As the biggest TF2 event of the year inches closer and closer, it could be a good time to get acquainted — or reacquainted — to the elite few that make up the Invite group of Insomnia65. These eight teams will slaughter each other for your enjoyment, first in the aforementioned group stage and then in a classic double elimination playoffs bracket, for a chance at a piece of the prize pool as well as the title of world champions!
- Scout: Thalash
- Scout: Starkie
- Roamer: Silentes
- Pocket: kaptain
- Demoman: kaidus
- Medic: Raymon
With the absence of reigning champions froyotech, i63 runner-ups Se7en are looking like the team to beat in Birmingham this year. Having won the last four seasons of ETF2L Premiership in addition to Copenhagen Games 2019, Se7en have certainly asserted their dominance all over Europe for the past year, and what better way to top it off than with a victory on the ancestral battlegrounds of Insomnia Gaming Festival?
With their transatlantic rivals choosing to forgo i65, Se7en are primed to dominant TF2's second major LAN of 2019 (photo by Ness "uberchain" Delacroix)
The Se7en roster has been unchanged since Thaigrr’s departure following their latest LAN triumph and the following pickup of Silentes. Starkie's return to his famed role of Flank Scout paired with Silentes on Roamer has made Se7en a well-oiled machine, able to seemingly scare Medics into popping by willpower alone. Thalash and Raymon are a feared two-headed beast that never dies, and kaptain and kaidus’s airborne aggression are simply unmatched in the European field.
Se7en are guaranteed to be one of the top teams of Insomnia65 through name alone, but with Ascent.NA and regional rivals Ascent.EU out for blood in Birmingham, the British core will need to watch their back this year and not let their guard down.
- Scout: amppis
- Scout: credu
- Roamer: Zebbosai
- Pocket: PolygoN
- Demoman: Domo
- Medic: Connor
After supplementing their second-place diet with another shiny silver medal at Copenhagen this year, Ascent.EU displayed their continuing never-ending passion and drive for TF2 coming into another ETF2L Season. Following a rocky start to the season, Ascent.EU lost both maps to the reigning overlords Se7en during the 2nd week. This worrying start did not deter Ascent.EU as they managed to go on a four week long winning streak to claw their way back to the top. Ascent.EU have been performing at the top level of TF2 for long enough to grant them a legendary reputation, and what better way to cap off their legacy than with an international LAN victory?
The deadly combos of AMS and credu plus Zebbosai and PolygoN have made Ascent.EU a deadly force (photo by Ness "uberchain" Delacroix)
Ascent.EU are bringing their full-power ETF2L roster to LAN with amppis dragging the team forward, with his leadership as the role of Pocket Scout. However, credu won’t be left far behind; hailed as one of the strongest off-classers in Europe, credu is a man to keep your eyes on if you’re thinking of making a frag movie anytime soon.
credu isn’t the only star player of Ascent.EU — Domo has been making splashes in Premiership recently after making a short debut with Se7en as a stand-in for kaidus during a recent season, with hype surrounding him growing since. Domo has been dominant throughout the season, propelled forward by his Solly duo: PolygoN and Zebbosai. PolygoN’s addition to Ascent.EU was received with big expectations after Copenhagen Games, and was only outshined by the return of the prodigal son, Zebbosai. Connor is not to be forgotten, the man with the ability to make any game that bit more interesting.
- Scout: yight
- Scout: slemnish
- Roamer: laz
- Pocket: jayhyunpae
- Demoman: botmode
- Medic: skeez
Ascent.NA are making their way across the pond to Britain this year. Although the lack of frozen yogurt is a disappointment for those looking forward to a North American grand final, Ascent.NA are not short on competition. The chance to prove themselves as world champions is not lost on Ascent.NA, having played second fiddle for a while in the Americas, for Insomnia65 could be the LAN to prove they deserve the first seat.
OHHH YEEEEEAAAAAAAAAHHHH (photo by Ness "uberchain" Delacroix and Jasmine "Jasbutts" Ho)
The Ascent.NA roster is filled with some of the best players that North America has to offer. While more commonly seen on Soldier, former Quake professional botmode has been dismembering teams on Demoman, with regional dapper stylist and Kool-Aid Man impersonator yight in a similar situation providing strong complimentary Scout gameplay following a small stint on the role of Demoman.
jayhyunpae has had a meteoric rise through the ranks, moving to the top of Invite with Ascent.NA following several seasons of Intermediate and low Invite. His small Invite experience is offset by slemnish’s presence, who boasts 11 straight seasons of Invite, as well as laz, who has made himself out as one of the best Roamers in North America. Providing health for a top team is always a stressful affair, but skeez has managed to grow into the role of Medic well and is now a cornerstone of his team.
- Scout: toemas
- Scout: klassy
- Roamer: iatgink
- Pocket: papi
- Demoman: Lukas
- Medic: seeds
While Ascent are known for their numerous second places, this Faint team (that originally started out under the SVIFT banner) is becoming synonymous with bronze medals, reaching the last place in the podium in recent competitions. In spite of those steady results, they are also one of the teams that have improved the most, recently taking two maps off of Se7en for example, and will be surely looking forward breaking the curse in front of a crowd.
While relatively dormant, Faint have a chance to pull through against both Ascent teams at LAN (photo by Ness "uberchain" Delacroix)
The team's Scout duo comprises of toemas and klassy, two relative newcomers to the top level that have rapidly become a solid Premiership duo. iatgink and papi, an iconic and infamous duo from the realm of nunya, have been nothing but efficient so far, with iatgink's unpredictability complementing papi's aggressive Pocket gameplay. Named LAN MVP of Copenhagen Games 2019, Lukas will be looking to unleash his offline potential again, with seeds’ lich-like ability to stay alive helping keep the team strong.
While it's unlikely Faint Gaming will draw the same crowd of fans as their gold and silver counterparts, the team's rapidly growing expertise may give them an upper hand should any team underestimate their potential in Birmingham.
- Scout: YeeHaw
- Scout: Nevo
- Roamer: Azunis
- Pocket: Poison
- Demoman: Eemes
- Medic: Demos
The Elektro association make their way to the NEC, after a less than electrifying performance online. Ora Elektro has been a name chucked around the European scene for a number of years now, managing to make sure everyone in Europe kinda-sorta knows about them. Despite this fact, their four recent seasons in ETF2L have been lukewarm to say the least, with middle-of-the-table finishes plaguing them each season. This LAN is another chance for Ora to prove they have what it takes to transcend greatness and achieve wins against teams who have brushed them aside online.
Will Ora Elektro be able to repeat their surprise finish at Insomnia63? (photo by Ness "uberchain" Delacroix)
Ora is sure to be a slightly confusing team to cast, with Demos joining the fight as Medic. The Romanian is a long-time member of Ora, and this history with the team is sure to bring some advantageous chemistry to the event. Eemes joins as Demos's long-term teammate, as the actual Demoman for the team. Followed up by teammates Nevo and YeeHaw on scout, the long-term nature of Ora might be a key factor in their potential success at LAN.
Poison joins Azunis as the team's Soldier duo, with the former being the newest member to the roster, having only played the most recent season over the Ora connection. The baby-faced rocket-jumper has been swiftly welcomed into the fold, to produce one of the most cohesive teams this LAN has to offer.
- Scout: counou
- Scout: sorex
- Roamer: Opti
- Pocket: ever_x
- Demoman: WARHURYEAH
- Medic: Ombrack
What is this, a crossover episode? That's right, two major powerhouses of ETF2L Premiership have fused together to form a major contender for the upcoming LAN. A combination of the Frenchies of top5rocket and the Anglos of War & Sons (with a sprinkle of Italian for added spice) is looking to be one of the top teams at Birmingham this time around — that is if they can come together to form a cohesive team. top5Sons are facing the disadvantage of not being a fully-established team. They’ll have to bridge the teamwork gap between them and full-teams coming to LAN, if they want to stand a chance.
Ombrack will be joining teammates old and new through the trials of Insomnia65 (photo by Ness "uberchain" Delacroix)
sorex is the stand-out player of this roster as one of the Scouts, partly due to the fact he’s the only Italian in the mix, but he’s sure to bring some pizzaz to the team. With counou joining sorex on the Scout crew, the team has no shortage of potential Snipers, with counou having a history of being able to bring the team back from dangerous situations with a quick flick.
Opti and ever_x are the anglo-français Soldier combo which embody a certain spirit of the team: England and France coming together, to frag some gamers. WARHURYEAH brings up the back of the combo as the Demo for the team, joined by the final Frenchman, Ombrack, who’s playing Medic for the roster. Although they might appear to be a rag-tag group, all of these players are well-proven top-tier players, who are surely able to put a good show together, and pull the rug out from the more established rosters of this event.
Corentin Mas Damage
- Scout: Olgha
- Scout: karnax
- Roamer: dwo
- Pocket: Raf
- Demoman: AlienSmiley
- Medic: mulaa
Corentin Mas Damage might be a puzzling name, but hiding under its veneer is Génération karnax, who are staying true to their tradition of changing their name every competition. The squad led by Raf has been the same for two seasons now, and despite finishing in 8th both times, there has been a lot of improvement among the Frenchies, with every non-top 2 team only winning by the slightest of margins against them. With LAN being an entirely different environment, the team's cohesion may shine through offline.
The Frenchies venture back into the depths of Britland (photo by Ness "uberchain" Delacroix)
Raf and Olgha are continuing their partnerships on slightly different classes than are usual for them, with Raf leading from the front on POcket and Olgha moving Scout, which will help offset the team's losses during his Pyro sessions. They are joined by resident DM lord and renowned karaoke singer karnax, as well as Aliensmiley, who has played every DM class in a Premiership environment. Rookies mulaa and dwo round up this squad, with mulaa being so new that he's barely played any more Premiership matches than matches in any other division, with dwo having a lot of Highlander tricks under his sleeve.
- Scout: z0diack
- Scout: Aph
- Roamer: Crayon
- Pocket: leth
- Demoman: Mak
- Medic: Piggles
Last but not least, #BIGBLOKELAN are here and clamouring their ambitions even in their team name. Built on the skeleton of #BIGBOYSEASON, a team that placed second in Division 1 in the previous ETF2L season, #BIGBLOKELAN have added z0diack and leth to replace Spirit and Jordy. Second place in Division 1 is nothing to laugh at, especially considering that their only defeats have been at the hands of eventual champions Rakuzan. Now up against the best in Premiership, the BIG BLOKES will be looking to make their splash in Birmingham.
Mak (left) returns to LAN with more big theories with his blokes (photo courtesy of Finski)
Aph and Mak were core members of The Theorists, winning Division 1 in Season 31 before subsequently moving up to Premiership the following season. Crayon is another person that played in Premiership, but not on the Soldier role. This will not his first rodeo on the class however, having already reached 3rd place in Division 1 with AWOOOOO on the role prior.
Piggles and z0diack are the newbies of the bunch, with the former playing with Crayon on AWOOOO, while the latter has yet to obtain a main spot in Division 1, albeit still comes packed with an abundance of experience from lower divisions. Last but certainly not least, avid pugger leth, who was also a part of The Theorists' venture into Premiership, has also added up to the team, which will surely provide momentum the roster needs to propel themselves forth into the rambunctious Invite group.