When Team USA, comprising two of North America’s top teams – Classic Mixup and Leviathan Gaming landed on the shores of England last week, much was expected from the vanguard of North American competitive TF2. It was not the first time a North American team was making its way across the Atlantic, but this time was different. Between the two rosters, you would find the pinnacle of TF2 talent. The quiet Shropshire town of Telford, known for its UNESCO Heritage site – Ironbridge, would be battleground for the forces from across the Atlantic.
Leading the charge were Classic Mixup – arguably the most dominant team in the lead up to Insomnia i46. Classic Mixup came into i46 as the US favorites – and in some circles, the tournament favorites. Alongside them were the reigning ESEA Season 11 Invite Champions, Leviathan Gaming. LG carried a reputation for upping their game at LANs and with a demoman nicknamed ‘Jesus’, there was no mistake – miracles were expected.
On the other side, stood a formidable opposition –Epsilon eSports, Infused and TCM Gaming. Playing on home turf, Epsilon, Infused and TCM boasted devastating lineups themselves with reputations as some of the best clutch players in the business. Season 12 ETF2L Champions Epsilon were crowd favorites to best the Americans while Infused were the powerhouse contenders. Casters and fans dubbed TCM as the dark horse – the giant-killers. As expected, Epsilon and Infused were seeded 1 and 3, with Classic Mixup and LG seeded 2 and 4. TCM followed, seeded 5. The tournament also saw two French teams competing – punchLine and NITROSE – seeded 6th and 8th respectively.
As the action unfolded on day 1, it was clear that none of the top seeded teams were any pushovers. LG had a tough scrim against TCM whose calling and defense seemed impeccable. Classic Mixup seemed unruffled in practice matches. As expected, Team USA sailed through the first round notching up comprehensive 5-0 victories against Team Cnfs and PyRo|GEN. Round 2 stayed to script with the top Euro teams going through but the standout matchup of the day was TCM Gaming vs. LG. With some exemplary off-classing, (LG fielded a sniper and heavy at the same time on a push to last on Gullywash) LG sent TCM to the lower bracket with a thumping 2-0 victory. LG would then set up a delicious matchup with the top-seeded Epsilon eSports while Classic Mixup would play #2 seeds Infused.
Braving inclement internet, sound and stream issues, casters from eXtv and Vanilla TV followed the action that saw a friendly Euro-American rivalry that extended from the quality of demoman rollouts (Infused’s numlocked vs. LG’s b4nny) to the availability of beer at the venue. Camaraderie and competition only served to intensify the magnitude of this much-hyped intercontinental rivalry.
The Americans exerted complete dominance over the European teams setting up a replay of the ESEA Season 11 LAN final. While LG played some outstanding TF2 with b4nny leading the charge, Classic Mixup completed a fitting victory 2-0 to be crowned i46 Champions – with the American 1-2 crowning Team USA the intercontinental champions – a performance that’s likely to be remembered on both sides of the Atlantic for a long time to come.