Breaking in the top ten is none other than veteran Demoman-turned-Solder Paulsen. Paulsen will already be a familiar face for many people, having captained Jasmine Tea at both of their international LAN appearances. After returning from his last LAN stint, Paulsen was very much still considered the best Demoman in the country by many. After another convincing win with Jasmine in season 19, he made the switch to Pocket for Jasmine’s season 21 run with enrith taking his place on Demoman. He remained on Soldier for Jasmine’s failed season 22 run before returning to Demoman for their dominant victory in season 23. From seasons 25 to 28, Paulsen could be found on various Jasmine Tea-esque rosters that were clearly not taking the game very seriously and offclassing frequently before he left to form part of the first soirée roster that beat happy feet in the final of season 29. Since then Paulsen has played one more season with soirée (season 31) while serving as a substitute for them in between.
Paulsen was another very difficult player to place. His Demoman seasons are his best in recent history, with his 65.8 gamescore in season 19 a standout performance. With a 61.6 average over the three seasons Jasmine Tea won (19, 21 and 23), in the early days of the era Paulsen was still one of the very best players in the country. It’s very unsurprising that Paulsen’s run with the laid back Jasmine rosters was his worst period statistically, with a 44.3 average across four seasons. When he shifted to Roamer for soirée, Paulsen’s stats were also understandable low with a 46.5 and 49.8 average for season 29 and 31 respectively. However, despite relatively standard stats Paulsen has one of the higher season win counts on the list with six. When I was talking to players while I was putting the list together, a number of players stressed that Paulsen’s maincalling was a significant part of his success as well as his ability to focus his team and keep spirits high. As arguably the most experienced player in the region, it’s easy to see the argument. Paulsen’s high win count is a direct result of the leadership and direction he provides to the rosters he’s on, something that doesn’t show on the scoreboard outside of the round count. While Paulsen’s stats are below the average on this list, when you take into consideration the less-than-serious seasons it’s not a major surprise his stats aren’t standing out. It’s clear that when Paulsen plays in serious rosters he’s often seen success, while stats do drag Paulsen down and prevent an even higher placing, his tenth place is a testament to how impactful his calling and leadership is for his teams.
Another graduate of the nature walk school of TF2, down has played a number of classes on multiple different rosters over the last five years. down spent the earlier season of the modern era playing with low to mid Premier and high Intermediate teams including the aforementioned nature walk, brain brigade and Trisomy 21 before joining finals contenders big chungus in season 24. In these early years, down played a mix of Scout, Soldier and Demoman with his Premier grand final debut being on Flank Scout. Despite a 1 - 3 loss in the final, down must have made an impression as just next season he was picked up by Coffee Clock and won his first season. He remained with the core for the next four seasons, winning every season until their loss to soirée in season 29. Playing either Roamer or Flank Scout, down was a consistent force on the flank for the Coffee Clock/happy feet rosters over their dominant run. After losing to them in the season 29 final, down joined soirée for season 30 and picked up another trophy. This is down’s most recent Premer win, since then he’s been on several playoffs contenders including Beastmode Dragon Brotherhood and X-files.
Since his breakthrough into top Prem in season 24, down has put up solid numbers on all classes. From season 24 to 31, down had 60+ season gamescores in all but one of these seasons, peaking at a 67.9 in season 31 with Beastmode Dragon Brotherhood. When it comes to playoffs, unsurprisingly enough down’s playoffs performances generally correlate with his team’s success as he’s put up good numbers during successful playoffs run, and mediocre numbers in second and third place finishes. While his playoffs numbers do dip as we’d expect, down’s numbers don’t drop off as much as some other players and he’s maintained a 54.8 gamescore in finals which is solid for a player who plays predominantly on the flank. Also unsurprisingly, despite the consistency down has shown in recent years it’s his early seasons in this era that let him down. From season 18 to 23, the four seasons down played average out at 51.7 (which is still not bad for only one top four finish). With down looking very sharp in the recently concluded season 33, this time playing with the combo, he is clearly a versatile player capable of playing many different roles within teams and is able to change class to suit the needs of the teams he plays with.
Certified Tempus Gamer™ riot comes in at #8 on the list. Another player who readers may be familiar with through his YouTube channel or stream, riot has been one of the best Soldiers in the country for many years now. Starting off season 18 with Victory or Riot, a disappointing sixth place finish and a subsequent season-long break saw riot join The Sauce in season 20. A win in the final saw the team stick together and take second place in season 21 and another championship in season 22. After the team (then known as Pencil Case) died in the offseason before season 23, riot took the season off before returning the next season with Coffee Clock. riot won the next three seasons with Coffee Clock before leaving to reform one of his old teams in thunderbirds, hoping to make a deep run in season 27. After getting crushed by No Older Gamers in the semi-final of season 27, riot joined the team next season when they reformed their roster, ready to challenge his former teammates on happy feet. After a brutal loss in the final, soirée was formed and has dominated the scene since. riot has played with every iteration of soirée so far, adding four more wins to his trophy cabinet.
For a Soldier main (especially a Roamer), riot’s stats are remarkably consistent. With a lowest ever season score of 54.5 in season 28 (still an above average performance), riot’s season to season consistency is very good. His earlier seasons were still solid, including a 56.2 with Victory or Riot in season 18, his only season without making playoffs. riot has also shown very high peaks during critical moments with his win in season 22 against Jasmine Tea netting him his highest ever season gamescore at a very impressive 69.8, including a convincing 68.2 four-map final. Grand Final performances are one area where riot does lack somewhat when compared to his peers, however. While a 45.6 overall finals score isn’t terrible for a Roamer, it’s definitely in the lower end of finals scores on the list. Seasons 21 and 28 stand out, where riot posted gamescores of 25.9 and 29.3 respectively, inevitably a contributing factor to his team’s convincing losses in those matches. It’s not all bad news however, as these are the only two grand finals riot has lost and in the other seven finals he’s played, he’s managed to win all seven. All in all, riot is likely still considered by many as the best Roamer in the country and probably a candidate for one of the best Roamers the region has ever produced.
With the most seasons played on this list at 14, there aren’t many players who have shaped Premier over the past five years more than redcoatzygote. Playing his very first season of Premier in season 18 after speedrunning through Open and Intermediate, redcoat shared a similar Premier trajectory with longtime teammate riot. After relatively uninspiring seasons with Victory or Riot in season 18 and then Dog The Boys in season 19, redcoat was another piece of The Sauce in season 20 that turned into Pencil Case by season 22. With two Premier wins under his belt, redcoat helped form Coffee Clock and remained their core Demoman all the way until the team turned into happy feet. Unlike riot, however, redcoat remained with the newly created happy feet team after season 26 accumulating two more wins before their loss to soirée in season 29. Since then redcoat has been dipping his toes into the world of Soldier, playing seasons 30 and 31 on the class with two playoffs finishes.
This ranking was one of the more surprising aspects of this list for me. For a solid stretch of time when he was still regularly playing the class, there were many people that considered redcoat the best Demoman in the region, eclipsing longtime rival enrith. With the most seasons played and grand finals appearances on the list, I assumed redcoat would have been a shoo-in for a top five placing. However when I looked at the numbers, many of redcoat’s early seasons are marred by inconsistency. As we’ve already seen, players’ early seasons in Premier are usually pretty inconsistent and varied and redcoat is no exception with his early seasons hovering at around a 53 average gamescore. His showing in his first season win in season 20 was very good, with a 59.9 gamescore however he dropped off significantly in season 21 before another strong showing in season 22. redcoat unfortunately played enough officials in season 23 for xeno despite not being a core member of the team for it to count in the stats, which due to playing Scout predominantly gives him a fairly mediocre 48.3. Despite winning season 24, redcoat’s gamescore was only 47 (including the final where he was convincingly outperformed by enrith despite being on the winning side). At this point however, things begin to change. From a mediocre scoreline in season 24, season 25 brings redcoat’s best ever season performance with a very strong 66.6. From season 25 to season 29, redcoat’s average jumps to an impressive 62.6 and in an almost poetic fashion, he once more met enrith in the season 29 final; however this time the two were neck and neck in the server despite enrith’s soirée taking the series in a convincing win. If this list dated back even just three years instead of five, redcoat would likely be in the top five, however that’s a matter for another list and for now he’ll have to settle for seventh place.
Up next is MGE-extraordinaire lau. Despite being known for his Medic and Scout play, lau’s Premier debut was actually on Demoman with S A D B O Y S in season 20. He didn’t stick with the class for long, however, as next season he joined Y U G I B O Y S (Jasmine Tea) on Medic and didn’t look back. After picking up his first season win with the Jasmine Tea core, lau subbed for Pencil Case during season 22 and skipped season 23 before returning for season 24 with big chungus, this time on Flank Scout. After a narrow second place finish, lau returned to Medic with Coffee Clock for season 25 and after winning a convincing season with them, reunited with Paulsen on The Older Gamers. After jumping back to happy feet and then Jasmine Beef for seasons 27 and 28 respectively, lau has been the core Medic for soirée for every season they’ve played (as well as adding another win on Scout to his resume in between his soirée seasons).
When looking at lau’s Medic stats, the first thing that stands out are his high impact ratings and efficiency ratings. On Medic, a high impact rating means that lau is outputting more heals per minute than most other Medics in Premier, while a high efficiency rating means that lau doesn’t drop many Ubers. Both of these factors are part of why many consider lau one of the best Medics in the country and arguably one of the best Medics the region has ever seen. lau’s impressive 6/7 Medic season winrate backs this up, with the only season he’s lost being season 22 with Pencil Case where he was a backup and only played eight maps. Looking at his Scout numbers, they stand out right from his first season on the class. A 66.3 gamescore in season 24 is very impressive for anyone, let alone for someone making their combat class playoffs debut. lau’s other Scout seasons follow suit, with his lowest ever gamescore in a Scout season a still-impressive 59.6. lau also has no issues under pressure, with consistent grand finals performances. Despite losing in a 1 - 3 fashion in season 24, lau still delivered in the final with a monster 66.4 performance (only his second ever final). While there are many players contending for the best in their class, lau seems to sit alone as the best Medic in the region, and his history in Premier is an indication of that.