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ESEA Invite Season 20 Preview
posted in News
Tery_
September 8, 2015

Introduction

Season 20 Invite marks one of the more violent transitions for the division in a while. Only 5 rosters return from last season, but the reality is that only Froyotech, Ascent, and Wood Pig can really be called "returning teams." Everyone else underwent significant roster changes or are promotes from Intermediate. While this may mean the top of Invite remains uncontested, it should make the rest of the division pretty interesting.

Ascent

  • Scout: Shrugger
  • Scout: ?
  • Pocket: rando
  • Roamer: Ma3la
  • Demoman: Bdonski
  • Medic: phorofor

By Alkaline
There's no denying it: Ascent had a slightly disappointing performance at i55. Although they performed much better on day 2 than on day 1, their 4th place finish still fell short of their lofty goals. TheFragile has chosen to take a break in the wake of i55; Ascent have picked up Phorofor in his absence. Phorofor is a top-notch Medic and will no doubt fit into the team well. Although Bdonski's shedule might leave Ma3la on Demo (with Tagg stepping in on Roamer) for the first week, I remain optimistic about Ascent's chances this season. They've shown great tenacity to stick together in the face of a disappointing i55, and should continue to be Froyotech's primary (possibly only) competitors for the top spot in North American TF2.

Ascent will have to come roaring out of the gates if they want to prove that they've come out of i55 stronger than ever. They'll first have to play Attack of the Yomies, which has been entirely reformed under indust's leadership. After facing the Yomies, they'll get to play Froyotech once again! We should see some great matches out of Ascent this week, so be sure to stay tuned for TeamFortress.TV's coverage!

Attack of the Yomies

  • Scout: Freestate
  • Scout: corsa
  • Pocket: alfa
  • Roamer: tagg
  • Demoman: Muma
  • Medic: indust

The Yomies had a decent 7-9 performance last season, but decided to part ways. The only returning member from that roster is Freestate, who has assembled some rising stars and experienced veterans together. Corsa put up good numbers last season on The Grime, and personally I really look forward to seeing how this Scout combo works out. Muma got a bit unlucky with his Invite debut but this retry should look far more promising. Medic indust was a heavy component of bird noises' success last season in Open, and his calling will no doubt continue to bolster this team. How this team handles alfa's seemingly random offclassing tendencies will be interesting.

Sidenote: This is a team name I'm hoping changes soon, because frankly none of these players are "Yomies" outside of Freestate who only joined last season. I get that they're using the roster and all but it'd be too awkward having them continue the Yomie legacy.

Froyotech

  • Scout: clckwrk
  • Scout: ash
  • Pocket: b4nny
  • Roamer: blaze
  • Demoman: duwatna
  • Medic: shade

Another few seasons, another few titles to add to b4nny's growing collection. Seemingly last-minute roster changes putting b4nny on Pocket and ash on Scout resulted in winning both ESEA S19 Invite and i55. It's hard to say b4nny didn't play like an absolute monster on Pocket, with ash providing surprisingly consistent performances at Scout. Everyone knows this roster by now. Froyotech will go into another season with no changes to their lineup, and are the only team to do so. Will Froyo lose a match this season? We can look towards their early matchup against Ascent this week to find out.

Runaway 5

  • Scout: paddie
  • Scout: slemnish
  • Pocket: Highfive
  • Roamer: Remedy
  • Demoman: Rikachu
  • Medic: Overseer

I mentioned how I wanted Yomies to change the team name earlier, but this is the team I really hope doesn't keep their name. Anyway, paddie (fresh off his S19 Open championship) put together a team with players that mainly took a short break but are back for another go. Remedy is paddie's 6cuties teammate from both last season's Open team and the S16 Invite variant. Overseer last played in S18 Open and will provide good competition for this season's field of Medics. Rikachu had a short-lived debut in Invite with Runaway 5 in S18 so hopefully he gets the real deal this time around. Slemnish has quickly risen through the ranks since his debut on Cloud 9 just 2 seasons ago and will make for a good Scout combination with paddie. This team is very well-rounded and should / will probably surprise people this season.

Getawhale Fanclub

  • Scout: arekk
  • Scout: Linkuser
  • Pocket: goldfish
  • Roamer: aim
  • Demoman: Avast
  • Medic: Nursey

S19 Intermediate Champions Getahwale Fanclub make their way into Invite with minimal changes to their roster. The departure of Connor resulted in the pickup of goldfish on Pocket, while moving aim to Roamer. The lineup of Soldiers in Invite this season looks impressive and these two are no exception. On the flipside, arekk and Linkuser are a formidable Scout duo that can brag the most experience together as a Scout pair. Team cohesion will be important in such a volatile offseason and honestly the team as a whole has done extremely well in maintaining their lineup across the seasons. This will only serve as a benefit to Getawhale Fanclub as they tackle their debut Invite season.

Lastly, a haiku: "For my bud Avast. I need more racist haikus. Go and frag those nerds."

Mad Luxurious

  • Scout: DanceNumber
  • Scout: yosh
  • Pocket: phelon
  • Roamer: Rigel
  • Demoman: kuestif
  • Medic: lucrative

Mad Luxurious placed 4th in IM last season, and after the initial shenanigans regarding Invite placements have found themselves as the "final" newcomer to the division. DanceNumber has been around for a while and has made the journey with Mad Lux since their Open season. His Scout partner yosh is the recent addition to the list of players that have made a huge jump in terms of division / skill, having come all the way from Open with Pinturillo Professionals last season. Admittedly I don't know much about Rigel and phelon, outside of Rigel's S17 Open team Hungry Hungry Ogres and phelon's role with the Mad Lux team starting from their IM season. I think Rigel also has some record of most frags in a single season? Anyway, rounding out the roster is kuestif on Demoman, enjoying success after breaking up with Uni, and lucrative, who hasn't played in Invite since S6. While MLX may not be the "youngest" squad in terms of experience, they may very well end up the punching bag of the division, but I'd love to be proven wrong.

Meat Market

  • Scout: CheesyMacgyver
  • Scout: Sezco
  • Pocket: bl4nk
  • Roamer: broKing
  • Demoman: pamphlet
  • Medic: oobii

Meat Market may be considered the spiritual successors / juniors to Mad Men, notably during the S16 campaign in which bl4nk played Medic for the group. He rejoined the team last season to continue the mentor-pupil relationship going, and will be back on the comfortable Pocket class while broKing steps into the Roamer role. Sezco has been away from Invite since S15 and though he had a brief stint with Hawaii Beach Vacation (they got a win off Froyo!), this team will be far more consistent in both the attendance and performance categories. Cheesy is a long-standing Meat Market member and will make a scary combination with the veteran Sezco. Pamphlet has spent the last few seasons kicking around in IM playoffs but joining up with Meat Market in S19 has given him the ticket into Invite. I'm not familiar with oobii's Medic, and to be honest considering who the other Medics are, I think she'll be the weakest Medic this season, but with bl4nk's leadership she has the capacity to do well so long as she can maintain the aggressive heals that this team loves to play off of.

Street Hoops Esports

  • Scout: cyzer
  • Scout: alec
  • Pocket: showstopper
  • Roamer: grape
  • Demoman: xalox
  • Medic: ninjanick

By Alkaline
Street Hoops has returned, and although alec and xalox are new faces, ninjanick, grape, showstopper, and cyzer have all played on 20b before. The departure of the wondertwins make 20b something of a question mark this season, but I'm optimistic about them this season. Grape always played a Roamer-y Pocket, and could easily be one of the best Roamers in Invite. Xalox was arguably the best Demo in ESEA (by DPM) while he was playing with Nice Nice Nice (AKA Five Dollar Club AKA Wood Squad).

Alec remains a big question mark on 20b: this will be his first time playing on a top team. If he can fulfill his potential and become a true wizard, 20b could compete for 3rd or even 2nd place. They certainly have the roster to fulfill every #20believer's hopes and dreams, so in an Invite where 3rd through 5th place looks uncertain at best, I think Street Hoops have a real shot at a successful season.

In any case, Street Hoops will get to show just how good they are in the very first week. Although a game against GBSP should go their way, their other match is set to be with Wood Squad, and that match could very well prove crucial to determine playoff seedings and cutoffs at the end of the regular season. I think Street Hoops will take it, but it should be a very close match.

Wood Squad

  • Scout: arcticjoe
  • Scout: squid
  • Pocket: milo
  • Roamer: harbleu
  • Demoman: dingo
  • Medic: mason

By Alkaline
Wood Squad has brought back the exact same roster as the last few weeks of Season 19 (which netted them 3rd place), but with one crucial exception: harbleu is in and Mangachu is out. Although Mangachu did really well last season, harbleu still is a big upgrade. Not just in playing potential, but as a caller and a positive influence on his team. Harbleu, with 2 Insomnia LANs and countless ESEA LANs worth of experience under his belt, could bring what Wood Squad needs to continue improving and finally compete on level footing with Ascent and Froyotech.

But future results are all speculation; what's certain is that Wood Squad has a really good roster. Arcticjoe has under-performed a bit in the past, but Squid more than makes up for that by being one of the best Scouts in Invite. Milo is an amazing Pocket, and we've already talked about just how important harbleu will prove in critical moments, calling the flank and hyping his team. Dingo has put down consistent damage on Demoman, while Mason has maincalled well on Medic, and generally provided the guidance that Wood Squad needed to place 3rd in ESEA S19.

Matches to Watch

Ascent vs. Attack of the Yomies

By brooky12
It seems like just yesterday that i55 ended, yet the days slip by, bringing us to our first week in Invite. The map, Granary Pro, is technically new to NA, previously having been playing around in ETF2L for a little, and making an appearance at i55. While Ascent obviously come to mind as having significant experience due to i55, alfa of the Yomies did play during that LAN, albeit for a different team. Coupled with it not being an entirely new map, there should be no reason to think that map familiarity will give too much benefit to the Ascent side.

In one corner, you have Ascent - i55 attendee, Grand Finals participant, and powerhouse of a team. Their roster, however, is not identical to either of those achievements. TheFragile, cat aficionado and Medic extraordinaire has stepped down once again, bringing in phorofor to replace him. Decimate, having to sit on the sidelines for i55, does not yet make a return, and as of yet the Scout spot for Ascent remains unfilled. Despite the changes, Ascent is just as powerful as always,

Their opponents, Attack of the Yomies, is more of bits and pieces from various places, with Freestate being the only Yomie to return. Alfa joins after playing with 20b, corsa joins from The Grime, and to "finish" off the roster, indust and Muma fill in the Medic and Demoman spots after their original plans for last season fell apart and they went off to different teams in the lower levels. The team, despite retaining the name and roster of the Yomies, are almost entirely a new team, meaning the 7-9 finish the Yomies achieved previously should not hang over their heads, allowing them to gun for a better record.

With a Roamer and a Scout spot still not known, it's hard to judge rosters, but some head-to-heads, like indust vs. phorofor and Bdonski vs. Muma certainly seem favored one way or the other. With Granary being such a Soldier dominated map, Ascent appear to have the upper hand, with rando and Ma3la being a potent duo, easily one of the best in Invite. This will be a very important match for the reborn Yomies, as Ascent will provide a large but not unbeatable challenge for them, allowing them to prove that their ragtag team of players can realistically challenge the veteran powerhouses.

Meat Market vs. Mad Luxurious

This matchup is a clash of Invite newbies (with the exception of phelon) accompanied by a more experienced player. Mad Luxurious has lucrative, who has been playing in ESEA since S3. On the other hand, Meat Market has bl4nk, Mad Men extraordinaire and LAN-proven Soldier. Both these teams have proven they have the talent to make it to Invite, but when they're playing against each other, who will come up on top?

Cheesy and Sezco vs. Dance and yosh is a matchup that I feel will go horribly wrong for MLX. Yosh in particular must be feeling the pressure, going straight to Invite from Open. If he has an off-night the Meat Market Scouts will waste no time in devouring the flanks at will. Over on the rocket side of things, Rigel was a beast Pocket but it's difficult to say how the 2 seasons of inactivity have affected his play. While bl4nk may not be as flashy as Rigel on the statline, he will still provide fierce ubers and calls for the team. As for the Demomen, I'd be hard pressed to say that kuestif and pamphlet are really star players on their rosters, but their damage output will be critical in letting their Scouts take over fights. Lastly, we have the Medics. Lucrative has seasons on seasons of experience distributing heals, while oobii is playing her first season after a handful of seasons on Scout. As mentioned earlier, oobii will be the Medic with the most to prove, so her performance may be more important than you think.

While an outside look may see a competitive match between IM promotes, upon closer inspection, this may be a more one-sided affair. Mad Lux should be able to put up a fight early, but expect Meat Market's aggression to run away with the match towards the 2nd half.

Froyotech vs. Ascent

By brooky12
Week 1 of Invite, and already we're gifted some amazing TF2. It's Froyotech, it's Ascent, what more could you ask for? The map is Granary Pro, which they both have experience on fresh off their i55 adventures. Froyotech will no doubt want to avoid a loss right after their i55 championship. On the other hand, if anyone is Froyotech's kryptonite, it's Ascent online.

Froyotech's roster has remained stable from last season and their i55 victory, as expected of the best team in existence. For those living under a rock for the past few months, ash has joined Froyotech in replacement of lansky, who's moved on to non-TF2 things. After a short attempt with b4nny remaining on Scout and ash Pocketing, the two switched, with b4nny better able to emulate the style of Pocket that lansky played. To say it worked is an understatement, taking both the ESEA championship and i55 fairly simply (lower bracket aside).

Ascent, on the other hand, continue their rocky path, losing both Decimate and TheFragile from their #2 placement last season. While phorofor did step in for TheFragile, the Scout slot is still empty, and depending on who they pick up, their match and season could end in a very different way.

It's hard to not favor Froyotech, given their near-complete dominance and stable roster. But if there is something to uproot them, it'd be Ascent during the regular season. They've done it before, albeit with a different roster. Froyotech is just as scary as ever, but Ascent is looking to try and retain their reputation despite roster changes and uncertainties.

Editor's Note

We hope you enjoyed this brief preview of Season 20 Invite. Outside of the top 2, the rest of Invite looks to be the most competitive it has been in a long while. And who knows, maybe some team will rise up to challenge the Froyotech and Ascent titans. We will continue to bring you coverage of Invite throughout the season with roster updates and the like.

Thanks for reading, good luck and have fun!

1
#1
13 Frags +

OMG OMG OMG cant wait!

OMG OMG OMG cant wait!
2
#2
14 Frags +

Glad to see Getawhale Fanclub taking back their true name

Glad to see Getawhale Fanclub taking back their true name
3
#3
-9 Frags +
rowrowGetawhale Fanclub just picked up Hassassin right? Or am I misinformed

memed on by the IM circlejerk kid

[quote=rowrow]Getawhale Fanclub just picked up Hassassin right? Or am I misinformed[/quote]
memed on by the IM circlejerk kid
4
#4
8 Frags +
rowrowGetawhale Fanclub just picked up Hassassin right? Or am I misinformed

no

[quote=rowrow]Getawhale Fanclub just picked up Hassassin right? Or am I misinformed[/quote] no
5
#5
-8 Frags +
flatlinerowrowGetawhale Fanclub just picked up Hassassin right? Or am I misinformedmemed on by the IM circlejerk kid

smh at these edits

[quote=flatline][quote=rowrow]Getawhale Fanclub just picked up Hassassin right? Or am I misinformed[/quote]
memed on by the IM circlejerk kid[/quote]
smh at these edits
6
#6
12 Frags +

WHERE IS THOMAS????

WHERE IS THOMAS????
7
#7
25 Frags +

bruh, how froyo gonna keep a talent like me on the bench?

bruh, how froyo gonna keep a talent like me on the bench?
8
#8
6 Frags +

gj tery

isnt it obvious bloodsire? they're saving you up for when tf2 is resurrected through a classic buff

gj tery

isnt it obvious bloodsire? they're saving you up for when tf2 is resurrected through a classic buff
9
#9
2 Frags +

Harbleu!

Harbleu!
10
#10
7 Frags +

So is Ascent going to stick with Rando on pocket and Ma3la on roamer for this season once Bdonski is back? Obviously it's a small sample size and it depends on what they are comfortable with, but it seemed like Ma3la pocketing was a big upgrade that second day of i55.

So is Ascent going to stick with Rando on pocket and Ma3la on roamer for this season once Bdonski is back? Obviously it's a small sample size and it depends on what they are comfortable with, but it seemed like Ma3la pocketing was a big upgrade that second day of i55.
11
#11
12 Frags +

Just got the news: tagg is confirmed starting roamer for the Yomies (who will be changing their name shortly, seeing as they aren't really the Yomies anymore)!

Just got the news: tagg is confirmed starting roamer for the Yomies (who will be changing their name shortly, seeing as they aren't really the Yomies anymore)!
12
#12
2 Frags +

Phelon and I have switched roles. I'm playing roamer, Phelon is on pocket.

Phelon and I have switched roles. I'm playing roamer, Phelon is on pocket.
13
#13
2 Frags +

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GItslMhVM-I

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GItslMhVM-I
14
#14
2 Frags +

i thought paddie was pocket and h5 was scout

i thought paddie was pocket and h5 was scout
15
#15
8 Frags +

I'm so hyped after reading this post, can't wait for invite matches.
Great job writing this post!

I'm so hyped after reading this post, can't wait for invite matches.
Great job writing this post!
16
#16
4 Frags +

grape on soldier woo

grape on soldier woo
17
#17
5 Frags +

tagg on yomies??? PogChamp

tagg on yomies??? PogChamp
18
#18
1 Frags +

i like the woodsquad roster

squid and harbleu on the flank will be stronk

i like the woodsquad roster

squid and harbleu on the flank will be stronk
19
#19
6 Frags +

Where is Lansky??? BibleThump

Where is Lansky??? BibleThump
20
#20
0 Frags +
x3i like the woodsquad roster

squid and harbleu on the flank will be stronk

It's just a matter of whether that team can live through the entire season.

[quote=x3]i like the woodsquad roster

squid and harbleu on the flank will be stronk[/quote]

It's just a matter of whether that team can live through the entire season.
21
#21
2 Frags +
AlkalineJust got the news: tagg is confirmed starting roamer for the Yomies (who will be changing their name shortly, seeing as they aren't really the Yomies anymore)!

So who will be filling in for Ma3laa if he needs to demo due to Bdonski being MIA?

[quote=Alkaline]Just got the news: tagg is confirmed starting roamer for the Yomies (who will be changing their name shortly, seeing as they aren't really the Yomies anymore)![/quote]

So who will be filling in for Ma3laa if he needs to demo due to Bdonski being MIA?
22
#22
2 Frags +

Is lansky actually completely replaced by b4nny on pocket now? Or is he still not available to play or something?

Is lansky actually completely replaced by b4nny on pocket now? Or is he still not available to play or something?
23
#23
10 Frags +
shorasIs lansky actually completely replaced by b4nny on pocket now? Or is he still not available to play or something?

i think hes playing the real life game of being educated

[quote=shoras]Is lansky actually completely replaced by b4nny on pocket now? Or is he still not available to play or something?[/quote]

i think hes playing the real life game of being educated
24
#24
9 Frags +
x3shorasIs lansky actually completely replaced by b4nny on pocket now? Or is he still not available to play or something?
i think hes playing the real life game of being educated

I can't believe he chose tuba school over this. ;_;

[quote=x3][quote=shoras]Is lansky actually completely replaced by b4nny on pocket now? Or is he still not available to play or something?[/quote]

i think hes playing the real life game of being educated[/quote]

I can't believe he chose tuba school over this. ;_;
25
#25
11 Frags +

we miss you lanky

we miss you lanky
26
#26
16 Frags +

Awesome preview of the season!!! I have been back online for a little while and was looking for some information to get a pulse on whats happening in the community as far as competitive TF2 and this was a great find! Its nice to see some seasoned TF2 players still here but also there are a lot of new names! FANTASTIC! Good luck to you all in the next season! I will be watching and will be looking for some solid teams...=)

Awesome preview of the season!!! I have been back online for a little while and was looking for some information to get a pulse on whats happening in the community as far as competitive TF2 and this was a great find! Its nice to see some seasoned TF2 players still here but also there are a lot of new names! FANTASTIC! Good luck to you all in the next season! I will be watching and will be looking for some solid teams...=)
27
#27
0 Frags +

Go Cheesy and Slemnish.

Go Cheesy and Slemnish.
28
#28
5 Frags +
fireindaarcadeSo is Ascent going to stick with Rando on pocket and Ma3la on roamer for this season once Bdonski is back? Obviously it's a small sample size and it depends on what they are comfortable with, but it seemed like Ma3la pocketing was a big upgrade that second day of i55.

It really does seem like ma3la playing pocket was a big upgrade. Ma3la himself also said he was a better pocket than roamer, and I was expecting him to play pocket this esea season, but I guess he's more confortable playing roamer. I'm not saying Rando is a bad pocket, as he's obviously one of the best pockets out there, just my thoughts after watching i55.

[quote=fireindaarcade]So is Ascent going to stick with Rando on pocket and Ma3la on roamer for this season once Bdonski is back? Obviously it's a small sample size and it depends on what they are comfortable with, but it seemed like Ma3la pocketing was a big upgrade that second day of i55.[/quote]

It really does seem like ma3la playing pocket was a big upgrade. Ma3la himself also said he was a better pocket than roamer, and I was expecting him to play pocket this esea season, but I guess he's more confortable playing roamer. I'm not saying Rando is a bad pocket, as he's obviously one of the best pockets out there, just my thoughts after watching i55.
29
#29
4 Frags +
Lightstriker
It really does seem like ma3la playing pocket was a big upgrade. Ma3la himself also said he was a better pocket than roamer, and I was expecting him to play pocket this esea season, but I guess he's more confortable playing roamer. I'm not saying Rando is a bad pocket, as he's obviously one of the best pockets out there, just my thoughts after watching i55.

I mean Rando's obviously amazing, but could you imagine what Shrugger and Yomps could do with more than 20% heals between both of them? The games with Ma3la pocketing seemed to have a much better heal spread without much of a drop off in pocket effectiveness.

[quote=Lightstriker]

It really does seem like ma3la playing pocket was a big upgrade. Ma3la himself also said he was a better pocket than roamer, and I was expecting him to play pocket this esea season, but I guess he's more confortable playing roamer. I'm not saying Rando is a bad pocket, as he's obviously one of the best pockets out there, just my thoughts after watching i55.[/quote]

I mean Rando's obviously amazing, but could you imagine what Shrugger and Yomps could do with more than 20% heals between both of them? The games with Ma3la pocketing seemed to have a much better heal spread without much of a drop off in pocket effectiveness.
30
#30
0 Frags +

wait, does harbleu have 2 insomnia lans under his belt? I thought it was only 1 (i46)

never mind, i misread- doesnt say that he won both of them

wait, does harbleu have 2 insomnia lans under his belt? I thought it was only 1 (i46)

never mind, i misread- doesnt say that he won both of them
1 2
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