Dust2.us has reached out to 24 ESEA Advanced Season 36 casters, players, coaches, and community figures to rank the sixteen teams headed into playoffs into a top ten power ranking. Unsurprisingly, based on their response Brazilian squad paiN came out ahead with a perfect score, finishing 34 points ahead of Recon 5 Black.
Here are the top ten ESEA Advanced Season 36 playoff rosters based on the respondents' rankings:
|Team||Avg. Score||Total Points||Record|
|Recon 5 Black||8.58||206||14-2|
As a reminder, here's a summary of how the ranking system works:
Each respondent was given a list of the 16 teams in ESEA Advanced Season 36 playoffs. From this list they ranked each team from 1st-10th with first place receiving ten points, second place receiving nine points, and so on. After polling was closed the scores were totaled and averaged.
Looking at the results, paiN clinching the first spot comes as no surprise as they regularly take down top Premier teams including High Coast, Bad News Bears, and Triumph. In Advanced, only a handful of teams managed to force the Brazilians to double digits during the regular season, with paiN dispatching the majority of the division without much trouble. They are without a doubt the team to beat this season and anything but them winning the division would come as a large surprise. paiN's opening match will be against Cyberstorm tomorrow at 9:30 PM EDT.
Moving down the list, Recon 5 Black was the sole other squad to cross the 200 point threshold which is well deserved as they have the second best regular season record. One thing to note with Recon 5 Black is that although they have a strong record, many of their matches this season were close affairs, with almost all of them going into double digits. If they want to challenge paiN and try to win the division they will need to have more dominant performances in playoffs and take advantage of the best-of-three format. Recon 5 Black are taking on Flash Point tonight at 9:00 EDT.
Veloz return to ESEA Advanced playoffs after finishing last season in 9th-12th place. Since then they have replaced Jesse "Lnxa" Mullins with Paul "aris" Wilson and have improved their record from 10-6 to 12-4, with their sole loss against a non-playoff team being Unwilling Ordinary. They are a likely candidate to make it to Relegation this season although a recent loss to Recon 5 Black raises questions about their chances of making it to the finals. Veloz are currently play UYU.
Big Chillin return to Advanced playoffs after missing out during Season 35. Two positive factors for their chances of going far in playoffs are their performances against paiN and Recon 5 Black, taking the Brazilians to double digits and Recon 5 Black to overtime. Additionally, outside of Advanced they have performed well against Premier-level opposition recently, taking a map off of Oceanus and playing a close 16-14 game against RBG. As such, they are another likely contender for a deep playoff run and should be reasonably expected to at least make it to Relegation. Big Chillin will face off against Eros tomorrow at 8:00 EDT in their opening playoff match.
Pryde are well regarded by their Advanced colleagues, claiming the fifth place spot ahead of teams with more Advanced playoffs experience — with Mathew "Maxo" Pierce being the sole player to have reached playoffs before. This is likely because after a rough 2-3 start to the season, Pryde went on to win ten out of the next eleven games, with their sole loss being to the unstoppable Brazilians of paiN. Pryde are currently facing off against HeadShotKings in their opening match.
Verum are the last team to receive above 100 points in the power rankings, finishing thirteen points behind Pryde. Despite making playoffs comfortably with an 11-5 record, questions can be raised about how strenuous their season was as the only top ten squads they had to play were paiN and Infinity, losing to both teams in the process. One factor in their favor is they have a relatively experienced core based around Chris "CMX" Moe and Bobby "stamina" Eitrem which should help them as they will need to step up in playoffs. They are currently playing X13 in their opening match.
Able's low ranking comes as a bit of a surprise as they have been on a strong show of form recently, winning six out of their last eight matches in Advanced while besting Pryde 2-1 in the second VENN Invitational Qualifier. Additionally, they have regularly made it to top eight in a number of ESEA Cash Cups and DreamHack qualifiers. Able are currently facing X13 and they need to win this match outright to dispute their ranking and start a deep run in playoffs.
PDHM are a familiar core to those who have been following Advanced and Premier for a number of seasons, being based around the ex-Thunder Logic core that finished Season 35 Advanced in 6th place. In the regular season their sole losses were against playoff squads, which is a strong mark in their favor. Their low ranking may be attributed to their failure to place highly in any events outside of Advanced. Their first match will be against Infinity tomorrow at 9:30 PM EDT where they hope to get revenge for their 16-12 loss on March 2nd.
Infinity join paiN as one of the two South American squads in Advanced playoffs this season, with the key important difference being that the majority of Infinity is playing with poor ping from South America. Despite this pitfall, they have steadily improved against North American teams since being demoted from Premier in Season 34, only dropping maps against playoff squads since losing to CohesioN Concepts in week one. Ping will always be a factor for this team, but they have the potential to be a dark horse in playoffs based on how long they've been playing together and the effect of being a dominant squad in their own region.
The final team in the top ten, Villainous, has almost half the score of Infinity, which somewhat betrays their results as a lineup thus far. Outside of a loss to Counter Nature, all of Villainous' losses were against playoff squads ranked above them. Unfortunately, should Villainous beat Able tonight they will likely be staring down paiN, a worrying prospect as they were bested in their previous encounter 16-2.