Without further ado, it is time to get into the list itself. Before I begin I would like to remind everyone that while this list is based on data and statistics, at the end of the day these are my opinions as a spectator of the Premier division over the last five years. The statistical difference between these players is often marginal at best, frequently requiring me to take other factors into account in order to put one player above another. Many players I spoke to had differing opinions on players for various reasons and no one had a list that was the same as mine, this is just one list from one person. With that out of the way, here we go.
Rounding out the list in 20th place is Demoman deft. deft was floating around Intermediate and low Premier before joining nature walk, a staple team of low Premier from seasons 16 to 19. deft slowly but surely worked his way up the leaderboards and established himself as one of the most mechanically skilled Demomen in the country, making his first Premier playoffs appearance in season 20 with vicious delicious, finishing in third place. After playing on several other playoffs rosters, frequently placing third or fourth, he got the call up halfway through season 22 that some players can only dream of; Jasmine Tea needed a Demoman to finish the season with. With Jasmine still being the dominant team of the time that was accustomed to winning the season when they wanted to, the move appeared to be a no-brainer. However, this Jasmine team would fall in the final to rivals Pencil Case, in a fairly convincing 3 - 1 series. Being outperformed by the opposing Demoman redcoatzygote, deft finished the series with a 42.0 gamescore across four maps. Since then, deft has still been a feature of top Prem, boasting ten separate playoffs appearances over the 15 season period, most recently playing for the doom dimension in season 33.
Despite never really breaking into the true top tier of play in Premier grand finals, deft boasts some impressive stats: An overall gamescore of 60 across 13 seasons is impressive, and a playoffs gamescore of 55.7 is very respectable, especially for someone who hasn’t won a season and is usually placing third or fourth. On the other side of the coin, deft’s placements are ultimately his downfall. Without playing at the absolute highest level, it was hard to justify a higher place for deft on the list even with his solid numbers. He is also one of only two players on this list yet to win a season, another factor preventing him from climbing higher. deft has still made a name for himself over the years as one of the strongest Demomen in Premier, and that is unlikely to change in the near future.
The first of three players on this list with international LAN experience, Combo Scout Madness will be a familiar name to many. Madness was active during the early seasons of the era, playing in seasons 19 through to 22. He claimed another convincing season win with Jasmine Tea in season 19 before joining HERTZ, lock and enrith in Mad Men for season 20. After a respectable second place finish, the team joined the SVIFT organisation and rebranded to SVIFT.AU. After losing a tight semi-final to KILLA BEEZ, SVIFT.AU went their separate ways for season 22. Madness ultimately found himself on KILLA BEEZ, now known as Pencil Case, playing against his former team Jasmine Tea in the final, Madness went out on top with a win in season 22. That was the last time Madness` played the game competitively, and he has now been absent for the past ten seasons.
When looking at Madness’s stats, he is potentially the most consistent player on this list; his overall gamescore, playoffs gamescore and Grand Finals gamescores are 62.8, 62.3 and 62.7 respectively (typically most players’ gamescores fall off from regular season to playoffs, and then again to finals) . His best individual season was with Jasmine Tea in season 19, but all other seasons are hovering at the ~60 mark. Looking at these stats in isolation you may think you were looking at someone much higher up on the list, as these stats are in line with top ten and even top five players. The biggest (and virtually only) factor that prevents Madness from joining some of his former teammates in the upper rankings of this list is simply lack of seasons played. With only four seasons played out of 15, Madness lacks the longevity needed to place highly on the list. One of the biggest factors I took into account when ranking players was longevity, and players in Madness’s position (good stats, fewer seasons played) generally struggle to place highly. With that said, it’s Madness’s high level and excellent consistency that have earned him the 19th place on this list.
While Madness was winning Premier in season 22, dogroll was playing on the other end of the league in his very first season of Open. Rising quickly through the ranks, dogroll played Intermediate in season 23 and made his Premier debut in season 24 with cringe. They had a rough season finishing in 7th place, but despite this lacklustre season dogroll averaged a 45 gamescore across the season, which is a respectable score for someone losing most of their matches in their very first Premier season. It was a case of out of the frying pan and into the fire for dogroll however, as next season he found himself playing with playoffs contenders BUTTERFLY EFFECT. Not only did dogroll have to adapt to a new team and a higher level of play, but it was also his first season on Medic in Premier. BUTTERFLY EFFECT defied expectations that season and despite losing to Coffee Clock in the final, their second place finish from a fourth place seed was an impressive result. After a season with ad hominem attack to hone his craft on Demoman, dogroll made his return to BUTTERFLY EFFECT in season 27 this time on Demoman. Another impressive run from BUTTERFLY EFFECT saw them in the final once more, where they fell to a very well-drilled happy feet. Prior to season 28, happy feet came knocking and dogroll took over from lau as the core Medic for the team. After winning his first season with happy feet, dogroll joined up with ALT on the aptly named roster of ALT PUGS, playing two more seasons and winning one on Medic.
Despite dogroll’s stats not immediately standing out when compared to other players on the list (55.2 overall gamescore), there is a direct trend upwards from his first season. His statistical best season is his most recent season win with ALT PUGS, with his past four seasons (S27, 28, 30 and 31) all having gamescores of 58 or more. What is probably the most impressive aspect of dogroll’s run has been the timeframe in which he’s achieved everything. Very few players have gone from Open to Premier in two season, let alone won another two seasons and played in multiple finals on two different classes AND held their own against the best in the region despite having played fewer seasons than most of them have won. dogroll is one of the most consistent Medics in the scene and a very solid Premier Demoman too.
Coming in at number 17 is accomplished Malaysian Scout teejay. teejay is no stranger to ozfortress Premier, having competed at the top of the division off and on since season 15 back in 2016. During season 19 (the first season he played of the era), teejay was already well established as one of the top Scouts in the region despite playing on over 100 ping. Joining HERTZ and co. in no safeword, they finished in a respectable second place beating everyone in the division except eventual champions Jasmine Tea (a trend that would continue for teejay). He joined the same core for SVIFT.AU’s third place run in season 21, this time finishing in third place. teejay ended up joining the struggling Jasmine Tea midway through their rough season 22 run, acquiring another second place finish after their finals loss. After three more third place finishes in seasons 24, 25 and 26 with pineapple towers, servo mutts and rat men respectively, teejay continued to float between different playoffs teams from Jasmine Beef to GlobalClan.AU. Most recently, teejay found himself playing his first Grand Final since season 22 in the recent final from season 32, between soirée and X-files. X-files fell to soirée, adding another second place finish to teejay’s trophy cabinet.
After former teammate deft at #20, teejay is the only other player on this list without a single season win to his name. Comparable to deft as well, teejay sports good stats; a 60.7 season gamescore and a 55 playoffs gamescore are very solid. Where the two differ however is teejay's experience at the very top of Premier. With four Grand Finals appearances under his belt (if you include his appearance as a sub in season 18 for Mad Men) teejay’s average gamescore of 44.6 across these finals may not initially stand out at all, however when you factor in the fact that teejay has only won 2 of his 14 maps played in finals, the 44.6 isn’t as bad as it looks. In the two maps he’s won, teejay has been an instrumental player for his team as either the top or second top performer on his team. It goes without saying, but teejay’s lack of finals appearances and, to a greater extent, wins is a major blight on his record. Much like deft, there is a limit to how far one can progress in the list without winning and teejay’s appearance as the last player without a win is a testament to that. Even still, teejay’s consistent performances on high ping have led to him being recognised as one of the few international players capable of playing at the very top of Premier.
Sam. has been a consistent presence in Premier for many years and has played on some of the best teams in the region. His YouTube channel has been seen by many, with tens of thousands of views across the years making him one of the most well known Oceanic players outside the region. Sam. began this era with Damage, Inc in season 19. After a fourth place finish, he joined The Sauce and picked up his first season win of the era. After taking season 20 off, ozfortress Premier mainstay xeno put together a new roster for season 21 featuring Sam. at the helm. xeno continued to improve over the next three seasons, placing fourth in season 21, third in season 22 and runner up in season 23 with Sam. as a core piece of the team across the whole run. After this period xeno opted to take a break, and Sam. joined the newly-formed superteam Coffee Clock. After another first place trophy, he took a break and upon his return joined up with longtime teammate and old man Paulsen to form The Older Gamers. After average (but presumably fun) results, Head Cavers recruited Sam. to challenge the dominant happy feet in season 28. Despite a promising season, the loss of HERTZ before the playoffs ultimately led to another second place finish for Sam., making the last time he has played as a core member of a roster until the recently finished season 33, unfortunately past the cutoff of our five-year window.
Sam.’s numbers are what you would expect from the #16 placing, with good numbers in all statistics. His season gamescore average is 59.7 and drops to 51.8 in the playoffs, however one of the noticeable drop-offs for Sam. is his performance in finals where he averages a 43.5 gamescore. Given that Sam. has won two of the three finals he’s played, an average of 43.5 is low but not very low (the season 28 final vs happy feet was a noticeable low point for Sam. with a 24.5 gamescore across the series.). While Sam. has good numbers in most stats, that means there is room for each to improve in order for Sam. to climb on the list. More playoffs appearances, more finals/wins and a better finals gamescore would have seen Sam. with a higher placing. Nevertheless, despite his infrequent playoffs appearances and lower win count, Sam. is still considered by many to be one of the most mechanically skilled players in the country. Anyway, now I’m off to watch one of his YouTube videos.