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NA Invite Top 100: Hub Post
posted in News
Tery_
November 22, 2021

Introduction & Disclaimers

Welcome to the NA Top 100. Over the next six weeks, this series of articles will shine the spotlight on some of the best Invite players across North American TF2's history. That's right. A whopping one hundred players across the top levels of NATF2: from as recent as RGL Season 6 (summer 2021) to the first season of ESEA (spring 2009). It's going to be one hell of a journey. But before diving in, we'll lay the groundwork, address numerous roadblocks, among other things. If you don't want to read, skip down to the bottom for some honorable mentions.

Let's get the most obvious out of the way first: this is pretty much as difficult as it gets. Assembling a list of players across nearly ten years to be as objective as possible is simply impossible due to the many difficulties associated with such a task, the key issues will be dissected further in a bit. At the end of the day everyone has their own opinions on who was the better or worse player, longevity vs. peak, underrated vs. overrated, what qualifies as success, etc. etc. This is simply my list. Next, the rankings themselves. These should be considered more loosely - don't think the #57 player on the list is so much better than #85 or anything like that. This will be covered a bit more in Methodology, but players were placed into groups early in the process. So go into these with the understanding that while players are ordered, many within a given range are (for the most part) equal and a couple shifts wouldn't be out of the question. especially so for players at the higher end.

The Unholy Trinity

There are three major issues looming over this project, and I will go over each and their impact on the Top 100.

The Era Problem: Just like in similar lists for sports such as (American) football and baseball, you have to account for the era. The game played in 2010 was different, as was the game in 2015 and 2020. A lot has changed in ten years, whether it's new items being introduced, the meta evolving, whatever. We cannot neglect older players just because they played way back when, and at the same time we cannot neglect newer players because they weren't around for ESEA LAN. Don't get me wrong, that stuff (and others) will be considered when evaluating these players, but it won't ever be the driving force. The eras will be defined in the next section so you can have an understanding of what I worked with.

The Medic Problem: Next up, the Medic class. Trying to properly or fairly place them in a sea of Scout, Soldier, and Demoman players is super difficult no matter what criteria you want to utilize. This is a support class after all, one that relies on their teammates far more than any of the combat classes. The ceiling of this class while technical, does not compare to the impact that the other classes bring to the table. Think of the Medic as the garnish while the rest of the team is the main dish: they can add something, sometimes even to take it over the top, but aren't always required. However, being a Medic main myself, I made sure to give my fellow healing brothers and sisters some love. We play a thankless role, so it's nice to get rewarded in some way.

The Stats Problem: Unlike in sports, there's no uniform time limit per match. Games could last 20 minutes, or they could last an hour. Therefore, just because someone had lower or higher numbers over the course of a season doesn't matter as much. They may have just rolled (or gotten rolled). Any statistical analysis you see will typically adjust / account for the time played so no worries there, but I've found that not everything is 100% accurate on ESEA's end - likely due to the numerous updates to their website over the years. So seasonal statistics and any related anecdotes should be taken with a grain of salt, though career numbers should be more stable (granted they account for all seasons played, and unfortunately it's not possible to sort by specific divisions). There likely won't be any RGL data since they don't provide a similar service, thanks sigafoo. At the end of the day statistical input will be utilized - because this would be bland as hell without, but as always they never tell the whole story.

Methodology

It began with assembling almost every Invite player I could think of. From arcticjoe to milehigh, Nosferatu to zbryan, many players were considered. Then it was onto data collection. How many seasons of Invite did they play? How many times did they make playoffs? How many times did they win it all? Those were the three primary numerical values associated with each player. Wins and losses were more secondary, since I have the ESEA, RGL, and Invite Index sites to reference, but not everything is gonna be perfectly accurate. Tried my best to triple check everything to the best of my ability though, and I'll be giving reminders throughout the series.

Because the era is an important distinction of when a player was active, let me detail the four ranges for y'all.

Ancient Era: pre-ESEA to ESEA S5

Welcome to the prehistoric times. TF2 definitely existed before ESEA, but records of CEVO, TWL, and the like are hard to come by so unfortunately they're all lumped into one "category." We won't draw upon them much at all for obvious reasons. Then we have the start of ESEA and their first handful of seasons. Although S5 was the first with LAN, I included it here to give the Ancient Era roughly the same timespan seasons-wise as the next smallest era (the RGL Era).

Golden Era: ESEA S6 to ESEA S19

This is what people nowadays refer to as "boomer TF2." With a total of 13 seasons, this is the largest of the four eras by a slight margin. While the metagame still saw many twists and turns throughout this timeframe, one thing remains constant: Invite LAN. Level playing field for the top four teams in the division was huge. This era saw old school legacies like Blight and compLexity, the b4nny vs. Platinum duels, and the rise of froyotech.

Dark Age: ESEA S20 to ESEA S31

Once ESEA dropped LAN for TF2, we entered the Dark Age. Without LAN, we reverted to the olden days for Invite playoffs being held online. Halfway through (in the middle of S26), the Jungle Inferno update dropped. Since then we have received zero major updates to the game. What you see today was forged in the fires of this era. Coincidentally, you could also call this the froyotech Era, as they won every season but one during this period.

RGL Era: RGL S1 to RGL S6

Naturally, we are here: the RGL Era. In a post-ESEA world, RGL became the main league for top-level play. There isn't much else to add, though it's important to note that RGL Invite has been...unstable. We've had a couple seasons with ten Invite teams, and then a couple seasons with six. Like the Dark Age, there has not yet been an Invite LAN but that could possibly change for the future. We'll just have to wait and see.

If someone played eight matches (or more) in an ESEA season, it was recorded as a full season. This does cause some inaccuracies where players got cut, stepped down, or jumped teams and the like. For example, serv0's ESEA S19 was logged as a championship even though he did not play in playoffs. At the end of the day though the consistency across all players trumps the limited people it inflates statistics for. With RGL, I checked roster information along with Liquipedia and whether or not players were paid up. From there, I trimmed the candidates down to the 100 players you'll be seeing in this project. Then, sorted them further into bins of where I thought they'd end up: top 25, top 50, etc. Finally, I worked on the full list using those ranges as a guideline. What you're about to view is the third and final draft of the NA Top 100.

Now that you've seen some of the building blocks, it's time to get things rolling. Based on your own opinions, memories, and criteria, I'm sure there will be placements you agree and disagree with, to varying levels of intensity. In essence, this project ranges from an incredible historical archive or an extremely elaborate shitpost. You as the reader will get to decide and have your own interpretations. This is a first in TF2 history, and I'm happy to be your guide through this journey. Let's whet your appetite with a preview of what's to come.

We start with five bonus honorable mentions entries. Players who just barely missed the final cut, or who I believe are worth, well, mentioning. EvilMrMuffinz (great alias by the way) made his Invite debut in ESEA S21 with Running with Scizors and played up until S28. In that short span, he made playoffs two times as two classes: Soldier with Faint Gaming during S25 and Scout with New God Flow during S28. Mainly known as a Scout though, he has contemporary comparisons in players like bo4r, Shamoo, and Freestate.

pheLon has an impressive distinction of having played at the highest level in five different time periods. He competed on high-level teams before ESEA, made Invite playoffs during ESEA S4 and S5 with Evil Geniuses, was active during S6 and S8 as the LAN era got underway, had a pair of seasons in the twilight of ESEA, and finally, played in the inaugural RGL Invite season. To my knowledge. he is the only player in NA history credited with such a feat. As such, he is absolutely worthy of being an honorable mention. Like the old saying goes: you never truly quit TF2.

A list of the best NA Invite players of all time would simply feel empty without Invite's greatest backup of all time. BLoodSire does not have too much activity under his name, with his fourth and final full season being ESEA S8. But like I said, this is the best backup during Invite's Golden Era so put some respect on his name. One of BLoodSire's most notable performances was in S12 coming off the bench after clockwork departed for Spacewhales, putting on a show for viewers in a feisty Gravel Pit duel. Oh and if you want to talk about players who left behind a legacy, maybe you've heard of the Sniper group Auto-Aim?

Gonna cheat and give a two-for-one rising stars deal. Spoiler alert: there aren't many RGL Era players on the list, so I'm using this opportunity to acknowledge some of the newest members of the Invite upper class. Alex.exe and Soapy (no, I'm not gonna spell the whole thing out) have already enjoyed Invite success in a short amount of time. Demoman Alex has three full seasons as a starter with two second place finishes to boot, while Soldier Soapy has two third place finishes in three seasons. Between the two of them, that's quite the resume early on. Alex's consistency and Soapy's mechanics will likely continue capturing audiences in RGL seasons to come.

Wrapping up the honorable mentions is yet another strong alias: animeman. With less than two full seasons to his name, you may be asking why this player is here. Simply put, animeman is one of the earliest cases of a multiclass talent in recorded TF2 history. He played Medic with Loaded in ESEA S4, winning Invite. Then the following season, most of that lineup would became the new compLexity Gaming roster which would go on to win Invite again (with the bonus of it being on LAN this time around). animeman stepped in for enigma during the postseason, and while he was mainly outshone by his partner carnage, the fact that he played Invite playoffs on two different classes in consecutive seasons this early in the TF2 timeline is pretty neat.

The List

#100-#91 | #90-#81 | #80-#71 | #70-#61 | #60-#51 | #50-#41 | #40-#31 | #30-#21 | #20-#11 | #10-6 | #5-#1

1
#1
29 Frags +

tery the goat of tf2 content

looking forward to arguing about whether #54 is actually better than #55 with you all

tery the goat of tf2 content

looking forward to arguing about whether #54 is actually better than #55 with you all
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#2
43 Frags +

excited to see who #1 is, i have a couple guesses

excited to see who #1 is, i have a couple guesses
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#3
4 Frags +

oooh shit yea boi

oooh shit yea boi
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#4
0 Frags +

v cool, can't wait to see this finished, i was thinking the other day how we don't really have a hall of fame to illustrate the game's history

v cool, can't wait to see this finished, i was thinking the other day how we don't really have a hall of fame to illustrate the game's history
5
#5
37 Frags +

Alex should be top 100, i think phelon should too, also im surprised there are that many great players that could rank over these people anyways

Alex should be top 100, i think phelon should too, also im surprised there are that many great players that could rank over these people anyways
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#6
7 Frags +

I look forward to pedantically critiquing this list just like I did to the beta version over steam!

I look forward to pedantically critiquing this list just like I did to the beta version over steam!
7
#7
-23 Frags +

not trying to be edgy but before that one thread was made, how would nursey rank among other great medics?

not trying to be edgy but before that one thread was made, how would nursey rank among other great medics?
8
#8
20 Frags +
delete_my_accountnot trying to be edgy but before that one thread was made, how would nursey rank among other great medics?

lol

[quote=delete_my_account]not trying to be edgy but before that one thread was made, how would nursey rank among other great medics?[/quote]

lol
9
#9
29 Frags +

my mom wants to know when this is coming out and where i'll be.

my mom wants to know when this is coming out and where i'll be.
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#10
61 Frags +

pretty cool, always thought this would be a cool thing to do but the amount of work put in is very daunting obviously

I will certainly be using this as content to argue that all of the top 50-top1 placings are EGREGIOUS

pretty cool, always thought this would be a cool thing to do but the amount of work put in is very daunting obviously

I will certainly be using this as content to argue that all of the top 50-top1 placings are EGREGIOUS
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#11
3 Frags +

Really cool article, very nicely written, I feel old now...

Really cool article, very nicely written, I feel old now...
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#12
15 Frags +

Soapy and alex are literally miles above some people in the top 20 from boomer era and the list isn't even out yet.

Soapy and alex are literally miles above some people in the top 20 from boomer era and the list isn't even out yet.
13
#13
21 Frags +

ken is #4 on the melee list and tery is probably gonna try to value the same things so i think reptile walking around crit rocketing people for a year will probably earn him a top 20 spot

ken is #4 on the melee list and tery is probably gonna try to value the same things so i think reptile walking around crit rocketing people for a year will probably earn him a top 20 spot
14
#14
27 Frags +

hope im at least top 70

https://c.tenor.com/8uHSqdUrZWAAAAAC/prayge-pray.gif

hope im at least top 70

[img]https://c.tenor.com/8uHSqdUrZWAAAAAC/prayge-pray.gif[/img]
15
#15
28 Frags +

i mean i'll wait til it's out but alex.exe not being on it sounds incredibly terrible if there's gonna be some pocket soldier from 2009 who could barely rocket jump on it in his place

i mean i'll wait til it's out but alex.exe not being on it sounds incredibly terrible if there's gonna be some pocket soldier from 2009 who could barely rocket jump on it in his place
16
#16
-2 Frags +

no soapy :(

no soapy :(
17
#17
17 Frags +

no soapy :)

no soapy :)
18
#18
27 Frags +

hey alex.exe

Show Content
hey alex.exe


[spoiler][img]https://cdn.discordapp.com/attachments/746585705379266611/912593453483950110/UJUSTSUCK.jpg[/img][/spoiler]
19
#19
12 Frags +

You're really not going to put alex 'froyoslayer' .exe on your list?

You're really not going to put alex 'froyoslayer' .exe on your list?
20
#20
8 Frags +

#5 enoryt #4 enoryt #3 enoryt #2 enoryt #1 enoryt

#5 enoryt #4 enoryt #3 enoryt #2 enoryt #1 enoryt
21
#21
12 Frags +

surely someone wants to make an EU and an Aussie version aswell

surely someone wants to make an EU and an Aussie version aswell
22
#22
-28 Frags +

here to put my predictions in for top 5 best players of all time:
1. b4nny
2. yomps
3. habib
4. jayhyunpae
5. clockwork
if I were to include the 6th and 7th they would be blaze and arekk just because of how many times they've won Invite and LAN.

P.S. I really want to see delpo make it to the list of NA's Top 100

https://cdn.frankerfacez.com/emoticon/535024/4

here to put my predictions in for top 5 best players of all time:
1. b4nny
2. yomps
3. habib
4. jayhyunpae
5. clockwork
if I were to include the 6th and 7th they would be blaze and arekk just because of how many times they've won Invite and LAN.

P.S. I really want to see delpo make it to the list of NA's Top 100
[img]https://cdn.frankerfacez.com/emoticon/535024/4[/img]
23
#23
20 Frags +

b4nny 0 majors
devilwalk 1 major

b4nny 0 majors
devilwalk 1 major
24
#24
16 Frags +
Phantomi mean i'll wait til it's out but alex.exe not being on it sounds incredibly terrible if there's gonna be some pocket soldier from 2009 who could barely rocket jump on it in his place

I still and will always disagree with this take lol any of those players that were good "back then" if continued to play would have adapted and learned new mechanics and new meta, the game wasn't even remotely the same between any of these era's. we have also seen lots of players from super long ago continue to play and continue to be on top and learn new mechanics/metas (people like blaze come to mind)

[quote=Phantom]i mean i'll wait til it's out but alex.exe not being on it sounds incredibly terrible if there's gonna be some pocket soldier from 2009 who could barely rocket jump on it in his place[/quote]

I still and will always disagree with this take lol any of those players that were good "back then" if continued to play would have adapted and learned new mechanics and new meta, the game wasn't even remotely the same between any of these era's. we have also seen lots of players from super long ago continue to play and continue to be on top and learn new mechanics/metas (people like blaze come to mind)
25
#25
1 Frags +

posting on legendary thread, excited to see some old names from when I and many others started out. Can't wait Tery!

posting on legendary thread, excited to see some old names from when I and many others started out. Can't wait Tery!
26
#26
11 Frags +

no matter where he ends up on the list blaze will still be underrated

no matter where he ends up on the list blaze will still be underrated
27
#27
26 Frags +

damn if bloodsire didnt make it what hope is there for the rest of us

damn if bloodsire didnt make it what hope is there for the rest of us
28
#28
22 Frags +
lucrativePhantomi mean i'll wait til it's out but alex.exe not being on it sounds incredibly terrible if there's gonna be some pocket soldier from 2009 who could barely rocket jump on it in his place
I still and will always disagree with this take lol any of those players that were good "back then" if continued to play would have adapted and learned new mechanics and new meta, the game wasn't even remotely the same between any of these era's. we have also seen lots of players from super long ago continue to play and continue to be on top and learn new mechanics/metas (people like blaze come to mind)

yeah but alex literally beat froyo and top 2'd multiple times... Idk how that cant even be top 100. I'd probably have been comfortable putting alex in the top 60-70 just off that tbqh

[quote=lucrative][quote=Phantom]i mean i'll wait til it's out but alex.exe not being on it sounds incredibly terrible if there's gonna be some pocket soldier from 2009 who could barely rocket jump on it in his place[/quote]

I still and will always disagree with this take lol any of those players that were good "back then" if continued to play would have adapted and learned new mechanics and new meta, the game wasn't even remotely the same between any of these era's. we have also seen lots of players from super long ago continue to play and continue to be on top and learn new mechanics/metas (people like blaze come to mind)[/quote]
yeah but alex literally beat froyo and top 2'd multiple times... Idk how that cant even be top 100. I'd probably have been comfortable putting alex in the top 60-70 just off that tbqh
29
#29
9 Frags +
jetzlucrativePhantomi mean i'll wait til it's out but alex.exe not being on it sounds incredibly terrible if there's gonna be some pocket soldier from 2009 who could barely rocket jump on it in his place
I still and will always disagree with this take lol any of those players that were good "back then" if continued to play would have adapted and learned new mechanics and new meta, the game wasn't even remotely the same between any of these era's. we have also seen lots of players from super long ago continue to play and continue to be on top and learn new mechanics/metas (people like blaze come to mind)
yeah but alex literally beat froyo and top 2'd multiple times... Idk how that cant even be top 100. I'd probably have been comfortable putting alex in the top 60-70 just off that tbqh

I mean froyo is by far the best team to ever be for sure, but its not like players in 2009 didn't play against super teams and beat them from time to time

[quote=jetz][quote=lucrative][quote=Phantom]i mean i'll wait til it's out but alex.exe not being on it sounds incredibly terrible if there's gonna be some pocket soldier from 2009 who could barely rocket jump on it in his place[/quote]

I still and will always disagree with this take lol any of those players that were good "back then" if continued to play would have adapted and learned new mechanics and new meta, the game wasn't even remotely the same between any of these era's. we have also seen lots of players from super long ago continue to play and continue to be on top and learn new mechanics/metas (people like blaze come to mind)[/quote]
yeah but alex literally beat froyo and top 2'd multiple times... Idk how that cant even be top 100. I'd probably have been comfortable putting alex in the top 60-70 just off that tbqh[/quote]

I mean froyo is by far the best team to ever be for sure, but its not like players in 2009 didn't play against super teams and beat them from time to time
30
#30
5 Frags +
rktGODhere to put my predictions in for top 5 best players of all time:
1. b4nny
2. yomps
3. habib
4. jayhyunpae
5. clockwork
https://cdn.frankerfacez.com/emoticon/535024/4

I do not think you read very well

[quote=rktGOD]here to put my predictions in for top 5 best players of all time:
1. b4nny
2. yomps
3. habib
4. jayhyunpae
5. clockwork
[img]https://cdn.frankerfacez.com/emoticon/535024/4[/img][/quote]
I do not think you read very well
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