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  Gold Cup clan overview / predictions  080214  
Antiquad: Not having played much in the last year or two, the days where Antiquad were a serious threat to the top clans have kinda vanished. With players such as Harvester (that guy with the homing grenades), Tuoppi or Nu55i, the potential is obviously there. However, the activity and enthusiasm is not. And what happened to Darkki? Two years ago everyone was talking about what a huge talent he was and that he was an "upcoming star" in Div1, but then he suddenly vanished as fast as he appeared and unfortunately hasn't showed much since. With more practise, these smiley-spamming boys from Finland should become an obvious participant in the playoffs. Without practise however, these guys run the risk of not even making it to those. One can only hope that they will continue with the activity they showed in the last days.

Clan MalFunction: It is hard to write any kind of prediction for these guys. Brush off the dust and you have a contender for the championship, leave the dust where it is and you have a clan that will make it to the playoffs but will be of no threat to the top teams. Fix and the boys are talented like few others out there, but desperately need to work on their activity if they're planning on reaching anything 'big'. With the experience and the routine of these oldschool players, it shouldn't take long for their greatness to kick back in, but it won't be possible without any practise at all. With Zhin finally returning from this other random game where people try to become alchemists and go fishing, one might find it hard not to succumb to nostalgia and wish back the older days where this clan was (partially) dominating 4on4. Fifi, Fix, Fucu, Hlt, Jus, Mazer, Mem, Zhin: Need I say more? Shape up boys, we wanna see some action!

Easyriders: These guys have signed up with a very solid lineup. They got Eta-bEta who has been shaping up again and played an estimated 4 million mix-4on4s in the last month, talented phrenic who got where he is now in just a few years, grisling and jOn who have already picked up quite a bit of experience in the highest divisions, greatly talented mm who finally decided to play 4on4 consistently and seriously, and Serox who can become every opponent's serious nightmare once he starts lurking around on the map, controlling items with his calm routine. These guys should have no problem reaching the playoffs and might even be good for a surprise or two once they've reached those. Although playing a bit careless at times, mm is one hell of a talent and should lead these guys to more than just a handful of victories if things are taken seriously. With him come the above mentioned 5 players that can all be counted on for some good team-play. Time will tell...

Firing Squad: Are most definitely not going to play. Some people, including me, are still trying to put pressure on them as it would be really sad to see these guys take yet another (maybe final?) break. Feel free to contribute by annoying Spoink, Razor, Keyser, 123 and Mae on #ibh. I will paypal 10 Euros to whoever gets them to participate in NQR11. :D

Fragomatic: Taking a glance at the lineup, one might find it hard to come up with more than "holy fuck!". This clan probably has the most impressive lineup of all. However, I haven't seen any of these guys play regularly except for XantoM. Similarly to Clan MalFunction, these guys will need very little practise for the routine and greatness to kick back in, but they will need some at least. Not having been quite as inactive as CMF though, these guys are also a huge threat to any of the clans even when rusty. I hope to be mistaken, but I haven't really seen these guys prac much and I'm a tad afraid they might even drop out. If that however will not be the case and Fragomatic really play (all) their games, we sure have a Semi-Finalist and maybe a winner of the championship right here. Definitely one of the top-contenders for the trophy. Valla, Lacsap, Nabbe, Riker, XantoM, Interceptor, Inferno... what could possibly go wrong when active?

KOFF: Given that they never prac, it is hard to predict how well they will do this season. However, despite the severe lack of practise, KOFF have demonstrated their impeccable strength in their first game when they came pretty damn close to taking down recent EQL6 champions The Viper Squad, giving them one hell of a fight and losing 1:2. Having someone like multiple NQR champion Gamer on board sure helps at any given time, with the rest of the team always looking hot too. Any of the clans will have a hard time against these guys. They should have good chances of finishing top-4 if they keep throwing in some pracs from time to time and even have the potential to finish first if they decide to become seriously active again.

Malice: This is one of the newer clans to the QuakeWorld scene, but a look at their lineup quickly reveals their potential. Most of all we got moltas, who has been incredibly active and has some *serious* potential. With the body-clock of an owl, this guy has been playing night time mix-4on4s in the last year unlike any other player out there. Talented as he is, he alone can win back map-control on his own on a good day and could sure be responsible for some surprises. With him comes a set of four players that are all far from shabby. Rwx, flintheart and kippo are all very solid and experienced team-players when on a roll. Another player that deserves some special attendance is Gor: Albeit never playing with less than 52ms, this guy has seriously impressed me in the last weeks. Laudations aside though, this clan will need to work on their team-play as a whole. While having 5 very notable players on their roster, their team effort seems not yet where it should be. Being disappointed about their placement in Gold Cup, one can only hope that their enthusiasm doesn't fade away as it would be a shame to see this promising combo go inactive. They have chances of making it to the playoffs if they work on their compactness.

NoPasaran!: "The team with the biggest balls of NQR11", according to Molgrum. And I have to agree. This friendly Russian combo is as fearless as you can get and handle things with exactly the spirit that we were hoping for. Having recently recruited notorious Russian player B1aze, this clan is stronger than ever and is likely to surprise a few of the expected playoff-teams. Alongside the above mentioned B1aze you got very solid team-players dot, Starling, xpr and Zepp. Ever since this clan crawled out of their cave shortly before the end of EQL6 group-stages, they have been very active and kicking some serious ass. The reason this clan was placed in Gold was because the clans from Division 3 in EQL no longer seemed to be any sort of challenge for these guys and they seemed ready to take the next step. We stand by our decision and expect this clan to collect a few victories for sure as these boys seem to have good chances of reaching the playoffs, mostly depending on how well Antiquad and Suddendeath do. Gold Cup: Be warned.

Slackers: Over the last few years the name 'Slackers' has always been a trademark for success as they have always been one of the top-contenders for whatever title it was. However, all is not well at Castle Slackenstein. It has been rumoured that ParadokS is unlikely to play as he is too busy playing poker, Dragon supposedly has problems with lag, Murdoc has some other issue, and Insane.... hmm... where's Insane? And what happened to Javve? Now if these above mentioned players are not going to play, Slackers still has a wide range of other great players, namely: Krab, Mja, Purity and and most notably: Mille and Zero. Still a great lineup, but good enough to compete vs Fragomatic, Koff, The Viper Squad or an active Clan MalFuntion? I don't think so. With my predicted lineup, Slackers should have, similarly to Easyriders, no problems to reach playoffs, but are highly unlikely to win the championship. I predict Semi-Final at best. If all my sources about the lineup are wrong though, things would look a whole lot different and Slackers would obviously be a top-contender to the trophy again. We shall see...

Star Alliance: I still hate the name as it sounds a) braggy and b) like a travel agency, but trash-talk and linguistics aside, one needs to acknowledge this fantastic lineup, at least at first glance. While I am uncertain about the teamplay skills of LocKtar and Mawe, both are astonishing duel players with an undeniable talent for the game. Regardless of their preferred game mode, these guys should look pretty hot once they get into the routine of top-class 4on4. Alongside these guys, you got very solid team players bps who recently left Suddendeath, Goblin who turned up out of nowhere and decided to instantly kick ass again, and lakso, who has been shaping up to a great form again after having been semi-idle with Osams for ages and then made a quick stop over at Suddendeath's. Last but not least, Star Alliance got this other guy who is KINDA good too. As far as I know, these players don't know each other very well except for bps and lakso perhaps, so I'm curious to see the how their team-play will function as a whole. Undeniably, this is a great lineup with great individualists. The latter part might turn out to be a problem though, as I'm not quite sure how a new clan is going to plan on competing with The Viper Squad, Fragomatic and so on. My prediction is that these guys will (very, very) easily make it to the playoffs, but will stumble over another clan somewhere on their way to the final. Looking hot, but no top-contendant for the trophy - YET.

Suddendeath: As you probably read above, Suddendeath lost a key player when bps parted ways with them. But although the clan itself might think differently, Suddendeath still have a lot to offer: Most notably we got ok98, who is one of the most consistent players of Gold Cup. He's got the experience, the routine, the overview, and always does well. Almost equally good we got Trash and Molecule who are both experienced and solid players. And then Suddendeath surprised us all about 2 weeks ago when they recruited Votary and Overd. These guys led recently disbanded EnemyQuad to an easy victory in EQL Season 6 Division 4, but are by no means 'Div 4 players'. Both players have a fairly impressive history as they have previously played for Suddendeath, Core, and Natives. Overdose actually also played for Team Freedom and is therefore probably not to be underestimated. I don't actually know much about this Overdose chap, but I can tell you that Votary has improved a hell of a lot lately and that he's definitely Gold Cup material. If they quit wallowing in self-pity about their placement and practise more, they should have no problems reaching playoffs. Come on boys!

The Viper Squad: These recent EQL champions are, without a doubt, one of the favourites to win NQR11 Gold Cup. They feature some of the best team players around in QuakeWorld at this time, along with teamplay as solid as never before. Having those sneaky shaft-boys can help them take back map-control at any time and it is never easy to win a map-lock back from these guys when they have a Quad runner such as Milton. Anyone who has been keeping an eye on teamplay in the last months has seen what this guy is capable of. It hasn't been a secret that this fella is good for the past years, but recently he just seems unstoppable. If they keep up the activity of the last months, it is going to be very hard to steal the championship from them. Practising e1m2 might be a key, who knows.

Dies Ater: It sucks to write about your own clan, so let me just say: Absolutely best scenario: Reach playoffs. Worst case scenario: Suck with style, easily as honourable as winning the trophy. :)

So yeah... possibly things might look like this in the end. (I'm obviously basing this on the assumption that all clans will be somewhat active):

1-2: Fragomatic / The Viper Squad
3-4: Koff / Clan MalFunction
5-8: Slackers / Easyriders / Star Alliance / Suddendeath / Antiquad / NoPasaran!
9-12: Suddendeath / Antiquad / NoPasaran! / Malice / Dies Ater



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