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djoh's Preseason Power Rankings
Posted By: mattdjoh @ Mon Feb 27, 2012 12:27 pm
It's time to break down the draft teams and instill a bit of order into the chaos that defines squad selections. Of course everyone will have their own opinion on how these teams stand up to each other, but I'll just share my power rankings the way I see it now.

As much as any season, player activity will have a huge impact on how everyone fares this year. This will be the longest MLCTF in quite a while, so the captains will have their work cut out for them in getting and keeping their players interested and showing up for matches. Starting 5's listed below are mainly based on ideal circumstanes; that is, everyone having their top 5 play.


O: zack/bone (6th)
Mid: nanm (2nd)
D: pithon/kidsins (2nd)
Bench: weirdo/mavz/csn/kylewins/timtim(3rd)

I give nanm's team the top spot for two reasons: their strength top to bottom, especially with their starting 5; and because it's a strong possibility that all these people will show up to matches. The defense will be especially strong, provided pithon is ready to get back into UT (from what I can tell, he hasn't played much since helping Poundtown win MLCTF XXI). Nanm should provide an extra line of cut-off D, and as long as he is wise in his map selctions, zack and bone will be adequate offense. Having weirdo on the bench is a positive sign for this team, and from what I hear mavz was at one time a very competent player.


O: bretzky/ShatteredX (2nd)
Mid: mintek (5th)
D: cinco/chicken- (9th)
Bench: Jorel/TSM/Ownage/Ki||3r/helomega(10th)

Shatt managed a very competent draft, as is to be expected from someone with so much mlctf experience. He and bretzky should be a good offensive pairing (despite not fairing too well on the Has Beens last season), and with mintek in the mix, I expect them to get a lot of flags home. The only question is whether or not the flag will be there when they arrive. Cinco hasn't been pugging much since UT was revived in late January, and chicken has been spending all his time playing bf3. But as long as they get their act together, this starting 5 should be able to win against almost anybody. However, the bench is particularly weak, with the unproven Israeli Jorel, TSM, and Ownage as the only real options if someone doesn't show up.


O: Sonic/n1ne (4th)
Mid: sorn (1st)
D: Sunny/trav (6th)
Bench: barbo/spydee/Karma/R1ckJam3s/Bryan(8th)

It's hard not to rank any team with sorn on it in one of the top spots. This guy will demoralize other teams with his preposterous fragging ability, and he will control the powerups on any mid-oriented map. However, the offense is a bit of a question mark, as sonic has not been reliable in previous seasons, and I believe n1ne is more potent on defense. But I feel it's more likely that Sunny and trav will be providing defensive duties, and they should be solid enough with some help from sorn. The bench is a bit iffy, as barbo is rumored not to be likely to make matches, and spydee and the others are untested in mlctf play.


O: Sly/hubbs (3rd)
Mid: Blizzard (4th)
D: Kalamazoo/Lenneth (7th)
Bench: Dark-Shadow/exco/CanofwhoopAss/Szatan/secrid(5th)

Sly definitely had a strategy going in to the draft, and only time will tell if it worked out for him. He stocked up on the low ranks early, taking only Kalamazoo in the early rounds, but filling up nicely with Blizz and hubbs in the later rounds. The word on the street is that Blizz is having connection issues, and hubbs has been relatively inactive recently as well. But we all know sly has that ability to get his top 5 to show for mlctf, and if they are reliable, he will be right there in the playoffs looking for the three-peat. The X factor here could be secrid, a player with a ton of hours experience under his belt, but according to abot it's been almost a year since he played a pug. If sly pulls him out of his rabbit hat unrusted, who knows where the ceiling is for this team.


O: dawn/rinesque (8th)
Mid: InfamousRaider (7th)
D: Slayer/Dray (1st)
Bench: frank/diphallus/oskr/twister/aco24(6th)

Slayer didn't disappoint in this draft, looking more composed after his recent existential crisis. The combination of himself and Dray on defense should be tough to cap on, and InfamousRaider appears to have stepped up his game in a major way recently. Dawn is back, and assuming he gets that new video card, he and the dirty aliaser rinesque should provide adequate offense. The bench is strong as well, with frank, Diphallus, and oskr all being capable subs.


O: khemikal/Ciro (7th)
Mid: xellos (3rd)
D: Necroninja/detox (3rd)
Bench: Imperium/reptil/mystogan/tonyrayo/technika(4th)

Many thought having Ciro captain could be a huge misstep for this league, but due to the draft format, he was able to draft a very solid team. NN and xellos are well known as dominant players, but there are a lot of questions to be answered with this team. Will khemikal be interested in playing for them? Is Ciro really a starting offensive player yet? Will Imperium be playing 1v1 DM during matchtime? Will they speak spanish on TS? Ciro has his work cut out for him in keeping this team together over the long haul. Depending on how it goes, this team could crater in the following week's power rankings.


O: beady/Druid (9th)
Mid: sezco (6th)
D: Invictus/ph34r (5th)
Bench: tou/Yeeter/Kappa/Honeybadger/thrice(1st)

Of all the teams, I probably know the least about this one. My positional assessment is only a guess, as I don't really know where beady, Druid, and ph34r prefer to play. But according to reputations, this team is relatively solid 1-5 as long as ph34r isn't too rusty. Also, I think their bench is the best in the league, and if UT was played 10v10, this team would take the title. As the weeks progress, I expect to get a better idea of how this team will lineup, and will be able to make a more accurate ranking.


O: jesse/wen (5th)
Mid: guybrush (8th)
D: boots/kud (8th)
Bench: ballsweat/jay/jerry's_sweater/mattdjoh/ryu(2nd)

Boots had a rather quixotic draft strategy, stocking up on the higher mid-level players at the expense of a true elite player. Jesse and wen should provide solid offense, and as long as guybrush plays and provides good cover, this team shouldn't have a hard time capping. Boots himself is a former $900 player, and if he plays as such, his defense with kud could be fine. The bench is very strong, with the nomic slut formerly known as melissa capable of stepping in, and jay, jerry and myself as reasonable options in the event of a crisis (I don't know much about ryu/XhackZ).


O: Met`/m3ss (1st)
Mid: playa (10th)
D: RC/rootsoft (10th)
Bench: linoleum/aku/joseph/faint/nucky(9th)

To put it simply, great offense, then a big drop-off 3-10. Met and m3ss will keep the pressure on opposing defenses and that alone could earn them a few wins. Playa is an ex-pat Hungarian playing temporarily in the States, and his reputation is as a solid powerup whore. Both RC and rootsoft are more secondary defenders, and this team will likely suffer from not having a top-gun, flag-stopping powerhouse. Not much to say about the bench, as lino could be the only one here that met would go to for any real playing time. Who knows, maybe this team will click in that classic Shark Attack fashion, but I'm not holding my breath in those waters.


O: Nomike/hedz (10th)
Mid: Paetaulik (9th)
D: lemon/ballistic`(4th)
Bench: bigV/blackout/kiwi/nino/ch34t(7th)

Paetaulik lived up to his promise of showing up drunk for the draft, and nearly caused his first-pick bigV to commit suicide with some of these picks. If lemon and ballistic show up to matches, this team will be moving up quickly in the power rankings, but that's a huge if. Paetaulik is one of Europe's top CTF'ers, but will struggle on the maps that aren't heavily played on that side of the water (and perhaps struggle to keep his eyes open with the early morning match times). I don't know much about nomike's game, but I stuck him on offense with hedz because of the way the rest of the team lines up. BigV is obviously capable as flag cover, so maybe he will get the nod on some maps. We'll see about this team.

Free Agent Special

Anguis/Sauron: ($450)
I was really surprised Anguis didn't get picked in this draft. He's been an active pugger recently, holding his own in some tough pugs. What he lacks in NW experience, he more than makes up for with his dead aim. He will be picked up during this season, I guarantee it.

zax: ($460)
As he said last night after the draft, it doesn't really make sense that people with 0 pugs under their belt got picked up while he didn't. While, as an admin, I'm happy he'll be free to broadcast matches, any captain worth his salt would be remiss not to pick him up in the event of an active player shortage.