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Name: Alex Gardner
Location: Port Jervis, NY
StarCraft Head of Coverage
Alex "AGar" Gardner previews the third week of Titans League play, featuring ToT vs. eX, ESC vs. osR and more.
The third week of the WGT Titans League will take place this Sunday, with the 10 teams continuing their quest for a top three slot at the end of nine weeks. ESC will continue their quest for perfection, taking on NaW, who upset eXpertise last week. ToT and eXpertise will face off to try and gain an upper hand on the rest of the teams, while RoX will try to make up points ground on ESC against ZZZ. Finally, mTw or Speedlink will get a win and LRM will try to continue their strong play against osR, who has yet to score a win.
eXpertise vs. Templars of Twilight
Both of these teams have had less-than-favorable starts. Templars of Twilight opened with an early 3-2 loss to RoX, where their 2v2 team was simply outmatched by RoX's. Expertise opened with a strong statement, beating down osR 4-1, but then lost what seemed to be a sure win for them against NaW. Now, both teams sit 1-1 and outside the top 3 of the league, looking to make up some ground on ESC, RoX and LRM.
Templars of Twilight are the obvious favorites in this match. Expertise is a strong squad, but their lineup is simply outmatched when ToT has the likes of ret, Mondragon, and XiaOzI at their disposal. Assuming Expertise brings their best lineup and gets some good draws, they may be able to take one or two matches off of ToT, but I'm really not sure that they'll get more than one or the other.
Prediction: eXpertise 1:4 Templars of Twilight
mTw 360° Gaming vs. Speedlink.SC
Both of these clans have been major letdowns thus far in the Titans League. mTw sports some great players like HoRRoR, NarutO and iNfeRnal (who had a stint on ToT), and should be showing better results. The 0-2 record isn't as much as surprise as the scores – 0-5 versus ESC and 2-3 vs LRM with the three losses being 2-0 sweeps by LRM. Speedlink, meanwhile, has had closer results, but is still not doing what they could potentially be doing in this league with players like Pidgin, Collector and GoOdy. This three week stretch against mTw, osR and NaW will prove to be critical if Speedlink hopes to gain any ground on the upper level teams and avoid playdowns.
Head-to-head, these two teams should bring us the most evenly matched clanwar of the weekend. Both rosters are similar in skill level should the best players come out. I really think that this match is going to come down to the 2v2, where I'm giving a slight edge to mTw. Neither team has a star 2v2 squad like ESC or ToT could produce, but I think mTw's team play is slightly ahead of Speedlink, and therefore I'm picking mTw in a squeaker.
Prediction: mTw 360° Gaming 3:2 Speedlink.SC
ZZZ vs. RoX.KIS
RoX has been solid the first two weeks out of the gate, with a 3-2 win over Templars of Twilight and a 4-1 win over Speedlink.SC. They have a well rounded roster with BRAT_OK, Advokate, DIMAGA and ALF at the forefront, and are one of the top 3 teams in the foreign scene at any given moment. ZZZ have had an expected start – 3-2 over NaW and then a 2-3 loss to ToT. Their lineup doesn't jump out at you with any super-stars, but they have a solid team, and are a threat to anyone who underestimates them.
I don't think RoX is going to underestimate ZZZ, and they will likely come out with all guns blazing. With any combination of Advokate, BRAT_OK, ALF and DIMAGA in the 1v1s and then the superior teamplay of BRAT_OK and DIMAGA in the 2v2, I don't see ZZZ scrapping more than 1 win off of RoX. In fact, if RoX brings all of their biggest guns out to play, they stand to straight sweep this game. With the likelihood of an ESC sweep putting a further gap between the two until they meet head-to-head, I wouldn't be surprised to see a complete blowout by RoX.
Prediction: ZZZ 0:5 RoX.KIS
Los Reyes del Mambo vs. Old School Reborn
LRM have been a little bit of a surprise so far in the Titans League. With their pick up of the Sky.G members, they were indeed stronger, but opening 2-0 and sitting in 3rd place is quite the accomplishment in this league. osR, conversely, has fizzled out after a strong run in the qualifiers. They're sitting at 0-2 with 2 points right now, and looking to rebound.
LRM are favorites in this match, similar to the last two matches they've been in. It's also a similar feeling for osR, who have surely been underdogs going against eXpertise and ESC to start off the season. LRM's formula is predictable but successful - Fenix, hanniGan and another player win three 1v1s and nothing else matters. The formula should prove successful for yet another week – none of the top players on osR can stand up to Fenix and hanniGan. Not to mention we could see another strong LRM player like Kashu, Ace or OctZerg at any given moment now, further re-inforcing their lineup. osR has the odd chance to take a 1v1 or the 2v2, but no more in this one.
Prediction: Los Reyes del Mambo 4:1 Old School Reborn
Nerds at Work vs. ESC.ICY-BOX
To no ones surprise, ESC has lit up the field, opening 2-0 with 11 points, including a clean sweep of mTw. NaW, on the contrary, shocked most of the community last week with a 3-2 win over eXpertise. They still sit on the lower end of the rankings, and are a threat to most of the middle-of-the-pack teams assuming they can get their top lineup out there week-in and week-out. ESC meanwhile has a rough 4 weeks following this match, so I'm sure they're trying to swing some more momentum behind them.
NaW could bring their best lineup twice over and they still won't win this match. Tarson, Saab900 or Ptak might steal a win here or there, but ESC's lineup is too deep. No matter who shows for ESC this weekend, they'll come out on top. Their 1v1 lineup is relentless, with extreme depth at Protoss – they could field an all Protoss lineup and beat you silly. Their 2v2 squads are always top-notch and play well together.
Prediction: Nerds at Work 0:5 ESC.ICY-BOX
That's it for this weeks preview. Be sure to check back on Tuesday for a recap of all five matches from Week 3 and then next Friday will bring you a look ahead to Week 4.
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