Need hype for i46? Probably not, if you’re like me you will be so excited about the prospect of the largest and most competitive TF2 LAN ever coming up in mere days that you would happily spend 4 or 5 journeys on the train and in the car, going without sleep just to get around working schedules. VanillaTF2 has started posting a lot of excellent content but there is a lack of content from individual contributors at the moment so I feel it is time to step up and write something bashful. Something likely to enrage people to the point where they press down each button harder, in response to the tasteless sentiment that a bunch of funny speaking, obese and culturally inferior peoples from over the Atlantic Ocean are better than us dignified, socially advanced and generally healthier Europeans, if you exclude the population of Newcastle from the survey. I am going to post 10 reasons – not necessarily reflecting my personal opinion but rather the consensus of many opinions I have heard in the past few months – why the two American teams (Classic Mixup and Leviathan Gaming) participating at Multiplay’s insomnia46 LAN event will win and show us how to play our favourite hat simulator shooter game.
1. Americans play more TF2.
A simple and obvious statement but it goes deeper than just putting more hours into TF2, plenty of european teams play as much TF2 as American teams do although it seems like some of the top teams like Epsilon and TCM are consistently less active than the likes of Classic Mixup who seem to be pcw’ing non-stop for the past month. Add into the equation the amount of individual preparation going into every player attending LAN, Ruwin has been spotted constantly in MGE and DM servers, the likes of Platinum, TLR, Pyyour and Tyrone streaming nearly every day for a surplus amount of hours and people like Clockwork, Mackey, Shade and b4nny seen playing a ton of games, whether it is a low level pickup game, invite pug, mix or scrim – these Americans just want to play TF2.
2. Americans play with more variety.
I am not just talking abut unlocks when I say variety;. that doesn’t impact nearly as much as the variety of maps in North American leagues, particularly ESEA where they have a larger map pool than here in Europe with new map additions every season like Process being compulsory and pickup games, mixes and scrims played over a larger variety of maps. In particular my time observing Invite pugs I have seen every map from Badlands, to Snakewater played, with untried maps like Process, Ashville and Yukon all finding some love from across the pond along with other maps like Viaduct_pro and Warmfront in the mix. Compared to Europe where 80% of pickups, pcws and mixes are Badlands and the other 20% a mixture of Snakewater, Gullywash and Granary I expect way more advanced play on mid fights from the Americans, especially on the latter 3 maps.
3. LG are LAN kings.
As good as Mixup are, the main motivation they formed must have been to better LG in the i46 qualifier with the best players from Mihaly’s Flow and Classic Mixup banding together, despite rumoured “personal differences” with the common goal to beat LG and get the funding to showcase their talents to the world. Leviathan Gaming meanwhile having been together for a long time with the core of their combo B4nny and Tyrone playing together for years along with returning roaming soldier Mackey (in for current roamer Dave_AC who can’t attend LAN) and Medic man Shade who recently rejoined the roster midway through last seasons record breaking LAN victory. To put this in perspective, the lineup for LG (known as eMg back then) during the season 7 LAN final had 4 of the current 6 in the roster, with only the deadly scout pair of Clockwork and Cyzer being the people missing and they have been on the team for a few seasons now. Leviathan Gaming are a dynasty and their performances on LAN are undisputed in North America, so it is worth ignoring their online results as of late and judge them on 0 ping.
4. Clockwork is the man for the big stage.
When LG seemed to be on the backfoot last season, when they needed a player to go big and make those huge 2/3/4 mans, gorgeous gamer Clockwork seemed to be the guy to lay supply the meatshots and really halt momentum or better yet, change the tide of a round with 3 scatterguns to the body of an unsuspecting Medic. It is really hard to describe the destructive power of Clockwork, who wrecked last season’s LAN and was the MVP in the eyes of many. When it comes to raising his game for the big occasion, the handsome man from USA’s most southernly state (Mexico) always is the best. In the latter stages of i46 and in the grand final I expect him to carry on in that manner.
5. B4nny is the best player on the planet.
Continuing the topic of LG-love, Grant “B4nny” Vincent is actually the best player in this game. Yeah I know, a bold statement but according to eXtv caster cbear (the best caster on the planet?) b4nny is simply “the best TF2 player in the world” and many top players agree with that statement. He is the only Demoman in North America that is noticeably better than every other Demo west of Ireland ( Admirable is handy with the pipe launcher) and in recent seasons he is seen hurtling Tyrone up onto his shoulders and carrying him to title after title. Not that Tyrone is a bad player, but if you were compared to B4nny your weaknesses would stick out like a Scouser in a country club. There is no reason why he can’t dominate LAN, forget the i46 showmatch where he struggled in high ping, some TF2 players adapt to lag better than others, when the playing fields are even watch out for Jesus with his holy aim and all-knowing brain.
6. Ruwin is the best scout to play the game.
If B4nny is the best TF2 player in the world then surely long time North American legend Ruwin is the best Scout ever to play the game. He was considered one of the best Medics of all time before making the switch to Scout, bringing a wealth of intelligence to his gameplay, making him the near perfect scout positionally and tactically but don’t underestimate how good he is at aiming – he was the only player during Mihaly Flow’s disastrous ESEA LAN that performed consistently well in every match, fragging and damaging highly. In the words of DM no-lifer Sheepy “he beat me 20-5 on MGE scout v scout”, enough said really.
7. TLR is the best soldier in the world.
You get tired of hearing how good TLR is at Soldier but it has to be said – Tyler Morgen is simply the best deathmatching soldier around, with tons of experience pocketing and adapting his game to utilise his immense raw talent into deadly performances. Near perfect rocket and shotgun aim is one thing but he isn’t just another derpy American gunboats soldier, he knows how to position himself to maximise his usefulness to his team and uses ubers better than nearly everyone in the game. Perhaps the only soldier near his level is playing Demoman on his team so expect America’s resident trophy stealer to wreck unassuming European soldiers like Zebbosai or Hocz, whom he outclassed with 140 ping in the i46 showmatch.
8. American Medics are more dynamic than Europeans.
Bradley “pyyyour” Ross said on his stream a few weeks back about how European medics use ubers a lot less effectively than Americans and if you watch the way Mixup dealt with uber fights against TCM in the i46 showmatch it is hard to disagree. Both Pyyyour and Shade are well known for solid ubers and sick dodging skills but both seem to have the all round package including great tactical knowledge (especially Big Brad) and the ability to adapt and change their game to suit the situation. Whilst the best European medics at LAN seem to have at least one noticeable weakness to part of their gameplay, Pyyyour and Shade are both all round accomplished players and you can bet you will see cleaner ubers from the Americans this summer.
9. Mixup is the biggest assortment of legendary and elite TF2 players ever assembled.
If you were in America and you asked people to think of their “dream team” at least half of Classic Mixup would be mentioned by everybody. The other half would probably come from LG, but still Mixup’s players are quite simply the elite of high level TF2 with a massive amount of accolades for every individual on the team. Off the top of my head I can estimate between each player they have won 10 ESEA LANs on different teams, they have always been in the top 3 teams when playing actively on their main class (or in Platinum’s case, secondary class) and always been considered amongst the best of their perspective classes, with Platinum considered as the “only Demo that can handle B4nny“, Harbleu one of the best roaming soldiers to grace the game and Enigma, possibly the most consistent Scout in TF2 as time after time, season after season he has performed for years since the dominant days of Complexity to his ESEA LAN win for Classic Mixup.
10. They will adapt to the Grand stage.
The biggest environment factor during the i46 Grand Final will be the estimated 500 or so people packed together providing the famous TF2 Summer LAN atmosphere, with lots of noise, cheering, shouting, jeering and ‘cheerfuls’ coming from the crowd. A lot different to ESEA LAN yes but these players are used to high numbers of spectators, maybe not in their faces but the pressures of knowing you’re being watched won’t come into it. The noise of the crowd can mostly be drowned out through your headphones, as long as they keep focused on the game I would not imagine Pyyyour, Tyrone and company would be intimidated, in fact I expect many of them will relish the atmosphere, particularly showmen like Mackey and Harbleu, the former being perhaps the most entertaining TF2 player in history.
So there you have 10 reasons why the red and white stripes (and maple syrup lovers) from the continent of North America will dominate the i46 LAN. Us trashy Euros don’t stand a chance, we can’t even press the A or D key when propelled in the air, Epsilon, TCM, Infused and the rest are going to suffer at the hands of Classic Mixup and Leviathon Gaming.
Or are they? I will leave you to decide, some of the stuff I typed above is more popular opinion from what I have heard or read on a variety of TF2 discussion sites, streams and casts. Hang tight for a European version to appear on the site in the next few days, you’re all free to write one yourself you know.