With two weeks until ETF2L's Season 17 powered by Tt eSports Premiership Playoffs begin I felt it would be timely to research and report on a few recent movements and mishaps that have taken place amidst one of the closest seasons we have witnessed in Europe since some bright spark thought it would be a good idea to put numlocked, Mike and Stefan on the same team. Bear witness to the fruits of my labour below.
Il est mort, Jim.
Yes, the second best team hailing from French speaking territories have officially declared time on their time together. It's been ten days since the wheels finally came off for Mais La Moule, but the writing had been on the wall for some time. Captainhax painted a fairly discordant picture in two post-game interviews when describing the issues and behaviour facing the roster. KnOxXx seemed to change his position from pocket to roamer and back on a daily basis, even playing medic in the ill-fated team's final official against The Last Resort.
In short, the roster didn't manage to gel in its seven week existence, but with the bizarre combination of players and circumstances perhaps it was simply more effort than it was worth to make things work. Mitsy; a Belgian soldier, relocated to Canada, playing medic with literally no competitive experience in the role and 130 milliseconds of latency. KnOxXx and Captainhax; two dyed-in-the-wool pocket soldiers used to main calling, but now forced to make compromises. Nadir; a former Division 2 demoman turned Premiership roamer now making his top flight demoman debut. Droso; the official Premiership whipping boy! None of these factors on their own are enough to spell doom for a team, but combined it may have been an inevitable death by a thousand cuts.
Poor coordination, poor atmosphere and poor results. More importantly no real drive or desire within the team to make adjustments. Their adversary and fellow countryman, T-Mac, offered me a concise insight as to why things didn't work out:
"Every single guy had to put in the effort to keep the team together. Some of them didn't that's why they folded"
The final nail in the coffin was Mitsy's new work commitments conflicting with their practise schedule. The idea of a replacement medic was briefly flirted with in the form of ZooZ, but by that stage it seems team spirit had all but evaporated. Captainhax maintains that he still wanted to make the team work and play the season out, but it wasn't to be; the team was dropped from the Premiership and their three 6-0 losses were all overturned at the expense of The Last Resort, Made In Germany and Awsomniac.
In the aftermath both Captainhax and fl1p have taken up backup roles with Awsomniacs (formerly Evokate Gaming / La Berrichonne de Châteauroux) whilst droso has found a home with Ayogurl Sugadaddy Hood Pussy Creepers. The real headline though is where KnOxXx ended up...
Substitute of the Season
The Last Resort's rollercoaster season had been on the up in the preceding week with the return of HYS from a medically advised hiatus, but in a moment of hubris by ipz they were a handed golden ticket to the playoffs when he allowed them to use KnOxXx as a merc for the absent Rising.
Like hand to glove, KnOxXx slipped back in to his pocket-caller position with ease, defeating the hotly tipped Made In Germany over two intense maps; he didn't even warm up with team. As quickly has he had rolled up and caused the upset of the season, he would return to the shadows. He was just a merc, they said. Rising was still their boy, they said.
We jump forward a week to find that Rising has been incapacitated by a fractured arm. Cue KnOxXx reappearing to play out the rest of the season for The Last Resort. Very convenient. Did HYS pay off Rising to disappear? Or even worse, does young Rising now sleep with the fishes?! Seriously folks... we all know how ruthless HYS is when it comes to roster management. Concoct your own conspiracy theory as you see fit, but the bottom line is that KnOxXx is back and The Last Resort are currently the number one team in Europe.
Made In England
That same fixture produced a heated post-match interview where amongst other things ipz and kaidus laid out in no uncertain terms that they felt rookie medic ThUn's inexperience was at the core of team's problems. In particular, issues with uber pushes and timing were cited as weak points, so much so that the team felt much more confident playing outside of the uber engagements. Close maps against Dotter, LEGO and the aforementioned defeat to TLR illustrated the underperformance.
Then just this week news surfaces that Made In Germany have declared interest in former TCM and Team England medic / demoman / legend, Byte. As of today, despite having played a few maps with the man who personifies "intelligence and anticipation", there is still no official word from the Made In Germany camp, but I think we can successfully deduce that ThUn is benched and unlikely to feature in their remaining Season 17 campaign.
I caught up with Byte briefly before his first games with Made In Germany:
"Ipz needs more than ThUn. He needed more of him as far as I know, but he wasn't putting in the time apparently, so ipz approached me and asked. So now he wants me medic, but I told them sure, but I'm not main calling. :P"
So far, so sensible. Now step in to the Twilight Zone that is the world of Ayogurl. This widely circulated chatlog probably does more justice to the strange series of events that unfolded just a few days ago at the Pussy Creepers headquarters in the Hood.
The quick summary is that Mike left his team hanging 10 minutes before a PCW, dropped from their roster and severed communication. Historically speaking, this isn't the first time that MGE Mike has left a team in the lurch, famously pulling the cord during a Team Infused PCW against Team Germany a few years back, but that was assumed to be the Mike of old.
Surprise! These gurls genuinely did not seem to see this one coming and as a result had to wildcard their crucial Week 6 fixture against Dotter. In fact, the entire Premiership circle jerk seemed shocked by this sudden departure, considering that the team were finalising plans to attend two LAN events in the next two months. Bizarre stuff.
Ever the gossip hound, I had to hear Mike's side of the story. I tracked the Welsh wunderkind down the following day. He was unrepentant in his deeds and offered up some fairly Stark reasoning behind his actions:
"Stark is a cancerous player who is fucking aids. He is toxic and just depletes those around him. Genuine depression. Would not recommend."
I asked him if there had been a particular event that pushed him over the edge, but his response was a categorical "no". I salute the mad cunt for keeping TF2 interesting, but whether or not there is a future for the Ayogurls without their 700DPM demoman remains to be seen. Thus far I have heard no semblance of a plan as to how they will move forward at this critical stage of their season.
Update: Sideshow informs me that Spary or Retsh0ck may play out the season with them, otherwise they will be folding faster than Superman on laundry day.
Larsa will be back warming the bench for the remainder of Dotter's Season 17 campaign. The man he had temporarily replaced, Knutsson, has returned from his February sabbatical in time for their ultimate fixture of the main season against the still-reeling Ayogurls.
Captain and pocket Zebbosai confirmed this saying:
"Knutsson is back right now played his first game yesterday and he felt pretty good so Larsa is on the bench again."
In a desperate attempt to get the bastard to say something interesting I asked him how he felt about the impending Ayogurl fixture (this was before the wildcard):
"Well we had a shit practice yesterday but hopefully we will be ready in time cause to miss playoff would suck"
Ah, fuck it! That'll do.
One upside of my sleuthing was that KnOxXx confirmed that he is planning to rebuild Epsilon eSports, specifically to compete at the probable Insomnia 52 event and remove any doubt as to Europe's global supremacy.
Now this was supposed to be the plan back in November \ December time when Epsilon announced they were folding, but I didn't fully believe it. I half-hoped that Made In Germany would be a runaway success, but it hasn't panned out like that. Not yet anyway.
By KnOxXx's calculations he has playboy-manager Slick's approval and he thinks Stefan and basH will be on board. I can confirm that Mike also told me he would definitely play, whilst elaborating:
"I'm tired of playing with shitters"
Assuming GeaR will fall in line with his German brethren, the elusive missing piece of the puzzle is Seb "numLOLcked" Barton, on account of his continued devotion to League of Legends. Following his Twitter correspondence, it appears that he is enjoying some success there too, so I will throw it over to you guys for the rampant speculation as to who could possibly replace him... kaidus? HYS? WARHURYEAH? Hildreth?!
Fire up the hype machine!