For four years now Garda Panteri have been a steadily rising presence in the upper echelons of ETF2L, entering Premiership for the first time last season and now they return with hopes of playoffs. On paper, this season is less stacked than last, with only two teams that placed above them at DreamHack Community Clash participating, so this well-established team stands a good chance.
Since season 36, when they placed second in Division 2, their core has been buud, Manky, Klsz, and milkyeu, joined frequently by KJKUOD and now also by auto. Their first entrance into Prem came through the qualifiers, but a performance characterised by close wins and large defeats saw them finish in sixth place. Hopes for this season will be higher with the return of their maincaller KJKUOD, but the initial outing for this roster at DreamHack was underwhelming: losing out in the Invite qualifiers saw them start from the Open group, and although they made it to playoffs they were eliminated after losing to nerdRage and later FAINT.
Pocket Scout and nominal maincaller KJKUOD, also known as ed, is the resident American but has played with Garda Panteri before, most notably at DreamHack where he outfragged all but three other Invite scouts. Across the pond he has been a regular figure around Invite and Div-1, playing with MAD LUXURIOUS in RGL’s first season and later with various teams under the GlobalClan branding.
Klsz is a long-standing member of Garda Panteri, with Season 39 being his fourth as Flank Scout and designated offclasser. The story of their rise is very much the story of his own, having debuted in Division 2, Division 1 and Premiership with them, and he will be looking to prove his worth at the highest level.
Manky, Roamer and member of Garda Panteri since its original founding, and buud, playing Pocket since Season 36, have extensive experience together: they reprised their roles here for Croatia’s national team, who finished second in their group before being knocked out in the round of 16. Last season this pair put up a not unimpressive showing for Garda, and they will be hoping to build on it and prove that, in a division full of storied soldier duos, they too must be feared.
milkyeu on Demo is another stalwart of Garda Panteri, having founded the original roster way back in 2017, and although he was absent for their Season 37 Div 1 run he returned for their first entrance into Prem, with statistically a very impressive performance though not one that was translated into wins. Last seen representing the Czech Republic for Nations Cup 8, he will be hoping that with this roster Garda have found the success they’ve spent four years fighting for.
auto is the only new addition to the roster, having been last seen in Prem with Alvin and the Britmunks in Season 37, where they placed eighth. He joined the roster for DreamHack, so will be well accustomed to their playstyle, and like them will be searching for that success to cement him as a Premiership-level player.
A sextet of experienced hopefuls, then, Garda Panteri may not be established favourites but they have every chance to make this their season. We caught up with team leader buud to get his thoughts about their chances:
TEAMFORTRESS.TV : What are your thoughts on your S38 and DreamHack performances?
I’m very happy with our s38 performance, especially the win over GlobalClan and the draw against top5 rocket, while playoffs were a possibility last season we were all more than happy with the end result considering we had a 6 debut team with no maincaller
not very happy with the dreamhack cup, we didn't play too well especially with losing qualifiers
TEAMFORTRESS.TV : In the last few seasons your results have steadily improved, do you expect to continue this season and make playoffs?
I expect us to have a better season than the last, playoffs are a very tangible goal as both nR and FAINT aren't playing this season, anything can happen though but that's what's really interesting about a season like this
TEAMFORTRESS.TV : Who are your biggest rivals this season?
every team is our rival. we will stomp all of them into the ground
With a roster spanning 3 continents, Garda Panteri is :
- Combo Scout: KJKUOD
- Flank Scout: Klsz
- Roamer: Manky
- Pocket: buud
- Demoman: milkyeu
- Medic: auto