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With the 26th season of RTS League's Age of Mythology: The Titans Clan League finished already at the start of July, it's high time to think about a new edition of the best clan-based competition around - but before that, we owe you a proper look back at what happened in the months before - and also the banners! Strap in for a long ride along the memory lane (Or scroll down for the banners and next season info :d)
With clans being increasingly more committed to proper and responsible participation in RTS League, respecting its unique role in the community, we again saw a rather well-ran season with low amount of problems and quite a few a good, and also downright exciting and excellent, match-ups.
One of those happened right in the first round between the reigning Champions AbsoLads and Organization of Natural Uppers, where the challengers chose an unusual home map - Sudden Death - to try and surprise their opponents, and they were quite close to actually succeeding. Looking back at things, special maps, or rather not-usual-Random maps, were a serious theme this season, with plenty of clans making use of the opportunity to train for their home map to give them an advantage - something that has been present in RTS League since its very beginning, but lately kind of ignored and sometimes even scorned upon with no good reason.
These special maps then resulted in some rather fun games for the participants, but also the viewers who had the opportunity to witness many of the clashes live - 51 matches were streamed live to be exact! To name some that were played on the special maps, FROST took it upon themselves to represent their name with aggressive Frozen Wastes, and we have also seen increasingly popular Sacred Pond from JSS, Acropolis and Vinlandsaga from F2, or Sea of Worms from Mor0nZ and Ghostland with Molde from Lad|B - really an unusual amount of unusual maps, but we were definitely glad to see clans tackle on such a wide variety of battlefields.
Concerning the results, the concentration of high quality teams made for intriguing matches right in the divisions, and clashes such as TSM vs. DoD for the n1 spot in Division 3 or basically any duels between the top 4 in Division 2 were quite fun to see, and had pretty strong implications for the Postseason fights.
The only clan finishing with zero losses were the defending Champions AbsoLads, but behind them, it was a real ferocious contest for who will have the right to play in the Finals and potentially claim the Title - this season, it was anyone's pick.
Find all the streamed games on our YouTube or Twitch and recs in our archive
The top 4 seeded clans were all former Champions - AbsoLads, Deities of Death, 2k for jesus and Tsunami Clan. Plus another Golden club The Brazilian Legend. And to challenge them, another bunch of skillers in Fade2 and B-teams of AbsoLads and Deities of Death. Quite literally the very best Age of Mythology can offer.
With such, we might have expected that there might be some surprises, but maybe not in the places where they came - F2 played a rather excellent Quarterfinal against the reigning Champs, and were so close to reaching for the advance that it can be considered only bad luck that they didn't and Lads made their way into the Semis in the end, but only by a very frail gait that let on that their path might not be as easy as many maybe expected.
The second fun Quarterfinal then happened on the other side of the bracket, where DoD|B cleverly used their home map to do something assuredly no one expected - they picked King of the Hill. You heard right. King of the Hill. And it went exactly as you'd expect JSS, possibly co-favourites for the Golden Banner, suddenly found themselves in an awkward situation having to play a decider where you never know what the gods will throw in your way - fortunately for them though, they got their home map again, which sure made things a bit easier
A memorable game then definitely is the Molde from TSM vs. Lad|B, decided at about 5mins gametime by a very brave attempt from the Bs
All this meant that Semifinals featured pretty much the expected quartet, and also quite hot match-ups. Both of them were neck-to-neck, and nobody could be sure who would emerge victorious, as really, the talent was on all four sides and details, and home maps, would decide who goes through.
Valley of Kings with Blind Pick as the first pre-set map turned out to be a good choice for diversity, as it forced players to think about what and how to do, and it resulted in an unprecedented event that will be forever etched into the annals of history - TSM didn't play with two Zeuses. PLAYER played something else than Zeus in RTS League. Fen as well. And they won. Imagine that.
This, of course, set them on a good course, and when Lad chose Vinlandsaga as their home map, apparently without prior preparation, fear of the Champions was palpable in the air. Even through that though, they still possess an immense amount of skill, and that meant that it took TSM all their strength to win here, and they couldn't be sure if even their iconic Medit home map will be enough to close the deal. It wasn't. Lads punished their opponents and set themselves on a comeback, but since Highland, the second preset map, also required special preparation, it was basically anyone's map. The fight was tense, but the Champions' way ended one step away from the Grand Finals.
The other Semis then promised a rather catchy confrontation of TheMista with JSS and Magic with DoD, and that's what we got in four editions. Yeah, the games were as cool as they sound , but not only because of those two, but because both clans are up to the roof with talent, and so we could've expected some extraordinary events.
Right the first game, the famed Valley of Kings, was yet again awesome, as even though DoD prepared a special strat, JSS were able to counter it, especially thanks to an excellently fast and powerful Rag from Count that was one for the textbooks (which he actually created for Thor :d). This though wasn't all that the Deities prepared for their heretical opponents, as their home Anatolia, a map you don't really see played all that much in RTSL, brought them a rather quick and decisive victory through their strong Eggies.
In a tie, monogod followers went with time-tested Medit, and even though DoD regularly prepare for this oft-chosen battlefield, they are still to crack a reliable way to win here, but we cannot say they weren't close - they even got a bit of help along the way with probably the most epic Titan fail you're going to see in a competitive game (Chef says he was concentrating on microing something else, but... yeeeeaaaaaahhhhh :d), but JSS' experience with this map proved to be just too strong.
The last game on Highland was then a duel very worthy of the later stages of RTS League, with great smart plays from both sides and a struggle so mighty that it took 40 minutes to decide. JSS prevailed, but saying this match deserved a fifth game is no understatement.
Find all the streamed games on our YouTube or Twitch and recs in our archive
The last match of the season was pretty much anyone's to win, as it featured two clans with quite similar overall strategies and god choices - we all love Zeus Through the previous rounds, it seemed that Tsunami Clan were putting a lot of effort into map preparation, looking very poised to claim the Title - against them though stood time-tested team game experts from 2k for jesus, able to battle through many a tough situation.
Team Migration is a very fun map, as it offers something that you don't really see ever in normal play, and as such provides a unique challenge to the players to see if they're worthy of the prestigious RTS League banners. Yet again, TSMs forwent their Zeus bias (such blasphemy!), and it again paid off, as PLAYER's surprising fast Mythic with his Loki was basically the deciding factor of the game.
What followed was an almost unusually common battle on Marsh (if it wasn't for the expert players), that after some tough fights and unlucky scouting+timings went again for the Brazilian-Portuguese-Swiss trio, and some could've been worried that it all might end rather unexpectedly soon. But that wouldn't be JSS, their Finals take 5 games, always
The comeback started to materialise where else than on Medit, a supposed home map of both clans, but obviously only one can be the true master here, and there was really rather little doubt who that is, as that was an unusually quick win on this map on such a high level of gameplay.
What followed was another one for the history books, a 40+minute Lamia (always delivers!), with Ert probably sprouting more than a few grey hair in the process. The pressure from Fen was that nasty, and for like half a game, it seemed TSMs are just inches from victory, but somehow, bit by bit (and with a cool cliff artillery position), JSS kept nabbing from the cake until they ate it whole. As close a fight as you're gonna get.
All this purposeful violence culminated in a decider on Savannah, which, by my humble opinion, could have very well been decided by a seemingly small play at a time when TheMista was advancing into Classical - the small, but clearly significant harassment by Atlantis' Oracles put a dent into his early game, and we all know that in expert games, small things matter, and they snowball, and this was exactly that case. Even though Mista recovered and went on a serious rampage through the opponents' bases, threatening to end the game and match in a grand manner, the overall teamplay was simply not ideal from that early moment, and it finally caught up with JSS, also through pretty gritty perseverance of TSM. The comeback was not to be finished, and after five beautiful team games, the Champions of RTS League's Age of Mythology: The Titans Clan League, Season 26 became:
The honourable Finalists:
Watch the Grand Finals on RTS League's Channel
Download Grand Finals recs (Voobly Balance Patch 1.04 required)
The Bronze Banner then deservedly belongs to:
We wouldn't be complete in our recount of last season's history without the unique League Cup! This season there was again a very strong chance for a League Double that has no one achieved yet, as both AbsoLads and Deities of Death were not only fighting with two teams in the Playoffs, but also with C-teams here. AbsoLads C in the end made it to the League Cup Finals through the perilous road, and here they met with Gladiadores del Mythology, a clan that maybe had a thought about playing in the top tier this season. This meant that Lads had to come prepared, and they sure did, as if anyone considered GDM clear favourites, he was quickly proven wrong, because Lad|C gave it their all, and after leading 1:0, they were looking if they can add another award to their clan's vitrine. GDM's Semis against tough FROST though fortified their self-confidence, and so after tying the match up, the last game found its true way into their hands as well:
Watch the League Cup Finals on RTS League's Channel
Download League Cup Finals recs: Game 1, Game 2, Game 3 (Voobly Balance Patch 1.04 required)
Fair Play Award
And we're finishing with the award for the clan that is the most fun to play with - RTS League is all about providing you a place for some fun competitive entertainment, and as such, we strive to promote such values in the participating clans as well - the Fair Play Award then helps to see how that goal is being fulfilled, and which clans and players are the true embodiment of niceness and friendly competing. This time, two clans managed to be equally cool in face of their opponents, and so we will be handing out two Blue Banners:
Thanks to Deities of Death C for making playing here fun! And being the Champions and also the Fair Play Award Winners at the same time - all we can say is: well done, Tsunami Clan!
Well, that's about it then, all the clans that earned it are decorated, and, as usual, we now congratulate the successful clans and give many thanks to all the participant clans and teams who helped make this season as great as it was - so congrats and thanks!
Hope to see you all next season that will start sign-ups really, really shortly
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RTS League is the foremost and longest running "Age of" clan competition ever, with a history of hosting numerous other strategy games (like StarCraft II, Empire Earth, and Dawn of War) in the past. Fun and friendliness are the prominent aspects of RTS League, with the unquestionable prestige and fame the triumph brings to the top finishing clans following close behind.