[/flag]Leviathan Gaming comes into the playoffs after limping through most of the season, suffering from the loss of their scout [/flag]clckwrk. They stabilized the lineup with the addition of [/flag]Hero. The question most onlookers will ask is “Is Hero capable of replacing clkwrk on LAN?” but the more relevant question might be “Does it even matter?”
Hero’s playstyle is a solid proxy for clkwrk’s. While his aim might be a tad bit less consistent and his timing in taking fights certainly won’t be as spot-on as the man he’s replacing, as long as Hero listens to b4nny he’ll be very effective. The problem is, LG couldn’t best Mixup when they had clkwrk. They need to be better without him, and it’s hard to see how they can make that happen.
Replacing [/flag]Mackey with [/flag]Dave_AC may provide a bit of a boost, although it’s one that would be hard to quantify. Dave_AC impacts the match in a much more consistent manner; he’s always an annoyance, taking your healthpacks and nipping on your flank, but he doesn’t make the big plays. Playing against Mackey is an exercise in euphoria and frustration. For whole halves at a time you love it since you’re getting free pick after free pick and wondering, “What the heck is he doing?” and then some time he falls out of dropdown as sniper, headshots your scout, and picks your medic in a few seconds to win his team a round and you’re left wondering what happened.
LG seems to be moving more and more towards a future without [/flag]Tyrone, and that’s evident in their play recently as they’ve shifted more heals away from him and to other players, like b4nny and CyZeR. Considering Tyrone’s play over the past season or two, that’s probably a good move, but it doesn’t change the fact that they need a good performance from Tyrone to succeed at this LAN.
Any team with [/flag]b4nny is always a threat to win as he controls the flow of the game like no other player, but it’s going to be extremely hard for him to do it himself this time. Against Whales he’ll have to deal with his former partner in crime clkwrk shutting him down at every turn. Against Mixup it’ll be a constant struggle against Ruwin and Harbleu and their impressive team deathmatch ability.
The real key for LG this time, though, may be [/flag]CyZeR. It’s really his time to shine. He needs to take more responsibility in impacting the game and bringing his team to victory. Ever since breaking into invite TF2 and playing on teams like EG, CyZeR has slowly molded his playstyle from the classic “garbageman” to a more active role. Over the past few seasons, he’s started to help win games, rather than protect wins secured by others. Now that clkwrk is gone, it’s time for him to complete that metamorphosis and become a real “carry” type player his teammates rely on to make all the plays. He’s started to show that ability during the season, but will it happen on LAN? That could be the difference between a win and a third place finish.
Every time it seems like LG may have lost some of their luster, they pull together on LAN and put out an impressive performance. This LAN will likely be no different, but the competition is better than ever before and it’s looking like LG may have finally fell from TF2’s highest perch. The classic combination of b4nny, tyrone, and mackey is already dead, and tyrone is likely gone after this season. Will he go out on top, or fading away? Will this LAN signal the changing of the guard and an end of the LG era, or will they turn the tables and write their own fate? One thing’s sure: it’ll be fun to watch.