Following on from a great launch at the end of last week, the Cadred TF2 team are delighted to start coverage of what is going to be one of the most competitive and enjoyable LANs the Team Fortress 2 community has seen in a long time.
It will prove to be a great start for the scene in 2010 with 6 of the top European teams traveling to attend the event in Helsinki, Finland, as well as an all-star mix team and a dedicated Finnish side with some highly experienced players, it's clear that the weekend is going to provide some highly entertaining games of TF2.
The immensely popular Finnish LAN is no stranger to TF2, and following on from a great Summer event in August last year where the event organisers staged a 3D TF2 tournament with some great hardware prizes, this time around they've decided to increase the prize pot to €3110 to entice even more competitive teams to attend.
The 3D TF2 Tournament at the Summer Assembly (Picture courtesy of Tuomas Siitonen)
The competition will be structured over 3 days, with Friday being devoted entirely to group stages and Saturday will see the other group and the finals. The groups, seen below, contain a good balance of teams that are all capable of taking rounds off each other and boast huge levels of in-game experience, so it is genuinely hard to predict which sides will make the most of the LAN environment and progress through to the Finals.
Group A – Friday
Group B - Saturday
Dignitas Enjoyed their Summer Assembly(Picture courtesy of coolclan.eu)
Instead of getting predictions from the usual suspects, I decided to speak to two players who are often missed out in articles like this, but who both have an extensive and successful history in top level competitive TF2.
Marco 'mvp' Wichmann has played in some of the very best European teams since the release of TF2 and, after taking a break from the game, has impressively returned to lead German side r@ts to the top of the scene. He predicted the following:
Finally it's here. The biggest TF2 tournament so far. I'm really sad r@ts couldn't field a team, but we're planning on attending the Summer Assembly, so see you there!
The groups seem to be pretty even, but if you take a closer look Group A is really intense. The extensive LAN experience and knowing each other personally will be a big advantage for good old Diggy and the Power boys. They definitely will fight for the pole position, leaving Blight and Rockit work it out who can reach third.
Having spend the night drinking beer and/or enjoying Agron's dancing skills, Group B teams ought to be in shape to show some kick-ass TF2 action. Both Illegal and all-time TF2 nerds Vale, now under the flag of TCM, are definitely the favorites for Group B. The Ubersexuals mix has some well known players in it, but due the lack of team-play and tactics I can't see them getting any better than 3rd place. Although vTroopers also have some experienced players, I'm not sure they have the all-round teamwork to be able to beat anyone in their group, but it's great that they are still showing up – thanks!
Team Dignitas vs Illegal
TCM-Gaming vs Power Gaming
These matches could go any way, and in my opinion it all depends on the maps, tiredness and drunkenness. Going with some of my personal experiences from the past, my vote goes for a Team Dignitas vs TCM-Gaming Final, but I wouldn't dare pick a side here. They are currently the best TF2 teams in Europe, and all I want to see is a great match.
Power Gaming at i38, Newbury(Picture courtesy of coolclan.eu)
Tomas 'Extremer' Aškietas is well known within the scene for his ability to turn games around with his great death-matching skills, and has played for some of the best teams to emerge into the top 10 within the last year. He also sounds like Batman. Try and imagine that while you read his predictions:
Team Dignitas is obviously the favourite in this group, if not the entire tournament. I don't think they'll have much problem beating Team Rockit or Blight Gaming, and they'll most probably beat Power Gaming too, although that will definitely be a close match as when he's playing well, Power Scout wltrs is near impossible to stop.
Between Blight and Rockit, I think it will be close, but Rockit have one or two players stepping in for the event, and so I think Blight's teamwork will be better, leading them to victory.
It's a little harder to predict this group. Although Illegal have been quite inactive recently, I still think that they could beat TCM-Gaming, especially if their star Soldier hocz is on form. TCM however are one of the most active teams in the tournament, and have some very smart players, including the beast that is zerox – if he's playing well, the other team might as well forget it has Scouts. They definitely are on a good run of form, so I'd say they are the favourites.
Ubersexuals and vTroopers should prove an interesting game. Both have an assortment of players with extensive Division 1 experience but not much team-work, so it could go either way. However, I'm going to say Ubersexuals for the third spot, just because some of the players have competed together for a long time.
Team Dignitas vs Illegal
TCM-Gaming vs Power Gaming
As I said before, I think Dignitas remain the strong favourites: even though they aren't especially active, they have great team-work and know how to play the game. That said, Illegal, TCM-Gaming and Power Gaming are all great sides that have some brilliant players, who if they are on form could easily prove me wrong. TCM-Gaming have travelled a long way to get to the event, but their constant practise could help them overcome any problems, whilst Illegal and Power will both have momentum going into the competition after recent victories in important tournaments.
So there we have it. Although Dignitas are predicted favourites, as with any offline tournament, surprises are bound to happen so it shall be interesting to see which teams are able to maintain discipline and get through to the Finals, and which teams suffer a surprising defeat.
The Cadred TF2 team will be there to provide more information about all the games as the weekend progresses.