Meta changes happening from cup to cup is inevitable. Sometimes it appears very clearly in front of our eyes like Overide introducing the power of thompsons – and sometimes its a more subtle shift towards a different pace during the rounds. In that category we find the reborn love for rifles.
First lets go back in time to the start of the UO era. In 2005-2006 games were being played with 3-4 minutes roundtime, you had panzerfausts to hold tight angles with and artillery to close out late rounds. The meta was, to say the least, slow. With all the time in the world to work with during a round it was a lot more about waiting for the enemies mistakes, then actually trying to push the tempo yourself. Every misstep could lead to an easy roundloss. In this era rifles also reigned supreme. A lot of the strong players we remember from this time could certainly handle the kar98k. Think of guys like finnish Kylahullut duo ikerrot and Icy Firefly, h2o starplayer nreo and hungarian titan cartz. Every team had their rifle players. Either hybrids that could pick it up when needed, or pure riflers. A lot of the heated spots on the maps you could also afford to choose that rifle, because pressure wouldn’t be applied.
Even though roundtime was reduced to 2.15, panzerfausts removed and artillery luckily also deleted from the PAM, rifles could still find their way in the meta around 2007-2009. Especially in the dutch scene we saw a lot of strong riflers like Lucas, stylo and Goepy arise. But the shift had started towards a much more faster approach in gameplay.
Be it the fact that people came back from a rifle-missing CoD 4, or just that meta had turned into such a fast style, the rifles where nowhere to be seen from 2010 going forward.
Classic spots like police on uo_harbor, cafe on uo_dawnville, back B on uo_carentan, and even ledge on railyard now saw people picking up the mp44 – or as in railyards case, ppsh.
The fast attacking approach from most teams, where the utility was used to its full extension by pushing through smoke into shellshocked opponents, caused for a switch in how to defend the heated spots. Where you once could peek aggressively, or hold a good angle for that matter, now needed to be reconsidered. The kar98k might have been a deadly threat against enemies peeking you 1 by 1, but having 2-3 guys in your face while struggling to 180 during shellshock wasnt as much fun. Many of the topteams at the time like abearth, FRS and TcfC often played maps – even the bigger ones – without dedicated riflers.
Even incredibly strong riflers, like danish powerhouse BlaN, had to re-event himself into more of a mp44 player to fit into the style of teams like FRS and System Gaming and the meta at hand.
This approach continued on until the competitive death of UO around 2013. And it certainly could have been how we all remembered our last days of the game.
But 2020 wanted something different.
Already during the first Reborn cups you could see it clearly. The rifle started to claw is way back into the strategies.
Rvrsd, dietchi, COBR4CSKA, Don, RnDll held cafe with a kar98k.
Many of the aformentioned players choose the same weapon in top police.
And anything but a Mosin while going ledge on railyard would be seen as a total misplay from one of the strongest spots in the game if you know how to play it well.
Don and nanaaa quickly emerged as the two strongest riflers in the AW-scene. In the first two cups they were perhaps also the only real pure riflers.
But the gun started to sneek its way into a lot more of the players arsenals.
Oldies like Gerl0, L1mewax and STVNO, who during their whole career have been known for being incredible sprayers, all of a sudden more and more started using it. Sure the Mosin is a nobrainer for many players when attacking as russian. But to see STVNO hold mg on carentan, or orph on dawnville, with the gun was a new sight for many people.
With more and more RO and vCoD players joining the community the stack of strong riflers kept growing.
And this leads us into the SummerCup of 2021.
With the majority of the groupstage played there is already a decent sample size of statistics.
And one thing we can see clearly.
The rifle is here. And its deadly.
Many new players have arised in the top of the scoreboards, and they have one thing in common. They absolutely love the kar98k and Mosin Nagant.
eGz swedish starplayer Anglhz is a top 5 player in terms of kills per round and has so far been one of the most improved players from the last cup. Together with his Gaoz-mate FLAAASH (#8 in KPR) they form one of the scariest rifle duos, probably picking up 90% of their kills that way.
M4giciaN, also known as Masi, is wrecking havoc as one of the most aggressive players in the whole scene. But he doesnt push into wooden on railyard, south tower on powcamp or british roof on depot with a mp44. No, when this guy gets up front and personal he believes in his trusty kar98k to do the job. Consider the fact that the two other star players in Dreamteam, Don and Bassie, are mostly known for being scary with that gun aswell, you can understand why many teams face a nightmare against them.
Lastly we must also mention one of the strongest newcomers in the recent cups, that already showed his value to his team. Israelian qT in e9 Enigma. Surely more of a hybrid player, but some of the rifle kills we have seen from this guy is insane. Right now ranked #8 in the total score and knocking on the door to the Allstar team. Quite a sensational start for the rookie.
In the top 20 we also have more players that could be seen as hybrids, like dietchi, COBR4CSKA, hottex, buMMsyyy and rvrsd.
Lee Enfield, Mosin Nagant, kar98k. Call if whatever you want.
The rifle is here to stay. At least for this cup – and the last year.
The question is how will you and your team handle it in the future?