Playoff Time! Hello BOL, it is officially that time of year, playoffs for BOL Gold kick off next week, and we have the top 3 teams from each division battling it out with the top team from each division getting a round 1 bye in the playoffs. We will start with a short description of each team, and how I expect them to do in the playoffs, followed by a team power rankings and a playoff round 1 matchups prediction.
The First Place Seeds: CB Rangers:
CB Rangers come into the playoffs as the North Division First Seed. Honestly, CB Rangers and NSG Infinity are both looking like the 2 weaker first seeds, but do not let that lower your expectations of them. All 4 of the first seeded teams have the potential to beat anyone, depending on what players are bringing their a-game. I expect to see this team make it to semis, and potentially all the way to the finals. NSG Infinity: NSG Infinity come into the playoffs as the South Division First Seed. Debatably the weakest of the first seeds (in most peoples minds at least) due to being the team in the “weakest” division. I however think the South Division top 3 is the best of any division top 3 teams. I think while teams like CB Obsidian, VBU Argon, and maybe even CB Rangers may look stronger than all 3 of the South Division teams, they still are not immortal and can lose to these South Division teams if they slip up. As a player of NSG Infinity, I may be a bit biased, but I see this team making it to semis for sure, and potentially “upsetting” CB Rangers to make it to finals.
VBU Argon: VBU Argon come into the playoffs as the East Division First Seed. In my mind, VBU Argon have been looking quite strong despite losing Kral Sultan, and maybe their division is a little weaker than we had initially thought? Either way, VBU Argon are coming into playoffs as one of the top dogs, alongside CB Obsidian. Unfortunately, CB Obsidian and VBU Argon are on the same side of the bracket, so one of the 2 teams will definitely not make the finals run. That being said, VBU Argon should have a decent chance at making it to the finals.
CB Obsidian: CB Obsidian come into the playoffs as the West Division First Seed. This is the top team in the Gold League. They are one of the few teams to go from a top team last season, to switching orgs and sustaining the bulk of their team into another strong season, and should be able to make finals if they can topple the other top team in VBU Argon in the semis. The Rest of the Field: Oasis NADS:
Oasis NADs have looked quite good in their division, and as the second seed of the North Division, I believe they are the strongest second seed team going into playoffs. That being said, they also play the best third seed team in the first round of playoffs, and are on the side of the bracket with VBU Argon and CB Obsidian. I expect this team to have a close battle in the first round of playoffs, but I doubt they get any farther than quarterfinals.
Imperial Gaming: Imperial Gaming are looking to bring the North Division some glory, as they face Crimson Dolphins in the first round of playoffs, who have been looking a little rough on this second half of the season. Imperial Gaming need to identify the weak spots in Crimson Dolphins draft phase if they want to be one of the third seeds that move on. I think this team has the potential to make quarterfinals, but with that matchup being CB Obsidian, I cannot see them making it to the semis.
Crimson Dolphins: Crimson Dolphins started the season hot with a very good win streak, starting with a week 1 win over the current first seed of their division, NSG Infinity. Despite that very successful first half of the regular season, I think other teams in the division caught up to them, and were able to take games and even some matches off of them. If Crimson Dolphins wish to make a run in playoffs, they need to find that week 1 magic, and put together a strong draft phase for playoffs. I can see this team potentially making it to quarterfinals, but not farther.
CB Royal CB Royal are looking like the strongest third seed team going into playoffs, and its from the South Division, which most people wrote off as the “free” division. Despite peoples expectations of this division, I think CB Royal has looked quite dominant post roster changes midway through the season, They did drop a game to both NSG Infinity and Crimson Dolphins in their final few weeks, but they are the strongest teams in the division alongside them. I see CB Royal potentially being one of the only third seeds to make it to quarterfinals.
Twin Spirits: Twin Spirits come into playoffs after having a relatively solid season. I have no idea how to judge the East Division second and third seed teams, but despite that, I believe they got the best draw for round 1 of the playoffs. Limitless Chaos dropped a lot of games and matches to lower teams in their division towards the end of the regular season, and look to be the worst of the third seeds going into playoffs. I expect Twin Spirits to be CB Rangers quarterfinals opponents.
Mythos Purple: Mythos Purple are the third seed team that I almost had as the top third seed team, but with how strong of a second half CB Royal has had since their newest edition of their roster has me giving them a slight edge. Mythos Purple are facing Collective Cosmic in round 1, and outside of the NADs CB Royal match, this will be one of the closer round 1 playoff matches. This team could topple Collective Cosmic and look to upset NSG Infinity in the quarterfinals.
Collective Cosmic Collective Cosmic look to a tough round 1 matchup in playoffs, but if they can get past that hurdle, they may have a shot at being a strong playoff team. Having CB Obsidian in your division has to be a buff to your team, getting to practice against the best team in the league and even taking games off of them is huge. If they can win their round 1 matchup, this team has the potential to go a long way in playoffs, but they have to play their a-game every game to pull off multiple upsets later in the playoffs.
Limitless Chaos are coming into playoffs after a rough final few weeks in their division. After losing to VBU Plutonium in week 8, they were able to pick up a win in week 9, only to lose yet again to CB Obsidian in the final week (although they did win one game in that series). I expect Limitless Chaos to get eliminated in the first round of playoffs, but I would love to see them pull off an upset on Twin Spirits and prove me wrong.
I am doing Power Rankings differently. Instead of putting teams in 1st to 12th, I will be grouping them and grading them instead. I see most teams being relatively even, the gap between each grade (S, A, B, C, and D) is very tiny.
Playoff Round 1 Predictions:
CB Rangers, NSG Infinity, VBU Argon, CB Obsidian - Round One Bye.
Twin Spirits (W) 3 vs Limitless Chaos (L) 1 Collective Cosmic (W) 3 vs Mythos Purple (L) 2
Oasis NADs (W) 3 vs CB Royal (L) 2 Crimson Dolphins (W) 3 vs Imperial Gaming (L) 2 Closing Thoughts This playoffs will be an exciting close to this season of BOL Gold. Out of all the BOL seasons I have played, this has been the closest one in terms of teams overall strength. While I do believe that the top 2 teams are ahead of the rest of the pack, I do also believe that almost all 12 playoff teams are capable of taking games, and even series off of any other team in playoffs. This season, it will be a little less about “who had the best regular season and looks the strongest” and more about the team who wants it the most and shows up with a strong draft phase and in game leadership to take control of the mistakes their opponents make; after all, it is gold elo, and all players make plenty of mistakes in this ranking. Good luck to all 12 teams in playoffs, and I will not be surprised to see the upsets that may soon follow, and these playoffs are some of the hardest predictions I have had to make all season, and out of all the BOL Gold seasons.