Clarity League Season 2 — Team Reviews / Power Rankings: Part I

Clarity Linear Rankings

The player drafts of Season 2 were…interesting, to say the least. On paper, this has left us with some fairly clear-cut rankings selections, but lord knows Clarity seasons are all but predictable.

This iteration of my power rankings has one attribute that distinguishes it significantly from the rest: one round of matches has already been completed. While I’d like to pretend that this is an intentional choice, the truth is simply that I didn’t exactly have much time to write — but on the flip side, this does mean I have much less guesswork to do in relation to roles (and, to some extent, team strength — though I’m avoiding putting too much emphasis on Week 1 results). That being said, a lot of this was written before these matches, and I’m going to stick to that commentary, updating mostly role setups that I didn’t predict.

This is part 1 of 2 of my Season 2 Power Rankings, going over Clarity Linear first, with my Clarity Divisions rankings to follow tomorrow.

In any case, before we get to the good stuff, I’ll go through my usual round of disclaimers:

  • These are all my own personal thoughts, and power rankings are meant purely as entertainment.
  • I place a greater emphasis on team reviews, rather than the rankings themselves, and the latter as a result have a lot less thought behind them.
  • © denotes a team’s captain, and the MMRs listed are from the draft sheet, post-adjustments.

Clarity Linear

This season is the first time Clarity League has featured the Linear format, one where players aren’t split up into divisions but rather all belong to the same pool, and where the draft is much simpler: captains just pick the player they want when it’s their turn to do so. This tends to result in a fairly formulaic setup for most teams, though as we’ll see the captains definitely managed to make it an interesting draft.

Due to the large spread of MMRs in teams, the contrast between the higher and lowest skill players on a team is starker than ever, and as such the quality — and, really, number of — high MMR players in a team is generally the deciding factor behind a team’s strength. However, most vets of the format will point out that the performance of the lower MMR players is what really makes or breaks a team; there’s always some diamonds in the rough, set apart by their ability to keep up with higher MMR players, and they are oftentimes the difference makers.

Tier 3

10. Carrydas Recaptained | Reddydas ©, Dekait, hi5, bernard humperdink, banebu

Average: 3962 | 4900, 5920, 4010, 580, 4400

We start with a placement that I believe most would’ve expected. Dekait was a very solid opening pick for Reddydas, securing a core-duo partner with whom he has existing synergy, but I can’t help but think his choices in the subsequent rounds of the draft weren’t…particularly conducive to crafting a championship team, let’s say.

Let’s start with the positives: Reddydas and banebu are both very vocal players whose teams generally do tend to go into games with a plan in mind (though I do believe there’s fairly significant potential for the two of them to occasionally clash), and Reddydas & Dekait form an overall above average farming core duo.

However, I don’t think this team gets enough out of those positives to offset the sacking of their hi5+bernard offlane. While this event doesn’t exactly feature the most menacing safelanes of all time, I can still see this lane struggling, which I expect to mostly become an issue when the other lanes don’t get off to a great start. To his credit, Dekait is a fairly consistent laner, but I do think that Reddydas & Banebu will have to step up significantly for this team to see some success. It’s worth noting, though, that I do think this team is able to take games off other teams, and I don’t consider them a free win — and other teams would do well to recognize that.

9. QuackStack | Grimmjow, Raffie, LeProff ©, Sakoh, Ben1

Average: 4562 | 4600, 5250, 3560, 3900, 5500

How long does a player have to sustain an MMR post-climb before the community at large recognizes them as more than inflated? That’s a question the answer to which we might be able to extract by watching Ben’s performances over the next period. Having made the swift climb through high Divine and into Immortal, Ben is this team’s highest MMR player and their first pick…and I’d be hard-pressed to say that bodes well for their chances.

Even if we do assume his value matches his MMR, he’s still a first-pick 5 player, and while many a captain was busy taking their pick of secondary core in the second round, LeProff was still looking for his first. Landing on Raffie and Grimm is far from the worst this delay in core picks could’ve resulted in, but looking at this team hardly warrants a reaction past “Er, yeah, I guess that’s a team?”. Nothing stands out much here, other than, well, the lack of anything that stands out.

The positives are that they have no extremely low MMR players, and I do believe in Raffie’s ability to shake off rust fairly fast, but I’m uncertain about the fit between Grimm and Raffie as cores, and in general I feel a distinct lack of playmaker in this team. Someone will need to take initiative here, and I’m not exactly sure who that could be.

8. What is this draft man? | Thronplunder, Mangology, Jammytwit ©, FredAstaire, Agnitos

Average: 4528 | 2960, 5640, 5530, 2700, 5810

If I had to pick one team in this ranking to name as a dark horse, capable of performing far above what they should be able to on paper, this’d be it…at least in Linear — and this is entirely due to the Agnitos factor.

I was honestly very surprised to find this team putting Thron in a core role, as they could’ve otherwise had a high 5k average tricore, but they appear to be almost…playing two 1s? It’s a stunningly peculiar approach, as they pick traditional cores for Agnitos, but he’s a great player, and if he can win lanes with Thron despite the odd picks, they set themselves up for a 4-core composition heading into midgames — and I can absolutely see teams being massively thrown off by this.

It’s incredible hard to figure out what’s actually going to happen with this team, but one thing’s for sure — they ought to be an absolute blast to watch, between Mango’s offmeta mid choices and…well, whatever it is Agnitos ends up doing.

Tier 2

7. Brother Hunters v. Clarity | Hollow ©, Harbinger, Godzilla, Elpie, Lordniin

Average: 4414 | 3800, 5940, 4530, 4800, 3000

Welcome to part 1 of 2 of the brother stack. In Linear, Hollow and his brother pair up with Harb to create a fairly decent tricore — though, admittedly, that statement is based largely on the assumption that Hollow will, as he’s done multiple times in the past, play above his MMR.

The true core of this team, though, in terms of making things happen in games, consists of Harb and Elpie. I believe they’ll need to approach drafts with the idea of playing around each other for this team to have success, and along the way will likely need some time to get comfortable with vocalizing game plans and to improve as a team; the potential’s there, but it’ll need some dragging out of the individual players — and for that to happen, I think Harb will need to play at a very high level to enable the rest of his team.

6. the boys and nonesk | tabby, Waloo, STJ, skully, Nonesk ©

Average: 4574 | 3900, 6110, 5070, 4350, 3440

This team hasn’t yet played a game, so there’s a possibility still that we might see skully play 1, but I’m decently confident that they’ll opt to keep STJ and skully together in the offlane. This, in turn, will likely lead to this team having one of the lower MMR safelane duos, and thus to more pressure on Waloo to create advantages in the game for the rest of the team to build upon, as actual communication might suffer due to tabby being a mute gamer.

STJ and skully at this point likely have enough experience to go into lanes confident and play uptempo, and I expect the homie trio to set the pace for the team — at which point it becomes a question of tabby and Nonesk’s ability to keep up with what’s asked of them, which will be of crucial importance for this team…both in terms of, y’know, winning games, as well as keeping it PMA in the team.

Hand on heart, though, it’s always hard to evaluate the classic Waloo homie stacks; when they should do well they fall flat and vice versa. What happens if I stick them in the middle of the pack, I wonder?

5. Salty Wieners Esports | Jokerlaugh, Omegasaw, Mikel, Ruski, greggy ©

Average: 4522 | 4780, 5990, 5200, 3540, 3100

Right off the bat, Omegasaw and Mikel make for a frightening duo on this team, both being very dominant players — particularly when they get off to a good start. Due to their heropools, I think the pace they’ll set will be very hard to keep up with for the vast majority of teams when they get the ball rolling early.

Ruski and greggy make for a decent enough support duo, leaving us with one question mark — Jokerlaugh is someone I know exclusively as a Batsphemy associate, and I have very little info on their play. At 4780 MMR, if they end up being even an average carry player, this team’s tricore might end up being a lot to deal with, and unlike the teams I’ve ranked below this one, I don’t see the greggy stack struggling with a lack of direction with Omegasaw and Mikel at the helm.

That being said, not knowing enough about Jokerlaugh makes me hesitant to put this team much higher; if, however, there’s value hidden in their carry, they can easily outperform this placement.

4. Team Sunshine | Johanna, Mighty ©, sparvel, 13abybash, Paiers

Average: 4582 | 5100, 5460, 5180, 3300, 3870

This is one of the few placements across all three rankings that has actively been influenced by week 1 results — I initially had this team very slightly lower down the pecking order, as their tricore looked good but not outstanding. However, if Mighty is as good a mid as their performances in the first games might suggest, then this team could be a real issue.

Johanna and sparvel are very stable in their core roles — if not necessarily players I’d point to as being ones to move the needle in tight games — and that stability is something I see leading to long term success in an event filled with teams that have a lot of if’s and maybe’s appended to their chances.

Forming this tricore didn’t come at the cost of having to dip very low in the pool for their supports either; 13abybash is someone I’d noted as being a potential value pick, and while Paiers’ recent activity is…sparse, he should still be able to function as a serviceable 5 for Johanna’s lane.

Tier 1

3. Department of Removing Severely Greasy Pork | Denden, SMMN, Moggoblin ©, eisi, Uvs

Average: 4728 | 5500, 5850, 3960, 5700, 2630

The theme continues from the previous team as we move into tier 1: this team, on paper, is incredibly solid and ticks many of the things you want from a team in a format like this.

Experienced, high MMR core duo? Check. Playmaking potential from a high MMR 4? Check. Getting both of those without sacrificing much with your last two players? Check. Game winning leadership? Well, give SMMN a couple weeks to figure out how to make the team work and that’s a check.

I do think there’s a certain amount of pressure on Eisi here to build upon advantages. This team is fairly likely to at bare minimum draw even in two lanes every game, and it’s what they do as the lanes breakdown that will dictate their chances at success, especially if we see Denden defaulting to the fairly passive farming approach he’s known for — though I’ll say that I think that’s a slightly overstated meme at this point, as I’ve watched Denden do the exact opposite more than once, playing much less farm reliant heroes with decent success. I think the main question will just be whether some of the usually quieter players on this team will be able to vocalize gameplans, which I suspect will be of particular importance when they go head to head with some of the highest MMR players in the event. Speaking of which…

2. dusk fanclub 2003 | Madsen ©, Ligbank, MannlyMann, Quack like a Duck, Nyk

Average: 4682 | 5270, 7600, 2800, 2500, 5240

It’s at this point that the occasional weird draft choice bubbles over to make for some absolute head-scratchers. Ligbank dropping all the way to the 7th pick means I’ve got the highest MMR player in the division, and it’s hard to be anything but excited.

The obvious concern here is the offlane; Quack and MannlyMann make for a very low MMR duo, and there’s a distinct possibility of them getting rolled very hard by teams that invested heavily into their safelanes. This, in turn, puts a LOT of pressure on both of the other lanes — albeit in different ways.

Over in the midlane, Ligbank is certain to match up against players who play a whole lot more of the role than he does, so I’d expect an adjustment period during which he pokes and prods at teams to figure out what he needs to do to find success from mid. The bright side is that, being the highest MMR player in the event, Ligbank is likely to be very quick to do this — while also likely getting a good idea of how to get the best out of his teammates through drafts and direction.

That leaves Nyk and myself as the final point of contention; in a turn of events that one might describe as some good ol’ admin rigging, I’ve managed to climb some 500 MMR since draft day, and being paired with a high MMR 5 like Nyk means we should be getting out of most lanes with a heavy advantage. It’s just a matter of that actually happening, and subsequently of developing and improving as a team under Ligbank’s leadership, in order to match this placement.

1. Poggie Woggies | Boelens, ponpo, Dusk, Crispy Bacon ©, INJOKER

Average: 5066 | 4800, 5450, 7200, 5700, 2180

Now, while my fortunes in the draft may have been straight up silly, what Crispy Bacon has managed to do here is simply ridiculous.

Despite being the highest MMR captain, he managed to secure a 7k player with his first pick, avoid getting punished for this in any way, shape or form with subsequent ponpo and Boelens pickups, rounding the team out with… well, not the lowest MMR player in the pool, which is really just as stunning as the first 3 picks.

I’m struggling for things to say here — I suppose I’m somewhat surprised at the decision to put Boelens safelane and Crispy 4, rather than the other way around, but lord knows the chances of this mattering much are minuscule.

If this team doesn’t win, then something has gone horribly wrong.

Thanks for reading everyone! Stay tuned for part 2, going over Clarity Divisions, coming tomorrow.

If you want to support my content, you can buy me a coffee, but I’ll write content for as long as I, uh, care to do so?

I suppose on that note it’s worth highlighting that I’ve been writing a lot less than in the past, and while I hope to have the time and energy to do power rankings for each Clarity season, I don’t see that changing too soon. Most of the time I’m willing to allocate towards Clarity goes to admining; if, for some reason, you care to hear me talk about things more, it’s very easy to bait me into monologuing over on twitch.tv/madsen03 where you’re much likelier to find me active than on Medium nowadays (probably playing CK).

Clarity League Content Writer | Main Over at medium.com/@Maadsen | Buy me a coffee at https://ko-fi.com/madsen03