Summer is beginning, schools are winding down… and Insomnia 55 is coming our way quickly! Today, I am very excited to announce that Ascent and Froyotech are going to i55 and have organized their own fundraisers! Tell your friends, tell your family, tell random strangers on the street! OK, maybe not that last one. But do tell people, and let’s make sure that i55 has the glorious intercontinental action we’ve come to look forward to every year!
Ascent has been around (previously as Exertus/eLevate) for well over a year. Having placed second in the last two ESEA seasons (and narrowly missing out on last year's i52, because of a qualifier loss to Classic Mixup), they are excellently qualified to take on Europe’s best. Furthermore, Ascent is bringing their best-ever roster to i55, with their star pocket Rando (from Season 16) returning alongside a top notch scout combo in Shrugger and Decimate. Every player on this team has fantastic deathmatch skills, and the experience they have together (especially now that their long time coach TheFragile is back on medic) makes Ascent a force to be reckoned with. Their impressive season so far (with their only loss a narrow 3-5 match against our other prospective North American team, Froyotech) illustrates just how powerful Ascent is this season.
TheFragile, legendary team leader and medic of Ascent, talked to me about his team’s primary goal at i55. His views show just how committed Ascent are, and why you should seriously consider supporting them and their fundraising efforts:
“Honestly, we haven't hit our ceiling yet. We are still a little uncoordinated, and our match against Froyotech just recently came down to a lot of silly mistakes. We are looking to go very hard with practice and reviewing our demos to get better individually and as a team; we are very hungry to get better right now.”
Ma3la, Ascent’s roaming soldier, confirmed just how serious Ascent is:
“I think our roster right now has the potential to win events, and in the next couple months we'll be trying to get back to our old form and then surpass it… I wouldn't be happy with anything but 1st place.”
But Ascent have their eyes on more than temporary success, too, just as a team with so much experience (their first LAN: season 15, more than a year ago) should. They want TF2 to grow like we all do, and Ma3la certainly sees i55 as a golden opportunity to prove once again that TF2 is still very relevant as an eSport:
“Hopefully [i55] can be a big event for TF2 […] this is a make or break next 6 months to a year or so as far as every aspect of maintaining/growing comp TF2. To have valve implement the stream list before [i55] and give it as much exposure as possible; considering how much buzz the matchmaking announcement created, [i55] could bring a ton of new faces to at least watching the stream.”
Ascent is asking us, the community, for $6000 to go to i55; this will be supplemented with out-of-pocket funds and ESEA prize money to cover the full cost of their hop across the pond. With fabulous perks, ranging from i55 outro credits, to a fully signed team Ascent jersey, the only question left is: what are you waiting for?! Head on over to the Ascent Indiegogo page and help bring new blood to Insomnia 55!
Back in 2013, it was disappointing to many that the defending champions from i46, Classic Mixup, were unable to go to i49, to defend their World Championship title. Epsilon were able to try their hand at defending their title last year, but with a significantly altered roster.
Flash forward to 2015, and now we have the opportunity to see what happens when a World Championship-calibre team keeps their roster consistent for an entire year: the American defending world champions from last year, Froyotech, want to return to England and prove that they are still the team to beat. Based on their record in the year prior, with GXL and 3 straight ESEA wins under their belt, Froyotech seems to have only gotten stronger. However, Lansky will be unable to attend i55 due to other commitments; this leaves Froyotech to play with Ash for i55. However, B4nny, the most popular TF2 streamer and team captain of Froyotech, feels that his team is ready for all comers, and even expressed that Ascent, the other North American team going to i55 (which you should also help out!), poses the biggest threat to Froyotech:
"I would give Ascent the edge at the moment, as they have finally settled on a solid roster from top to bottom and have been going strong as a team for several seasons in ESEA. That LAN experience as a team can really make a difference when they're up against the latest European pug dream team."
Did you detect a hint of disdain for the European competition? Well, you weren't wrong... Here's B4nny with more on European prospects for i55:
"I don't pay much attention to European teams for most of the year, and then around the time of the international LANs I start doing a bit more research to prepare. Last year I learned that they pretty much only won if they could backcap, so we'll see what gimmick they rely on this time around to put rounds on the board. Either way, we always give 100% during our matches so no matter who we are playing against we will be sure to neither underestimate or overestimate their abilities and just play our game. That's what’s always worked for us and hopefully always will... The goal is to win. We did it last year so we have no reason not to aim for a repeat victory. After the 10 minute grand finals we all want to wave our controllers in the air and bring home the trophy for NA in style."
B4nny also explained eloquently why it's so important that Froyotech return once again to an Insomnia LAN event:
"I've personally attended the last 3 international TF2 LANs, so it feels like tradition at this point to go and represent the North American TF2 scene. I want my team to compete in as many tournaments and events as possible for as long as we are still together (hopefully years), so when a tournament like this comes along we always consider participating even if it means we need to put in some extra work planning and fundraising to make it happen. Plus, if someone is going to go from NA, I think we are the most confident that we can represent what NA is capable of on the world stage. These international LANs are also often just a matter of pride. While my team has nothing to prove at this point, having the opportunity to remind everyone that NA TF2 is the home of the best TF2 teams is a nice little bonus. Of course, these events always have a historic significance and really help unite the TF2 communities of the world, so making the competition as strong as possible is also important to us. The bigger and better the events, the bigger and better the competitive scene as a whole becomes."
Although Serv0’s performances as a backup have been solid, a revamped Ascent and a fearsome lineup of European teams should be more than enough to make Froyotech sweat; it’s still a very open question whether 4G will be able to defend their title... Luckily, YOU have the power to answer that question! Froyotech is also asking for $6000 to go to i55, and if you want to see the world champions defend their title with the very same roster, then you should be sure to show them a little love… They have the same great perks Ascent does!
i55.tf is live, and will act as the central hub for all things i55 and TF2 related! Head over there to donate, read up more on the history of Insomnia TF2 events, read more about the teams... You name it, i55.tf has it!
#i55tf2 is the preferred hashtag! Did you just donate? #i55tf2. Did you just feel an overwhelming sensation of hype and anticipation at the mere thought of glorious intercontinentral action? You guessed it: #i55tf2. Twitter is one of the best ways to spread the word about i55, so don't be shy!
That sums up this announcement, and I hope you're as hyped for i55 as I am. We are all incredibly privileged to have such a vibrant community that, every year, comes together and does it again, sending multiple international teams to the Insomnia LANs. But let's not rest on our laurels...
Let's outdo ourselves and make i55 even better than any LAN that's come before.