ChampGG.K went into ETF2L Season 26 aiming to finish no lower than second place come the end of it. In the closing stages of the regular season, the team started to crumble. Adysky was ousted for not being keen enough. Spudd came in as an interim demoman to fill the void until a permanent replacement could be found. Spudd, of course, was one of the Crowns superstars from i58, and for a long time in the TF2Metrics system he was ranked second in the world, ahead even of Raymon.

This state of affairs didn’t last long, though. T0m, the pocket, was ousted next, citing toxicity. In came the great Silentes, another i58 favourite. Then, coach Nuze left in protest of the change. This new iteration of ChampGG put on a single so-so performance before promptly folding. Lowpander inherited their playoffs spot.

ChampGG were a hot prospect throughout that season. They were proud to express how eager they were to work hard, get better, beat SE7EN, and attend the next LAN at i61. This is why I’m sure the vast majority of us saw their demise as a real tragedy. We lost the team that looked best poised to destabilise the SE7EN hegemony of Europe. Who remained who could stop them now?

The original ChampGG roster featured six players who were all very capable indeed: Funs, Maros, T0m, Thaigrr, Adysky, and Turbo. Something that certainly I neglected to think about at the time was the fact that, when the team crumbled and faded into dust, they all suddenly became free agents. The timing of the event was pretty much perfect, too. It meant they could spend the duration of the playoffs getting a head start in the off-season transfers game.

Even though many point to Season 26 as a season of generally low standards, ChampGG weren’t the only non-SE7EN team packing a decent punch that season. It ultimately fell to Arctic Foxes to take on SE7EN during the playoffs. Maros became one of the first ChampGG refugees to be adopted by a former rival camp when he replaced Cykaz at Arctic Foxes. It was a move that breathed new life into the team. In these playoff matches, with Maros on the field, Arctic Foxes gave SE7EN what looked like their toughest challenges of the season.

Another vitally important part of the post-ChampGG game of musical chairs is AMS. Again, the timing was perfect. He, Smirre, and Herr_P were looking to build a new power in ETF2L, and their gates were wide open to embrace the ChampGG exodus. Thaigrr joined their ranks as pocket. Later on, T0m became the last addition to the team as roamer.

Since then, Thaigrr’s left the team and he now appears to be a part of Arctic Foxes’ active roster. I certainly don’t know for sure but I imagine he’s either playing scout or Feeling will off-class on scout allowing Thaigrr to take over as the team’s pocket soldier.

Back in the off-season, Grenjabob left Lowpander, so the team needed a new buddy for Mr. Epic. Once again, courtesy of ChampGG’s demise, the perfect candidate was available in Funs. He’s now an integral component of a Lowpander that looks stronger than ever.

Adysky, meanwhile, took a different route. He built a whole new team around him – Unexpected – featuring promising High-tier players who were themselves soon joined by Sorex, one of Europe’s top scouts.

Now, what would it mean for these teams if ChampGG never broke up? Arctic Foxes would now be going without Maros and Thaigrr, so what might their roster have looked like instead? Perhaps it would be safe to assume that Cykaz would have stuck around to fill the scout slot otherwise held by Maros. This team also flirted with Murje for a while during the off-season, so perhaps he’d now be on pocket with Feeling on scout.

Based on the player and team scores as I have them before me at this particular moment, such roster changes would result in Arctic Foxes’ Rankings score falling from 711 to 637.

If T0m and Thaigrr were never available, what would have happened to AMS’s project? Well, we know Puoskari was ultimately destined to become a part of the team, sending AMS to pocket soldier. That means they’d have been wanting for a roamer. Apart from T0m, there was another very capable roamer that this team trialled – Rising. In truth, he played with the ill-fated Perminators team that folded midway through the pre-season playoffs. With T0m unavailable, perhaps BazookaSports would have been able to tempt Rising back over into their camp after Perminators’ demise.

Bearing in mind that Rising isn’t especially well known to this system as it is, such a scenario would see BazookaSports’ score in the Rankings drop slightly from 677 as it is now to 663.

As for Lowpander, the other main candidate for the empty scout slot, as far as I can tell, was Sheepy. In truth, he ended up playing for Loli Squad. Without the prospect of Funs joining, perhaps Lowpander would have quickly settled on the Scot as Grenjabob’s replacement. Under these circumstances, Lowpander’s score would be 605 rather than 638 as it actually is.

Last of all there’s Adysky, and it’s probably safe to say that there would be no Unexpected without him. This might have meant Loli Squad or ★★★½ would have made the step up to Prem in their stead.

The demise of ChampGG.K was, at the time, a great shame. It was a lost opportunity not only in terms of ETF2L but i61 as well. However, the redistribution of its players has helped to drive the vast improvement in competitiveness that ETF2L is now enjoying in its Season 27 renaissance. Had they not broken up, at least two teams would probably be noticeably weaker and a third in all likelihood wouldn’t even exist.

We lost one potential SE7EN-beater, but it was thanks in part to this that we gained maybe three more.

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