Reigning champions tf2easy have returned to defend their title, and with first place finishes in two of the past five seasons and numerous cups they are surely one of the favourites to win it all. While the lineup has changed from Season 41, you would be hard pressed to describe the incoming Josh and seeds as newcomers; the latter has won Premiership before with this team, back when they were still nerdRage, and the former has done it with them twice. Repeat champions all, they are some of the most familiar names in European TF2, and whenever they have been questioned they have answered in style.
Our story really begins after Season 36 when nerdRage, featuring morale and Josh, took Premiership by storm. After finishing the main season in only fourth place they made it all the way through playoffs to to defeat SVIFT (then featuring nubbi and seeds) in the grand finals, winning what was on paper the unlikeliest of trophies but which never seemed in doubt ingame. This was almost immediately followed with a win at the second Lockdown Throwdown, where nerdRage only lost one map at the entire event, to a 6ix roster with Gazy and Nas boii. All near the top and constantly vying for dominance, when the inter-season roster shuffle came they slowly began to unite.
Calling themselves SVIFT and with adysky and ever_x on Soldiers, they began Season 37 almost perfectly: going into week 4 they had yet to drop a single point, but there they faced Ascent.EU and were felled 4-2, 5-1. Almost immediately, adysky would step down, citing a lack of motivation, and days before the first DreamHack Community Clash they brought in nubbi as their new Roamer. This change didn't immediately pay off, though, as losses to FAINT in the semi-finals and to 3 frenchies is the winning number in the 3rd-4th place decider saw them crash out in fourth place.
Clearly, this wouldn't do. Soon after that event, ever_x too stepped down, with the Pocket role being filled by none other than Josh. This new incarnation of the roster had a less than perfect start, as the remaining weeks of Season 37 saw them take only two wins and a draw, and left them in the first round of playoffs with the whole gauntlet to run. Quickly, they got to work, easily taking down The Bus Crew and getting their revenge against FAINT, but the ultimate challenge, a rematch against Ascent.EU, proved to be a step too far and they had to settle for silver.
For a roster that had been chopped and changed mere weeks beforehand, this wasn't bad, but for the team now playing as nerdRage fourth wasn't good enough. Second wasn't good enough. They came into Season 38 to win it all, rampaging through Premiership as they dropped one map to FAINT en route to a first seed finish. The playoffs may have become double elimination but that didn’t deter them in the slightest, only dropping one more map (to FAINT again) in the grand finals as they added a second trophy to their shelves and cemented their status as the best team in Europe. This was shortly followed up by a virtual trip across the pond for DreamHack Community Clash NA 2021, where they finished third to asdf and froyotech, before in the EU edition they once again took home the trophy in an unequivocal statement of a grand final: 5-0, 5-1 against Denying Euros Prize Money. That was that, they were the best, no question.
So undoubtedly the best, in fact, that they quit. While a few of them would keep their hands in across various teams for the following two seasons, they just didn’t see the point in continuing to stomp the rest of Europe without something more in sight – something that would turn out to be Copenhagen Games. In preparation for this they returned for Season 41, now under the tf2easy banner and with Silentes and auto in place of Josh and seeds, and although the Games were eventually postponed it didn’t stop tf2easy showing why they were the best. Once again they made light work of the regular season, with their only defeat at the hands of – you guessed it – Witness Gaming, leaving them as second seeds going into the playoffs and with an automatic spot in the semi-finals. Here they took down DEATH AND DESTRUCTION in two maps, before in a thriller of a grand final they finally defeated Witness Gaming in three maps to add another trophy to their cabinet.
Most recently, they took home yet another first place in the Unity Cup, the new ruleset no hindrance as in classic tf2easy form they dropped just one map across the whole event, beating both Witness Gaming and North Americans For Unity to take what would prove to be the last trophy for Silentes and auto on this team. Now, with the return of Europe’s loudest maincaller and slipperiest Medic, can they do it again? Or is this season merely the prelude to something bigger and better? We caught up with morale to find out:
TEAMFORTRESS.TV: After your victory in the Unity Cup, what are your thoughts on that adjusted ruleset?
I think it’s great. Playing with a 5 minute timer just makes much more sense, there has always been countless ways at breaking last stalemates and the change doesn’t close any doors in my view, it just more fairly punishes those incapable of executing those methods. I think it also incentivises teams to get good at the Se7en theory of tf2, having perfect, unbreakable holds, with 6 disciplined players, and in my view, if a change forces you to actually improve something, it’s a good change. When I think about it now, I wonder why it took us 12 years to even consider changing this.
I initially though I would be against win limit 5 but having played with it my opinion is actually the complete opposite. I am thankful that we’ll no longer go 4-0 up quickly in a game we’re supposed to win, lose a round and then think urgh we have to win 2 more now. 9/10 times if you’ve got 5 rounds against a team you deserve to be the winner, I wouldn’t have minded seeing the rule be win limit 5 with win difference 2 if the game ends up 4-4, but I also think in the rare case that actually happens it could create some pretty cool tense moments for the stream. I’m still not a fan of the golden cap system because I’m personally against all point splitting, should just be winner takes all in my mind, but one thing at a time, I guess.
TEAMFORTRESS.TV: What was the reasoning behind bringing back Josh and seeds for Silentes and auto?
Well, we never intended to make any changes, but some people clearly had other ideas about that. Thankfully we weren’t dumb enough to be caught off guard by it and we had a few spicy plans lined up in case it happened. As it did, here we are, and Josh’s timing of coming back couldn’t be better. The boys are back together and I couldn’t be happier, this roster is the best 6 I’ve ever played in, and everyone gets along without hiding how they really feel. Always remember who you can trust, nobody ever really changes.
TEAMFORTRESS.TV: Does this season’s result matter as much, or is it all about getting some practice in for i69?
Not particularly, obviously we’d like to win every game we play this season but the truth is it's unlikely to be the focus of anyone who's also planning on attending iSeries this summer. We’ll face the best teams in the season, the playoffs, and at lan in the next few months, they all will have some meaning, but the reality is that the matches at lan will be the ones people actually care about.
Reunited and raring to go, tf2easy are:
- Pocket Scout: morale
- Flank Scout: Gazy
- Roamer: nubbi
- Pocket: Josh
- Demoman: Nas boii
- Medic: seeds