} plague.

15) Alright. I could probably ask more questions, but I think fifteen is enough, so I’ll get you out on this last, fun question. Somebody’s offering you a free-high end computer with free upgrades for life. The only stipulation is that you have to get +} tattooed on your forehead. Do you keep your skin ink-free, or do you enjoy the fruits of modern technology?

Misty: Ink-Free.

Finishing Thoughts

- For some reason, when I read his first answer, it didn’t dawn on me that “Yack” was his friends name until he mentioned him the second time. I originally thought it was a modified for 1.6, and he was saying something like “yecht”, expressing his disgust for the game.

- He was resolute about not getting the tattoo, and I admire that. Being of weak mind and flimsy spirit, I probably would have imagined what computers would look like in ten years and caved like an Imperial Soldier talking to Obi Wan Kenobi. Kudos to him.

- Being a taxi team is much less than I thought it would, could, and should be. I was hoping the CGS was trying to start a farm system to develop and recognize talent, but it seems like they don’t have much purpose at all. That’s really disappointing to me. There are too many talented people being overlooked simply because there’s no good way to get recognized and added to a high-caliber team.

Thanks again to Misty, and I hope you guys enjoyed the interview as much as I did.


July 11, 2007

The CPL is using Source

The CPL is using Source? 

The CPL is using Source! 

I think that sums up the community reaction very nicely: a combination of fact, surprise, and excitement. If you’re the guy who makes up the CAL schedule, the reaction is probably more like, “oh CRAP, the CPL IS (dramatic pause) USING SOURCE.”

The difference is simple.  The CPL is a month away, and now CAL has to fit everything in before the competition. What’s everything? The end of the regular season, the playoffs, and next season’s placement tournament. They need to get those done for a couple reasons: the playoffs will affect the CPL seeding, and if they wait on the placement tournament, they’ll have scheduling problems in the winter.

There’s no margin for error, there.  If they push back the PT, they’re waiting for teams to get back, and then there’s the actual matches. Factor those in, and you’re not starting next season until the middle of September (even later if there’s a pre-season). Going by the normal eight week schedule, that means the regular season ends in middle to late November. Throw in another eMg tournament along the way, add in the playoffs, and now you’re ditching Santa Claus for SANTAZREAL in the CAL-M Finals.

Sorry, fat man, I've got to pwn some CAL-Main kiddies. I'll catch you next year. Dump the panda, bring a Wii.

So, it’s looking a little tight, and there are changes to the Main playoff format and the placement tournament for next season. Don’t worry, I’ve got all the information you need to know.

First, rosters are going to be locked starting on July 22nd. One of the complaints from last season’s PT was using glorified ringers. The rosters remained open for the duration, but some players were only added specifically to play one match. That's been kiboshed.

The CAL-Main playoffs are going to be a little different this season. The top sixteen teams will be competing in one double-elimination postseason, regardless of conference. The finalists will get into CAL-I. There will be a run-off for third place, to determine who gets the prizes offered from eMg Servers. 

Right now, the tournament is in for a larger overhaul. Nothing is set in stone, but the plan is to have the third to eighth place finishers from the Main playoffs join the bottom six teams from Invite to form a twelve team tournament. If teams die, there might be special considerations, so it might not be a six/six split. But, based on the complaints from last season of having too many Open/Intermediate teams in the tournament, this time it'll focus more on the upper-tier teams.

For both the playoffs and the tournament, all the matches will be on Central servers. There’s going to be a special rule for the last two weeks of the regular season to help Pacific and Atlantic teams adapt: teams from those conferences will be allowed to play their half of a match on a Central server. The nitty-gritty of the rule and its implication can be found here, but that’s the gist of it.

Here’s the schedule and map rotation for the Main playoffs and the PT.

Main Playoffs

Round 1: August 1st, de_train
Round 2: August 5th, de_cpl_mill
Round 3: August 8th, de_dust2
Round 4: August 12th, de_nuke
Round 5: August 14th, de_contra
Round 6: August 16th, de_inferno
Consolation Finals: August 16th, de_inferno

Round 7 (Finals): August 19th, de_cpl_mill

Placement Tournament

Round 1: August 19th, de_train
Round 2: August 22nd, de_inferno
Round 3: August 26th, de_nuke

Note that the schedule for the Main playoffs is a little rushed at the end, with matches being played on the 12th, 14th, and 16th. Also, the Finals and the first PT match are on the same day. The finalists both get auto-berths into Invite, though, so they won’t be taking part in the placement tournament.

And, just in case you like everything nice and neat, here’s what’s going on in numbered fasion.

1) The CAL-M playoffs will be one double-elimination tournament with the best sixteen teams, regardless of conference.

2) The top two finishers will be in Invite for Season 9.

3) Barring special circumstances, the third to eighth place teams get an entry into the placement tournament, along with the bottom six finishers in Invite.

4) All matches for the playoffs and PT must be played on Central servers. To help Pacific and Atlantic teams adjust, this rule will be in effect the last two weeks of the regular season.

There’s only one more thing to cover for next season. It’s far from guaranteed, but there’s a chance CAL-Invite will have a $1,000 prize pool for Season 9. CAL|Shawn is working on making that happen, and hopefully we’ll have more news regarding that in the near future.

Of course, I’ll be doing coverage the rest of the Invite season and the playoffs. And, depending on what happens, I’ll probably be covering the placement tournament. I might even decide to write about the CAL-M playoffs. Then there's coverage for other leagues, and the CPL in late August.

I should start writing now, or else I’ll never get around to everything.

Oh CRAP. The CPL is using SOURCE.


July 11, 2007

Taking a quick look back, my record from the first three rounds was 70-25. Add in the 13-3 record from last week, and we’re at 83-28. For anybody that’s not a mathematical genius, that works to a winning percentage of 74.8%.

We’re at a strange place in the predictions. I wouldn’t say it’s purgatory, but we’re certainly stuck somewhere. There are five CAL-Invite teams left, and one team that’s ripping up CAL-Main. Those six teams are playing in six different maches. Not to take anything away from the teams that made it this far, but it looks like there will be some lopsided scores. 

Where did all the good matches go? Hello? Are there any CAL-I match-ups out there?

(There were plenty in earlier rounds, too, but the sheer number of matches made up for it. When you have 128 teams, there are bound to be a few exciting games. Now? Not so much.)

So, as a warning, I'd rather not point out the obvious in some of the matches. Let’s face it, you don’t need an all-star predictor to tell you Check-Six is probably going to beat fragout! I’ll try to keep things moving along.

Round 4 (de_cpl_mill)

FragTech vs. recKoning – In my mind, this match has the potential to be interesting. FragTech has plenty of CAL-M talent on their roster, and if recKoning takes them lightly or isn’t practicing much, they could be in for a surprise. 

I’d be in for a surprise, too, because barring some motivational disaster, I doubt recKoning will lose. FragTech is a good team, but I don’t think these teams are on the same level. But at least there's a chance, which is more than some of these matches have.

recK > Frag 16-10

volatile vs. Legerity –I really hope this ends up being played, but it’s not looking good right now. volatile has a player on vacation, the rosters are locked, and I’m not sure that they can get it rescheduled. It’s too bad, because it’d be a good match.

Legerity is one of the CAL-I teams left, but volatile is a good CAL-M team and they’ve been playing well thus far, too. Their 19-17 overtime win against Panty Raid surprised me, but it wouldn’t be the first time I’ve underestimated a team. 

Congratulations to them for the overtime win, but if this match does get played I think it will be a lot like the recKoning/FragTech match: good, but the CAL-I team takes home a comfortable victory.

Legerity > volatile 16-10

fragout! vs. Check-Six –
This is the first match that has name value and almost no chance to be exciting. I don’t see any way this could be a close. 

Well, that’s a lie. I’ve got a pretty good imagination, so allow me to illustrate the situation.

NightFall decides to remake Heroic (read: make Heroic), and pays BadappleS to leave x6. fragout! learns of Misty’s love for the Die Hard movies and arranges a getaway with Bruce Willis (but you didn’t hear that from me, fragout). Brawwwr pisses off a witch and gets turned into a One Eyed Zombler, which clearly means he has to retire from CS. 

Now they’re down to two players, and I think all those situations are totally possible. If all that happened, Check-Six would have to play 2 v 5, and I’d still predict them to win 16-14. But it’d be a close match.

I’m not sure if they could really win 2 v 5, but you get the point. Check-Six is probably going to run through fragout ! with no problem.

x6 > fo! 16-2

Devastation vs. Ever Sports – See: Check-Six prediction, eMg Round 4. The one you just read.

Sorry, Ever Sports, it just ain’t happening. You’ve done really well so far, giving up only 4 rounds in the first three rounds. That’s going to go up. 

A lot.

(Sixteen rounds, to be exact.)

Dev > ES 16-4

Is it just me, or does the big guy look hungry enough to eat a child-sized cheeseburger?

Default vs. LucK –
LucK should come out of this with a pretty easy win.  They played cyberX in Round 3, winning 16-10, although I think cX played pretty well. They were down a couple starters, and you could tell it hurt them. LucK jumped out to big leads to start both halves, and once cX got used to their roster and LucK’s strats they started picking up rounds.

Against a less talented team, they probably would have won, but you can’t give up five or six straight rounds to start a half and come back against a CAL-I team. They’ll pick up enough rounds to close you out. 

So, in the end, LucK pulled out the win. This matchup should be easier for them; Default is 5-3 in Main, cX is undefeated.

LucK > Default 16-7

Exitium vs. Old School Gamers –
This is really the first interesting matchup (read: a match either team could actually win). Exitium has done well in Intermediate, compiling a 4-2 record, but OSG is a solid main team. Their record in Main isn’t that impressive, but their tournament results have been great.Their 16-2 win over Wal-Mart security certainly got my attention. wMs used to be a Main team, and they’ve still got players with Main experience on the roster. Beating them 16-2 is no small feat. 

Granted, it’s not like beating Check-Six 16-2, but I still think it’s a sign that they’ve been playing well. I’ll give them the nod in a close match.

OSG > Exitium 16-13

str!ke vs. Unheardof – 
I’ve said it before: I’m all about getting an easy win. All the rewards, none of the work. But at some point, str!ke has to play a match, right? They’ve advanced on three forfeit wins so far, and that’s actually impressive in its own way.

Could a team win a whole tournament by making the other teams forfeit? I can almost guarantee it hasn’t been done before. I say almost because there’s no way I’m looking it up, and I don’t have the results of every online tournament ever held, so I can’t say for sure. But still, it’s a mortal lock.

In general, we see more forfeits than 16-0 wins, but a team has to be totally dedicated to screwing over their opponents to advance on free wins. You need a whole list of excuses: medical visits, work schedules, school projects, family obligations, and maybe even a pet emergency (I have to take my dog to the vet, he just ate my iguana, etc). Any team that can pull that off has my respect.

str!ke will need that kind of dedication, because Unheardof should take the match easily if it’s not a forfeit.

? > str!ke 16-4

Featured Match

Newbies Operating vs. It Takes Five – Who would have thought this would be the featured match with five CAL-I teams left? You can take the big names, I’ll take the excitement. 

I’m still a little stunned by IT5’s demolishing of Energie. When you miss a prediction that badly, it shakes you a little bit. You do your best to put it behind you and come out fighting the next day, but man, it’s there in the back of my mind. I’m not sure I’ll ever be the same again. 

Glad I got that off my chest, I feel better now.

Both teams have done well so far, but I was a little confused by NO’s overtime victory against Ruin. I might have overestimated them a little bit, and given IT5’s performance, I’m going to give them a close win.

IT5 > NO 16-14

(Note: I’ve already written the Legerity/volatile prediction, but the match has already been played. It was a 16-13 win for Legerity, but I’m leaving the prediction in, anyway. Just wanted to give everybody a heads-up.)

(Second Note: it5 just finished their match against NO, as well, resulting in a 16-9 victory.)

Wait, it’s over already? I don’t know what to do with myself. I feel like I still owe you another thousand words. 

Not really.

LANDodger special offer: all teams get good luck, predicted winners win, predicted losers prove me wrong. Offer not valid in Alaska, Hawaii, or the contiguous United States. You must be 18 or older to receive this special offer. Void where prohibited.

July 9, 2007

There was a big 1.6 tournament over the weekend. PGS won, but I was far more intrigued by the number of spectators and the response to it.

Basically, it was used as another example of why Source sucks, why the CGS sucks for using Source, and why anybody playing Source must not only suck, but be mentally retarded. At this point, every 1.6/Source argument seems to have degenerated into a “My dad can beat up your dad” squabble. They’re silly, they’re full of hyperbole (my dad can beat up Chuck Norris!), and it doesn’t change anything about the situation at hand: CGS is using Source, and they’re not able to broadcast 1.6. The end.

That being said, I still thought this particular argument about spectators was particularly foolish, and I’ll give you two reasons why. First, all it does is reinforce a thought everybody will freely admit: 1.6 has a larger fanbase. At the risk of sounding like a valley girl, let me be the first to scream loudly, “WELL DUH!” I don't think anybody would dispute that. The numbers back it up, and even if you argue that Source is more popular than 1.6 in the United States, 1.6 is much, much bigger globally. It’s not even close. From what I understand, CS:S in non-U.S. countries is like CoD2 is here: wait, there are CoD2 tournaments? 

So that didn’t add anything new, especially considering the ESWC is an international tournament. But there’s a more insidious bias in the statistic, too, because people were comparing it to the amount of CGS spectators. The problem is that making a comparison like that is almost totally meaningless. 

Have a career .230 hitter? Might as well let him pitch.

LAN tournaments are the closest thing eSports has to the playoffs in professional sports. Teams are pitted against one another, sometimes in a best-of-three series, and then they get eliminated. The CGS is in the regular season. Games in the regular season are less interesting. Lost 20-1? Don’t worry, more games are coming tomorrow. Nobody can win a regular season in one day. It’s a grind, and over the course of a season it’s less exciting. 

(Sometimes teams can’t even go “all-out” because they have to prepare for a game the next day. How else can you explain Doug Dascenzo pitching?)

The regular season isn’t a bad thing, because it also makes the playoffs more special. But comparing the spectators from a major LAN tournament using a more popular game with a larger fan base, and then concluding the CGS will fail because they’re in the regular season, and have a smaller, domestic fanbase is completely ridiculous.

This logic break is over. You may now go back to your regularly scheduled forum trolling.



Tonight, as I started the predictions, I was very happy. For the first time during the eMg tournament, the list of teams was less than a page long. There’s extra white stuff on Page 1 after the last matchup. This brought a joy to my heart, the kind which only comes when you see the light after days and days of darkness.

Taking a quick look back at the last set of predictions, my record was 24-8 for Round 2, bringing my overall record to 70-25 with one missing match. (That match, like the sock my dryer eats, will never be found.) In my defense, six of the bad predictions from Round 2 were on forfeits. Throwing out all the FFs for the second round, my record was 16-2. Just don’t look at how bad the round predictions were. It’s not pretty.

The first clothes dryer came in 1799, and that's when the war started. We've been on the run ever since, moving mostly on foot.
eMazing Preds: Round 3 (de_train)

The Bill Cosby Seakings vs. FragTech – The Bill Cosby Seakings had a big first round victory and a forfeit win over Serious Gamers in the second round, but I don’t think they’re going to pose much of a problem for FragTech.

To make the match more interesting, I humbly submit they actually get Bill Cosby to play. I think he’d make a great CS player. He’s all over the place, he’s random, and you can barely understand what he’s saying. In other words, he’s a typical gamer. (wtf omg nowai ur rong.) As an added bonus, he can lift everybody’s spirits if the match doesn’t go well.

FragTech > TBCS 16-5

recKoning vs. Bananas in Pajamas
– I figured rsyn would give recKoning a run for their money, but it was an even longer run than I thought. I pegged them for a nice mile, and they did that plus a sprint (overtime). recKoning came out with a 19-17 win, which wasn’t even the closest match in Round 2 (more on this in a later prediction).

BiP destroyed their opponent 16-2, which just goes to show you should never mess around with Bananas in pajamas. You play with fire, you’re gonna get burned. You play with BiP, you’re gonna get … banana mush stains on your pajamas?

Anyway, this should be another fairly close match, although I think BiP isn’t quite as strong as rsyn was. recKoning should be able to pull out the win and advance into the e-Sweet Sixteen.

recK > BiP 16-11

volatile vs. Panty Raid – Of course Panty Raid is playing against the only team left in the tournament with a female starter. What else would you expect? It was destined from the beginning, just like every forum thread is destined to have at least one flame. It's just a matter of when.

volatile is a solid team, but Panty Raid is going to be too strong. They’ve got some very talented players, and should be able to take the match pretty easily.

PR > volatile 16-9

Cyber Phenom vs. Legerity
– I’d peg this as the featured match, but I’m penalizing Cyber Phenom for getting a forfeit win over The Real Untouchables last round. Not only did it ruin my prediction, but it was the featured match for Round 2. Boo, I say! BOOOOO!

I’m just kidding, of course. There’s just a matchup I like a little better later on in the predictions. This is pretty much opt ion 1B, though, considering they’re both CAL-I teams. As luck would have it, they’ve played each other in Invite already, with Legerity getting an 18-12 win.

I think I’ve predicted CP to lose 900 times. Feels like it, anyway, and now it’s going to feel like 901. Really, I think this match could go either way, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see an OT match. Legerity hasn’t been setting the world on fire. Their 2-6 record wouldn’t even light tinder, at this point. But I’m sticking with them on the strength of their earlier win and the fact that most of their losses have been very close matches. Hopefully they pick up a close win, here.

Legerity > CP 16-14

fragout! vs. obsceNe! – Battle of the exclamation points! 

fragout eliminated itasamassacre! I couldn’t believe it! It was a forfeit win, but still! They’re only a 3-3 CAL-IM team, it’s not like they’re CAL-I!

Three forfeit wins between them! That’s obscene (pun intended)! Speaking of obscene, they’re 4-0 in Open! What a record!

Mercifully, no more exclamation points. obsceNe! has been really good in CAL-O, and it’s a little hard to gauge fragout! because they haven’t played a match yet in the tournament. I think o! will take it, but it shouldn’t be a blowout.

obsceNe! > fragout! 16-10

Simon disapproves of CAL-I teams forfeiting matches. Trust me, we talk all the time.
Check-Six vs. Just Cause Project – Here lies Just Cause Project. 

They were a good team with good players, in the right place at the wrong time. x6 was looking for revenge after two 14-16 losses in CAL-I. jCp was their next opponent. It was a good run.

jCp: Round 1 – Round 3, eMg Tournament. Rest in e-peace.

x6 > jCp 16-6

Amped Gaming vs. Devastation – I’m not sure if I misjudged a team more than I did Nuccastyle. I predicted them to lose a close match in the first round, and I predicted them to lose huge to Devastation in the second round. They won their first match and took Dev to double overtime before losing 22-20. 22-20! Gotta give props for that performance, even if they did completely ruin two predictions. Well played, sirs. Well played.

I don’t think Dev will have that much of problem with Amped. At least I hope not. I don’t like missing match predictions by more than ten rounds, even though you can’t tell that from the actual results, sometimes.

Dev > Amped 16-3

Ever Sports vs. Up in Smoke! – Up in Smoke has won both of their matches on forfeits, which is my favorite way of advancing. Keep your earned wins, I’ll take the free pass, thanks.

If this match gets played, Ever Sports is probably going to take it easily. They’ve already dispatched a 3-1 CAL-O team by a 16-2 margin, and I don’t see a reason for this match to be much different.

ES > UiS 16-4

Fluid Gaming vs. Default – This has the makings of a good match. Default has played well in Main, but they seem inconsistent. They had a 16-14 loss to cyberXtreme, the top team in Pacific Main, but they also got blown out by FragFacile, a 4-4 team. They barely beat IN1HIT, another 4-4 team. They’re pretty hard to gauge.

Fluid has a close loss to Blood Sports in Intermediate, and they got blown out by Lateral Gaming for their other loss. But they’ve been doing well overall, and it looks like they’re a pretty solid team. Default will need to play like the team that hung with cyberX, or else they’ll be in trouble. I’m giving them the win, but Fluid could pull off an upset.

Default > Fluid 16-12

Featured Match

cyberXtreme vs. LucK – When I made the prediction for cX in the first round and people were miffed about it, they all said one thing: cX is an Invite-caliber team. Now we get to see how true that is.

LucK is 5-3 right now in Invite, and they’re a very, very good team. They’ve got two former members of Forbidden, messiaH and Allbrook, and the rest of their players are really solid. I’ve had a chance to watch them a couple times, and I’ve been impressed with the quality of their play (even in their losses).

To be honest, I’m not sure cyberXtreme will be up to the challenge. Their record in Main is a perfect 8-0, but their last two wins have been 16-14 over two teams near .500. LucK is almost certainly better than that.  I’m not sure if it was just an off-day or two, but they’ll need to play better to get a win here.

So, if you couldn’t tell, I’m going with LucK. It’s the match I’d like to see the most, and it’ll give us a little glimpse into how cX stacks up to Invite. I think they’ll fall just short of a win, but it wouldn’t surprise me if I end up predicting their Invite matches next season.

LucK > cX 16-13

Exitium vs. Devil 13 – Devil 13 has either done well to make it this far, or they’ve signed the Kurt Warner deal with the Devil: you come from obscurity to make headlines, only to fall off the face of the earth three years later. 

Putting aside the question of whether it’s morally wrong to sell your soul for e-fame, Exitium should be able to win. Devil 13 has played well up to this point, but they do have a 10-20 loss on their record in Open, and Exitium only has two close losses to two of the top teams in Intermediate. In other words, Exitium is one of the top teams in IM, as well, and that should be more than D13 can handle.

(Just a random thought: if the rap group D12 is known as the Dirty Dozen, can they add a member and become D13, the Dirty Baker’s Dozen? Or would that cost them too much street cred?)

Exitium > D13 16-8

When the Devil handed him the contract, do you think he fumbled that, too? Or just the pen?
Old School Gamers vs. Wal-Mart Security – I’d love to give some deep analysis here. The kind of statements that not only make the match so clear it’s obvious who will win, but also seems to make your whole life a little more focused. 

But, I got nuthin’. Honestly, I think the teams will be evenly matched, and it should be one of the most exciting matches to watch in Round 3. Each team has players with Main experience, but neither is really overpowering. 

When I can’t use reason to analyze a match, I stick with my gut. And my gut tells me I’m hungry.

And OSG will win a close match.

OSG > wMs 16-12

Livinproof vs. str!ke – Oh, how my desire went horribly wrong. I was really hoping to predict an I ATE EVERYONE/fatties match in this spot. Careful readers will note that neither of them are here. I take full responsibility for placing the LD curse upon them. I said that matchup needed to happen, and clearly that was too much bad karma. I hope they can forgive me.

str!ke is another team here on two forfeit wins, and they’re only 2-2 in CAL-O. There’s really nothing to suggest they’re a dominant team. Even though Livinproof is only 3-1 in Open, they did have an impressive victory against fatties, and their results in Open have been better, in general. I’ll give them the nod, here, and hope that str!ke doesn’t receive a third forfeit win.

Why am I hoping they won’t receive a forfeit win? To save everybody the three str!kes and you’re out jokes that are bound to follow.

LP > str!ke 16-9

Unheardof vs. Blood Sports – I was impressed by Unheardof’s victory over Vendetta, I thought it’d be more of a fight. Which is to say, I thought it would at least be a fight. 16-1 is a massacre.

Blood Sports has two solid wins, but the opponents haven’t been anything special. They’re 5-1 in IM, and it looks like they’ll be in Main next season. They’re a pretty solid team, but I doubt they’ll pose much of a threat to the CAL-I hopefuls.

? >Blood Sports 16-8

Newbies Operating vs. Ruin – I underestimated NO in the first round, and tried to make up for it in the second round by pointing out a couple players that I recognized, hoping that would explain my error. I was wrong, again. I was informed by FLuX, through the LD comment box, that the players I picked out don’t even play anymore. Sigh. Can nothing be straightforward?

That being said, they’ve still got players with CAL-M experience, and that was the basic message of what I said before.

Both teams are in CAL-IM, with NO sporting a more impressive record. Based on that and their performances thus far, I think NO is definitely the stronger team. 

NO >Ruin 16-9

It Takes Five vs. inFusion – I didn’t give IT5 a real prediction last time, which prompted a comment on my thoughts from their first round match against Energie.

For anybody that doesn’t keep a complete list of all my predictions next to their desk, and shame on you if you don’t, I’ll summarize it here: I predicted a close win for Energie (16-12), and the result was a 16-1 win for IT5.

And because I like to give the fans what they want, I’ll give my thoughts on that match here. From a prediction standpoint, I think four words sum it up: swing and a miss! Although, to be fair, this wasn’t any ordinary miss. This was one of those Bugs Bunny swings where the player misses the same ball three times. Whoops!

In the larger perspective, I think it supports two things very nicely. The first being there are really talented teams (and players) in every division of CAL. Just because we haven’t heard of player “X” or team “Y” doesn’t mean they’re not every bit as talented as the players we watch in Invite. I’m not sure whether IT5 is one of those teams or has those players, because it was only one match. But they’re out there. It’s just a matter of finding them.

The other thing their match supports, in my mind, is the whole reason for this tournament. One of the goals was to give teams from Open and Intermediate a chance to play against some top teams, either as a learning experience or to prove their mettle. Personally, I think it’s cool to see teams with potential realize they can hang with the big dogs, and hopefully it was a fun experience for all the teams involved thus far.

After saying all that and seeing IT5 just completely demolish my first round prediction, I sure hope they can take out inFusion (4-0 in Open). If not, I’ll have even more egg on my face.

IT5 >inF 16-6

In LANDodger predictions, there is (are):

[  ] Good luck to all teams
[  ] Wins for the predicted winners
[  ] Predicted losers proving me wrong
[x] All of the above


I’m not sure how many PGR matches you’ve seen, but they’re not too bad. Personally, I’m a fan of the collisions. Never liked 'em in real racing, but it adds a little spice (not to be confused with Baby Spice) to the online competitions. Having them on ensures that the beginning of the races look like a cross between auto-racing and bumper cars. 

To be fair, position is incredibly important because of the point system. There are four racers in each match, two per team. First place is awarded five points, second place gets three points, third place gets one point, and whoever finishes four gets a blue participation ribbon. Basically, you can beat your opponents 8-1 if your team captures the first two spots, and that’s a huge margin. In CS, that’d be beating somebody 12-6 or 13-5. DoA can’t even have a seven point differential because the match stops (mercifully for some players) at five. Even a 1st/3rd place finish nets a team a 6-3 advantage, which is pretty good. 

So, with the disparity in points per finish and collisions on, here’s an interesting question: should a person stuck hopelessly in fourth intentionally stop/wait so he can get in a collision with the other team, giving his teammate a chance to take the lead?

Third place is just over that hill, if I can just ... screw it, I'll just turn around and smash somebody.

The thinking goes something like this: if you’re in fourth place and you’re closer to Never Never Land than 3rd place, it doesn’t matter if you finish ten seconds behind somebody or twenty. You’re still getting as many points as I’ve scored in my NBA career. If you help your teammate by crashing into his opponents on purpose, he could go from third to first. Essentially, if that happens, you’ve turned a seven point defeat into a one point victory. 

Granted, there’s no guarantee that he’ll be able to take advantage of the collision, or not get caught in it himself. And the whole thing sounds dastardly, I know. But I looked in the rules, and I couldn’t find anything preventing it. That doesn’t mean it’s not prohibited, and it wouldn’t surprise me if it’s part of the “unwritten rules” of PGR, just like A-Rod got blasted for distracting an opponent trying to catch a pop-up. 

At the same time, these guys are competing for thousands of dollars in prize money. If it’s not in the rule book and it gives your team a chance to move on in the playoffs, or even win the championship, would, and should, a competitor do it? Going strictly by points, sure. But, the other competitors might be ticked when you cost them a bunch of prize money, so it’d probably help if you’re the only 6’6” PGR player with muay thai, jujitsu, and extreme nerd-kick training competing in the CGS.

If you're wondering: yes, you should add this whole idea to the list of reasons why I’m not playing PGR in the CGS. Although, if somebody wants to draft me to run into other cars, I’d be more than happy to accept a smaller salary. I’ll be the PGR version of a defensive specialist.

Then I just need some MMA training and I'll be ready to go.



Can somebody verify that Justin “sunman” Summy is alive? I don’t want anyone to panic, but this clearly isn’t the same person I saw on EFG or coL. If he is alive, please make sure he’s not some alien replica or on performance enhancing drugs.

When I watched him during the Intel Invitational as part of EFG, it looked like he could still hear Jason Lake’s voice yelling in his ear. He wasn’t hitting shots, his positioning wasn’t good, and if it’s possible to sense a lack of passion through an online avatar, he would have been exhibit A. 

It goes all the way back to his return from a temporary retirement. He was decent right after coming back, and I think we all assumed he would shake off the rust and become the old sunman. We assumed incorrectly. In fact, it seemed like he went the opposite direction: gaining rust and losing skill as time went on. It was like he was burned out two scrims after he unretired. 

One of those pesky intangibles (like desire) was missing. coL ended up replacing him, and EFG did the same after a short stint. During the Intel Invitational Running Diary, I even joked that he should rename himself “moonman” to get a fresh start because the sun was clearly tired.

The sun rose. The sun went down. All is right in the world: the sun is rising again.

I doubt he did that, but whatever he did, the old version of Sunman, the zEx player dominating SK on Train, is back. He was awesome during the combine, and he’s been playing well as a fill-in for grt/shaGuar (as they get visa issues resolved). Personally, I think the chance to make a living as a professional gamer might have brought back some of his old enthusiasm. I think that's a pretty safe opinion.

Whatever the reason, on behalf of all the CS fans out there: welcome back, and happy deaging.


Things haven’t gone as well for Belle. Earlier I compared her to an anchor. That might be a small understatement. She’s not so much a dead weight as she is the gaping hole that’s letting all the water into the sinking ship. 

I don’t blame her for being drafted. If the LA CompLexity offered me $30,000 to play DoA4, I’d ask if they already had a flight booked, or if I should hop on my bicycle and head for LA. I don’t even doubt her talent after these results. Randy Johnson kinda stunk for three years, too. I do doubt two things: her current skill-level, and how she’s doing mentally.

If you watched the CGS stream, she looked overwhelmed on and off the playing field. She seemed hesitant during the match, and when the camera cut away from the action, it looked like she just Old Yeller-ed her dog. I don’t know about you guys, but if I was losing matches and getting ripped to shreds in all the forums, I wouldn’t have much competitive fire or confidence left, either.

To the community: please, don’t regurgitate that tired thought about how she’s taking comfort in the money. It’s hard to lose like that and stay upbeat no matter how much money you’re making. I guarantee you Carl Pavano wasn’t laughing all the way to the bank while he was hurt and collecting millions of dollars. Competitors play for the competition. It’s hard enough to let yourself down, let alone ten other people. When you’re costing your organization a chance to win, money is a small, small comfort.

What does that add up to? Jason Lake needs to get her out of there. The regular season almost half over and LA’s in danger of not making the playoffs. Belle doesn’t look like she’s ready to be the player the organization needs right now. What do they gain from leaving her in? Confidence is a funny thing: once it’s gone, it can take a long, long time to get it back. I think you’re only damaging her, as a player, and your playoff chances. 

The worst thing that could happen is that the backup doesn’t do any better.  But you can’t lose by more than 0-5, so what’s the big deal? The best thing that could happen is you start getting 2-3 points a match from your DoA4 female player and you get Belle out of the spotlight. Let her regroup, focus on what’s been going wrong, and work to fix it. Maybe Belle can do all those things during the season, but after going 1-25 so far, I don’t think it’s likely.

Either way, I wish her the best of luck. She did what any of us would have done in her situation, and hopefully she can pull a Sunman: come through a down period and show everybody exactly how much talent she has. 


On a lighter note, I’ve been enjoying the CGS streams. djWheat does a good job with the broadcasting. (Don't call it shoutcasting, or else SirScoots will politely correct you.) My litmus test is simple: will I miss the commentary when he’s not there? The answer, for me, is a resounding “yes”. There are still kinks, little slip-ups, idiosyncrasies. But overall, he does a great job, and he makes the streams more enjoyable to watch. Keep up the good work.

(I say that like he, or anybody else at the CGS, actually reads this. Chances of that: unknown, but probably not as good as the chances it'll rain in Florida tomorrow. Yes, I'm still bitter about losing power for four hours during a small storm.)

I'm not above conspicuous product placement. Call me, Pepsi!

One last note about the CGS stream: the product placement is, maybe, a little too blunt. Mountain Dew sponsors the CGS. Apparently, this means one lucky pop-can will get more air time than the Diet Pepsi can in those commercials with Jay Mohr, because it’s sitting (very conspicuously) right next to djWheat’s keyboard. 

However, if Pepsi wants to get more bang for their buck, I suggest forcing the CGS to broadcast in black and white. Either that, or you could have djWheat whisper “Do the Dew!” at random points. He’s been whispering during the CS matches anyway, I’m sure he could slip it in. 

“And coL is walking up catwalk, setting up their strat. Do the Dew. Here comes Warden with one, two … THREE ENTRY KILLS! What a huge round for Warden! HE DID THE DEW!”

Add that to the list of reasons why I’ll never be a CGS broadcaster.

More CGS-related thoughts coming up tomorrow, but for now have a good night.

Belle, CGS, Sunman

July 5, 2007

It would have been more appropriate to wish everybody a happy Fourth of July yesterday, but I didn’t. 

So, instead, I hope everybody had a happy holiday, and returned from any festivities with the proper amount of fingers. If you started with ten and came home with ten, that’s a good day. If you started with nine and came home with ten, somebody else is having a really bad day.

And, let it never be said I ignore our friendly neighbors to the north! I hope all my Canadian readers had an excellent July 1st as they celebrated Canada day.

Happy days all around!


July 5, 2007

eMg Predictions: Round 2

Just for fun, I went back to see how I did for the first round of predictions. I ended up going 46-17, which was better than I expected. Math wizards will realize that adds up to 63 matches, and 64 were played. Well, I missed one somewhere when I was counting, and at this point I’m not going back through them all.
(By the way if you’re ever thinking about doing that many predictions, don’t plan on doing anything productive for the next couple days. It just won’t happen. Thirty-two predictions on the other hand … well, after you’ve done sixty-four, that’s child’s play.)

Also, my apologies for the later release. Two things conspired against me: a rekindling of my love for Diablo 2, and the wussiest power connection ever. 

After going on a Starcraft binge and a Diablo 2 binge, my gaming desires are clearly a parabola. I peaked with CS:Source (graphically/temporally), and now I’m heading all the way back to the NES. By the time 2015 rolls around, I’ll be back to Source and writing about a great game called Spore that I just picked up.

As for my electricity, I don’t know about anybody else living in Florida, but mine seems to go out during any decently sized storm. If I had to compare it to a video game character, it’d be Glass Joe. But even that’s an insult to him, because I think he could down my electricity in one fell swoop. It’s that pathetic. We had a storm today, and I’m without power for four hours. I had to “clean”, and “do stuff”. Ridiculous.

So, sorry about the delays, but here are the Round 2 predictions for the eMg Tournament!

eMg Tournament, Round 2 (de_contra)

Serious Gamers vs. The Bill Cosby Seakings
– The Bills Cosby Seakings made quick work of their Round 1 opponent, Creation of Destructive Entities, winning 16-3. Serious Gamers got a forfeit win. I assume this was because their serious nature intimidated their opponent, IthinkThey’reGoingLongAYatheyre@A.

(I doubt that’s what actually happened. I just needed to put that team name in a prediction again, and this was probably my last chance.)

Serious Gamers has a couple guys with CAL-M or CAL-I experience on their team, and I think they’re the stronger team despite TBCS’s strong showing in Round 1.

SG > TBCS 16-9

Dismay Gaming: propagating Dismay through gaming, one win at a time.
FragTech vs. Dismay Gaming – In a crushing defeat to optimists everywhere, Dismay gaming beat ROFL gaming in Round 1. It was a sad, sad day in the history of upbeat, happy-go-lucky eSports.

Joking aside, FragTech is a strong team. I mentioned in Round 1 that they had some members from the old Nemesis CAL-M team, but that was a little overstated. They do have two members from n3m playing for them, but I mistakenly put dampFire on their old roster in my memory. He was actually from MIDnite, a different CAL-M team. Sorry for the confusion, when you get long in the tooth (23) like I am, your memory starts to go.

That being said, he was still on a CAL-M team, and I think FragTech is a Main-caliber team. Much to the dismay of their opponent (PUN ALERT), they should be able to get a comfortable win.

FragTech > Dismay 16-9 

recKoning vs. Recon Syndicates
– This should be a really good match. recKoning is a current CAL-Invite team, and rsyn is a former CAL-I team. I’m not sure what rsyn’s roster is compared to their old squad, but it looks like they have at least a couple members from looking at the history of the STEAMIDs. 

If this was another team, I’d probably give rsyn the win. Meeting up with recKoning this early is just a little bit of bad luck. recK was mediocre in Invite before a couple recent wins that brought back memories from their excellent CEVO-P performance. They should be strong enough to take down the former Invite team.

 recK > rsyn 16-12

Three Times Blessed vs. Bananas in Pajamas – If I never, ever, EVER have to predict a match between two CAL-O teams again, I’ll be a very happy man. In fact, I’ll consider myself three times blessed, and I’ll even sleep with bananas in my pajamas to make it happen. That’s how desperate I am.

How do you distinguish between two 4-0 CAL-O teams without delving into their whole clan history and simultaneously boring the crap out of everybody that actually wants to read all thirty-two predictions? I don’t think it’s possible. And if it is, I’m not skilled enough as a writer to do it.

With that in mind, these are two 4-0 CAL-O teams. One of them will win, one of them will lose, and the last one has problems counting. Personally, I think BiP will win.

BiP > 3XB 16-12

Impetus -#wootgaming vs. volatile – In my Round 1 prediction for volatile, I referenced Heather Mumm as Jon “Juan” Mumm’s sister. Not only was that confirmed, but she added this on the forums: “Confirmed. The CAL skill runs in the family...from my dad's side to be specific.”

Now, I don’t want to start up any Mumm family drama, but it begs the question: does that imply their mom is a CAL-O newb? I'm not insinuating anything, but being of sharp intellect and quick wit, I couldn't help but notice the implications of such a statement.

(Actually, my intellect is quite dull and my wit slower than ... something really slow ... but after hours of thought I finally realized the implications of what she said and decided to poke fun at it. This is why it's dangerous to respond to anything I say. One minute you're confirming a mundane fact, and the next minute I'm joking about your family on a blog that has a readership of at least two handfuls.)

Family jokes aside (please don't hate me), I don't think this match should pose much of a problem for volatile. They're a good team, and Impetus hasn't proven they're on their level yet.

volatile > impwoot 16-7

Vagary vs. Panty Raid
– I’ve learned my lesson from Round 1: you should always go with the Panty Raid. I discounted them a little bit because they were in CAL-O, but they’ve got players with top-level experience. Wukev, cleverly disguised on the roster as vekuw, is a former CAL-I player, as is JimrockFord. I'm not familiar with some of the other players, but they have CAL-M experience, as well.

They should be able to pull out a victory here and move on to Round 3.

PR > Vagary 16-8

Featured Match

The Real Untouchables vs. Cyber Phenom – Hey, I know these guys! This is our first big match of the tournament. Both teams are from CAL-I, so hopefully there will be a scorebot or SourceTV up. If so, I encourage everybody to watch, it should be a great match.

CP has been playing a little better recently, going 2-3 in their last five matches. That includes a double-OT loss to Check-Six, which, despite being a loss, is somewhat impressive. They also did well on Contra earlier in the season, going 2-0 on the map against ajnin and itsamassacre. But they have lost to the top teams: EXTREMITY, LucK, Devastation, and Legerity.

TRU hasn’t done that much better, going 3-3 so far this season. (They’ve played three fewer matches than CP.) They’ve had similar results against their common opponents, but they’ve also made some big pickups. They snagged Exigent after EXTREMITY died, and he’s been, statistically, one of the best players in CAL-I.

Meanwhile, CP struggles to get a consistent effort outside of Demonic. When other players step up, they’ve played well. But those efforts seem to be erratic, and TRU’s lineup looks a little stronger right now, especially with the new pickups. TRU should take it in a squeaker.

TRU > CP 16-13

Total Chaos Gaming vs. Legerity – Total Chaos Gaming got a forfeit win to advance to Round 2, but that’s probably where the ride ends. Legerity shut out their first opponent, and they should have an easy time with anybody that isn’t at least a CAL-M playoff team.

Legerity > TCG 16-4

It's a great wave. Just make sure you watch out for the docks.
fragout! vs. HURRICANE – I made a surfer joke about fragout! in the first round, and now they’re playing the surfer’s worst nightmare: hurricanes.
On second thought, that doesn’t make sense. Not many people try to surf during a hurricane. Sane people, anyway.

(Anybody wanna go hurricane surfing? I hear it’s awesome.)

Anyway. About the actual match: they’re both CAL-IM teams, but HURRICANE has a better record, and I think their wins have been a little more impressive. They beat a 5-1 team and a 4-2 team, and they blew out a 3-3 team. Fragout! happens to be a 3-3 team, and they’ve been hanging tight against teams with similar records, losing one match in Double OT and winning another 16-14. HURRICANE should be able to take this, but it’ll be pretty close.

HURRICANE > fo! 16-12

obsceNe! Vs. {OSK} – obsceNe! had a big win in Round 1, and they’ve been pretty much tearing up CAL-O. That doesn’t bode well for {OSK}, a 2-2 CAL-O team. obsceNe! should be able to win without too much difficulty.

oN! > {OSK} 16-6

emptyshell vs. Check-Six – Ways emptyshell can win this match:

One sec, I’m thinking.

Spahn and Sain, and pray for rain?

Yeah, I got nuthin’. Sorry emptyshell, I think you’re in for a tough time against the 9-0 CAL-I team.

Check-Six > emptyshell 16-2

Just Cause Project vs. IN1HIT – Through most of the predictions, I’ve stuck with the team that’s in the higher league. A 3-5 CAL-M team got a predicted win over a 4-2 CAL-IM team. I think this is the time to break that trend.

IN1HIT hasn’t impressed me that much, and jCp has been doing well in IM. Their only loss came to Newbies Operating, and that team got a big bump in my rankings (more on this in the NO prediction). I’m going to break my tradition and give a close win to jCp, although I think it could go either way.

jCp > IN1HIT 16-13

Syntax of Gaming vs. AmpedGaming – I predicted SoG to get a big win in the first round because they’ve got a nice little LD logo on their site. They came through for me with a 16-5 win. They’ve got a much harder match-up this time, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see their eMg tournament come to end.

But I’m gonna dance with the girl that brought me to the dance. Even though there’s a smoking hot chick across the room waving me over.

(That’s a metaphor, of course. Smoking hot chicks aren’t interest in LANDodgers.)

If SoG does pull out a win, I humbly request a promotion in the left-hand column over “Danger Force". I don’t ask for much. Really.

SoG > AmpedGaming 16-13

Devastation vs. Nuccastyle – I predicted Nuccastyle to lose a close match in Round 1. They won 16-6.

Congratulations! As your prize, you get to play Devastation in Round 2. Have fun.

Honestly, they’re obviously a better team than I gave them credit for. I’ll happily admit that, but at the same time, it’s Devastation. I can’t pick against Devastation, no matter how much I underestimated the other team. 

Although, if they do manage to knock off Dev, I think I’d be morally obligated to pick them to win at least the next two rounds, even if the Devil and the Four Horsemen put together a CS:S team.

Dev > Nuccastyle 16-8

Ever Sports vs. DynastyGaming – Dynasty has done pretty well thus far in CAL-O, and they even left a nice “thank you” in the match comments for Round 1. But they got plastered by eCa, the top team in Atlantic-Omega, and I don’t think they’re on par with a top CAL-IM team like Ever Sports.

ES > DG 16-7

Pure.Gaming vs. Up in Smoke! – During a tournament, it’s not often that your second round match-up looks significantly easier than your first. But CAL is all about breaking the mold. Or something.

Pure beat Enemy, a 4-2 CAL-IM team in the first round, and now they’re paired up against a 3-1 CAL-Open team with a 6-24 loss to ERFQUAKE! (Again, I needed to get the team name in.) Maybe it’s not a huge downgrade, but I think Pure should be able to take this match, as well.

Pure > UIS 16-9

Fluid Gaming vs. Rising Five – Battle of the forfeit wins! 

Rising Five has been a good team in CAL-O thus far, going 4-0. They haven’t really DOMINATED, but they’ve won most of their matches in convincing fashion.

Fluid is from Intermediate, where they’ve lost two matches to a couple top teams, and they’ve played evenly with a couple 3-3 teams. They don’t seem like a team that will blow you away, but they’re solid enough. 

If Rising was a little more dominant, I’d probably give them the nod. But they didn’t blow out a mediocre OxideGaming team, and that lowers their stock a little bit. I’m going to stick with the IM team, for now.

Fluid > Rising5 16-10

Don't worry, this is just steam from my brain. It'll clear up in a couple days.
Default vs. Soldiers of Chaos – Default is a 5-3 Main team, and nothing that SoC has done in Open or in Round 1 suggests they’re anything more than an upper-tier Open or decent Intermediate team. Default shouldn’t have too much trouble, here.

Default > SoC 16-9

LucK vs. Rhapsody – Unfortunately, there isn’t much to say here. LucK shouldn’t have any problems moving on to the next round. 
They should meet up with cyberXtreme in Round 3, which will be a great match.

LucK > Rhapsody 16-3

cyberXtreme vs. WeWar
– I predicted cyberXtreme to lose in Round 1 as a joke, and people seemed to take it a little too seriously. The score just happened to be the punch line of the text in the prediction. 

But come on, does anybody think I’d be crazy enough to predict an 8-0 CAL-Main team to lose and mean it? I’ll admit I might be a little crazy, but that’s Mike Tyson crazy right there. 

WeWar had a close win in Round 1, but that’s probably as far as they’re going to get. Rather than use the score as a punch line again and ruffle even more feathers, I’m just going to predict who I honestly think will win the match. I hope you’re happy.


(Just kidding, I still love everybody.)

cyberX > WeWar 16-6

soLgaming vs. Devil 13
-- Sadly, my brother is now 0-1 all-time as a predictor. He thought Team Divine would beat Devil 13 in the classic matchup of good vs. evil. Clearly, my brother is a noob. (And he’s a noob that can beat me up. Don’t worry, I appease him with groveling and monetary tributes.)

soL has been a decent team in IM, and they’ve been very good against the low-tier teams. My gut instinct is that Devil 13 fits into the low-tier IM area, but it’s hard to tell from a few match results. I’ll go with my instincts.

soL > D13 16-8 

Exitium vs. Invader
– Exitium just got done beating a 3-1 Open team in the first Round, and they’re facing another one in Round 2. I don’t see any reason to go against them after they just beat a team with the same record. In fact, I’ll even give them the same amount of rounds they won, just in case lightning strikes twice.

Exitium > Invader 16-6

Powerline vs. Old School Gamers – Here’s one thing I’ll never understand about gaming and forums: a guy announces he’s retiring/going inactive because he’s having a kid, and people end up ripping him, his situation, telling him to get an abortion, etc, just because he has a bad reputation in the community. You’re entitled to your opinion, but doesn’t it seem a little bit petty, at that point? He’s having a child, for pete’s sake, and people are still ticked off because they think he’s a LAN dodger (no affiliation)? The magnitude of having a child juxtaposed against the LAN concerns just makes it seem completely ridiculous to harp on, in my mind. 


The match should be a really good one. They’ve got similar records in Main (3-4, 4-4), and Powerline beat a CAL-M team in Round 1. PL has a solid team, including “jettt”, a former CAL-I player. I think they’ll take out OSG in a close match.

PL > OSG 16-13

Allstars vs. Wal-Mart Security – I’m gonna ride the Wal-Mart Security train again. I mentioned before they were a former Main team, and I’m sticking with it. I don’t think they’ll dominate the match; Allstars has a good record in IM. But they should be able to pull out a win, even if it’s close.

wMs > All* 16-12

fatties vs. Livinproof
– I have to predict fatties to win, and I’ll explain why in a minute. The good news is that it doesn’t mean I have to go totally against logic. Fatties is a 5-1 CAL-IM team, while Livinproof has done fairly well in CAL-Open.

Sticking with the CAL-IM team here, especially because of the next prediction.

fatties > Livinproof 16-10

I ATE EVERYONE. vs str!ke
– Maybe it’s just my desire for everything in the universe to have purpose, but fatties has to play I ATE EVERYONE in Round 3. It has to happen. I’m already drooling over possible pictures of Fat Albert, the Donner Party, or anything else dealing with cannibalism or being obesity.

( I’m even considering a picture of “Saturn Eating His Children”, which is a fairly disturbing painting. You can google it, if you want. I’m not putting it up … yet.)

I believe the argument for I ATE EVERYONE goes like this: they’re a 4-0 CAL-O team, while str!ke is 2-2. Plus, Pinnochio plays for I ATE EVERYONE, and if his nose grows long enough he can use it as an aiming mechanism.

Conversely, if you feel something poking you in the back, Pinnochio is probably on your flank.

IAE > str!ke 16-9

You've made it this far! The end is in sight!

Blood Sports vs. Team Rabid
– Blood Sports beat a 2-2 Open team convincingly in Round 1, and as their prize they get to face a 3-1 Open team. They’re slowly moving up the ranks, and I don’t think they’ll have much of a problem yet.

Blood Sports > Rabid 16-10

Vendetta vs. Unheardof – This is probably the second best matchup of Round 2. Vendetta is a 6-2 CAL-Main team, and Unheardof is 7-0 in Main.

That being said, I think Unheardof has the edge, just as their record indicates. Vendetta struggled against some of the competition in Main, and they lost to CyberXtreme 11-19. I’m not sure if Unheardof is quite that strong, but they’re certainly in the discussion, at least. They’ve also gone to overtime with a 3-5 team, and had a 16-14 win over IN1HIT (4-4).

Unheardof has some close matches on their record, too, but they’ve come against a little better competition and their wins against low-tier teams have been by a larger margin, as well. They should be able to beat Vendetta, but it’ll be a good match to watch if you can.

? > Vendetta 16-12

JfK*-Clan vs. Newbies Operating – Newbies Operating shouldn’t have much trouble here. They beat my prediction in Round 1 comfortably, and upon further review, I can see why.

 I blame it on being tired (they were one of the last predictions), but I didn’t recognize NastyNate from All-biz and LucK, both CAL-M teams from a couple seasons back. He’s not their only former CAL-M player, and just to top it off I’ve actually scrimmed with “Jeon” before, and I was very impressed with his aim.

So, basically, I totally underestimated them. They should be able to dispatch JfK Clan easily.

NO > JfK 16-5

Ruin vs. You got ‘d? – You got ‘d eliminated one of my favorite teams from Round 1, Urban Bushido Team Three, but I won’t hold that against them. 
Unfortunately, I will hold their 2-2 CAL-O record against them, and Ruin is 4-2 in CAL-IM.

Also: it’s the 30th prediction, my brain feels like total mush, and I can’t fathom how I made it through 64 of these a couple days ago. I think my guardian angel stepped in and wrote half of them so I wouldn’t go completely crazy. That’s the only logical explanation.

I have nothing to add about these two teams because if I think too hard, my brain might leak out my ears. Sorry.

Ruin > You got ‘d 16-9

It Takes Five vs. oPg – Again, the second to last prediction goes for naught – this match has already been reported as a forfeit win for IT5.

Therefore, my prediction is: in Round 3, the 15th (second to last) match I have to predict will be reported before I get a chance to predict it.

Early Match > LD 2-0

inFusion vs. Pub4Life – If there’s one thing you should have learned from reading 96 of my predictions, it’s that I’m big on names. And if you think I’m picking a team named Pub4Life to win in a tournament, you’re crazy. 

Of course, if I read 96 of my predictions, I’d probably be crazy, too. So I don’t really blame you, but I’m still not picking them.

infusion > p4L 16-9I

If you want to respond to the predictions, I encourage you to use the comment box we added to the sidebar. It’s easy, and all the comments get sent to my e-mail address. And I love e-mail! It makes me feel important.

I was so burned out after Round 1 that I forgot to put in my predictor’s motto. Don’t worry, this time I’m on top of things.

LANDodger Predictions: a good source of your daily allotment of good luck to all teams, and now with 50% more predicted winners winning and predicted losers proving me wrong.

July 3, 2007

As part of some site tweaking, we decided to bring back comments. Sort of.

I’d love to have a full comment system after every post, but I have absolutely no desire to moderate comments. I’d rather light myself on fire and sing “I Feel Pretty” in the middle of New York.  At the same time, I think having a better feedback system would be fun. I like hearing what you guys are thinking.

With that in mind, we put in version 1.0 of the comment box. For now, you can find it just to the right. Basically, you leave your name and a comment, and it gets sent to my e-mail address. You get feedback, and my comment moderation consists of the delete button. It’s a good compromise.

I’m sure the box is going to change in the near future, but for now it’s fully functional, so comment away!

LD News

July 2, 2007

Let’s face facts: coL isn’t doing well this season. They’re 1-2, they’ve scored the least amount of points this season (through the weekend), and Belle has been an anchor. I’m not sure if “anchor” does her score (1-15) justice, but that’s a different story. Because as far as I’m concerned, they actually got a leg up on the competition with a small, largely unpublicized move: hiring Alex Garfield as their assistant general manager.

It probably won’t have an immediate impact unless he gets a sex change and takes up DoA4, but it’s part of a larger thought: the organization that uses the CGS setup to their advantage is setting themselves up for years of success.

The CGS allows for a lot of new things. Trades, drafts, taxi-teams, and scouting across four different games are pretty much new features in eSports. They’ve been done on a small scale before, but never as part of a professional gaming league. Hiring Garfield (no word on Odie, yet) lets coL do more things. They can scout better, evaluate more talent, handle more decisions, and be familiar with more people and games. When you’re building a franchise, those things are absolutely necessary.

Jim Davis does the Garfield cartoons, but I think Tony Snow wrote that text.

Let’s illustrate with an obvious example: statistics. Baseball has all kind of crazy statistics and systems for evaluating players. They keep track of everything except who eats the most amount of sunflower seeds. Just look at what’s available to the general public through Yahoo. Here are some basic statistics for Alex Rodriguez. (Thanks for making me #1 in my fantasy league, buddy!) They’re sitting right there on his player card. Of course there are whole websites dedicated to keeping even more ridiculous statistics.

It’s way too much to break down individually, but basically, a player or team in a slump has 100 different tools to help them evaluate exactly what’s going wrong and how to fix it.

So, tell me, who’s the best clutch player in eSports? Who hits the highest percentage of flick-shots? Let’s go back to Belle for a concrete example. Why is she 1-15? Are her moves being blocked or avoided too easily? Is she not blocking or counter-attacking well enough? When you’re 1-15, it’s probably a little of both, but I don’t think anybody can give concrete evidence about which it is or how much of each.

Instead, we have anecdotal evidence. I saw a player do “x”. This guy owned at “y” LAN. “Z” has one of the best rifles/AWPs in Source. In other words, we are where baseball was in the early 1900s. It’s not hard to imagine an organization becoming a dynasty back then if they had the information we have now. They could evaluate talent more accurately, and thus make better trades and draft picks. Drafting and trading translates pretty well to eSports, now that the CGS is here, and that’s where Alex Garfield comes in.

He might not have those statistics, but his hiring is an indicator that coL has the right mindset. More people can do more work. I’m not sure what Jason Lake, their GM, has in mind, but personally I’d split up the four games. Let Garfield handle the majority of DoA4 and PGR scouting, for example. That way, he can focus on those two games and get a better feel for upcoming talent, freeing up Lake to do the same for CS:S and FIFA ’07. At the very least, coL has another opinion on player talent across the board, and that could be a big advantage. I don't expect them to dominate for thirty years just because they hired one guy. But for right now, two guys is double what the other organizations have.

It comes down to two questions: for LA, would it be worth trading Storm and Belle to Dallas for Rasberry Tea (DoA4 Female) and brawwwr (CS:S taxi-team)? Would Storm’s impact make that worthwhile for Dallas? The first organization to figure that out will be in great shape, and in my opinion, Garfield’s hiring is a sign of good things to come for LA.


The deed is finished! If you missed Part I or Part II, don't fret, I've got your back.

One last note before we begin. I want to stress that you should take these predictions in the spirit in which they're given: as entertainment. Good predictions, in my opinion, can mix and match two things: entertainment and information. When predicting sixty-four matches, the amount of information is prohibitively large. Instead of bogging everybody, including myself, down with details and match-ups, I tried to give a brief background for each team, a joke, and move on. It's 5,300 words as it is. If I went as in-depth as I do during the Invite predictions, it would have been closer to 15,000. I don't think people want to read that, and I don't think I could write that in the time alloted, anyway.

So, hopefully you've enjoyed the jokes and following my meandering thoughts. If that's not your thing, I'll be doing more in-depth predictions when the field gets narrowed a little bit. For now, the home stretch!

Invader vs. Ransom – This sounds more like two steps in a kidnapping plot than a CS match. Clan Ransom? What exactly are they ransoming? These are the really important life questions that I need answered.

I think the only better matchups would be Panty Raid/Invader, and Panty Raid/Ransom. One time, at band camp …

Random got beat 3-27 during the season. That violates my 20 Round Margin rule, and prohibits me from picking them to win.

Invader > Ransom 16-9

Powerline vs. Just Type Kill – My prayers have been answered: these two teams actually played each other during the regular season in Main.

JTK! Has had a rough season. They started out with a 24-6 pasting of Mind The Addiction. But, I think they peaked a little early. It’s been a 1-5 ride since then, including an 11-19 loss to Powerline. I don’t see any reason to go against the regular season results here.

Powerline > JTK 16-10

First page on a GIS for "Old School Gamer": Einstein. Who knew?
Old School Gamers vs. Next-Level – This should be a pretty good match. OSG has been in Main a couple times before, although they died and worked their way back. They’re 4-4 right now, which is nothing to sneeze at.

Next-Level is also 4-4 in Main, and I recognize a few of their players. MarbeL used to be on n3mesis (and a couple other Main teams, I believe), and Farout is well-known in the community. 

The biggest difference I see is in their recent matches. Next-Level played two close matches against Unheardof and Nous Sommes Francophones, two of the top teams in Main. NSF was also in the Placement Tournament for this season but fell just short. They’ve got two big losses on their record, as well, but those seem to be blips more than a trend. It looks like they’re a little stronger than OSG, but it should be close.

Next-Level > OSG 16-13

Team Fallen vs. Allstars – Fallen has a suspended player, which is somewhat appropriate given the team name. Allstars seems like a decent CAL-IM team, and Fallen hasn’t done so well since their overturned match. Funny how that works sometimes.

All* > Fallen 16-10

Wal-Mart Security vs. Insomnia Gaming – wMs is another old-school Main team, and nobody’s touched them so far in CAL-O. I can’t discount the possibility that they’re actually Wal-Mart Security people – a job which has a minimum age of sixty, I believe. 

(I live in Florida. The Wal-Marts here are almost like some kind of geriatric social hangout.)

wMs > IG 16-11

fatties vs. Black Is Wack – I already made a deporting joke, and this matchup is just asking to get me in trouble with African-Americans and big-boned people. 

This time, I’m really not taking the bait, even though the evil shoulder angel is making some really good jokes.

They’re both playing well in their respective divisions, but a 5-1 record in Intermediate is a lot more impressive than a 4-0 record in Open. 

Fatties > BiW 16-12

Puresound Gaming vs. Livinproof – Livingproof is 3-1 in Open with a guy suspended for evading a previous suspension. Puresound Gaming is 2-2 with no suspensions. Part of me wants to reward the “clean” team.

The other part of me wants to get the prediction right.

Livinproof > Puresound 16-10

I ATE EVERYONE. vs. strafeRight² -- It’s only a matter of time before IAE turns to cannibalism. They have sixteen people on their CAL-O roster. Somebody is going to get a little too hungry and take a bite out of the person next to him. It goes downhill from there – just ask the Donner Party.

That being said, it’s pretty hard to strafe after you’ve been eaten. Plus, strafe is only 2-2 in CAL-O, and IAE is 4-0.

IAE > sR 16-5

Haf Boys vs. str!ke – Haf boys, half … amazin’? Haf boys, half men? (Upon checking what HAF stood for, I only wish it was something as PG as I suggested.) 

One thing I’m sure of: 0:1:938512000:09 375 5, one of their SteamIDs, is not a legitimate.

They’ve had similar results in CAL-O. Each got blown out by a 3-1 team, they’ve blown out two lesser teams, and played a 2-2 team evenly. It seems like this could go either way.

str!ke > HB 16-13

Blood Sports vs. XOBILE – Coming this summer, from Exxon Mobile: Xobile, a mobile phone that gives you up to the minute reports on just how bad you’re getting reamed at the pump. Xobile: because we couldn’t resist rubbing your dependence on gas in your face.

Blood Sports is an upper-level Intermediate team, while XOBILE isn’t making much noise in Open. Probably a mismatch.

BS > XOBILE 16-7

Team Rabid vs. world domination –Sticking with the oil theme for a second, a quick note to the guys at world domination: if you’re gonna do it, you better get started. George Bush has a big head-start, and I’m not sure if conquering the world one eSports match at a time is really the way to go. I’ve been wrong before, though.

There’s not much to distinguish between the two teams, they’re both 3-1 in CAL-Open with a couple big wins. WD had a 28-2 win, though. Even though blowout wins in Open are worth about as much as a milli-peso, it’s all I’ve got.

WD > Rabid 16-13

Quick way to break your brain: quantum physics. Guaranteed headache.
Tenth Dimension Gaming vs. Vendetta – Wouldn’t four dimensions have been enough? I can barely comprehend anything more than two dimensions. That’s why I’m only good at Pong. Ten dimensions is just overkill.

This should be one of the more entertaining matches. Vendetta is 6-2 in CAL-Main, and Tenth Dimension (Spectrum) is 4-2 in CAL-IM with two close losses. I think Vendetta has the clear advantage, but at least they’re somewhat close.

Vendetta > Tenth Dimension 16-11

Warrior Nation vs. Unheardof – Unheardof? Never heard of them before. Who are these guys? (Too obvious? Probably. But at five AM, after this many predictions, it feels like pure genious.)

(Yes, that’s an intentional typo.)

They’re actually a dominant CAL-Main team, and I’m going to extend them the Invite treatment: you get predicted for a big win, and we move on.

? > Warrior Nation 16-4

Team illusive vs. JfK*-Clan – On the “Top Ten Signs You’re in CAL-O” list, where does including your clan tag in your handle rank? It’s gotta be top-five, right? (Note: when I first registered for CAL, I too used my clan tag as part of my handle. Somebody told me it looked more organized, and thus cooler. They were wrong.)

Nothing against the guys, I’m just sayin’. 

Also, the irony of Team illusive (based on or having the nature of an illusion) playing JFK Clan ... priceless. This is the last of the improbable matchups I’m blaming on SkyNet and Gancorz. And considering the thousands of books that have been written about the JFK assassination, it might be the best one.

I think JFK gets his revenge.

JfK* > illusive 16-12

Mind the Addiction vs. Newbies Operating – Newbies Operating is a 5-1 CAL-IM team with a 2-2 CAL-O name. At least they gave it a little different spin, even though I think adding “heavy machinery while drunk” is a worthy addition to the end.

MTA is 3-5 CAL-M team, so this should be a pretty good match (there are a few in this set of predictions). I’m going to give MTA a little bit of an advantage for being a Main team, but I think this one could go down to the wire.

MTA > NO (HMWD) 16-14

We’re All In Thongs vs. Ruin – I’ve spent a lot of time making fun of team names, but this is just a blatant lie. There’s no way all the people on that team are in thongs. I’ve played CS in a thong before. It’s very uncomfortable. It bunches, it rides, it disappears into you know where. Two thumbs down for lying.

Ruin is 4-2 in CAL-IM, they should be able to take on a 3-1 CAL-Open team. Especially one filled with liars.

Ruin > WAIT! 16-10

You got ‘d? vs. Urban Bushido Team Three – What happened to Urban Bushido Teams One and Two? Somebody get Matlock on the phone, we’ve got a mystery on our hands.

You got ‘d is actually a pretty cool tag once you incorporate their game handles. Not too shabby. But it’s a bad sign when your clan tag is more impressive than your clan record.

UBTT > You got (loss)’d? 16-12

Energie vs. It Takes Five – Energie has played a good four or five teams in the tournament during this season of Main, with mixed results. The 5-3 record doesn’t jump out at you, but they’ve had a couple close losses. The only bad match was an 8-22 defeat from BFG, one of the top teams in Main this season.

It Takes Five has been ripping through IM, so this is another good match if you manage to find some SoruceTV info or you enjoy watching the strangely hypnotic text of a scorebot. 

I’m going to give it to Energie, even though their clan description scares me. I give them a 50% chance of at least one member showing up high.

Energie > ITF 16-12

oPg vs elemental – Hey, whaddaya know, another 4-0 CAL-O team! And another 3-3 CAL-IM team! I’ve only seen about three million of those today. (Seriously, I now consider myself an expert on CAL-O and CAL-IM team names, at the very least. KaptainCrunch and the CerealKillas is my second favorite, by the way.)

I’ve tended to favor the team with more experience in earlier predictions, but oPg doesn’t seem to have any problems handling Open teams, and elemental is struggling in CAL-IM (one of their wins is a forfeit win.) Gonna go with the better record here, instead of the team playing in the higher division.

oPg > elemental 16-12

inFusion vs. Oxide Gaming – (I … SEE … THE FINISH LINE …)

inFusion reported a forfeit win over OG already. I’m not sure what happened, and at this point, I consider the forfeit a blessing. I’m taking it at face value and not asking questions.

inF > OG 16-0 (FF win)

Arsenal vs. Pub4life – Do you know what it feels like when you reach the end of sixty four predictions? I do. It feels like winning the Super Bowl. (On Madden 2k7, but still.)

I’m going to Disney World!

(Read: I’m going to sleep!)

Arsenal > Pub4life 16-10

As promised, if you made it through all sixty-four predictions with me, you get a gold star.

If you hopped onto the bandwagon during Part III, don't click that link. I'm trusting you.

By the way, if this tournament comes around again next season and I want to do predictions for the first round, drug me. Seriously, just knock me out for a few days. Outsource the predictions to India. Do whatever it takes. I’ll thank you when I wake up.


Round Two … FIGHT!

IN1HIT vs. Second Nature – Unintended consequence of the eMg tournament: you can see which players are active on any team. I’m flipping back and forth between the eMg rosters, and the regular CAL rosters for each team so I can see a little bit of their match history, and without fail there’s about 2-3 more people per CAL roster. 

Trim your tree, find inner peace. A good trade.

I think CAL should pull a rope-a-dope. Instead of going back to the regular season, just use these rosters instead. It’s large-scale electronic bonsai.

Second Nature has been tearing up CAL-O, but IN1HIT is a solid main team. I’m actually curious to see who wins this match. People always make claims about CAL-O teams being better than CAL-M teams. Now is their chance to prove it.

IN1HIT > sN 16-10

Syntax of Gaming vs. insanity – Going with Syntax of Gaming on this one. Why? Check out their website. Over on the left side, scroll down a little bit … it’s a small version of me!

I don’t claim to be unbiased. Go Syntax!

SoG > insanity 16-0 (Going for broke, baby!)

Tagteam vs. AmpedGaming – AmpedGaming has a lot of team spirit. They have three guys named “everyone”, “anyone”, and “no one”, and three people with the last name of Nguyen. To help, I suggest adding somebody named “the one”, and seeking out a sponsorship from Scotty Nguyen. Or, if you’re feeling really ambitious, try to recruit him and make him use “the one” as his handle. 

Amped’s results have been a little better, but they have a suspended player. I’m not sure how that will impact the match, but I’m going to give them an edge, anyway.

Amped > Tagteam 16-10

clutchpatrol vs. Devastation –
(Cue Ghostbusters themesong.)

When it’s 1v2
In bombsite B
Who you gonna call?

(I ain’t ‘fraid of no clutch.)

The only problem: clutching against Devastation is a lot harder than frying the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man. And a lot less tasty.

Dev > clutchpatrol 16-2

Nuccastyle vs. Flawed Existence – I make a Ghostbusters joke, and I kid you not, there’s a guy on Flawed Existence with the handle “Venkman.” You can’t make this stuff up.

Flawed is a decent main team, while Nuccastyle is doing some damage down in the CAL-Sewers – er, I mean CAL-Open. I’m sticking to my guns and going with the CAL-M team.

FLEX > Nuccastyle 16-12

Elite Special Force | Invictus vs. Ever Sports
– Just before I was ready to post the predictions, I got an e-mail from one of the ESF members. Apparently they have people on vacation for Canada Day, and they can't get the match rescheduled. They're going to be playing without at least two, probably three, of their starters.

LANDodger says: reschedule! Give our Northern brethern a break, they already have to deal with sharing a continent with us. The least we can do is reschedule a match. (Note: if Ever Sports is also based in Canada, then have mercy on your kith!)

If that doesn't happen, it looks like Ever Sports is sporting (PUN ALERT) a 5-1 record in Intermediate, with ESF at 3-3. I don't see much hope for ESF without a majority of their starters.

Ever Sports > ESF 16-8

Apocalyptica vs. DynastyGaming
– Mel Gibson, is that you? (Oh wait, that was Apocalypto.)

Apparently, Apocalyptica is a Finnish musical group. There are four cellists, and they do covers of bands like Metallica and Pantera. I don’t know about you guys, but what I’m listening to Metallica, my first thought is always, “Man, this would sound really good on a cello. If only they had more cello players.”

I’m not sure if that’s what the team was going for, but who says predictions can’t be educational?

All that said, their CAL-O performance is decidedly underwhelming. A 30-0 loss and a 26-4 loss = a predicted loss.

DG > Apocalyptica 16-5

Enemy vs. Pure.Gaming
– The World’s Shortest Preds, Round 2 … go!

The coin came up heads.

Enemy > Pure 16-9

Up in Smoke! vs. FEAR
– Is there a F.E.A.R. clan named Counter-Strike?

Up in Smoke lost to my new favorite CAL-O team, ERFQUAKE!!!, 26-4. I’m giving FEAR the win.

FEAR > UIS 16-12

Fluid Gaming vs. Landscapers –
Resisting the urge to make an illegal alien joke about Landscapers …

The Landscapers have a suspended player. He had incomplete/no demos. See, it's all these illegal electronic aliens making us look bad! They're taking our jobs, hurting our economyI believe he’s being deported as we speak.

… what can I say? Sometimes you gotta scratch the itch.

They’re both doing alright in CAL-IM, but I think Fluid is a little stronger. I actually recognize one of their players, which is incredible. At this point, it’s like seeing somebody from your High School during your first semester at college. Even if you never talked during the four years of HS, you’re instantly best friends just because of that shared experience. It’s ridiculous. And now it’s happening to me.

Fluid > Landscapers 16-12

Rising Five vs. Cry More Noob – I’m not sure why this is a match, these aren’t even CS teams.

A lot of people don’t know this, but the rising five is actually the prequel to the high five. It isn’t used very often anymore, but it involves putting your hands together raising them into the air, and then clapping them at the top again. Nowadays, people just forego the foreplay and get straight to the clap.

Cry More Noob is a new Michael Moore documentary about social pariahs and the people that prey upon them. We all know the Internet community can be very harsh, especially on n00bs that like to cry. I think it’s set to release at 12:00 AM on Caturday.

Rising Five > Cry More Noob 16-7

Frailty vs. Default
– A CAL-Main team! Woo-hoo! At this point, that equals an automatic prediction to win. 

I need some kind of mental Viagra.

Default > Frailty 16-10

Um ... this might be the strangest picture I've ever seen. The Hair. The angle. The colors ... it's too much.
Soldiers of Chaos vs. Team SUPER SOAKERS – You know what I want, more than anything, right now? A prediction involving two teams that have played each other at some point this season. I don’t ask for much. 

I must say, going with CAPS LOCK ENGAGED for SUPER SOAKERS was a good move. It makes it seem like the person was actually getting hosed down as he was typing the name. The team hasn’t had much success in CAL-O this season, but Soldiers of Chaos, despite a much more intimidating name, haven’t done much better. It’ll be a close one.

SoC > TSS 16-14

NBA vs. LucK –
LucK has been one of the better teams in CAL-Invite so far this season, and I’m a big fan. I don’t see them losing here unless they’re too busy asking for autographs.

Wait, the NBA CS team isn’t full of NBA players? Well, I feel silly.

LucK > NBA 16-1

Rhapsody vs. BLT
– Rhapsody is 4-0 and the owners of the least intimidating team ever. BLT is 2-2 and the sandwich is considering changing its acronym to BLAT just so the two aren’t associated with each other.

If I have to predict one more match with two CAL-O teams facing each other, my head is going to explode.

Rhapsody > BLT 16-8

Thru the eyes of a killer vs. cyberXtreme
– (BOOM!) (Post-Publish note: just when you assume two teams are CAL-O, somebody e-mails you to correct your mistake. Not only did the assumption make me look silly, but now a good head-blowing-up joke is ruined. Ruined! Curses!)

cyberXtreme: most stereotypical name ever? 

Thru the eyes of a killer: just plain creepy, man. Seriously. That’s the name of a clan that will stalk and hunt down a predictor if he’s too mean.

Hmm …

TTEOAK > cyberXtreme 16-1

WeWar vs. Belligerence.css – At a time like this, I’m regretting that I suggested non-alcoholic beverages in the beginning of Part I. If everybody still reading was drunk, it would make my job a lot easier.

WeWar is 4-1 in Intermediate with a pending match against Sextronica, which was on Cinemax last night, I think. 

Belligerence is doing really well in CAL-O, but it’s still CAL-O.  And if they’re jerks in scrims, at least they’re up front about it.

WeWar (what is it good for?!) > Belligerence 16-10

Elastic Rubber Band Warriors vs. soLgaming – I fear no warrior that wields elastic rubber bands.

soL > ERBW 16-10

Devil 13 vs. Team Divine
– We have a guest predictor! The official brother of LANDodger is stepping in for this prediction.

LD`Brother: “Under ordinary circumstances, my personal preference for evil would override my better judgment (the good guys always win). But an unlucky devil (#13) just doesn't have a chance. Unless they play 13 players, in which case they'd probably win. Unless they're unlucky.”

Team Divine > Devil 13 16-13

(“Even though I think the name Team Divine is so lame, they deserve to lose.”)

Exitium vs. e-Athletes – e-Athletes beat a team called “We Suck” 30-0 in CAL-O. No joke. What are the chances a team named “We Suck” makes it CAL-I? Aren’t you pretty much setting yourself up for failure? It’s like naming your child Forrest. Nothing good can come of it.

Exitium is yet another decent CAL-IM team (4-2), and they should beat the e-Athletes.

Exitium > e-Athletes 16-6

Part III still coming, don't worry! I'll soldier on, even though you're probably as burned out from reading them as I am from writing them.