With talks of the new season already in the air, let's properly close up RTS League's Age of Empires II: The Conquerors Clan League Season 41 and reminisce on its progress and its memorable moments - as usual, in the longest running and prominent community-driven competition in Age of Empires there was no shortage of fun to be had for clans of all skill levels, but also for the viewers who joined us in our live streams - with the help of the players themselves, we were able to get whole 80 battles streamed, which is a solid number of hours of real clan wars fought by the players for one reason only - to enjoy the game we all love And there was also the reason of winning the prestigious Golden Banner for the best clan in the community... :d
So what has the 17th year of excellence already brought? First and foremost a return to more Divisions than one page can handle due to the number of participants, and then of course epic matches and hopefully also experiences of players, including getting to play even against top experts they would otherwise have a hard time finding a game against - that's one of the perks of our system and what helps gel the community together, because no matter the skill, we're still all just players with similar thoughts at heart (Like "this was a good plan, how did we lose?" :d)
Season 41 had 6 Divisions worth of clans and from the moment we seeded them, it was apparent the high-quality trend is not stopping as we again saw top expert names signed up, and much more importantly the best, and some of the longest running as well, clans in the community were again ready to do battle against all others to carve their name into the ever-growing pedestal of RTS League Champions. Names like New Chapter, CZ Clan, Arg or Vikingos Nómadas amongst organisations and Nicov, Fedex, Spaden, cloud or TaToH and many more amongst individuals are just some you could have witnessed play and do their best, and they sure did leave their mark on the season - besides them though, we have seen new clans signing up or even old ones coming back to fight again - Revenge Of Knight, BuzZ, Eycofcu or Doomclan were just some of those. Simply a full snapshot of the community from all corners of the world
With so many Divisions, it was clear the fight for Postseason is going to be quite intense, and it was, as for example in Division 2 we had a threesome that was quite tricky to decide who deserves the spot in the Playoffs - it resulted into a pretty big surprise, when CZ Clan, a solid Banner-grabber in the past several seasons, didn't make the cut and will have to start their streak anew. Eycofcu and Arg were simply better this season, and BlackForest even above them, confirming the high level of competition we have.
Other Divisions were also often about singular points and mutual match-ups, and sometimes also a bit of adminning, as Sick Tacticz faced a few struggles we had to look into and help them (and other clans to keep things fair and uphold the rules) with - they still made it through as was expected from their line-ups, but the seeding positions suffered and so they ended up playing pretty tough first rounds there.
The best result in the group stage was achieved by one of the favourites of the season Clan Gaucho, whose A didn't lose a single game and were set real top for the Banner-run. They overall signed up 5 teams, of which, maybe a bit surprisingly, even B advanced and, well, as you'll see later, made a bit of a name for themselves Otherwise there were a few others with multiple teams in (for example Clan Chile stands out with four), though some did struggle to finish the season properly, and so we'll make sure to help them consolidate their line-ups for further seasons (ie not so many teams), as dropping out sucks for everyone, so we'll try to improve on that.
Notable achievements then come for example from Birras y Tapas, The New Hellhunters or classic top clans Run Forrest Run, New Chapter and Vikingos Nómadas, with returning Revenge Of Knight following suit - they all left barely any doubt as to their belonging to the créme de la créme, and secured their Playoff spots with solid performances all around. Worthy mentions though also go to for example Team Australia pulling through from a second place in a pretty complicated div, and several clans being just on the precipice, fighting real hard, and almost making it through the cut, but falling just so short - The Slayers, The Jedi Masters or Rulers of Rome are exactly in that rank. Next season can easily see them replace some of the above.
Find all the streamed games on our YouTube or Twitch and recs in our archive
Top 16 advanced, and with the already mentioned exceptional quality, right here we had tough matches and surprises.
The biggest one sure was the starting Odyssey (or Illiad? ) of Clan Gaucho B knocking out the third seeded New Hellhunters in a decider on Blind Random that happened to be their successful home map again (remember this for later :d) - talk about an underdog (seed 14) living the dream It was all well-deserved though, as in RTS League, if you want to succeed, you need to be capable at a whole range of maps, and quite frankly, preparation does pay off, as we're teaching the community for years and years now.
Tough battles ensued also in a pitched match-up between Killerz and Birras y Tapas, both sporting pretty solid not only teamgame line-ups (2k ratings flying around), and Run Forrest Run with Eycofcu, last season Silvers against a new clan entering with a boom - the ambitions were certainly high for the Turkish, and for a pretty good reason, though again, experience pays off, and the Swedes have that in spade(n)s - next season though, we're sure everyone will be on their guard against the newcomers, as they should be
Quarterfinals saw the next chapter of the ancient epic adapted into Latino American realities, with insanely similar progress foiling BlackForest's very good season that they were sure hoping would be even better - but Gaucho|B got the match into the decider (this time a fifth game) again, and, again, got their home map from Blind Random - Team Islands, the map of gods apparently. Well, congrats I guess :dd
Another top match of the season as far as entertainment goes was then played between Clan Arg and Run Forrest Run, as it really doesn't get any more nail-biting than with a clan being this || close to getting to the Banner fights with excellent performance, only to have the rug ripped from under them by a right proper sweep of the remaining games. RFR seem to love long and tight matches, as this certainly wasn't the first of theirs, and, well, is not really the last either. Props to Arg though for a solid season and it seems they have found their true mettle again and are fully back in the top fights.
The last two Quarterfinals were then controlled outings by Gaucho A and New Chapter, whose way through the Playoffs has so far been unhindered - well, they were the top seeds, so figures But maybe unhindered is a bit strong word, as in Round of 16, they faced the 'sT teams, which was a real test because with 2k++ line-ups, Sick Tacticz have a right to challenge anyone. Just confirms how well prepared the two contenders were. The next fights in line then meant the end station for ByT and InLove, who couldn't find a way how to crack their opponents' armour, even through the well-earned, deep way into the competition - especially the Chileans were to be followed as a consistently strong group of players, eliminating reborn RVK in Ro16.
We're now in Semifinals, which decide the quality of your Banner. Gaucho|B took their team boat quite far, but it was time to face a legend, a clan from the depths of Age of Empires and RTS League history - New Chapter. Germany A left no doubt as to their legacy of a clan that collects Semifinal appearances and Banners from them, and once and for all ended the Argentinian fairy tale, continuing their undefeated run in the Playoffs. This is also after a long time finally a, well, Final appearance for them, as they were multiple times just short of the top fight of the season, but now it all clicked for them at last.
On the other side of the bracket, Run Forrest Run were fighting for the second chance on the Title in a row - Gaucho was a tough nut to crack though, with their so far impeccable performance. But probably using the experience from similarly tough match-up and situation from Season 40 against Frantic in the Finals and also group stage, they fought well and were able to make the favourites worry - their Black Forest strategy worked and they tied the match at 1-1. The remainder though went according to light-blue plan, and possibly wisened by the first loss of the season, confirming this to be no walk in the park for them, they closed the deal without relinquishing further game.
Find all the streamed games on our YouTube or Twitch and recs in our archive
And so, after months of competing and testing their skills against opponents of different ilks, two best clans emerged, and they met on the battlefield - Clan Gaucho A and New Chapter.
The Finals started on a pre-set map called Connected Islands from the UltraRandom mapset, providing water gameplay, but with a twist allowing early land battles or other kinds of shenanigans. Game was right proper tense and long, with even the land battles and sneaks taking place, making for a nice opening to the Golden fight. nCs held really well and there were moments where you could've thought it should've been over, but when you're fighting for such prestige, such thoughts are not allowed and you battle with what you have - exactly like the Germans, but, well, also the Argentinians. They were able to slowly bit by bit gain more and more traction, and when we were well above the hour mark and resources started to significantly dwindle (well they were kind of gone :d), they finally got enough out of their position to claim the map.
Home map for New Chapter was a very fun choice - Gold Rush. These types of maps can give you an important edge if you have a solid, tested plan, but a bit of an issue is when your opponents are having so much tournament experience that doesn't really hold That led to good anticipation of what's going to happen, and absolutely stellar early play by Gaucho to deny the powerful onset of Goth's might. That bought them crucial time to secure their mid position enough to withstand even later tricky, massive fights.
Third game was home map for Clan Gaucho, who chose Regicide Fortress - fun map on all occasions. With a bit of an early scare with purple king being left out too long, we headed into a solid face-off who's going to be better, and mainly faster, at killing their opponents. Things looked legitimately fishy on both sides, with anyone's guess being who should win, but with some important technological advantages piling up for one team, the battlefields started shifting slightly, and opportunities began to materialise. Even though there could've been quite a bit more game left, experience told the players that that difference was too significant to make up for in such a top-level match, and so the Champions of RTS League's Age of Empires II: The Conquerors Clan League, Season 41 after a tough battle became:
The more than worthy Finalists with score not truly representing their efforts:
Watch the Grand Finals stream
Download the Grand Finals recs and discuss them here at AoEZone
Bronze Banner Battle
One last fight remained though, and it had a very interesting motif - can Clan Gaucho dominate the season? Their Bs were hoping that the swept Semifinals were just a temporary setback, and that they will have enough to take down Run Forrest Run, who in turn certainly aimed to continue their recently started Banner series. It was quite a tall order for the Argentinians, after all, they faced the only clan to take game from their As the whole tournament, including the Finals, but they went into it with fervor and reminisced on their love for long matches, equally shared by their opponents. If any match should go all the way, it was this one :d And so it did :d Games were real tight with Gaucho|B two times inching into a lead only to be tied by RFR, whose perseverance and mental fortitude is legit becoming legendary - it's really uncanny at this point Maybe, or probably exactly, this allowed them to literally run from gravedigger's shovel in Game 4 on Terra IceAge, which came terribly close to closing the match overall, but it didn't, and it was time for Gaucho's second home map (or so it seemed based on this season's Playoff Deciders for them). But the gods perhaps became angry with the wasted chance, and this time did not grant their favour, and funnily enough, the Blind Random chose Arabia, the community's map of choice for like anything. The game was far from easy for the later victors, but at a time when the pockets should pull through, one was simply better, and that decided that the last Banner will be decorating the clan page of:
Watch the Bronze Banner Battle stream
Download the Bronze Banner Battle recs and discuss them here at AoEZone
Well, that's the summary and look back at Season 41 for you - hope you enjoyed playing and/or watching the games, and of course congratulations to all the successful clans (which doesn't have to mean just claiming a Banner!) and thank you to everyone for playing with us, and mainly with all the other clans - the community needs to stay together, and play together
Also want to extend big thanks to our staffers - new addition Abraxas and returning Riverplation, and also robo, helping you enjoy the games with us, and certainly want to mention our streamers bringing you the games live on our two channels twitch.tv/RTSLeague and twitch.tv/RTSLeague2 - this season you could have heard Troy, Col. Mongo and especially in the later stages Major Queros - thanks a ton Also thanks to you and the loyal viewers (and help from the Age of Mythology friends) we were able to elevate our channel to Partnered based on the merit of our content, allowing us to serve the community a bit better - let's see how far we can take all of this to improve players' experience
What's Next? New Season and More
As some of you may have noticed, next season is already materialising, and also based on our questionnaire during last sign-ups, we think it's time to test a WK season out to see how it fares This certainly does not mean we would cease with our AoC Clan League, no, we will host that again, but it's good time now to explore the new boundaries a bit further, as we, RTS League, are all about you, the players, and so what you play, we will host for you
To this ties the next piece of information, and that is that we would like to see if there is a way we could help the community further by some more player-centred events in the spirit of RTS League - our creed has always been "by community for community," helping the community and mainly the players themselves have fun in a friendly, yet competitive setting, and based on the feedback we receive from you and the fact we're here for 17 years already and still kicking solid, chances are you might appreciate some more Let us know then if that is the case, and if you would support us in doing more for you, the players.
Would You Like to Get Involved and Help Us and the Community?
We're always on the lookout for engaged players, new active staffers can help us run the competitions better, artistically gifted people would make things nicer, technical skillers could make our web and services to the community so much better!
If you think you can help, give us a hit and we can talk it through, we would especially be super-glad for assistance with the web, as we're sure you can see for yourself
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.