The rosters here are based off of a mix of information including the teams’ ESEA pages and information inferred from logs.tf. There may well be some mistakes here, plus there’s every chance that some of these rosters will change at this early stage of the season.
1) EVL Gaming [score: 825]
The name EVL Gaming is now very much a staple of ESEA-Invite. In the TF2 Hall of Fame, EVL Gaming is beginning to stand among the world’s greats. They’ve not yet been able to put an end to Froyotech’s dominion over Invite, though. A few seasons ago, half the folk on this team played with Ronin alongside such names as Shrugger and Ma3la. Ronin were beaten by the TLR/Muma/Phorofor iteration of Froyotech.
The spirit of Ronin merged with EVL Gaming, who themselves came fourth that season, to produce a new Froyo-challenger. B4nny’s team grew stronger when they brought in Habib and Shade, and they defeated EVL in the grand final in two maps, but with only three more rounds than their opponents.
For the next season, Cookiejake and Corsa came to EVL to the detriment of Dingo and Slemnish. They went to ESA Rewind and gave SE7EN a serious challenge. Arekk and Nursey joined Froyotech to replace Paddie and Shade. This time the final was a real marathon – six maps, three to each team, but Froyo edged it thanks to their Upper Bracket Final win.
Now, Nursey and Paddie have joined the EVL Gaming camp as medic and pocket respectively. Rando is now the roamer, while Corsa, Yomps, and Bdonski are reprising their roles from last season. Even after so many near misses, they’re still not calling off their spirited campaign to stop Froyotech.
For the first time in their history, EVL are ranked above Froyo in the TF2Metrics system. It finds Paddie, Bdonski, and Nursey to all be among the world’s top six players. If it’s right, Froyotech should be more worried than they’ve been in a long time. It should be an absolute treat whenever these two greats lock horns this season.
2) Froyotech [score: 821]
The truth of the matter is that you could barely fit a cigarette paper between these teams at the moment according to these rankings. They’re so close that they could swap places simply because of the ripple effects from matches that don’t even involve them.
B4nny’s returned to scout now, something he’s always excelled on. Alongside him is Arekk, now fully settled in after joining the team last season. Garbuglio has joined as the pocket soldier after previously playing as EVL’s roamer. On Froyo that role is filled by Blaze. Habib is back once again as demoman, and Shade has made another return as medic, replacing the EVL-bound Nursey.
This system thinks that Froyotech, just like EVL, have become even stronger since last season. They have a serious challenge on their hands, though, and it might not only come from EVL.
3) Gnomercy [score: 696]
This team features a few rejects from the top teams. Among them is Cookiejake, the medic, who played with EVL last season, and Marmaduke, on pocket, who trialled with Froyotech in the off-season. The scout spots are taken by Slemnish and Yight, who last season played with Jamal E-Sports and Mario Party 4 respectively. Dingo joins them as demo and Aim, I believe, is their roamer, both of them also formerly of MP4.
This team is ranked pretty far behind the two leaders, and pretty far ahead of the next team down. Should the stars align, they might be able to cause an upset or two. Their roster looks strong across the board.
4) Six Apes [score: 584]
Six Apes came fourth last season, and this system thinks they’ll pick up exactly where they left off. Their roster very closely resembles that of last season, except with Kryptonite coming in to replace Marmaduke. Saam and Shamoo are staying on as the scouts, Marmaloo is on roamer, Jarrett on demo, and Bear on medic. It’s a rock solid lineup.
Last season, this team consistently beat Mario Party 4 without fail and was, similarly, consistently beaten by Jamal E-Sports. Things might be less clear-cut for this team this season. There’s a lot of Mario Party 4 DNA in Gnomercy so they may well be within Six Apes’ reach. Likewise, Faint Gaming may well be strong enough to challenge Six Apes themselves if they can finalise their roster nicely.
5) Faint Gaming [score: 342]
This team is a successor to last season’s Jamal E-Sports. They’re hard to judge at the moment, as I don’t think they have a finalised roster of six just yet. There are four that look pretty certain, those being Scizor and Highfive on scout, Botmode on pocket, and Phorofor on medic.
Going by the team’s ESEA page, it looks like Vand has some significant involvement with this team. He played with them recently in the uncertain roamer role, so he’s a good bet for that spot. This team also played with Campy on demo a while ago, but he remains on the Mario Party 4 roster at the moment. I think they originally had Sighguy, but he’s moved to Whale eSports since then.
Their score here comes only from the initial four, which is why they’re so far behind Six Apes at the moment. Having said that, it would be difficult for them to close the gap to Six Apes with just two additional players. Given that they’re already ahead of four teams despite being on just four men currently, it’s pretty clear that this team will continue to be ranked fifth in NA no matter who they settle on.
6) Whale eSports [score: 316]
This is the first in a group of three teams that, initially, are ranked pretty closely to eachother. Whale eSports is a very interesting prospect, featuring talent already seen in Invite such as Bo4r and Moy. Their centrepiece has to be Sighguy, who I believe is playing pocket rather than demo. Joining them are Kev on scout, Speedy on roamer, and Tino on medic. None of these latter three are especially well known to the Rankings, so it’s assessment of them isn’t well-informed.
7) Meat Market [score: 264]
This is a name that was last seen in Invite a couple of seasons ago, and joining it are a couple of familiar names in CheesyMacgyver and BroKing. Expected to join them are Jynxed, Mae, Froot, and Zheep. Just like with Whale eSports, half of these players are pretty much unknown to this ranking system. This means their score will only improve as long as they keep showing up.
8) Mario Party 4 [score: 259]
Sandblast’s new project features a few familiar names from upper echelons of ESEA. He’s expected to play scout alongside Phlps, while Goldfish plays pocket and Ranga roamer. Campy is on the roster as demoman, and they’ll be supported by Meyy on medic.
This ranking system expects this team to be competing with the likes of Whale eSports and Meat Market. It thinks it’s unlikely we’ll see any of these teams in the playoffs, but it’s definitely too soon to make a final judgement, of course. It’ll be very exciting indeed to see what these lower teams can achieve.
9) High Altitude Dreamworld [score: 8]
High Altitude Dreamworld begin the season with an unenviable preliminary score of eight. This system only recognises Okiewaka, and the rest of the team are strangers to it.
This score certainly falls short of doing the team justice. They beat a BroKing-less Meat Market handily in a practice match recently, so this team should be able to compete very happily with some of their peers. Once the team have a few games under their belts, they’ll start to settle into a more representative position in the Rankings.