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Insomnia69 Invite Group preview
posted in News
JMaxchill
August 26, 2022

Insomnia is back! This weekend, the world's best teams will descend on the NEC to fight it out for the title, battling through the Invite group, the playoffs, and finally on stage to see who will take the coveted trophy. These four teams are this year's Invite group, and we've got the low down on why you should fear them.

Witness Gaming

  • Pocket Scout: toemas_
  • Flank Scout: ixy
  • Roamer: Silentes
  • Pocket: papi
  • Demo: Domo
  • Medic: mulaa

When they came together several seasons ago, Witness Gaming had their eyes on the long term, and that means LAN. On the way, they picked up the ETF2L S42 title, and after a 3-0 victory over tf2easy come into i69 as reigning EU champions.

In the process of winning S42, they avenged their S41 defeat at the hands of tf2easy’s previous roster, then featuring auto and i65 champion Silentes. Come the inter-season shuffle, they picked up Silentes to their roster on Roamer, rather than the Pocket Soldier he previously played during S41, and it paid off in style. The newfound flank maestro put up particularly stand-out performances in their S42 Grand Finals win, and as the most experienced European player attending i69, his playmaking will be a vital part of Witness Gaming. Flank partner ixy, in contrast, is one of the newer names to the highest echelons of TF2, having spent more than a year towards the bottom of Premiership before getting the call-up to Witness Gaming in place of the legendary Thaigrr. Almost immediately he proved himself a worthy replacement, with a nomination (at the least) for Flank Scout of the Season under his belt.

In charge of the beam will be mulaa, who rose up through the French scene so fast his tenth match on ETF2L was in the qualifiers for Premiership. Originally he played on one of the numerous French mix teams, before joining tf2easy (then nerdRage) for their storied S36 victory. Since then he has won the title twice more, and comes into LAN as one of the acknowledged best Medics in Europe. His addition to this iteration of Witness Gaming came about as former Medic player Domo returned to his roots on Demo, with such an explosive performance that papi questioned why he’d ever left. Showing an ability to simply take over the game at times and a straight-up refusal to die, the multiple ETF2L champion and veteran of many a LAN is here to win the one event he never has: Insomnia.

In the combo, meanwhile, are Pocket Soldier papi and Pocket Scout toemas_, two of the most formidable names in Europe. Returning from their i65 third place finish with Faint Gaming EU, they are looking to prove that in the intervening years they have become the best in the world. With one heralded as the most natural leader in Europe and the other outfragging every other scout in Prem and alongside the terrifying forces they have assembled they just might do it.

tf2easy

  • Pocket Scout: morale
  • Flank Scout: Gazy
  • Roamer: nubbi
  • Pocket: Josh
  • Demo: Nas boii
  • Medic: seeds

tf2easy arrive in Birmingham as Europe’s second best team, having been narrowly defeated in the S42 Grand Final by Witness Gaming. Don’t let that fool you though: the two-time ETF2L champions and winners of multiple online cups are serious contenders for the title, and they know that this is what they’ve been waiting for.

Collectively and as individuals, the players of tf2easy have spent two years at the very top, but crucially only two. Before COVID, they were good players but not the best, and while they are at least in the top three in the world, the only problem for tf2easy is that the other two are also attending. On LANs, seeds is the most experienced, having played in the Invite group at i63 and i65 and leaving the latter with third place. Nas boii also played Invite at i63 and qualified from the Open group at i65, but that one bronze medal is the most any of them can boast of.

What do they have going for them, then? In a word, teamwork. Their roster is the longest-standing of any invite team, heralded as “the best six I’ve ever played in” by Pocket Scout morale, and have a wide range of potential plays. Scouts morale and Gazy are famed for their offclassing ability, on Sniper and Pyro respectively, and Roamer nubbi is responsible for terrifying every opposing Medic as he soars through the skies towards them. Behind these, Medic seeds and Demo Nas boii die less than practically everyone and provide a solid foundation for Pocket Soldier "The Major" Josh to direct his troops.

As well as last season's second place finish, and their S38 and S41 trophies, they have made the playoffs of every season and cup they have played as a team. They have experience against NA teams, rolling a b4nny-led mix team to win the EU DreamHack Community Clash and taking third place in the NA edition, and have spent the last two years working towards the pinnacle of competitive TF2. Have they fixed their mis-steps from last season? Only LAN will tell.

SVIFT

  • Pocket Scout: Samski
  • Flank Scout: $neaky
  • Roamer: danny
  • Pocket: Poison
  • Demo: shappie
  • Medic: marten

A feared and respected name in times gone by, SVIFT now return to LAN with a new face and fresh blood. Over the past year, they have been a solid presence in ETF2L's high tiers, but as the undoubted underdogs at i69 it's up to them to prove that this is good enough.

Returning from the regular season are Flank Scout $neaky, Pocket Poison and the longest-standing member, Roamer danny. With them they bring synergy in the soldier duo and on the flank, which should serve them well in scrappier situations. None of them, though, have played at this level of LAN before, so exactly how far this can take them is yet to be seen. Alongside them is shappie, returning to Demo after a stint on Scout that carried SVIFT to Div 1 playoffs before Yohn's absence from LAN forced a change.

Coming in to fill the gaps are Pocket Scout Samski and Medic marten, two Insomnia and Premiership veterans who bring with them a wealth of experience at the highest level, but who have never achieved above fifth place at I-series. This move was not entirely anticipated, however: gragery, SVIFT's S42 Medic, had originally been planned to play, but last-minute visa issues forced them to look elsewhere. As stand-ins go, though, these are both respected names and add much-needed experience to the mix. While the self-admitted "noobs" may not have the highest hopes, there's always room to surprise.

froyotech

  • Pocket Scout: b4nny
  • Flank Scout: arekk
  • Roamer: paddie
  • Pocket: jayhyunpae
  • Demo: habib
  • Medic: meyy

froyotech — this is a name that needs little introduction, and neither does b4nny, an icon for TF2 globally and North America's most veteran leader. Spanning a decade, he's brought star-studded lineups to Europe almost every year and has always challenged the best. He's attended seven Insomnia tournaments and, despite playing a multitude of roles, has never failed to place top three. Now one title away from claiming the sole record for most Insomnia championships, b4nny is on the verge of making history and adding yet another layer to a supremely impressive career. As the only common thread across every froyotech lineup since the team's inception in 2014 and undeniably one of the greatest players of all time, he'll surely be looking to cement his legacy further with a fourth Insomnia victory.

Though froyotech has gone through many iterations over its storied history, habib and arekk — who joined at the end of 2016 and beginning of 2018 respectively — remain with b4nny as core pieces of this modern era of the team. Though arekk stepped down from the game in May 2021, he has since returned to the team ahead of the recent RGL Season 9 LAN. Despite the break, his extreme success during his several-year period with the team sets him and his teammates up with some high expectations. habib is arguably the most skilled demoman to ever grace the game and has the longest ongoing body of work out of anyone on this roster besides b4nny. Undoubtedly among the best of all time at their respective roles and with a mass of experience and accomplishments together, these three players alone serve as a message to every other competitor at the event: this is a team to be feared.

The soldiers on this team are also highly formidable. When the back-to-back Insomnia-winning lineup (that only b4nny remains from) dissolved in late 2015, paddie was among the players that came in as new blood. Since then, he played for the team on-and-off in the years since, picking up many titles along the way. A flexible player able to shift roles to fit his teammates and play a phenomenal pocket soldier in particular, paddie proved a great asset in his many campaigns with froyo. Though he defeated Europe's champion, Se7en, at Rewind 2017, paddie's Insomnia history is not so stainless. With the only previous time he attended the event being a disappointing third place finish with froyotech at i58 in 2016, paddie now returns to Europe's biggest stage six years later with a chance at redemption.

jayhyunpae is a player whose reputation precedes him. A mechanical super-talent who first rose to prominence with Ascent in 2019, jayhyunpae became known for two things: having an extremely fast sensitivity and being really, really good. For a while, however, first place eluded him. Despite him and his team impressing everyone at i65, he found himself on the receiving end of a 3-0 in the final at the hands of European juggernaut Se7en. He also tried many times to claim the North American crown for Ascent and 100 Beasts, but was never able to overcome the brick-wall that was froyotech. In July 2020, jay joined froyo and finally ascended to the throne of North American TF2. An exceptionally skilled soldier, scout and offclasser as well as being known for unconventional strategies such as use of the market gardener, jayhyunpae should be an exciting player to watch as he looks to amend his 2019 failures and claim an Insomnia title.

meyy is the least accomplished and internationally-experienced player on this lineup, but don't let that fool you — he's a well-renowned caller and combined with b4nny, sets froyo up as a powerhouse of strategic prowess. Already having a multitude of North American titles under his belt both online and on LAN, meyy will surely be eager to prove himself against Europe's best as he heads to his first international tournament.

froyotech are looking hot coming off three North American LAN victories in a row in the last seven months. Though the return of arekk is recent and that of paddie even more so, this squad has such a strong core and wealth of skill and experience together that it's hard not to see them as favourites. Are froyotech heading towards their fourth Insomnia title?

froyotech contributed by JWB

1
#1
TFNew
12 Frags +

big supporter of the fact that im the only one considered cool enough to be credited for my segment

big supporter of the fact that im the only one considered cool enough to be credited for my segment
2
#2
TFNew
7 Frags +
JWBbig supporter of the fact that im the only one considered cool enough to be credited for my segment

i have been told that this is because all the rest was written by jmax so i would like to publicly express my disappointment in aelkyr and dempsey

[quote=JWB]big supporter of the fact that im the only one considered cool enough to be credited for my segment[/quote]
i have been told that this is because all the rest was written by jmax so i would like to publicly express my disappointment in aelkyr and dempsey
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