March 21, 2017
ETF2L Highlander Season 12 is around the corner, and with it comes the second edition of the BlackOut TV Highlander Invitational! This time it will bring together 8 of the absolute best European Highlander teams to dish it out against each other to take a shot at the growing £100 prize-pool.
- Strong Opinions
- Tourettes Chessclub
- Super Dickmann's KANNONEN!
- Budget Toucans
- Super Dickmann's MALLCOPS!
- inVision (not confirmed)
- opeen_squad #borninthewrongdiv
- Feila eSports finanzieren durch DROPS
Tune in to BlackOutGamingTV as early as 16:00CET on Saturday 25th & 16:00CEST on Sunday 26th of March to watch every bit of action casted by sigafoo, jakeowaty, Beater, Heavy Is GPS, Chando & Buck824 with legendary Wiethoofd and Jon on camera.
As of now the prizepool is under development, and at the moment of writing stands at £30 and 35 Mann Co. Keys. Everyone who would like to contribute to European Highlander can do so by donating to the BlackOut TV fund here. Perhaps that old, wretched festive is of no use to you? If that is the case and you would rather chip in via items, you can do so here. All donators will be given shoutouts after the winners have been crowned on Twitch.tv.
: £X + items donations
: £X + items donations
: items donations
Format & Maps
The format this year is a little different than last time. On Saturday a Round-Robin stage will be played where every team will play each other on one map. Top 4 of the group will automatically get placed in Winners’ Bracket while bottom 4 will have to fight their way in Losers’ Bracket on Sunday.
The tournament will be running the ETF2L Season 12 maplist, which consists of pl_upward, cp_gullywash_final, koth_product_rc8, pl_borneo, cp_steel, pl_badwater as well as koth_coalplant_b7.
Config & Whitelist
The cup will be running ETF2L Season 12 config and whitelist.
Rules of the cup are the same as ETF2L except the following:
-Every team is allowed to use two default mercs and three if enemy team agrees.
– PL/AD: Best Of 2
– KOTH: Best Of 5.
– 5CP: Time limit 30, Win difference 5, No Golden Cap.
– PL/AD: Best Of 3
– KOTH: Best Of 5.
– 5CP: Time limit 30, Win difference 5, Golden Cap Time limit 10 & if no team takes the last point in time, another round is to be played where the team that captures middle point first wins the map.
– The map is to be determined by the following system: Lower seed bans 1 map; Higher seed bans 3 maps; Lower seed bans 1 map; Higher seed chooses one map from the remaining two.
Losers’ Bracket Final & Grand Final
Best of 3 maps
– PL/AD maps are to be played as Best Of 1.
– Maps are decided by standard Elimination System.
IMPORTANT: Daylight Saving Time starts on Sunday so the clock goes forward 1 hour: CET becomes CEST.
The following are games that are going to be casted by BlackOutGaming TV. The full schedule of all matches can be found on official Toornament web-page or in the widget on top of this article.
Saturday the 25th of March
16:00CET – Round 1 – Budget Toucans vs Super Dickmann's MALLCOPS!
16:45CET – Round 2 – Feila eSports finanzieren durch DROPS vs inVision
17:30CET – Round 3 – Super Dickmann's KANNONEN! vs Tourettes Chessclub
18:15CET – Round 4 – Strong Opinions vs Super Dickmann's MALLCOPS!
45 minute break
19:45CET – Round 5 – opeen_squad #borninthewrongdiv vs Feila eSports finanzieren durch DROPS
20:30CET – Round 6 – Strong Opinions vs Super Dickmann's KANNONEN!
21:15CET – Round 7 – Strong Opinions vs Tourettes Chessclub
Sunday the 26th of March
16:00CEST – Upper Bracket Semi-Final #1: Seed #2 vs Seed #3
17:00CEST – Upper Bracket Finals
18:00CEST – Lower Bracket Round
15 minute break
19:15CEST – Lower Bracket Final
21:15CEST – Grand Finals
16:00CEST – Upper Bracket Semi-Final #2: Seed #1 vs Seed #4
17:00CEST – Lower Bracket Round 2
Teams & Seedings
Cronk was kind enough to write a few passages about every team participating in the cup. Check them out below! (Note: teams’ main rosters are subject to change)
Seeded – #1
The European powerhouse led by none other than CeeJaey, look as dominant as ever heading into the group-stages. After an extremely anticlimactic final against the renowned Tourettes Chessclub in Season 11, the wide mix of European players have tied SNSD’s record of three Premiership first place finishes. During the ongoing UGC Season 21, Strong Opinions almost laughable dominance (with Toast for example off-classing on Engineer), mocked the competition thoroughly. In many other competitive games, the underdogs climb closer and closer to overthrowing the champions. However, this is not the case of Strong Opinions, as they look as forceful as ever. Much of this can be attributed to the team’s phenomenal players, often cited as the best players in their respective class.
Knowing this, it comes as no surprise that 5 of the team’s players earned a class of the season award. Thalash won Scout, Steve! took home his sixth Pyro of the Season, EmilioEstevez finally acquired his first Heavy of the Season, CeeJaey earned himself his second Medic of the Season, and Toast added yet another Spy of the Season to his impressive records.
Whether or not we will watch the ever-prevalent champions of European Highlander protect their legacy, or witness history being made by underdogs finding cracks in their sturdy defense is impossible to fully predict. Taking into consideration Strong Opinions did not play the Preseason Cup, but very recently won the experimental cup, though somewhat less prestigious, Strong Opinions sit comfortably on top of the throne, as the team to beat.
Seeded – #2
In light of the recent outlash by ondkaja after losing to default against Strong Opinions in the Season 11 finals , it seems unlikely we will see the decorated Swede compete in any form of Highlander event in the future. An important historical note is the fact that Khazul is the sole survivor from the original Chessclub. Despite this, Tourettes Chessclub seem to always find their way back to the top, this time featuring the new recruits of Ryder on Demo and the mystery Heavy main, all of whom are top quality players on their own, but have yet to prove themselves in the Chessclub environment. As a consequence of the addition of completely new members to the team, their strengths and weaknesses remain invisible to the public.
As a result of the team led by the soon-to-be mechanical engineer Khazul more or less defaulting their way through the Preseason Cup, not much relevant information can be used to assess the new lineups overall potential. Still, Soldier Jackylegs is no stranger to the Highlander format, neither is Engineer cherryrendezvous who both are unquestionably top-tier players on their own. Flow stepping down before the kickoff of Season 11 was beyond question a wise decision. Tracker filled the Sniper’s shoes with ease, obtaining the Sniper of the Season award by the public. Bejcn still remain since joining back in Season 11, often regarded as one of if not the best Heavy in all of Team Fortress 2.
Further to my previous comment on the lack of information regarding Chessclub’s present form, no clear indications of where they stand makes it incredibly hard to foresee what the new Tourettes Chessclub can accomplish. One thing I will say, in the case of predictions, is how the early showings reasonably will show us what level the modern Tourettes Chessclub have to offer.
Super Dickmann's KANNONEN!
Seeded – #3
Finishing 3rd in Season 11 by knocking out Budget Toucans, but losing out to Tourettes Chessclub, Clark’s team’s 7-week long regular season exhibited countless ups and downs; upsets and confident victories. To remedy some of the team’s apparent weaknesses from Season 11, SDCK decided to pick up Sprayer to replace SDCM’s new main Medic Eniere. Both Mayh and Soldier of the Season 11 dima have played together as a flank for over a year now, having built a reputation as an versatile DM mishmash. SDCK have only gone through two major changes: Apart from Eniere losing his spot in the team, GardenFungus also had to step down due to university obligations. Acquiring the Pyro spot is Yahoo, former Premiership Pyro from the Season 11 dropout The Bureau, by many considered as one of the top three Pyros in the game.
Clark remain as the lineups leader and holds responsibility over this 9-man unit. He’s rarely praised for his contribution in-game, but rather his leadership and determination to make his lineup acknowledged as one of Highlander’s greatest team’s out there. Not only has Clark previously played Scout at Premiership-level for Fair Enough in Season 8, but is also the main organizer of this amazing tournament. Even in the face of embarrassment after having revealed a server rcon on his Twitch.tv channel, the Latvian expressed his sorries by giving his condolences to the opposition.
Seeded below the monsters of Strong Opinions comes to no surprise, but whether or not the Dickmann’s loving gamers can overcome Tourettes Chessclub is the biggest challenge ahead. Last Blackout TV Invitational, over five months ago, saw SDCK dispose of The Bureau as well as Premtech. This time however, the competition seem closer around the top five than in a long time. A finish among the top three is expected, but not in any way set in stone.
Seeded – #4
Budget Toucans, a team of intimate close-knitted friendships have slipped below SDCK in the rankings, but they are from a historical point of view still a dangerous threat to the more household names of Premiership. In Season 11, the lineup supervisioned by Heavy main Maccy ended in 4th place, making playoffs but not advancing any further. As a team, Budget Toucans is not known for their exceptional individual talents, with the obvious exception being the Belgian beast Shaggy on Demoman. Instead, teamwork and coordination is what makes this unit of friends a force to be reckoned with.
Against the entire field, the team with the ‘Power of Friendship’ is without a doubt one of the favourites for reaching the semi-finals. Recent exits from the team in the form of Pyro Vclox and Medic Ace raises the question if the team of friends will find new members in time for the launch of the second edition of the Blackout TV Highlander Invitational.
Excluding the fact that the team is missing two players, Budget Toucans is still a team with a very deep map pool, with only really cp_gullywash and pl_borneo being true danger maps, in any reasonable sense of the term. What will determine if the players on Budget Toucans will earn a top three finish, or fall flat at the finish line is from my point of view their explosivity. More Twitch.tv clips where Soldier Chef steps it up like he did on Product against Tourette’s Chessclub in the Premiership Season 11 playoffs, will have to take place for them to have a chance at a finish on the podium.
Super Dickmann's MALLCOPS!
Seeded – #5
The former ‘Juniors’ of the Super Dickmann’s-trilogy made some major upsets throughout the previous Season. Clashing against the likes of Stacked, Tourette’s Chessclub, and even their mentors SDCK, while getting out on top. The second edition of the Blackout TV Highlander invitational presents a great opportunity for the team to secure themselves a spot among the top 5 teams in Europe. XDCK have undergone several roster changes after bordering on reaching the playoffs. Julez was switched up with mist, Johhny has taken over the Pyro role and Raipe was switched up with long-time member of the Highlander community Kkaltuu on the russian heavy-hitter. After Ace blacklisted himself, Eniere has joined the MALLCOPS, due to being benched by the Seniors.
Their most recent official in the Season 12 Preseason playoffs, against InVision, determined which team would earn themselves a guaranteed spot in Premiership. The hard-fought match displayed the fine line between a stable Premiership team, and a 3-Seasons High team. Both InVision and Super Dickmann’s MALLCOPS had their full roster at their arsenal. Well-coordinated pushes, on specifically pl_upward, resulted in many valuable seconds stacking up in the already favoured team’s benefit, leading to Super Dickmann MALLCOPS had collecting one of the two Premiership spots for Season 12.
Analysing the team with Nate behind the wheels, and how they will perform a week from now is not an easy task. Everything considered, the capable combo of CbIHoK, kKaltUu and Eniere could very likely upset some of the higher-seeded teams on Saturday. Super Dickmann MALLCOPS probably won’t win this event, but they are one of the few lineups many teams in the field don’t want to face, simply because of their unpredictability and high upset potential.
Seeded – #6
Only a few days ago, inVision were told they no longer have a secure spot in Premiership for Season 12. ETF2L in no way tried to sugarcoat the news, and neither did the team’s leader, Stinghan, regarding his personal opinions on the matter. Despite this, InVision appear hungry for one of the two Premiership-spots available to the public, just a few weeks ago acquiring up-and-coming player Alba as their main Pyro for the Season ahead.
On the 13th January 2017, Invision went up against Feila in the semifinal of Season 11, with my expecting a clean sweep from the more experienced team, having previously competed in Premiership. However, to everyone’s surprise, inVision managed to win the three-map match in a very narrow manner, losing out on pl_upward while winning koth_warmtic_rc4 and cp_steel. After the conclusion of the final, inVision celebrated, their hard work had finally paid off. For the last 9 seasons, there have been automatic promotions to Premiership, but for the sake of increasing the number of Season from 2 to 3 with shorter weeks, a smaller amount of teams are eligible to compete in Premiership.
But how will they fare? One key factor for success in inVisions case is how the 9-man lineup plays around their Demoman adamracek. Don’t get me wrong, StiNGHAN’s mixture of players from among others, Poland, England and Russia have the firepower necessary to go head to head versus the very best. While credu and Just1s intimidate many Highlander flanks, leader STiNGHAN’s divergence on Sniper can likely either make or break the team.
Seeded – #7
After a rather uneventful season in Mid, Zamparonie made it his goal to almost completely rebuild the team for a new season in High with hopes of accomplishing a top finish. The gamble paid off as open_squad reached Grand Finals in Season 11 only narrowly losing to inVision. In their preparations for Season 12 they have continued the intense practice by completely dismantling Premiership bronze medalists SDCK! in UGC Week 6 match on Process that caused a bit of controversy due to its use of the wrong whitelist, as well as finishing 2nd in the Pre-Season Cup. This week they will have to face their biggest challenge yet – Premiership Playoffs. Should they come on top remains to be seen, but they are certainly on form.
Boosting such up and coming talents as demoman Murpheey and denkra on sniper it’s not hard to imagine them achieving a prem debut. The germans have been on point ever since they joined the team and it doesn’t look like there’s anything stopping their momentum. Open_squad’s flank consists of O’men on scout and bees on soldier (replaced by lukas for the cup) – a duo that you don’t usually expect much from but who have been stepping up big time in the recent games. Pyroman Strno is the team’s deputy and arguably one if its best players. He’s been praised by many for his deadly shotgun aim and is menacing for any opponent. Yelo on engineer and mezzo on spy are two dark horses of the team. Whilst they aren’t normally considered open_squad’s stars they do their job well and are essential to team’s success. Rounding up the roster is open_squad’s latest addition – ex-Bureau’s heavy Scrambled who joined the team in-between seasons, replacing Zamparonie who’s now playing medic.
Going into the cup Open_squad looks robust and is likely to cause troubles for more experienced teams. Whether or not they will be able to get into top5 or more depends on their performances in prem playoffs this week, but they will certainly try their best.
Feila eSports finanzieren durch DROPS
Seeded – #8
The most influential couple in Team Fortress 2, of course being JoeN and Leila have once again reshuffled their roster after failing to win High in Season 11. Changes from the preceding Season include the departure of Feila’s well-known flank consisting of dreamy and swallow, replaced by two of ETF2L’s own as Bloodis on Scout and Menty on Soldier. Vocal Heavy Strongman Chandos also left the team, with MARS taking his place. To add insult to injury, one of Feila’s most vital key players Walnut, has chosen to step down, many questioning if Budget Toucans old Sniper Porky can fill the absent star-players crucial role.
Many significant members in the Highlander community have tried to dissect the team to find its assets and liabilities, undoubtedly questioning the authoritarian leadership by the Demoman and in-game leader JoeN. When asking several former members of Feila, I have personally found them all mentioning two key factors for no longer playing for the team. These two being negativity and a somewhat hostile environment. Whether or not this will hinder Feila from taking home games against superior opposition is yet to be seen.
Taking into consideration the lineup fell short against the likes of Lucrosa, with Engineer Gannex making some questionable decisions in the Preseason cup, Feila nevertheless seized the throne of the High bracket in the Season 12 Preseason cup against open_squad in the final. On the 20th Feila overcame all odds, defeating Stacked in a swift 2-0 without one of the team’s most valuable assets, JoeN. Whether or not Feila’s spiky groupstage is a sign of inconsistency or series of bad luck will be determined on the 25th onward.