Quick summary: Vibranium for the third time in three Seasons.
The Long Story: Out of the three items I had on my Season 3 Plan , here's what I did:
'#1 - Start late.'
What I Really Did: I did start late, but I started a lot earlier than I had originally planned (three weeks before the end rather than two). As what happened in the last Season, I made it into Adamantium multiple times prior to the end of the Season, only to suffer a string of losses that kicked me back into Diamond/Vibranium.
That said, my experience seems to indicate that the actual time you start participating in a Season doesn't really matter, for as long as you can make a sustained push into Adamantium with a 200-300 point buffer (the bigger, the better) from the Vibarnium ceiling score up to 12 hours before the Season ends. Easier said than done.
#2 - Figure out ways to beat the Hoarfrost Mace ~ Nanite Inductive Nailgun setup with minimum effort.
What I Really Did: I actually *did* find a way to beat this Agent setup, and even setups that included Sinister Scepter (aka. the Ghost Tank Agent) by using the White Crown Phoenix/Grey Black Widow tandem. GBW's Stealthy attacks and her Debuff Kick From Hell were instrumental in depowering buffed toons while avoiding Protect and Counterattack abilities, while Psi-Blast (with the proper ISO and PvP Bonuses) just punched through everything.
That said, this setup didn't fit my #3 item:
#3 - Settle on a team I can be comfortable with for both initiating fights and for (AFK) PvP.
What I Really Did: Unfortunately, neither WCP nor GBW function very well when used by the AI. At best, I could leave WCP in AFK solely for her Death and Rebirth passive, which is annoying to try to remove, combined with Ghost Rider, who's harder to drop than a bad habit. Even so, I stared at a defensive win % of 32%. Granted, this is higher than my original 25% projection, but it seems that I need to revise those projections based on this last Season.
Some New Things, And a Possible Plan for the Future
One thing I did do that I hadn't planned on was to keep track of my wins/losses as I progressed. I was tracking things manually, until I accidentally discovered that Attack/Defense wins and losses are displayed by pointing your mouse over the appropriate row in the Tournament History page.
That said, what I didn't do (which may have been more important) was to keep track of my wins and losses on a day-by-day basis. I know this may be too hardcore for a lot of players, but I believe there's a way to predict, given certain parameters and worst-case-scenario assumptions, what target ELO you should aim to get before the last day of a PvP Season. I'm currently crunching through my Season 3 and Season 2 numbers (unfortunately, the Season 1 data doesn't provide accurate Attack/Defense data) to see if I can come up with some sort of predictive model for it. Once I make any significant headway, I'll blog about it here.
In any event, congratulations to all the players who made it to Adamantium! You guys rock! =)