Article written by Iarfhlaith "dempsey" Dempsey & Aelkyr
As LAN blues and LAN death are hopefully starting to vanish*, the memories remain fresh in our minds, and we at teamfortress.tv have chosen to combine all these memories to give everyone one last look at this community event, with the leaders of both winning teams as well as staff members offering an insight into parts of the event that the average LAN-goer would not normally take into consideration.
CeeJaey will first expand on finding yet more success with Strong Opinions, and kaidus will retrace with us his team’s run afterwards. Mia will be able to enlighten us about some behind the scenes stuff, and Beater will finally share his memories as one of the faces of the event.
Highlander Tournament Recap
Following the end of the €2000 Highlander tournament at the 2019 Copenhagen Games, Strong Opinions, one of the strongest teams ever seen in European Highlander, have once again for the 3rd time forcibly claimed another title as their own. Following a season-long break during Season 17 of ETF2L Highlander, they have returned to both Season 18 and Copenhagen to prove again why they are the team with the longest running win-streak in Highlander history, with 55 consecutive wins.
Strong Opinions started the competition off with their best foot forward, tearing through the group stage and winning all three of their games (against: Ninelander, Adilettenflip, and smhHLmain) without dropping even a single round, before moving on to the playoffs stage.
After a decisive 2-0 victory against YAK’S MAKE-A-WISH in the semi-finals, they met the Russian team kiti’s bakenbardami in the Upper-Bracket Final, where kiti’s bakenbardami put up a performance to be proud of as they stole Warmtic away from Strong Opinions 3-2, before ultimately succumbing to Strong Opinions in the third map of the Best-of-3 series.
Strong Opinions then met YAK’S MAKE-A-WISH in the Grand Final for a rematch, where YAK’S MAKE-A-WISH was only able to take a single round away from Strong Opinions.
Ceejaey, who has now won his 4th Highlander LAN title, had this to say when asked to comment on the result and what lies ahead of Strong Opinions:
Everyone on Strong Opinions really enjoyed the Lan, and to win a 3rd offline event together was a brilliant experience. For a lot of us this was our 4th Highlander Lan event, the 3rd as a team, and we all agreed that the competition this time around felt like the toughest; once we reached the Grand Final we had no idea who we would be facing, it could have been any of the other playoff sides. Once we got into the Final I felt everything just clicked into place and the lads played out of their minds, and we’ve loved watching over the casts together afterwards as the production has been absolutely fantastic.
The core of this team has been around for over 4 years now and it’s always a pleasure to meet up and game together. I’m not sure what the plans are for after the current ETF2L season, but if Copenhagen Games brings back Highlander for 2020 then you can be sure we’ll be doing our best to make it.
6v6 Tournament Recap
Se7en started the LAN strong, getting first place in the very select Invite Group that also featured Ascent.EU, SVIFT and Faint Gaming EU, with all these teams reaching the ETF2L Season 32 Playoffs. Just like playoffs, Se7en ended up on top, with the only bump on their road being a draw with SVIFT, a team that also had a very strong showing this LAN.
With their first place in tow, the Season 32 champions advanced to the playoff stage, where they were first met by the first place of Open Group A, LEGO. Their brick-based experience playing together did not faze Se7en however, as they breezed through them, only dropping a single round in the process. Moving on, they were pitted against the tenacious Faint Gaming EU, who previously managed to take a map off them during the ETF2L playoffs. A decisive 3-0 win on Product paved the way for another victory, and it was converted in a comfortable 5-1 game of Prolands.
In the Upper Bracket Final, Ascent.EU were waiting for them. The runners-up of last season had just dispatched SVIFT in 2 close maps, and were surely eager to do better than in the group stage. The game started out with a nail-biting 2-2 on Granary, with Se7en winning the ensuring Golden Cap. Ascent.EU bounced back however, mounting an impressive comeback despite a 1-0 disadvantage for the first 15 minutes. They climbed their way to a 2-1 lead in 10 minutes, leaving Se7en incapable to tie up in time. The decider map would be Sunshine, and after taking an early round, Se7en was able to dictate the tempo of the game, eventually thumping Ascent.EU with some round wins in the last 10 minutes.
Almost a day after, Se7en and Ascent.EU would be reunited in the Grand Finals, Ascent.EU managing to qualify from the lower bracket after eventually edging out the very determined SVIFT in 3 tense maps. The hostilities began on Gullywash, where Se7en took an early 2-round lead, before Ascent.EU turned the game around and won two rounds of their own in quick succession. Seemingly unfazed, the Se7en squad pulled through and put the score to 4-2, leaving Ascent.EU unable to catch up as the timer ran out. Process would be won in a more controlled fashion by the European giants, as they managed to be 2 rounds up 10 minutes into the game, allowing them to control the rhythm and let Ascent.EU crash themselves on their well-defended last point for the rest of the map time.
Just like the day prior, Granary would be a close map, with neither of the two teams able to successfully convert any last push. After 30 minutes of exchanging control points, the game went to Golden Cap, with LAN rules ensuring that the game cannot go forever. There was no need for the time limit to come in play however, as Se7en managed to turn back from a lost midfight, and pushed from their last to the enemy last in under 4 minutes, making them Copenhagen Games 2019 champions.
Legendary team leader kaidus shared his thoughts on the event potentially eclipsing others, as well as his team's performance over the LAN:
Copenhagen was pretty great overall. I'm always really impressed with the work Heny does; despite having to work around multiple tournaments this was one of the smoothest events I've played in terms of scheduling and organisation thanks to the work of he and many others. The grand final was probably the best stage I've played on in TF2, both in terms of gear/appearance but also the overall organisation. Usually you are constantly pressured by admins to go live before you've even finished installing your configs let alone warmed up, but all the admins did a really good job giving us enough time to get everything sorted whilst not having excessive delays (barring a few unfortunate hiccups on the running order of the show - we were due to come on stage before the prize ceremonies to allow extra setup time, but something got lost in translation)
As great as Copenhagen was, I'm not fond of the discussion that we should aim to make this the primary LAN in Europe at the expense of I-Series going forward. You never know what is around the corner in TF2 and we should aim to seize every opportunity that comes our way. That is to say, I am all for making Copenhagen another premier event in Europe, but not at the expense of an one that has supported European TF2 consistently for the best part of a decade. Rewind was a classic example of how that could potentially backfire.
I was really ill for the duration of tournament so the matches themselves are a bit of a blur for me, but given that circumstance I'm satisfied with how we did as a team. That being said, for me personally it was difficult to take too much joy in the 3-0 win in grand finals as we played so badly on granary, but it shows that even at our worst we are still able to grind out wins when it matters. It was a shame we didn't get to play Swift in a series, I think it would have made for a really interesting game from a match-up stand point, but credit to Ascent for beating them consistently. As for us going forward, we are considering options at the moment and will make announcements at a later date.
For the production part of the LAN, Mia was able to explain for us the many challenges that arose from making an event of this size, before detailing the feedback received for this year's event:
To me Copenhagen Games feels like exams. I spend a lot of hours over the year working on it, and everything the team and I have worked and prepared for has to click on the day. For that reason I think I see all the errors and things that could have been better during the event, and I focus a lot on that - maybe even too much. At CG18 players and crew wanted a stage for the finals. We discussed that among the crew group and with CG, and in the end I think that only dalegaard was against the stage. As a compromise, we agreed to do stage if our crew ran it throughout the event. This resulted in heavy negotiations with Copenhagen Games and a decimation of our crew, since we had to get six of them to run female CS:GO on the stage.
I think our biggest problems this year were centered exactly around the stage: Right of the bat we had computer issues, which resulted in Heny getting a nosebleed, and the 1 hour delay, which I think our casters and hosts handled really well. We also found ourselves underprepared for the stage, e.g. Heny was given the wrong radio channel, which resulted in me spending 15 minutes trying to find the people he had to talk to in the first place. The stage microphone also didn't work on stream, which was in a way out of our hands (last minute technical fix), but with better preparation we could have solved many of these issues beforehand.
But even with the issues, the positive feedback has been overwhelming. Players especially have been really happy about this event - that makes me happy, and makes me want to do even better for CG20. A lot of people stepped up and did amazing things at this event, and naming each of them would take too long, but I think a lot of the success is due to Heny and DCS. Good admins make the tournament run smooth, and production becomes much easier, when there are no delays. That's the foundation of every event. If the schedule is working, then everything just falls into place. I've been working with Heny for a long time now, and he keeps impressing me. I think he has the right balance for an admin. He listens to the players, he’s in touch with the community, and understands what they want. At the same time he is not afraid to make a decision, and understands we have a show to run as well.
I expect we will start preparations for next year's Copenhagen Games sometime this month. It takes us a year to make an event like this, since it is all volunteer work. Lastly I’d like to send a message from Copenhagen Games to the TF2 community: CG, both crew and leadership, are all really impressed with the backing TF2 gets from the community, especially the people attending the LAN. The atmosphere at the finals was incredible. For the 2 years I have done TF2 at CG, the CG crew always asked me at the event why I would focus on an old, dead game. This year, after the finals, they all agreed: “We know why you do this now”. So a big thank you to all the attending players. YOU are why we keep doing this!
With memories close to home for him, decorated caster and producer Beater offered his retrospective on the LAN of Denmark:
Casting at this year’s Copenhagen Games was an absolute blast from start to finish. Getting to meet everyone in the TF2 community is a highlight of any LAN, and this one was no different. It was also amazing to get to be part of a team of people who worked their butts off to make everything run smoothly, from the tournament admins to the content creators, the producers of the stream and my fellow casters. Having that many people that give a shit in one spot is truly something special.
* Photos used in this article taken by Ness "uberchain" Delacroix, who still has the LAN death.