In this week’s edition of Throwdown Thursday, the focus was squarely on the team captains: BerserkerMike and JustCallMeBau. They’re friends outside the arena, but when they come head-to-head, they’re #ArchRivals and JustCallMeBau has a history of always coming out on top. Was this the week Mike and his team The Berserkers would finally get one over on his friend and rival JustCallMeBau and Team FeelsBauMan?
Both teams were coming in off of a loss in their previous match. Team FeelsBauMan got wiped out by the Squirrel Posse in the first league match of the season and The Berserkers lost a heartbreakingly close match to Zin Ramu and Team Feed Me last time out. Both teams were hungry for their first competitive win.
The Berserkers were also missing their key Spartacus player Thrillhouse this week and MuscoyMike was drafted in to fill the void. It was MuscoyMike’s Breakaway Office League debut and he had a lot to prove. For team JustCallMeBau, Spooky Forest had been in the lab all week working on his game since their opening loss and it was time to see if he could step it up in live competition.
The Berserkers: 0
Game 1 was a contrast of styles. Team FeelsBauMan came out swinging. They looked for openings and pushed hard with ButterBeany breaking forward, JustCallMeBau dropping aggressive Spartacus ramps and Spooky Forest and TikTrip disrupting and following in for rebounds. The Berserkers got absolutely blindsided by the sheer pace of the attack and in less than a minute, Team FeelsBauMan was up 2 rounds to none. It looked like it was going to be a clean sweep, until the difference in net worth caught up.
While Team FeelsBauMan had been pushing the relic hard and ignoring everything else, The Berserkers were secretly building up a big economic advantage. By the beginning of Round 3, The Berserkers had a net worth advantage of 15,350 to only 8,400 for Team FeelsBauMan. More gold equals better items. Better items equals more sustainability, better attack and all-around stronger characters. Team FeelsBauMan tried to make one more aggressive push, but The Berserkers focused the relic and their better equipment eventually told. Berserker Mike walked the Relic in for a score with five seconds left on the clock and just like that, The Berserkers were back in the game.
While they were technically still down 2 rounds to 1, the net worth difference was so big that The Berserkers practically had the game won at this point. MuscoyMike was dealing massive damage, Chark was being an all-around nuisance, Berserker Mike was disrupting and Nocnoz kept everyone healthy. Rounds 4 and 5 were a textbook example of how net worth can turn a game. By the beginning of Round 4, The Berserkers had an almost 2-to-1 advantage in net worth. Their Kill/Death/Assist (KDA) ratio was 10/2/23 to only 2/10/6 for Team FeelsBauMan. It’s hard to win a round when your team is constantly getting melted by a superior attack. Berserker Mike got two easy scores in Rounds 4 and 5 and The Berserkers sealed Game 1 with a win.
The Berserkers: 1
If Game 1 was all about The Berserkers dominating economically, Game 2 was exactly the opposite. Every single round in Game 2 began with JustCallMeBau rushing straight to the gold buff and snatching it before The Berserkers could get close. Team FeelsBauMan was keenly aware of what led them to lose Game 1 and they course-corrected hard.
Round 1 ended with a typically stylish breakaway from JustCallMeBau who used Spartcus’ dash ability to separate himself from the pack and score. Round 2 was close; ButterBeany made a big save (as we’ve come to expect from #ButterBeany4Pres), but ultimately the pressure from The Berserkers led to Berserker Mike pushing and scoring to tie the Game 1 to 1. Round 3 went similarly; Chark had built up demolition and was wreaking havoc while The Berserkers harassed and pushed. Team FeelsBauMan was losing team fights left and right and constantly found themselves at a numerical disadvantage. Eventually ButterBeany went for a swim outside the map boundary and while her 20 second death timer was counting down, The Berksers pushed and scored.
The Berserkers were up 2 rounds to 1 and looking strong, but just like in Game 1, the economy caught up. Team FeelsBauMan focused on getting gold and by the beginning of Round 4, Team FeelsBauMan had a net worth advantage of 37,350 to only 19,850 for The Berserkers. In Round 4, Team FeelsBauMan started winning team fights to eventually force a 4v2 scenario where JustCallMeBau broke in and scored. At the beginning of Round 5, Team FeelsBauMan had a K/D/A of 15/5/22 to only 5/15/8 for The Berserkers and the inevitable happened: JustCallMeBau broke through and scored and Team FeelsBauMan took Game 2.
The Berserkers: 1
Early on, Game 3 felt so much like Game 1 that I had to do a double-take. Chark tried to switch to attack damage to keep Team FeelsBauMan in check, but they pushed hard and JustCallMeBau made the play of the game where he rode up the elevator with the relic, tossed it forward, kicked Chark off the edge of the map “This. Is. Sparta!” style and picked the relic up again to score. Round 2 had a similar feel as team FeelsBauMan pushed hard on the Relic. TikTrip broke through and almost made a great solo score and then ButterBeany was there with a well-timed teleport to pick up the rebound and score. Just like that, Team FeelsBauMan was up 2 rounds to 0. The difference in Game 3 vs. Game 1, however, was that Team FeelsBauMan managed to go up 2-0 and not get completely outpaced in the economic game. At the beginning of Round 3, The Berserkers only had a modest net worth advantage of 15,600 to 11,700.
Lacking an economic advantage, the theme of Rounds 3 and 4 was The Berserkers taking advantage of Team FeelsBauMan’s aggressiveness. They let Team FeelsBauMan push forward and they waited for an opportunity to counterattack. In Round 3, Team FeelsBauMan got sucked into team fights and Berserker Mike managed to grab the Relic and run half the length of the arena to score. Round 4 was almost a carbon copy of Round 3 and Berserker Mike, with the help of a well-placed Muscoy Mike Spartacus ramp, broke away and scored again. The game was tied 2 rounds to 2.
Despite all the back and forth of the previous rounds, no one really changed strategy for Round 5. Net worth was almost even and K/D/A ratios were really low. Both teams were focused on staying alive. Team FeelsBauMan got the Relic early, pushed hard, and managed to score the winning point with a smooth fadeaway throw by JustCallMeBau. Game 3 could’ve gone either way, but Team FeelsBauMan just managed to eke out a win.
The Berserkers: 1
It had been a close match up to this point and you could argue that, despite being down 2 games to 1, The Berserkers hadn’t done much wrong. An interception here or a forced fumble there and they’d be the ones winning. Nonetheless, The Berserkers took a bit more drastic action; they took Chark off of Rawlins and ran a two tank team composition with Berserker Mike on Black Knight and Chark on Thorgrim. It was a surprising move and it ultimately didn’t pay off.
In Round 1, there was a little back and forth, but (stop me if you’ve heard this one before) Team FeelsBauMan managed to push the relic and with support from TikTrip, Spooky Forest and ButterBeany, JustCallMeBau forced the score. Round 2 was a textbook version of #ButterBeany4Pres and her bunny-hopping Alona breaking away and scoring to put Team FeelsBauMan up 2 rounds to none. While the goal of The Berserkers two tanks was to disrupt activity around the Relic and make it harder for Team FeelsBauMan to push, it seemed to have the opposite effect; the decrease in team mobility made it even harder for them to keep up with the fast breaks of JustCallMeBau and ButterBeany.
In Round 3, The Berserkers won a key team fight in front of the Team FeelsBauMan base and scored easily with a 4 against 1 advantage (probably harder NOT to score in that scenario). In the end though, it was an anomaly.
Round 4 ended with JustCallMeBau and ButterBeany performing a beautiful two-man break as Bau peeled off the attackers and ButterBeany took the Relic to the house. Again. Let’s call that two tank team composition by The Berserkers a failed experiment.
The Berserkers: 1
It was an exciting match, but ultimately it seemed like The Berserkers just weren’t able to handle the two-headed scoring threat of JustCallMeBau and ButterBeany who were fast-breaking constantly and causing all kinds of trouble. TikTrip and Spooky Forest played their roles as disruptors excellently too.
By contrast, Berserker Mike scored every single point for his team and without another player picking up the scoring slack, they’re going to struggle to win matches. The threat of Chark was nullified as the “focus Chark and don’t let him get gold” strategy that everyone now employs continued to pay dividends. Nocnoz did his best sustaining the team, Muscoy Mike had a debut to forget, and in the end The Berserkers just got outplayed.
Ultimately, we probably should’ve trusted history to tell us how this was going to play out. Berserker Mike keeps trying, but it just seems like JustCallMeBau has his number. Sorry Mike, looks like you’ll have to #BauDown once again.