- Reputation Cartel
- Team Mincemeat
- TEST Tourney Team Please Ignore
- EXEceptional Otters
- Team USA
- Top Three Teams from ATXI
- Verge of Collapse
- No Boundaries
The team running the Syndicate Competitive League -- primarily Namamai, Apathetic Brent, Ben Booley, Aegon Blackfire, and Bacchanalian -- asked if I would be interested in participating as the studio host for the event after the departure of Arydanika from EVE earlier this year. This is a role that I was extremely hesitant to take. I was confident enough being the "color guy" and occasional expert in the studio during SCL2 back in April. But being the lead guy? Just as in back in April, I'm still trying to figure out why I said yes this time. God knows I have enough other stuff to do -- CSM minutes ranking high on the list.
But being almost always out front during SCL2 had been enjoyable, I learned a lot both about tournament play, and it was a great opportunity to stretch myself. And I'm actually running ahead of the curve on producing CSM minutes -- until yesterday, I was tied with Trebor for most summit sessions documented. So I think I talked myself into doing this for SCL4 for the same reason. Though the collective desperation was back, too. ;-) But again, it was also a fantastic opportunity to look dumb in front of a thousand EVE players.
All in all, though, I think it went really well!
The great tournament flying helped. There were lots and lots of good matches, new metas thanks to the recent command ship buffs and Dominix nerf, and some new pilots and teams making strong showings. Sentry comps continue to be laughably over-powered in the tournament format and there were still lots of Dominixes, only this time joined by Rattlesnakes, Gilas, Vexor Navy Issues, and Vexors. But my favorite, "green and covered with blasters" made several appearances along with Sleipnir comps which I enjoy a lot no matter how often they result in my personal death.
Biggest disappointment? Top Three Teams. I'm all but convinced they joined the SCL to troll the organizers and bet against themselves on eve-bet.com rather than taking the proceedings seriously. CCP has rules against intentionally throwing matches, but SCL does not because it shouldn't be necessary.
The biggest pleasant surprise was the Footwork team. Ministry of Inappropriate Footwork showed a lot of great piloting, perseverance, and heart during AT11. They showed it again in this tournament, ultimately coming in second despite having a really tough line-up of matches. I'm really looking forward to seeing what these guys do in future tournaments. I also thought the TEST team continues to improve tournament after tournament. They showed some good flying, as did the Black Legion team, Team USA.
There were some really great, really close matches, including a couple of nail-biters! And I got the opportunity to chat with and interview some fun guests including CCP Rise, CCP Logibro, CCP Dolan, CCP FoxFour, and CCP Fozzie. I also got the chance to work with both Zao Amadues and Elendar, who came in to provide commentary and whom I think both did a great job. We had a couple of player guests as well, TruExXx from Black LegionDOT and Ali Aras from CSM8. Apathetic Brent was also involved in commentary for both days and did his usual great job. Fozzie again provided invaluable technical assistance on the back end, staying up particularly late on Sunday to keep the show running, and CCP Veritas jumped in to assist with some tool issues that we had, also on Sunday. These guys are heroes for giving up their weekend time to help us out! Thank you so much, guys!
I myself flubbed a few things here and there, but I think you can chalk that up to inexperience. I'm a blogger, not a pod-caster, after all! But for the most part I was able to keep conversation going even through some long dead time periods, ask interesting questions, keep us on track and on schedule so much as the technical details allowed, and throw in a few opinions of my own. So I'm overall quite pleased with the job I did! The SCL team also seemed happy with my performance, which is also nice, and a number of you out there have already caught up with me on Twitter or in-game to say you thought I was doing a good job. I'm always happy to hear that! If you listened in, how do you think I did? Something I should consider repeating, or should I stick with my day job?
One of the more interesting metas that came out of SCL was a smart-bombing Rattlesnake fielded by the DeepWater team in one of the later matches. It was rather a clever concept: the ship, facing off against a Sentry drone team, motored to a collection of enemy Sentries, used multiple large smart-bombs to clear them away, then motored to the next collection. It was a really effective tactic and resulted in DeepWater pushing Team USA out of the SCL.
Verge of Collapse ended up coming on top, driving to the finish in high style after a bit of a weak start on Saturday. Happily, they show that their AT10 performance wasn't a fluke and they remain a strong tournament team. They take home a pretty nice prize pool, as well as the honor of being one of the few teams to win both an AT and an SCL. As I mentioned, Footwork came in second, and a surprisingly strong DeepWater team placed third. Congrats to all three of these teams!
Finally, during the interviews with the CCP employees, a few fun things became public (and therefore no longer NDA'ed), so I'll probably write a bit more about those this week.
SCL5 will be in six to eight weeks, and we should be hearing about another CCP-run tournament sometime between now and the end of the year. So I look forward to watching the EVE eSports game continue to expand!