SurfAholics Alpha won all but one week of the entire six month Season Three before crashing out of the playoffs last night in a battle described as ‘beyond epic’ by Jon Olson.
The dramatic departure of the hot favorites came in the dying moments of play when opponents Phoenix unleashed a short but intense barrage of lethal blows in their semi final game.
With the other semi final game showing only token opposition from Uber Surfers, this means that Phoenix will meet Lucky 13 in the final.
Ironically Phoenix won by employing exactly the same tactic which propelled the Ubers into the semi finals…they did nothing of note for 47 hours and then unleashed a torrent of frenzied activity in the final few minutes.
The fact that this technique could work twice in a row in these playoffs was amazing but the fact that it worked against what is the most experienced, successful and savvy team in CTP Teams is almost beyond belief.
The truth is that Alphas were lulled into a false sense of security by being ahead in the playoffs for so long and they allowed themselves to become complacent.
They clearly had the firepower to throw at their opponent but had gambled on saving it for the final round instead… a decision which cost them the tournament honors after six months in the lead.
I wrote in the semi final live blog that this would be 48 hours when tactics decided who would go through to the final and that is exactly what happened.
Lucky 13 played to win from the beginning – they opened up a large gap over Ubers and kept plugging away to make it bigger and bigger as the clock counted down.
In fact for most of the 48 hours it looked like it was only Lucky 13 which was actually playing at all.
On closer examination it could be seen that Phoenix was making small gains over time but nothing which seemed to trouble the Alphas very much at all.
Like a lion devouring its kill, Alphas would occasionally swat out one giant paw from time to time to warn their opponents not to get to close but then got distracted by the tasty morsels in front of it.
This was a mistake. In the dying minutes of the game, Phoenix finally roared louder than the mighty Alphas and launched its onslaught with two giant pounces.
Shortly before that, the team had fired a warning shot which should have galvanized Alphas into action but didn’t do so.
Phoenix tested the water by narrowing the gap to just 13 billion points and Alphas replied straight away to widen it to a more comfortable 27 billion points…but it did not remain comfortable for long.
Next Phoenix added 44% to their points total and this 24 billion points boost brought them within touching distance of Alphas as the clock was rapidly counting down to close of play at midnight Eastern.
Alphas then opened the floodgates and threw everything they had at the advancing opponents. First they countered with 14 billion points, quickly followed by 22 billion and then another 14 billion – this was an astonishing 47% increase in their points total in just a few seconds.
Even that huge amount of firepower wasn’t enough but Alphas had plenty more ammo left in the box and their final throw of the dice was one of the most amazing single plays in the history of CTP Teams.
Alphas unleashed 111.97 points and instantly increased their points total by 79%. Surely that ought to be enough to secure victory?
In normal circumstances that would have been enough…more than enough but these were not normal circumstances and Phoenix had even bigger guns to bring to this battle.
In what is the boldest single move ever in CTP Teams, they added 268.48 billion points to their total – a leap of 342% – and with that left everyone open-mouthed with awe.
This killer play also ensured there was no possible comeback for Alphas who suffered only their second defeat in the whole of season three. (They lost once during the main season when during one week they dropped a single point to CSN.)
Justin asked whether the rather dull start and middle play to the semi final playoffs was saved by this dramatic ending. The answer is a resounding and unequivocal “yes!”
I normally miss the end of weekly games at CTP Teams because Midnight eastern is 5am in the UK but I stayed up for this and am so glad that I did.
As Jon summed it up perfectly on the semi final live blab, this ending really was beyond epic. The playoff final begins at Midnight Eastern tonight and Phoenix must surely now be favorites to win.
Despite the drama of this semi-final, I have no doubt that SurfAholics Alpha will bounce back from this setback stronger than ever before.
They are not a team to ever sit back and cry “it’s not fair” and I can’t ever see another opponent sneaking up on them like this again.