DIVISION A - QUARTER FINALS: BLADECAST MATCH PREVIEW
TOIBOIS vs. KNIGHTS OF MALTA
The Warband Native League has reached its very last stage with the mid-season promotion matches having been concluded in Division A and B, and while Division C will continue the regular ladder format for another three weeks, it’s time for the most interesting, yet most challenging, part of the WNL to start - the playoffs. One match in particular has caught our attention this week, the quarter-final clash between Toibois and the Knights of Malta. In this article, we will take a closer look at both teams’ performances in the WNL thus far and break down their chances to make it to the semi-final.
MAPS AND FACTIONS
The fixtures for the quarter-finals are similar to those played in Week 3, but with different factions on the first map. For its second appearance in the tournament, Waterfall will be played out between Nord and Rhodoks, whereas Swadia will face Vaegirs on the second map, Verloren. As it was to be expected, Waterfall has proven to lend itself quite strongly towards rangers, and many teams have opted to play with three archers or crossbowmen on this map as it offers obvious advantages. While such a composition still perfectly makes sense as Rhodoks, it becomes way more questionable as Nords, a faction which isn’t known for strong ranged capabilities. House Tully was seen running three archers on an open map as Nords earlier in the tournament against Unity, but it was with limited success, making it hard to imagine either Toibois or Malta going for it on this side. It is also worth mentioning that while Toibois have three dedicated rangers in the form of Toi, Kiano, and Rainbow, the Knights of Malta have been functioning with mostly two main rangers, Habrak and XerXes, since LordMetzger has been missing thus far in this WNL. It therefore legitimately questions whether or not Malta will even have the capacity to go for such a setup as Rhodoks, and will instead play a classic composition with two rangers.
Previous results have shown that with teams of equal skill, Swadia has a distinct advantage against Vaegirs on Verloren. Their capacity to have several awlpikes dropped for cavalries, combined to one of the strongest snowball potentials in the game makes it really hard for Vaegirs to stand a chance. Malta will start as Swadia on the second map, which means that regardless of how the first one goes, they will have a clear advantage once they arrive on Verloren. Such advantage will be important to keep in mind for Carpediem and his men because in the scenario of a close first map, conceding too many rounds on the first side of Verloren would put them in the very uncomfortable situation of having the match potentially decided in the very last set, where Toibois would be more than happy to crush their dreams once for all.
We caught up with Surkan and Carpediem and asked them their opinions about the current run in this season of the WNL thus far as well as their feeling on their upcoming quarter-final.
Surkan - Toibois
The team's been underperforming in scrims, due to the lack of most of our key players during the weekdays. Results in our officials have therefore been a positive surprise to most of us, especially the enforced draw versus Main Eleven and the draw against Tully. We're all players capable of competing at the top, but similar to most new teams, teamplay and positioning aren't always on point. Malta has lost their main inf line-up and has resorted to reserve players, and I'm fairly confident we can beat their team. I don't think there's a single class they outperform us in, and if everything goes well, the match shouldn't be all that difficult. Obviously, they have some good players that need to be looked out for, but every team's got that. The biggest problem for our team so far has been that we're unable to stick to one caller, which is something that's probably most important in any team. Preferably I'm the one calling, but we've been switching between Habi and Watly recently, mostly so I could have some space to make plays myself and partly because I tend to be stuck at work during match hours.
Carpediem - Knights of Malta
You have met your match, ToiBois. Jokes aside, we're stronger than ever. The team with it's current roster has been constantly improving past couple of months. As a commander, I am satisfied that we got to the quarters and had no trouble securing our spot in divison A. I have a really strong feeling we're capable of a lot more, though. Despite our losses in the ladder stage. As a team, we're a bit tired of being close, but never close enough, take the previous tournament as an example. The times has changed and Malta will give hell to all of it's upcoming opponents. With our determination, commitment and dedication, I believe we will turn the tides of this WNL.
BLADECAST STAFF PREDICTIONS
FINAL ANALYSE & CONCLUSION
This quarter-final will certainly set the tone for the rest of the playoffs in Division A, as both teams seem more motivated than ever to make it to the next stage. Toibois are the favorite coming into this quarter-final but not by a significant margin. Their improvement in the WNL so far has been a bit slow and despite some great showings in several occasions, they were not able to consistently find their form in all their matches. Nevertheless, their roster is still filled with reliable and experienced players which will have their hearts set on taking things as seriously as possible, from start to finish. Surkan has evocated the problem Toibois have faced when it comes to their in-game caller(s) and it is to be hoped they will have it fixed for this match.
The main strength of Toibois is having no apparent weakness in all three game departments. On an individual level, Kawaii has been a constant force for his team to rely on. Kiano has also been a positive surprise in the matches he attended and while he isn’t necessarily seen as one of the Toibois’ carries, his ability to kick off at any moment makes him a threat hard to contend with. More generally speaking, Toibois’s ranging trio is going to be one of the defining aspects on Waterfall and a constant thorn in the side of Malta, with Rainbow and Toi being among the most valuable players of the tournament when it comes to headshots. I will also be looking at Surkan’s capacity to create a window of opportunity for his team as the Dutchman is the fourth highest rated player in the tournament when it comes to entry kills and known for an aggressive and fast-paced play-style. His fellow countryman Watly is a coin flip in many regards. While he is one of the players who dies first and teamkills the most, his assist potential is simply unequalled within the team. If he can find the room to express himself and hold on to his supportive role, he could very well be one of the factors turning the match in Toibois’ favor. Apfel, Spada and Tomayus have all shown a great display of brute skill in this competition, which paired with Habimana impressive stats as a spearman, will make Toibois extremely dangerous on Verloren. Let’s not forget Oliveran and BlackTide which both possess massive knowledge of the game on top of really strong individual capabilities.
On their side, Malta will be able to count on their star player, Normanguy, which as mentioned in previous articles, has been their most impressive player in the WNL so far. Helping him in the cavalry department will be Asediado who has also shown some great improvement and should be fully capable to hold his ground against the Toibois players. When it comes to their ranging capabilities, not being able to run a three-crossbow set-up on Waterfall might not end-up that problematic, as Habrak and XerXes have both been one of the main pillars holding the team together in important matches. Carpediem’s capacity to find the first kill will also be an important part of Malta’ success as the polish captain has been consistently doing it for this team throughout the whole tournament, on top of being one of their most active supportive players. Haakon’s love for the morningstar will likely continue as Rhodok on Waterfall and its potential impact shouldn’t be underestimated. In a similar fashion to his adversary of the day, Habimana, bulleZ has shown being extremely reliable with the spear, and will likely have a lot to do on both maps. Malta’s main sign of weakness will most certainly come from their infantry core. While Demivar has shown to be a really interesting recruitment, he alone won’t be able to cover up for PuffTheDragon and Bruce’s absences. The fragging capabilities of these two will be greatly missed and while Noxx will be attending the match tonight to fill-in in that game department, I fear the infantry fight might be too unbalanced when it comes to Verloren. Therefore, Malta’s salvation will have to come from a collective effort, something they are still more than capable of. They have been in this kind of situation more than once to know what has worked for them and what hasn’t.
But will it be enough to overcome Toibois? The Knights of Malta seem to think so and confidence will be key tonight to start things in the best possible manner. You surely don’t want to miss any of the action so make sure to tune in tonight at 20:00 BST on BladeCast_TV because our commentators Viktor and PPK157 are ready to make this match one to be remembered!