With the WGLNA Season 5 Finals going down this Sunday (March 15), we had a chance to catch up with our commentators to get their thoughts on the four teams competing for the lion’s share of the $171,000 prize pool.
"When it comes to PR and storylines, eLevate is in a great place. Imagine being Burn All Empires, who joined, left the league, then returned to the WGLNA over the course of 4 seasons, always taking teams like Hammer Time to the brink, but falling just short.
Enter Season 5, and another sponsor wants to enter the World of Tanks eSports scene. eLevate picks up Burn All Empires, a team that has always had great potential, but finally seems to be putting it all together. And while the name on their jerseys may have changed, the core of Burn All Empires is still there. To see that endurance payoff for GeeForcer and his teammates is an inspiring story that all future contenders in the Gold League should study. Plus, it helps to have a very articulate team rep, Zoid, who brings class and polish to his on-camera personality.
The Cunninghams made their way to the top for the first time in their careers, and while AMartin and his team have joined us in live events on two continents, they have yet to finish in the top two. So the pressure is really on for The Cunninghams more so than any other team in the Finals. They already lost to two of the teams that will be playing in San Francisco (I Love Lamp and S.I.M.P.) in the regular season, and if they can't make it to the Grand Final, then some may wonder if their current lineup and attitude will prevent them from ever becoming champions.
On the flip side, I Love Lamp is the most impressive team from the WGLNA Season 5 freshman class. RBIS held a similar spot during the Season 4 finals, but their fall from grace this time around is a warning to the new guys. I Love Lamp is so young, this will be the first time the team will actually meet in person. Crazy.
Lamp’s opponent, S.I.M.P., finds themselves in crisis mode after a miserable end to their season, but in my opinion, it’s a manageable crisis mode. They haven't hit the iceberg, but if they don't make a course correction, MacG may be leaving behind a team in shambles. But despite what happened in the last quarter, S.I.M.P. has something no other team here has: a WGLNA title. Blueboyzcaptain has stepped up to be the caller, leaving some to wonder if they made the right choice, especially after being shocked by teams like Timed Out and FeaR. Even with their late fall, however, I still think they’re the team to beat."
"With the Live Finals only a few days away there's been just enough time for teams to make the difference behind closed doors. I'm talking about practice.
Much like the change in format, a patch will send teams back to the drawing board. Recent changes to Steppes and Prokhorovka mean reimagining the established concepts of how to play on those maps. These maps will come into play during the Finals and the teams who will win are those who put in more work.
But enough about the pre-game preparation. Let’s talk about the teams individually.
S.I.M.P. had a rough end to their season, but their performance up until that point was enough to ensure they didn't see an untimely end to their run for the title. Their strong opening gave them time to experiment within the team to prepare for next season without MacG. The changes in their team dynamic didn't go smoothly, though, and they will have to take steps to overcome the progress they lost. Knowing MacG and his guys, I expect them to come back as good as ever.
All or nothing is my prediction for eLevate. They will either win it all or go out in the first round. Their aggression is their strength, but the question is whether their opponents will be able to react. eLevate has really improved their focus this season. Where they were once unbridled in their aggression, they have reined themselves in. If they show up in San Francisco and back up their aggression with preparation, then eLevate could be the team to beat.
When I think of Lamp, I am reminded of RBIS of last season. They're damn good and the team synergy is impressive for such a young group. Making it this far in the season has already put them in the books as someone to remember. I don't expect them to win it all because of the effect a live finals tends to have on teams. If they manage to find first place this season, it will need to come from more than natural talent. The time from playoffs to finals needs to be where they take the next step and study as hard as The Cunninghams while being as disciplined as S.I.M.P.
They ended the season looking like they belonged in 1st place but take a look at the history of this league and you'll see that 1st place can be hard to keep.
Speaking of 1st place, The Cunninghams are the most understated team going into the finals. Yes they're good, but they've received the least amount of praise for their consistency. They're modest and focused. At the finals they'll be calm, cool and collected. Out of all the teams they're the safest bet to be in the Grand Final."
Who do you think will take home the top prize? Tweet your predictions to @WGLNA and tune in Sunday, March 15 at www.twitch.tv/wglna to find out!