They’re not back gang, this is a one off.
Actually, while I’m tempering expectations, let’s do so fully: I only intend to do Div1 — I don’t feel like I have as much to say about Divs 2 and 3, and from having written a couple dozen of these over the years, I know that forcing myself to cover all divs would lead to a struggle to come up with talking points, and would invariably default to very generic statements. Frankly, I’m not even looking to make this a thoroughly researched endeavor either; this is very much the first reaction of a bored fella trying to fix his sleep schedule ahead of the season.
Oh and, lest I forget, blah dee blah, subjective personal opinions, guesswork, yadda yadda. You’ve been around the block, you know how it be.
I’ll be shaking up my usual format a bit here and doing team reviews first, then ranking them at the end. This achieves two things: one, I spend less time justifying relative placements, and more on providing my best attempt at analysis on the actual roster of a team; two, I don’t have to bother with formatting as much. A win-win, really.
The running theme of Div 1 is the heavy emphasis placed on the star players that define the season, as well as the weight lesser known players in general carry in determining the eventual success — or failure — of their respective teams.
GabePork — f mega — whonoobnow — BarryBeeDespair — nfd
While I’d be hard pressed to ever describe the acquisition of a player as good as GabePork as negative in any way, doing so early left Nfd in a bit of an odd place. Being faced with 3 empty slots to fill with a total of 22 coins is hardly impossible, but brings with it the unenviable pressure on the captain to make decisions about what might happen multiple rounds later. It’s this issue that leads to one letting decent value options slip by in the hopes of getting preferred options down the line, but carries also the immense risk of those hopes getting quashed and leaving you with worse options than if you’d simply pulled the trigger earlier.
This is all to say that reviewing the state of the draft at the time, an observer might look at successful bids like jihadi for 10, or Draagaan for 7, and wonder whether nfd might have had a better final roster laying in wait.
Nevertheless, I can’t imagine he’d bemoan the purchase of f mega for 17 coins. Even if you’re of the mind that describing Gabe and f as “an 8k average core duo” is questionable, what’s certain is that f mega has shown enough in the past to comfortably deserve a spot in the div — and that’s before having had the experience of maintaining an okay winrate in high 7k/low 8k.
Attention then turns to the budget options acquired to close out the draft. Whonoobnow has had mixed results in the past, though does bring a somewhat unique hero pool to the table that I suspect will make for decent fit with his star players. With him in lane is Barry, who — similar to f — saw significant gains off the back of the Glicko system. In that respect, it’s difficult to judge how he might stack up against much higher level competition than he might’ve been used to when entering drafts as a 4/5k player, particularly compared to a proven quantity like f.
Altogether this makes for a decent roster, one whose offlane pairing everyone will be able to point to as the major question mark on which the team’s success is contingent. I’m fairly confident in Gabe being a premiere dominant carry all throughout with nfd at his side, but equally, I don’t know that this team will be able to get past teams that might take the lead in two of three lanes and then snowball that pressure. Certainly a roster that I can see improving at a greater pace than others throughout the season, at perhaps the cost of not being as good out of the box.
Jemobulas — Dunkin — Iskra — olluem — eisi
An immensely difficult team to evaluate properly, not in the least because this is a Clarity debut for the majority of them. Two main thoughts stand out: one, this is the second highest average MMR team of the season, and two, it appears to be as good a show of why that doesn’t matter as you could possibly get. Glance over at prepatch MMR, and the 7s at the front of the ranks quickly turn to 6s and 5s. While hardly a trait unique to this bunch of players, their collective difference between pre and post patch MMR amounts to 4400 — so it becomes a matter of, what level do these players actually perform at?
That’s a question I can’t confidently answer, and am frankly unwilling to speculate much on. Barring olluem the names are familiar, yes, but I’ve not seen enough of the rest in this setting to be able to judge.
If you were to take things at face value, though, and accept the premise that all of these players can and will perform close to the level their new MMRs suggest, this roster has the potential to be a shining example of the value you can extract from approaching player drafts in a balanced way, trusting in stability across the board over star power. Whether you personally accept this premise is up to you — I’m not quite sold.
Madsen — Draagaan — Arian — Calli — Nsphere
Mine is a middling roster, one putting a great many eggs in the 9k player basket. While there’s plenty room for me to ramble here, it’d be disingenuous to do so, because the core of the matter is, in truth, very straightforward — how’s Arian’s Ekken cosplay?
And I don’t mean that as, “how good is he at Dota?” — no, that’d be far too simple. He’s a 9k surrounded by 6k shitters, it’s a given he’s leaps and bounds better than everyone else. No, it’s the true litmus test of how well an extremely high MMR player will do in this league that I’m referencing — how good is he at controlling a gaggle of raggedy animals? Because that’s what Ekken has, with now a good bit of experience, become incredibly proficient at, and what will determine, in my view, how well our team does. This isn’t to say I doubt my 9k; rather that I think he might be in for a surprise, and not a particularly pleasant one — which will most likely mean we’ll need a bit to get going. Or not, who the fuck knows, maybe he just carries every game alone.
This is where I might go on successive tangents about my dropoff in activity, or Calli’s day 1 absence, or Nsphere 5 (lol), maybe a funny little quip about how Draagaan Arc eats a ban that’d otherwise be reserved for one more Arian hero and how that’s likely the most impactful thing he’ll do, but let’s face it, very little of that matters.
But uh, no pressure Arian.
Oh and, fair warning: this particular point of discussion (rabble rabble, can the 9k micro his bots) will pop up another two times. No prizes for guessing where and when.
Glitch — Flame — Vata — Zakke — Snufkin
I’ll just say it out of the gate; I don’t particularly think this team is great.
It’s not bad, either — I just read it out and go, “Eh.” Flame’s previous outings leave a little something to be desired, and it’s hard to imagine he won’t struggle against a number of his midlane opposition, and I won’t pretend to have a great read on Glitch, past the notion that he’s not the most talkative fellow.
This naturally takes us to the centerpiece of this roster — the 8k offlane duo of Vata and Zakke. While doubtlessly great players, I don’t think it’s unfair to ask questions of where Vata’s value lands in captains mode once the infamous Enigma is banned, and, at risk of perpetuating a memey bit of discourse, how much of the appeal of Zakke lies in his ability to control a lower skill lane partner, something that’s bound not to be of significant importance here. It’s that idea that leaves me wondering if this roster would have been better off allocating the budget that went into either half of the offlane duo into a more proven 1 or 2, because as it stands, there’s a lot of pressure on this 3/4 pair to take over games…which might become an issue if the other two lanes struggle consistently.
Gunson — Bunny — Crispy Bacon — Couf — Sassy
Man I’m actually struggling to cope with how bereft of any creative streak I am: every team I look at, my first thought is to write “this is a weird team”.
But it like, is!
That said, Coof has managed to put together a promising roster for his Clarity debut, perhaps surprisingly so, considering the fact that we’re operating with an inherent lean into “vibes over everything” as a draft plan.
Okay, yes, that might be a wordy way to describe the 55 coin acquisition of Crispy Bacon, but the point stands. The highlight of this team is undoubtedly Bunny, and in particular the fact that he’s landed on the team for a mere 23 coins — an immense bargain considering he’s favored to win most mid matchups, with the exception of Koros and perhaps Olla.
Being that we’re all unwitting members of the Church of Glickman for the foreseeable future, though, it’s hard to skip past the matter of Gunson’s jump in MMR, one that’s landed him a spot in competition likely fiercer than he’s used to. Similarly hard to avoid is mention of Coof’s level, seeing as he’s a fresh face — one arriving from the meandering space of unranked.
Nevertheless, provided they can find unified direction, the team has stalwart veterans who are bound to make this a solid roster.
Mads — Ekken — Cory —Marceline — Waloo
Waloo tried to grief as usual but accidentally acquired a 9k winner.
This team’s wei-
Okay, okay, let’s skip the bit for once.
Really though, this is a team about which there’s very very little to say. Four veterans, on the lower MMR side, but with an Ekki. We’ve all seen this movie, they’re making a deep run, Ekken might have a funny little tilt at some point, don’t worry, we’ll hear aaaall about it. Leakki will have us all up to date.
WannaBeImmortal — Koros — jihadi swamp — SMMN — Dredi
On paper, an immensely solid roster.
In practice? The Koros show, featuring side characters we don’t have the budget to animate properly.
Jokes aside, there’s a lot of interesting aspects to this team that’ll make it fun to spectate the progress of: I have exactly zero confidence in my read on how good 2023 SMMN and 2023 Dredi are, or on WannaBe for that matter (except a stray comment about how he’s a decent 1 player I’d overheard), I have a hard time predicting whether Koros will be able to just smoothly win games if sidelanes struggle, I can’t envision the farm priority being in order out of the box, I enjoy the idea of watching the tricore look on as Dredi devours full waves. I’m also keen to see what the flow of communication and shotcalling shapes up to be on the team, and I feel it’s bound to be an element that ultimately dictates the success of the team.
Is the team good as, yknow, a team? Who the fuck knows. Is Koros existing on it enough to answer that question by default? Probably. Are their matches gonna make for good content? Almost definitely.
Luneroshay — Olla —nnaarrzz — Polarize — Daikoon
We end on yet another mystifying team in a draft full of them. I say this not because I think there’s some egregious draft quirk to it; rather, it strikes me as very balanced on paper, but simultaneously set up for some amount of struggles.
The roles make sense, though the established Clarity players on the roster have bounced around divisions in the past (with the exception of Polarize), so it’s perhaps difficult to gauge how they fit together when dropped into the top div collectively.
A lot also depends on newcomer and captain Olla, whose prepatch MMR of 6700 suggests significant potential for them to be one of the better mid players in the division, rounding out a fairly strong tricore alongside luner and nnaarrzz.
My instinctual read on this team is that it might be a bit hit or miss; if they can hit the ground running, and their players gel well out of the box, they can make a deep run — yet equally, I can see them struggling at the start and their progress simply being outpaced by the field.
I’ll keep this brief. Based on the reviews above, a rough ranking in my opinion looks something like this:
Though the honest truth is that I think you can shuffle 1/2 around, and 3 through 6 around, and I wouldn’t particularly object to any order that results in.
Anyway, have a fun season y’all. Don’t take this too seriously, it’s low effort.