EU Pro league predictions – Day 1, 28/09
Pulse (Fragxr, Punishr, Cxlii, SLG) v Prophecy (BUK 20, BUK 57, VexZeus, Flamez)
Don’t get me wrong, I have a lot of time for the BUKs. They’ve been a staple of European Halo for a long time, and for me personally I have a new respect for them now that they’re pursuing careers and still managing to play with the best of EU Halo after all these years. But I think that has finally taken it’s toll, and they simply haven’t been able to replicate their success since worlds last year.
The team has made no significant changes for the better. Vex was a challenger player, and comparatively Qristola was a standout player for the team – which is why he has gone to greener grass. The best Prophecy can hope for is that Vex will match what Qrist brought to the team, and in that case their issues from last season will still be there, and the worst case scenario is literally anything less than that.
That’s why I have given the edge to Pulse on this matchup. They looked massively out of their depth at the start of the last regular season and were easily the worst team, struggling to scrape a win. However, towards the end of the season the roster changes stopped and something seemed to click. There’s been a huge improvement from them, something which I can’t say about Prophecy. In Prophecy’s current state, I feel there’s a very real possibility that they’ll be relegated by Warlord and co when the time comes.
Infused (Phlux, Havoc, Batchford, Kimbo) v Vibe (Septic, Qristola, Snipedrone, Snakey)
I think Vibe are easily the team that benefitted the most from offseason changes. The players they have replaced were not what I would consider weak links – but the team has acquired the star player from two different lineups and they seem to be performing quite well in scrims. However, I concede that infused have also made some upgrades of their own; a worlds attendee and coach for Fabe in their winning season, as well as one of the members of that winning roster.
This is my matchup to watch this week – both of these lineups are as best as they can be right now and have everything to prove. Last seasons Vibe roster was LAN orientated, barely scraping their way to the finals where they showed what they were really made of. Infused on the other hand were far more dominant during the online season, before having a disappointing finals. These are now very different rosters and it’ll be interesting to see how it affects that dynamic, particularly as this is the rematch of what sent infused home at the finals last season.
Fabe (Mose, Respectful, TuFoxy, Jimbo) v Xmen (Chalkie, Rami, Lunny, Anima)
This matchup for me doesn’t hold the weight that a finals rematch from last season should. Every part of me wants to see Xmen win this and see the Walshy effect in action. At this point, both TuFoxy and Jimbo have left Xmen for Fabe. Interestingly, the version of Xmen that had Jimbo and TuFoxy was hyped as a godsquad and ended up being quite average after a 3rd place finish during the season.
I know it’s not a popular opinion but I think Jimbo is really overrated. He had the right drive as a newcomer, and has seemingly let his ego get to him and every team he has moved to has turned to shit since he left Epsilon.
However, I think you’d be hard pushed to bet on Xmen in this matchup. Fabe have only replaced 1 player from their winning lineup, and personal thoughts aside Jimbo did still reach top 8 at worlds which is an incredible feat. Whilst Xmen could definitely have came off worse from the roster changes, they haven’t improved enough to dethrone event winners and their team name still sucks.
Pulse v Vibe
If you’ve followed everything I’ve said so far, then you’ll know that I have Vibe as the clear favourites here. This is my least interesting matchup of the week. I don’t want to be too dismissive of Pulse after praising them earlier, but Vibe will be looking to contend for the number 1 spot and I’d be surprised if they let themselves drop games to Pulse this early on. Good start for Vibe this week with a 2-0 if they perform as I expect.
Xmen v Prophecy
I think this matchup will be closer than Pulse v Vibe, but I’m still confident that Xmen will be a clear winner here. Anima will be my player to watch – he’s typically been very good online, so this is one of my predictions I feel is most susceptible to being upset. If I’m right, it’ll be a rough start to the Pro League for Prophecy. I know I had a dig at Xmen for how bad their teamname is earlier, but Prophecy’s logo is better as well. So even if they don’t win any of their matches this week, at least they have that going for them.
Infused v Fabe
Following my prediction of Xmen to lose to Fabe, the logical conclusion is that infused won’t do it either. I think infused and Xmen are pretty even right now, and will be one of my matchups to watch in the coming weeks. I think for now I would say that infused are better than Xmen simply because they have more players in their prime and dedication is higher. This has proven to be a deciding factor on H5, as evidenced by the emergence of so many newer players at the top of the standings in both EU and NA.
Another good start for Fabe as they also look to go 2-0 up straight away.
Players to watch out for this season as I think they’ll have the most impact on their teams success:
VexZeus – as discussed earlier, he will make or break Prophecy this season
Qristola – if he can replicate the success he had on Dinos, now that he’s on a better team, Vibe will be able to push for 1st
Anima – similar to Vex, Anima is unproven in the H5 pro league and will determine whether Xmen make it to playoffs. Until Chalkie/Rami stop caring entirely, with a player like Lunny by their side they’ll be able to retain a place in the pro league. Whether treading water will be enough for these guys is a different question.
Jimbo – he doesn’t want to be the guy to prove me right and turn a winning team in to 2nd place. On paper, he’s definitely an upgrade. If he can back up his ego in game and take Fabe to back to back wins, then I’ll happily eat my words.
Havoc – having spent a season out of playing as a coach, it’ll be interesting to see if this has had any impact on mechanical ability and if he can use any knowledge gained to help improve the team as a whole.