The preliminary rounds of the Wildcard Tournament are now done, we have had upsets, not-so-upsets and over half of the teams knocked out. All that is left now is the cream of the crop, the strongest of the strongest. All of them have hopes of reaching the semifinals but only two will do so. Read on for more on who is left.
THE STORY SO FAR
I mentioned upsets? Well the biggest was undoubtedly the elimination of 4th seed Huddersfield White. Huddersfield were a team expected to outperform their seed: they had been consistently high ranked the whole season and only dropped to 6th in the points table due to a poor week 5 performance (featuring a lot of subs). They then bounced back with their full roster in week 6. Earlier in the day Huddersfield had got 2nd place in the King of the North qualifier, a qualifier featuring virtually all of the top NUEL teams. As such when they dropped to the lower bracket via a loss to 13th seed Sussex Offenders it was a surprise, then when they were knocked out by GuckFiles (University of Exeter, 23rd seed) it was a massive upset. Huddersfield White were the first of the top 10 giants to fall.
Only four teams remain in the upper bracket. One of these teams will win their next two matches and qualify; three will be knocked down. The matchups are as follows:
UoB TCA Storm vs Droolio and the Gang
If ever there was a favourite for the top spot it was this guys: University of Birmingham’s TCA Storm. They may have slipped from (forever) second place to third in the points table but their record is stellar: In the past two weeks of NUEL they have only lost one game and that was to a surging Grey Warwick who rocketed to first place. They even have a winning record against second place team, Aston Aunties over the whole season. Yesterday they “warmed up” by winning the King of the North qualifier, including a (very close) win against Huddersfield White in the finals. Then they cruised through their Wilcard day 1 match to qualify for day 2.
5th seed Droolio and the Gang surely have a huge hill to climb to cause an upset in this game. Perhaps their loss to Warwick in week 5 exposed a weakness? Or maybe there is something to spot in the near-loss to Huddersfield. Droolio on the other hand, went 0-3 in week 5 and 2-1 in week 6. With 4 losses in 6 games prior to Wildcard they will have needed to step up their play to cause an upset here, though beating the Sussex Offenders, a team fresh of their win against Huddersfield is a good sign for them.
UEA Memers vs UKC Kittens
This is the match of the surging lower seed vs the solid higher seed.
In the 4th round of the tournament the top 4 seeds entered the tournament for their one game of the day. Of those 4 games there was one upset: the 2nd seed Loughborough Titans were knocked down by the 7th seed UEA Memers. A game in which the UEA Jungler, Lolman07, achieved a massive 86% kill participation and 19 KDA. A standout player on a team to watch out for perhaps?
Having already upset one of the top 4, UEA will be looking move onto the next: the University of Kent Kittens. Yesterday the Kittens won their game, against the other meme team, the Cambridge Memers in a game that was over in 21 minutes. Whilst the Kittens don’t have any single standout, high ranked, player they have been consistently putting in top performances versus top teams. This culminated in a 4th place finish in the season’s third and final split.
Of the semifinals this is the harder game to call, you’ll be able to watch it on stream: twitch.tv/thenuel.
Eight teams remain in the lower bracket. Four knocked down from round 4 and four who have fought through from further back. As mentioned earlier, high fliers Minster Men and GuckFiles are still in there, Minster Men are likely to be highly tested in their next match, versus the Cambridge Memers. The titans of the bracket have to be the Loughborough Titans. In their game against 8th seeded University of Edinburgh A, they will be looking to bounce back from their loss yesterday .
Here is the full lower bracket:
~ Peter “Aezure” Dakin