The Ghetto International: A Preview of the I52 LAN Event.

There are less than three weeks until the largest LAN competition Team Fortress 2 has ever had, and likely will ever have. For the past three months the focus of almost every top-level team in the world has been to prepare for I52, the one and only competition where the egotistical patriots, baguette eaters, tea drinkers, kangaroos and the occasional moose can face off at a LAN event. Epsilon Esports, Awsomniacs, Froyotech, Classic Mixup, Team Immunity, Fenneks and a wealth of lesser known European teams are all heading to Coventry, United Kingdom for Team Fortress’s own international.


 

The History of I-series TF2

Starting two years ago with the I46 LAN, The American community has held fundraisers to send the best teams from ESEA-Invite to fight the Europeans. This first year was an amazing success, with Classic Mixup and Leviathan Gaming defeating the Europeans in some of the best matches ever played. However this only served to set the stage for I49, when not only the Americans but the Australians came over the pond to play for the world title. This time the European super team Epsilon, having gone undefeated for a year beforehand, was ready and crushed the American HRG to take the second year in a European only final. This year will now be the biggest LAN yet, with two American teams, the OZ fortress juggernaut Team Immunity, and more European super teams.

The Teams: The Goliath Epsilon

With last years amazing performance, and another dominant season after it, Epsilon Esports split up to allow Europe a break from their unbreakable grasp on its competitive scene. Epsilon’s players departed to other games, lower divisions or formed new premiership teams. ETF2L enjoyed one of the closest seasons in recent memory, with Made in Germany taking the final in a third map against The Last Resort. However, Epsilon wasn’t done dominating and rose again the next season; or at the very least tried to. Many of Epsilon’s players were less inclined to return, with Stefan the ladies man playing with his girlfriend in lower divisions, Gear taking a break from TF2, and Numlocked moving on to League of Legends, Epsilon had a difficult start. After cutting and replacing half of their team, Epsilon has regained the throne of ETF2L defeating Awsomniac in the finals a few weeks ago. Epsilon is now confident that once at LAN they can claim yet another victory on the world stage; a perfect swan song for the departing Mike.

Epsilon is:

  • KnoxXx – Medic
  • WARHURYEAH – Demoman
  • Mike – Pocket Soldier
  • Tek36 – Roaming Soldier
  • BasH – Scout
  • kiler4funn – Scout

 

A Challenger Appears: The Underdogs

For many season’s in Europe there has always been an underdog team fighting the dictatorial presence of Epsilon. This year that team once more takes the form of a Mirelin team. While Kaidus and Mirelins squad are liked by fans, their first place finish in the ETF2L main season was mostly due to roster troubles on the part of Epsilon, as they were swiftly defeated in the finals game.  There were signs of life from Awsomniacs, mainly in the form of amazing Kritzkrieg play, but it ultimately ended with Epsilon taking both maps. Throughout the season Mirelin and Kaidus have been effective if not spectacular, and the improvements newbie roaming soldier Knutsson has made to his play have helped them. Regardless, hopes are high for Mirelin and crew to do well at I52; even if they lack the sheer proven power that Epsilon has.

Awsomniac is:

  • Mirelin – Medic
  • Kaidus – Demoman
  • Zebbosai – Pocket Soldier
  • Knutsson – Roaming Soldier
  • Starkie – Scout
  • Zappis – Scout

 

David: The Americans #1

The first American team, 4G- Froyotech is the more consistent. The American super team is made of more big names than any other team and will certainly pose a threat to the Europeans.  Froyotech plays a different game from the Soldier centrism of Epsilon and AwS. Their most scary players are their scouts, and it is their scouts that win or lose games for them. B4nny, the first scout is a legend. The Wane Gretzky, Babe Ruth or Pele of Team Fortress, B4nny has made a switch from his well-known role of greatest Demoman on earth to instead become a 4G scout. This works especially well with Froyotech’s second scout: Clockwork. The European’s fear him, the American’s bow to him, and the Australian’s are too busy fighting massive snakes to care about him. Clockwork  is the best player in North America right now by massive opinion. Left unchecked he tears through players and pumps out four kills on every mid fight. Recounting Clockwork’s best plays this year would take more words than Aabicus lets me post, so I will simply leave it at he is the largest threat to any team facing 4G. This is not to say that Clockwork is the only player on 4G, the remaining lineup of Shade, Blaze, Lansky and the new Demoman Duwatna are an effective team that takes advantage of the chaos Clockwork causes.

Froyotech is:

  • Shade – Medic
  • Duwatna – Demoman
  • Lansky – Pocket Soldier
  • Blaze  – Roaming Soldier
  • B4nny – Scout
  • Clockwork – Scout

 

The Dark Horses and Darker Crocodiles: Australia’s Team Immunity

Before I49, nothing was more mysterious in competitive TF2 than Australia. When they arrived hopeful at the LAN event 90% of people thought they would be eliminated instantly and would go back to their infinitely dangerous homeland of snakes, jellyfish and Mel Gibson. Sadly for every team eliminated by them, this was not the case and Immunity finished 4th with Yuki, Aporia and Sheep garnering international attention for their massive plays. Since then the Oz Fortress champions have made a few changes. The first was the addition of Snowblind on scout to replace Antwa.  The second, one that has made even the most pessimistic fans hopeful, is the replacement of Demoman Bulk with Termo. If frag videos are anything to look at, Termo certainly will add some punch to the teams already dominate roster. Add this to the fact that Immunity is arriving ten days earlier than other teams to bootcamp and get hyped, and the 5 nights a week of practice that they have logged recently and its expected Immunity have a real chance to pull out an upset at this LAN. Big plays can be expected from the whole team, with Sheep’s sniping and Termo’s dominant ubercharges likely to be highlights of the LAN, whether this can keep up with Clockwork, Mike and Kaidus however remains to be seen.

Team Immunity is:

  • Bonobo – Medic
  • Termo – Demoman
  • Yuki – Pocket Soldier
  • Aporia – Roaming Soldier
  • Snowblind – Scout
  • Sheep – Scout

 

The Wild Cards: Classic Mixup

Seeing as Mixup is America’s longest standing, it may be strange to say they are the most unpredictable team in the top five. When titling this section I considered jokes about Platinum’s ego or Harb’s lackluster medic play, but unpredictable is really what Mixup have been recently. For most of the past ESEA season they boasted a completely different roster including Dave__AC and Ninjanick, but they now revert to an old but effective squad of Mixup veterans. Even with the return to comfort, Mixup have been far from dominant. In the twitch TV invitational they defeated Froyotech in a shocking 5-0 finish, but then a few weeks later were crushed at ESEA LAN, the invite finals. Even more recently Mixup has had problems, being defeated by Exertus TF2, a team that will not even be attending I52 after being defeated by Mixup in the qualifiers. Even their wins against teams like Exertus have been shaky, with scorelines often ending in a 4-5 victory or loss. The overall lack of showing, and of practice, for Mixup is worrying for their prospects at LAN. Regardless, Mixup has been known to pull crazier LAN victories. They could flop, or they could destroy.

Classic Mixup is:

  • Harbleu – Medic
  • Platinum – Demoman
  • TLR – Pocket Soldier
  • A Seagull – Roaming Soldier
  • Squid – Scout
  • Enigma – Scout

 


 

The giants of international Tf2 face off in Coventry England on August 22nd-25th at Ricoh Arena in Coventry, United Kingdom. Tune in to Teamfortress.tv for live coverage of the event across all stages of the tournament.

Leave a Reply