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  NQR9 Silver Cup group preview  060306  
Group A
American Gangsters
def?s crew returns to NQR for the first time since NQR5, when they managed a very respectable mid-table finish amongst some pretty good teams. The European scene has moved on since then however, and AG will find life pretty tough in the TB3-only NQR9 (their home map was usually CMT4 in NQR5). If they practice enough, then they have the nous and experience to take on any team in the Silver Cup. They have the added advantage of forcing opponents to raise their pings to at least 50, although this is of course countered by their own pings being even higher still.
Prediction: 2nd

Brutality
Brutality, a mix of Dutch players from clans like Veni Vidi Vici and Boefje, are one of the strongest non-seeded teams in the Silver Cup. Their chances of qualification have been boosted by being placed with 2 of the more vulnerable seeded teams. The experience of players like Purity, Unex and oase will be critical if they are to realise their potential.
Prediction: 3rd

Clan Metally Troopers
Without their superstar div1-mega, CMT will find it difficult to get out of this group. Players like fortuna and Jenna15 are solid teamplayers but they lack the cutting edge required to take maps home against the best teams in the group.
Prediction: 4th

Death Dealers
Death Dealers have had a tough EQL2 compaign, but have picked up their activity levels and they should be able to get out of this group without too much difficulty. Like any good Polish clan, their DM2 game is tight and they?re not too bad on DM3 either.
Prediction: 1st

Dies Ater
Dies Ater should prove to be a tough team to play against on DM2, what with that map pretty much being the home map of Germany, but their roster lacks a superstar-edge on the other maps. They will have to practice hard and work on their teamplay if they are to avoid finishing last in the group.
Prediction: 5th


Group B
Apocalypse 2006
A2K are a bit jekyll & hyde ? they can one day be a solid team in the upper echelons of EQL?s division 3, but at other times they play incoherently with little sign of teamplay or strategy. Still, if key players Hagge, Springs and Willguhrt are active and on form, then they have more than enough quality to qualify from this group.
Prediction: 2nd

Compot
The famous ?ilf? clan! They put in some good performances in the back half of EQL2, which was enough to secure their place in the Silver Cup. Del is a very tidy player and if he?s on form then CT will be hard to beat, but they are looking at a big hill to climb if they want to avoid finishing botom.
Prediction: 5th

epic
This ?new? clan, made up of Finnish old-schoolers, has a solid sense of teamplay and a wealth of 4on4 experience to fall back on. The likes of Fucu, Harsi and Vert will be invaluable as they seek to get to the Silver Cup playoffs, and their solid play on DM3 should see them comfortably through this group and into the playoffs, where they have the capability to go a long way.
Prediction: 1st

Natives
The clan previously known as Freedom Squad has a well-assembled group of players from Sweden. They will be tough to beat on DM3, and are very active and practicing hard. They should have few problems in brushing past the 2 Russian clans in this group, but could face a harder task against A2K and epic. They will need to be on top-form to qualify.
Prediction: 3rd

No Pasaran!
The other Russian clan in group B are No Pasaran. They have enjoyed a good season in EQL?s division 4a, and are in good company in this group alongside other DM3-specialist clans like A2K, NVS and Epic. Their collective aims are strong, but their teamplay on other maps is not quite sharp enough for them to challenge seriously at this level.
Prediction: 4th


Group C
Ax3
The Polish clan Ax3 has improved enormously in the last few years. They are a solid team and as you would expect from a Polish clan, are very tough to beat on DM2. They will be a good bet for the ?amateur? playoffs, but it?s difficult to see them taking down either of the 2 seeded teams in this group.
Prediction: 4th

goldiggas
This new clan is quite hard to predict, as I haven?t seen them playing at all! They have a good recipe for success with solid players like Domin and Kippo, so one would expect them to be a good team on DM2. However, lack of practice could see them struggle in what is quite a tough group.
Prediction: 5th

Hippushnik
HIPS are led by Joulu ?the new Fix? kku, and are a solid team without any prima donnas. Their DM2 and DM3 play should stand them in good stead, but they probably don?t have the required quality to break through against Osams or Shadow Minions.
Prediction: 3rd

Osams
And now we come to my own clan, Osams. We?ve had a tough time in EQL division 2, losing all 11 of our matches, so I doubt many will begrudge us being in the Silver Cup! We?ve added Benny Barnyard to our roster, which has boosted our DM3 play in particular, and if he is playing then I don?t think we will lose that map to anyone. Our strategy on other maps can be a bit wobbly at times, especially on E1M2, so we will need to concentrate hard on DM3 and cross our fingers for some good luck on DM2!
Prediction: 1st

Shadow Minions
SM will be Osams? closest rivals in the group. They?ve been led by the superstar skills of mm for some time now, but recently they have brought in a higher degree of teamplay with the likes of Clox, Swi and Mooseman playing an active role in their team. They also have good depth to their team with the likes of Aap, Blaps, Marksuzu and Pollox waiting in the wings. They are a very strong DM2 team, in a group of strong DM2 teams, and their improved DM3 play should also see them comfortably into the playoff spots. They can take us down when they are at their best, so the game between SM and OS should well turn out to be the game to decide the group winner.
Prediction: 2nd


Group D
Clan MNY
MNY are back and have been placed in the toughest group in the Silver Cup ? Group D. Here, D clearly stands for ?Death?, as all 5 clans have a reat chance of qualifying for the ?pro? playoffs. In a group this tight, anything you can do to increase your chances will help, and I think that MNY?s experience and skill will be off-set by their inactivity and lack of practice.
Prediction: 5th

DQM The Stars
DQM?s ?star? line-up are one of my pre-tournament favourites. It will take something special to stop them, especially now as they have bolstered their already strong line-up with the addition of TheEvilDog from Jokkmokk (although he was originally in DQM anyway?). Daizuki played in division 1 with Suddendeath in EQL1, and Raket played at the top level for HGC, so their line-up has the experience to go all the way. Most importantly, they are practicing regularly and appear to have moulded themselves into a well-oiled unit.
Prediction: 1st

Team Freedom
I feel sorry for all of the non-seeded teams in this group, because each of them would have a great chance of qualifying in any of the other groups, whereas in this group they will find things really tough. Team Freedom have a solid line-up of teamplayers like Znappe, Flintheart and Sweeper, plus the sharp top-level skills of Xorcist. Their DM3 game is strong, but that might not be enough because all of the teams in this group are capable on that map.
Prediction: 4th

Veterans
Veterans would have been one of my favourites for the tournament, but after their star-player Mille decamped to group rivals Wunderbar, I wonder if Vets will even finish in the top 2. Their E1M2 game will still be strong, and they do have some excellent 4on4 players at this level with the likes of Azazel and Ake Vader. I am afraid that the loss of Mille could hurt them significantly though.
Prediction: 3rd

Wunderbar
Wunderbar are a new clan, and having practiced against them a few times, I am very impressed with how quickly their team has gelled together. Alongside solid 4on4 players like eggarf, dopas and Xero, they have now brought in Mille from Veterans, and I think that this addition will take them a long way in this tournament.
Prediction: 2nd


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