PCL Eastern Division Playoff Predictions
photo by Jean van der Meulen

PCL Eastern Division Playoff Predictions

SFMechanics
SFMechanics
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5

by David Pruess, manager

Following the same methodology as in this first post on the Pacific, here is my analysis of the top lineups in the Central Division and their playoff prospects. This post also includes Final Four picks!!

This analysis also yielded a few surprises, including: the Tbilisi Gentlemen, who have dominated their entire first PCL season, only have the *third* best lineup in... their Division!?!?!?! Also, that it turns out that is the same as saying they have the third best lineup in the entire league. The bottom teams in the division must be a bit worse than bottom teams in other divisions, since the East did not score the most points in the Battle Royales, but they have 3 teams that are on a level that only the Dallas Destiny can compete at.

1. Tbilisi Gentlemen

Tbilisi Official Accurate
Jobava 2634 2632
Paichadze 2564 2621
Quparadze 2495 2639
Volkovi 2115 2501
2452 2598.25

That's it. Simple, just like the Gentlemen like it. They only have 6 players, so you can't expect that they have any other lineups. Actually, if one of these top 3 GMs is unavailable, they can sub in Pantsulaia, and win just the same-- no wait, they are about to play matches against the Wizards and Eagles! Against any other team you could say they could play any three GMs they wanted + Volkovi, and win. But not against those two. The Gentlemen will have to bring their A game for these brutal Eastern Playoffs that will select the 2019 PCL Champion.

2. Armenia Eagles

Armenia Official Accurate Official Accurate
Maghsoodloo 2649 2663 Martirosyan 2597 2614
Ter-Sahakyan 2549 2618.5 Ter-Sahakyan 2549 2618.5
Shant 2477 2685 Shant 2477 2685
Manukyan 2196 2444 Manukyan 2196 2444
2467.75 2602.625 2454.75 2590.375
Official Accurate
Maghsoodloo 2649 2663
Ter-Sahakyan 2549 2618.5
Shant 2477 2685
Anna 2231 2420
2476.5 2596.625

The Eagles don't have tons of players either, but they have a few substitutions possible, other than their MVP Shant, who is absolutely needed for the Divisional Championship match in two weeks. Anna Sargsyan or Manukyan are each fantastic options on board 4 (though it brings things down slightly on paper, I'd favor Anna in the playoff matches, bc Manukyan has done great against other board 4s in the 10+2 of Battle Royale, but I think Anna is a greater threat to upset strong GMs in 15+2). They've made it this far with usually Andriasian and Martirosyan on 1+2, but actually they could upgrade the team to level 9000 by using more of Maghsoodloo and Ter-Sahakyan. In fact, to beat the Gentlemen (the only team they didn't beat, 8-8 in a regular season 4v4 match) in the Divisional Championship, they might need both!

3. Mumbai Movers

Mumbai Official Accurate Official Accurate
Vidit 2700 2728.75 Ghosh 2548 2576
Ghosh 2548 2576 Puranik 2524 2501
Sadhwani 2438 2559 Sadhwani 2438 2559
Karavade 2274 2368.5 Raja 2419 2496
2490 2558.0625 2482.25 2533

Looking at these lineups after Tbilisi and Armenia, they are underwhelming. They would be ok in the playoffs in the other three divisions, but here it looks like the Movers will be heavy underdogs. They probably need to play the exact Vidit-Ghosh-Sadhwani-Karavade lineup here, and hope that Vidit and Karavade who have so little PCL experience perform up to an expected level, in order to have a chance v. the Eagles. Or hope that Shant doesn't make it.

4. Moscow Wizards

This unheralded team can actually field the second best lineup in the entire league, and would be a favorite to make the Final 4 in another division!

Moscow Wiz Official Accurate Official Accurate
Grigoriants 2543 2711.2 Savchenko 2563 2555
Anisimov 2521 2554.75 Grigoriants 2543 2711.2
Dobrov 2478 2677 Dobrov 2478 2677
Lushenkov 2434 2453.5 Vastrukhin 2413 2395
2494 2599.1125 2499.25 2584.55

The one time they put Nepo in the lineup, he didn't show up and cost them a penalty point. When they brought in a young talented Free Agent in Sanan Sjugirov, he sorta-sjtruggled. But whenever they played their hidden super-GMs, this team was as explosive as Dobrov's child-count. Basically, any legal lineup with Grigoriants and Dobrov (they have a couple more than I have shown) is super good!

Playoff Predictions

Tbilisi Gentlemen beat Moscow Wizards

I don't know if the Wizards will bring a top lineup. They are not at the top of the standings because Grigoriants and Dobrov have not played consistently. I do know the Gentlemen will bring a top lineup, because they have no other choice!! So, not seeing the lineups, I have to go with the Gentlemen.

Armenia Eagles beat Mumbia Movers

This shouldn't be too close... the interesting thing will be seeing what lineup the Eagles employ, to get a sense for whether they are ready to beat the Gentlemen and repeat as PCL Champions.

Eastern [PCL] Championship: Eagles beat Gentlemen

Finally, after 11 long weeks in their shadows, the Eagles will beat the Gentlemen and remind everyone that they are the defending PCL Champions, with the heart (and Sargsyans) needed to build a dynasty.

To understand this, let's go back to their drawn week 8 match. No Shant. The Eagles can't win without Shant. The Eagles did however use Ter-Sahakyan, and his 3-1 kept them from losing this match. The Eagles need to draw the same lessons from that match as I did: play Ter-Sahakyan. Play both Sargsyans. And don't play Zaven (1.5-2.5). Replace him with Martirosyan or Maghsoodloo, and the Eagles will overcome draw odds, Giga, Volkovi, and Jobava! Once they've overcome this hurdle, they need to send the Sargsyans to San Francisco to pick up their second PCL trophy.

Final Four Predictions

Eagles beat Archbishops

I've heard the Archbishops will be without Wesley So for the Final Four. That won't give them much of a chance to beat the Sargsyans!

Pandas beat Snowballs

This should be super close, super exciting, super fun! I think the Pandas have a bit more firepower than the Snowballs on boards 1-3, and should beat them, as long as one of Yu/Ding is available for the trip to SF. Both would make them clear favorites.

Championship: Eagles beat Pandas

Yu+Ding could make this super close. Maybe blitz over-time again like last year. But then the Pandas would be favored. So I'd say Eagles 8.5-7.5. Can't wait to watch a brother and sister playing a championship match side by side!!! May 4-5, in SF, I'll be there!!