Ascent arrived at Esports Arena in Santa Ana, California with two stand-ins and a drive to win. Up against their North American rival, froyotech, and the European titan of Se7en, Ascent had their work cut out for them. After rolling through the Group Stage and brushing by Se7en with a 1-1 series, Ascent proceeded to the Upper Bracket, where they lost 2-0 to froyotech and fell to the lower bracket. In the lower bracket, Ascent were able to deal with Velocity eSports and barely manage to get by SVIFT NA, taking down the underdogs 2-1.
In the Lower Bracket Final, Ascent swiftly dealt with Se7en, going 2-0 without losing a single round. In the Grand Finals, Ascent struggled to gain a foothold in the matches against froyotech. Despite some showings of comebacks from the North American underdogs, Ascent were unable to round out a score to five points before froyotech, eventually losing the series 3-0 and going home in second place.
Ascent exited Rewind II as the runner-ups with two stand-ins (picture by Ness "uberchain" Delacroix and Jasmine "Jasbutts" Ho)
With Rewind II now in the past, we got in touch with Ascent Medic Nursey to gain some insight on Ascent’s performance at Rewind II, the event as whole, and Ascent’s mindset going forward into the ESEA Season and beyond.
How do you feel about your team’s performance overall at Rewind II?
Pretty satisfied. Beating Se7en three times total, getting a 5-0 off of SVIFT NA, and putting some fear into froyotech for two maps felt pretty good. With essentially a pug team that formed last second to show up for Rewind, I don't think a lot of people expected us to at least get second. If I had to play with sigh & bo4r again I totally would.
How would your rate your own individual performance at Rewind II?
Very reflective on how I am in general. Fairly inconsistent. I would say I am very happy that I'm certain I had the most exciting plays for a medic at lan. Infact, I think I got drops on the invite medics that LAN more than any other players did. I had some REALLY solid performances but also a good bit of shakey ones. I wouldn't say the enviroment of the event really changed that. I think there's something bigger going on that's making me randomly go from a very solid medic to just awful. I could've done much better but the moments I've done well I'm very happy with.
What were your thoughts on the Rewind II event as a whole?
Absolutely amazing. It felt way much better than last year. I also wasn't sick during the LAN this time and I got to meet way more people. The competition was fun, playing was super duper fun. The documentary was amazing to watch. Almost anything involving the event was an absolute blast for me. The only downsides I can think of is that I wish we got to play more on Day 2? If my only complaint is not being able to play more, I'd say the event was pretty outstanding.
Both of your team’s scouts were unfortunately unable to attend Rewind II and your team had to bring in bo4r and sigh. How well did the two stand-ins fit into the team and how well did they perform in the team?
I am 100% satisfied with the performances of bo4r and sigh. Sigh was a great pocket who adapted to really well to how we wanted him to play. bo4r also listened very well, and I would say one of the clutchiest players of the LAN. As said earlier, if I had to play with them again I'd totally do it. I use to have a bad impression of sighguy's pocket, but after that LAN it's completely 180'd.
Do you feel your team would’ve done better if corsa and slemnish were able to attend?
It's hard to say. As much as I know I shouldn't say this, the chaos that causes online Ascent to mess up wasn't a problem that existed with the LAN team. The problems with the LAN roster was simply due to inexperience with eachother and the players. These problems don't exist on current Ascent, but much bigger ones do. I believe if online Ascent didn't have the issues we actually do, then absolutely we most likely would've won. As it stands currently, I don't think it made much of a difference.
Ascent and SVIFT NA have had run-ins for the past two seasons with the team managing occasional upsets. How confident was your team going into the Lower Round of 4 against SVIFT NA at LAN?
Since paddie and I were the more dominant voices of the LAN team, pretty confident. I never go into a match expecting to lose, no matter how rough it's looking. Even after the first match lost, I was still confident we could take it. After a close 2nd map with SVIFT, it seems the confident finally paid when we got the 5-0. I know it sounds like bad manners to SVIFT, but this comes from me trying my best to not be in a quitter's mindset.
Last year at the Rewind 2017 Invitational, Se7en knocked out EVL Gaming 2-1 in the Lower Bracket Finals. In the Group Stage of this year’s Rewind, your team tied with Se7en 1-1 in a brief best-of-two encounter. Was your team cautious going up against Se7en in the Lower Bracket Finals?
As stated earlier, we were pretty confident. EXTREMELY unfortunate they didn't have their main roster with kaptain getting sick. I feel like the LAN was cheated for games that could've been as exciting as the group stage games. What happened on EVL is unfortunately irrelevant to this team. Only corsa and Bdonski are the returning players and even then corsa wasn't even at LAN. We're a whole new team trying to prove ourselves pretty much.
Going up against your NA rival, froyotech, in the Grand Finals, do you think your team performed well against them?
I was told by multiple players after LAN that they expected froyotech to drop 0 rounds during the event. I'm pretty happy with how we performed, especially with a last second roster. I can't really say what happened on Process, what I'll assume is everyone was just out of steam. As much as I would've loved to have gotten first, I am still extremely happy with how everything went.
On the second map of the Grand Finals, your team went from a 4-1 scoreline to a 4-3 scoreline before froyotech closed the game out to a 5-3 final score. Many have considered this an example where the North American ruleset shuts out opportunities for teams to pull out a comeback. Do you agree that the first-to-five rule damaged your team’s ability to comeback against froyotech on Snakewater?
I believe that TF2 has an unoptimized ruleset. I like EU's ruleset much better for matches, and I like NA's more for scrims. Unfortunately this isn't the place to discuss rulesets, but I do believe it did ruin our chances of getting a comeback. I do not blame solely the ruleset though, we shouldn't have gave them such a high round advantage.
When we interviewed yomps, yomps said that he believed one of the biggest differences between Ascent and froyotech are the prominence of the Demoman in the team. As a former member of froyotech, do you agree with his view?
I agree with yomps to an extent. Habib calls much more, is very aggressive, and can play heals very well. He also does the standard role of demoman extremely well with denying areas. Bdonski plays the most uniqute style of demoman, honestly. He's not a tank, but he's pretty good at keeping areas locked out. His plays are much less impactful than habib's, but that's simply due to his quiet playstyle. He's like a wall while habib is like some sort of wrecking ball. I would say the difference between demomen is not why froyotech perform better than us, but you can definetely feel and see habib's impact.
Speaking of yomps, how do you feel about his departure?
Looking back now that Rewind II is over, do you think your team has developed positively over the past few months?
I don't know how to respond to that. Honestly, it's quite a rollercoaster in my team's atmosphere. Some days it seems like we finally have it together, other days it seems like it just got worse. No matter what, I will try my best to keep putting forth the faith in my team and help us all get our acts together and be the dominant team I know we have the potential to be.