The NA Invite Top 100 is a project merging history and shenanigans with the purpose of highlighting some of the best players in North American TF2 history. Access the hub post here to view outlines, honorable mentions, and previous reveals. Tune in every Monday and Friday for the next release!
As ESEA drew to a close, Ascent picked up a young Soldier main who was unproven at the time to be their pocket in the final two seasons of the league. While jayhyunpae's statistics with Ascent weren't anything special, he nonetheless helped the team to a 28-4 record and two 2nd place finishes (plus a third when counting i65). In Season 2 of RGL, he would switch to Scout for 100 Beasts en route to another 2nd place. Then, froyotech came calling. jay was picked up in the aftermath of yomps creating Dorsia, and he filled those shoes and then some. The Market Gardener is a bit of a...controversial weapon in today's game but what's undeniable is jay's ability with it equipped. He gets key picks
and or salvages team fights more consistently than any other Soldier, no doubt thanks to his gamesense and overall mechanics. Of course in doing so he has also completely ruined a generation of Soldiers
but we're here to focus on the positives. Given all that we've seen of him thus far, it could be argued that jayhyunpae is the single-most talented player NATF2 has ever seen. For now, I'm pretty content with him starting our climb to the final 30. Besides, now that he's back with froyotech, he will only add to his story in the coming years.
Nearly 20 spots later, and we have our next Medic. TheFragile was one of the OG healers who played in the first ESEA season as well as the first five seasons with LAN playoffs. He's been on teams such as S5's Pandemic (4th), S6's Blight-fanom (2nd), and S7's compLexity (2nd). Only four career Medic mains have logged more seasons than TheFragile, and his playoffs percentage puts him at #3. On the all-time leaderboards, TheFragile sits at exactly #10 in ubers, with the fewest drops of anyone in the top ten and the 2nd lowest drops per hour (0.77) behind only phorofor. For legacy, I could point to three things. The first is that he's been head of TF2 operations for the RGB LANs, though again like tri's ESEA admin-ship (is that a word?) didn't play a role in his evaluation. The second is that Fragile utilized uber masks and uber fakes which led it to becoming mainstream. The final involves the Crusader's Crossbow. Before kbk, there was TheFragile, who was the first Medic to run the Crossbow in league play. He did so at a time where the weapon was very niche, but recognized the potential. Perhaps he was a prophet and knew what was to come. He's up there with players like cozen and indust as one of the best Medics to never win a title, but you best believe TheFragile has a spot with some of the best to ever do it. :3
It shows a lot about cyzer in that he has not played in over five years, and still has the 3rd most Invite seasons of all time. He had been playing since before ESEA, and then was active for eight straight years. cyzer's 19 seasons are highlighted by tenures with four teams. During ESEA's infancy, cyzer Scouted for Evil Geniuses alongside players like Reptile and sycknesS, amassing a W-L of 67-29 across six seasons and four playoff appearances. In S6 cyzer became the 5th player in history to drop 60+ in a single match, going 62-45
on Gullywash against Blight. That benchmark has since only been surpassed by five other players, and of those only three are Scouts. In S9 cyzer joined eMazing Gaming and became a staple over their next four seasons, winning two rings and never finishing below 2nd. Then after the enoryt and b4nny divorce, cyzer chose the latter and was rewarded with two 19-0 seasons for his trouble. Three seasons later he returned to Invite play with fan-favorite Street Hoops eSports, making two LANs and continued to be postseason fixtures as the Dark Age began. When cyzer retired after S22, he did so with the 2nd most Invite map wins at the time with over 200. He had also led the division in frags on two separate occasions (S12 and S17). Ignoring a short stint playing Demoman for BUDSQUAD at the lower levels, cyzer may have had the longest most consistent resume of any Invite player not named b4nny.
Starting from here, every player will now typically have two of the following three distinctions: being the best of their time, class versatility, longevity / records. In some instances, they will possess all three. As far as multiclassing goes, it literally cannot get better than alfa. To date, he is the only player in NA history to have made Invite playoffs on all four classes and all six roles. Furthermore, alfa played every class at LAN, adding another unique ribbon to his ledger. Throw on his ability to switch to Sniper and Spy at any given moment for a splash play and alfa truly is the swiss army knife
of TF2. Some other random-ish notes on alfa include three seasons where he ranked the same exact spot in overall frags and frags within whichever class he was playing. It doesn't happen often so it was funny to see a hat trick of such an occurrence. He also had two seasons where he played seven matches and therefore barely missed the cutoff for it to count. One was with the original High Rollers Gaming back in ESEA S11 and the other in S19 with Street Hoops eSports. At the end of the day, I'd argue that alfa is the best player without an Invite title, though players like corsa, highfive, and other older legends are in the conversation as well. His ranking will reflect that statement, as from here on out everyone has a ring.
With an extensive Quake background, relic got very comfortable in the boots of Soldier as the competitive scene began to grow. After taking three championships in the first four ESEA seasons, he and carnage brought their talents to compLexity for the debut LAN season. Securing the 2nd seed with a 13-3 record, relic and coL then proceeded to drop just two maps on the way to yet another title. With a 1.77 K/D ratio and 57.0 FPH, relic had arguably the best performance of anyone that LAN. We didn't have damage statistics yet but one can only imagine what his numbers looked like. He would continue to pocket for compLexity at a very high level for four seasons before making a position and team change as Classic Mixup was born. As the roaming Soldier alongside TLR and harbleu, relic showed that the role didn't matter: he was going to be a menace to deal with. During S10, Classic Mixup became the first (and only) team to win LAN from loser's with the bracket reset against Quantic Gaming. relic was the MVP of that grand finals, killing Quantic's Medic CB at will, and got a fourth title to finish on a high note...that's what I would say, if he had ended his TF2 adventures there. Unfortunately for that narrative, relic would end up being cut from Mixup the following season and finished his career on middling teams, which hurt his career numbers. Still, there was a eight or nine season stretch where he was undoubtedly one of the best Soldiers in the division.
This is around where I'd demarcate a theoretical TF2 Hall of Fame. Since it lines up with the top 25, my OCD is satiated. Starting us off is a currently active player in laz. His humble beginnings started in the middle of ESEA's Dark Age with teams like mario party 4 and Faint Gaming. His first taste of postseason success came in S27 with SVIFT placing 3rd but laz' breakout season would be S29 and FROYO BLACK. Here is his report card from their 15-1 campaign: 4th most overall frags (350), 7th highest overall DPM (277.7), most Medic picks (61), #1 Soldier frags, #1 Soldier FPH, #1 Soldier DPM, #1 Soldier dominations. Oh and he was playing roamer this season. This would be his first of three consecutive 2nd place finishes on BLOYO and Ascent, cementing himself in the highest echelons of the scene. In the RGL Era, he has remained a common sighting in grand finals playing for teams such as GlobalClan Ice and Witness Gaming. With his first championship arriving last season, laz looks to continue that trend moving forward as the rivalry against froyotech thrives on. In my mind, laz and jayhyunpae have set the standard for the modern day Soldier with their insane mechanics and consistency.
Contrary to popular belief, random crits were not enabled when Reptile played, he simply willed his rockets into criticals with his superior mental and physical prowess. Jokes aside, Reptile was one of the earliest superstars in competitive TF2 history. As part of Pandemic they dominated every major event in 2008 and he laid claim as the best Soldier
in the game. In ESEA's debut season he placed 2nd. The following season Reptile would switch to Demoman for compLexity, popping off
for the highest DPM of all Demos and the 2nd most frags. Then in S5 back on Soldier, his 59.6 FPH was top of the class and by a good margin. While I can't speak for S2, in all his other seasons Reptile was always top of the class charts in frags and FPH. Years later in 2009 as he wandered the Invite landscape, Reptile joined Prophets as they moved mackey to Medic following news of CB being unable to attend LAN. However, the two would swap positions for the postseason and Reptile would go on to deliver some quality Medic play. With a U/D ratio of 1.72 across six maps, Reptile turned in the 4th best such ratio across the entire LAN era, and the best of any Medic not named shade. Reptile has a storied legacy spawning from the earliest days of TF2, and with that performance got to ride off into the sunset an ESEA champion.
Another legend from the beginnings of the game, PYYYOUR quickly rose to prominence as a top Invite Medic as early as 2008. In ESEA S3, he helped compLexity grab a 14-2 record while having a 1.66 uber/death ratio. Two seasons later at the first LAN, he would capture his first offline title (second overall). Although he would play sparingly over the next two years, PYYYOUR was always in discussion for the best Medic of the time thanks to his results and consistency. After a rocky finish with S11's Mihalys Flow, he would join the newest superteam. S12 Classic Mixup was one of the most dominant forces in Invite history - it's really between them and S26 froyotech, and PYYYOUR played an instrumental part in that team's success with his contributions on the calling aspect of things. Not to say he didn't perform, as his certainly did that. With an average 19.4 deaths per hour, that's the second lowest of just three instances in the Golden Era. Even expanding to the entirety of ESEA, only about ten Medics have ever recorded that low a stat. PYYYOUR was an incredible student of the game, who streamed reviews that helped teach many a young Medic during his prime. Oh and he happened to predict the future
. PYYYOUR did also play Demoman in Invite for two seasons with Fully Torqued and Top Guns, making playoffs on the former. Much less significant overall but then again he's only the fourth Medic on the list to multiclass, and this extensive history lesson tries to leave no stone unturned with regards to all these incredible players.
The highest-ranking Street Hoops eSports member on the board, ash mixes the multiclassing ability of deadbolt, the winning pedigree of duwatna, and the Soldier strength of grape all into one recipe, with longevity as the cherry on top. Of the original 20b lineup, ash has now more than doubled the playtime in seasons and maintained his position as a top-division threat all the while. As he began his Invite life as a roamer, ash never had the spiciest numbers, but he did have the 3rd most Soldier frags in his sophomore season, and somehow was exactly #27 on the frag leaderboard three out of his first four seasons. For the first half of his TF2 journey, ash got to experience some exhilarating highs (S19 and i55 titles with froyotech) and unfortunate lows (S20 postseason debacle). After a hiatus that lasted nearly three years, he returned still a skilled player but things really kicked up once RGL took over. Since then ash has locked up a top two spot nearly every season from 100 Beasts to Corsia, GlobalClan Ice to Witness Gaming. Given the extensive break between his Invite runs, ash is perhaps a viable case study for how older legends would fare if they ever returned to the game. He was a very good player quickly after his rise to Invite, strong enough to get onto froyotech right at the beginning of the Dark Age, then came back as a routine grand finalist in the RGL Era and even defeated froyotech for another title along the way.
In ESEA S21 botmode took over roaming duties from goldfish on EVL Gaming - the new sponsor for Luca Goers or Getawhale Fanclub as they were called. He helped them reach the playoffs with a 12-4 record, collecting the 4th most Soldier frags along the way. From there botmode's journey split into multiple routes depending on multiple classes. As a Soldier, he climbed the playoff podium steadily and it culminated in a season of pocket for froyotech, earning him his first ring. As a Scout, he led the division in frags with 496 in S27 for SVIFT. That's the most any Invite Scout has ever had in a single season, and a mere three frags away from the all-time record set by TLR and b4nny all the way back in S8. As a Demoman, he got a pair of 2nd places with Ascent while boasting a top two FPH in class, including a 53.5 to lead all Demos in S31. He has played all combat classes for three variations of Ascent. botmode is the modern-day multiclassing talent
. I bet that if ever needed, he could play Medic as well. Outside of b4nny (and alfa), I don't think there's another active player that could operate all four classes at the Invite playoffs level. Being a botmode fan, I would love to see him in the top 20 but couldn't quite justify it yet. Still, being the highest ranked triple classer so far is no small feat.
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