How Fakkelbrigade saved European TF2 (With help from Byte)


December 26th News

Hello my friends, and below I have typed no fewer than 4500 words about a historical TF2 event, one that I felt was so significant and I hope opens the eyes of many of the younger readers about how far we have come in this community, or so I intended it to be when I originally planned to write a lot of stuff this summer, until that serpent of Team Fortress 2, that apple tree of temptation otherwise known as real life took over. However I had managed to more or less finish this little story below sometime in July, but before finding suitable moments in time to publish it (having intended it to be the first part of a three parter) I merely never got around to it. However with the passing of VanillaTF2, the retirement of Arie, the retirement of Byte I thought I might share this, if not for your own viewing pleasure, then at the very least  I know it will be something Arie will enjoy reading (and hopefully Byte will forgive me for publishing!). So here it is, for you The Arrogant Atheist. Merry Christmas.

Arie the Arrogant Athiest – the founder of Fakkelbrigade and key man in the production of VanillaTV and content from VanillaTF2.

This story is one of a classic group of heroes, led by a Dutchman named Exfane as he took down the tyrannical juggernaut, Byte in a classic matchup in an era of competitive TF2 that was defined by ugliness and death. I give you the story of how Fakkelbrigade saved European TF2 (with help from Byte and TCM) by playing actual solid TF2 and to further this, how the legacy of this one moment helped shape a more positive outlook for the future of our scene.

The date is July 3rd, 2011. The time is 9 o’clock in the evening around central Europe and for two great callers of their age, Exfane and Byte, it was their date with destiny. Neither leader had won an ETF2L championship (excluding AFS, most of us would prefer that season was never spoken of again) though Byte had come close on two occasions, losing the Season 3 final to Ubersexuals (what a name) whilst part of TeamCoolerMaster and more vividly in my memory, coming 2nd place by a point to Epsilon eSports, known only as I don’t know? back then, sweeping their first ETF2L title in the process. Ironically the Season 7 finale – of which was part of my first competitive TF2 memories – went down to the the last game of the season, in which TCM managed to beat The Last Resort comfortably over two maps, but Epsilon (aka idk?) managing to hold on against Fakkelbrigade on cp_gorge of all maps. I still distinctively remember Extremer piping down Mirelin with about 50hp left in a 1v1 fight to decide the championship…and the screams of anguish from Byte live on ETF2L Radio.


So Fakkelbrigade had already rained on Byte and TCM’s parade not two seasons prior, but in all that time a lot had happened as we were faced with a Fakkelbrigade vs TCM final at the end of Season 9. The scene was on the verge of collapse as giants of European TF2 such as the illustrious Team Dignitas, Power Gaming, ButtonBashers and Epsilon eSports had snubbed the league in favour of trying to push the community to play in ESL over ETF2L. Heated discussions had emerged on forums, news websites, comment sections and mumble channels alike over the controversial topic of “Unlocks”. Up until this point, European TF2 had been dealing with new unlocks added into the game with every major update, causing numerous debates on their place in the competitive format.


TF2 Unlocks – The biggest debate in the game. The “mail coupon” options above to me sums of the positions of players back then. Take a chance and go forward versus those who are scared of change. A debate that will continue forward for years to come.


Traditionally the high level teams had gone for the “Vanilla” ruleset, zero unlocks except for a couple of weapons for the Medic (Kritzkreig, Ubersaw, Blatsauger from the original Medic update) had become accepted norms of competitive TF2 adding some more spark to an otherwise frustrating class for some to play. However with each new update came a brand new discussion – Should we allow this weapon? What about the Force-a-Nature? Gunboats? Mini Sentries and Pyro unlocks to make Engineer and Pyro more viable in 6v6? Charge ‘n’ Targe for the Demoman would change the pace of the class? The “purist” wished to see all but 3 original Medic unlocks banned whilst those in favour of new unlocks wanted to see more and more added to the game. By today’s standard, this seems like a non-issue – We have Highlander, we have determined which unlocks are glitched, overpowered, unbalanced or generally spoil the 6v6 gameplay and we have a scene that mostly compromises with unlocks since there have been so few new unlocks released by Valve in recent season. But back before Season 9, it was a hot topic that threatened the very core of our community and the community was divided between those calling for new weapons to be integrated to allow the meta of TF2 to advance and grow and those who wanted to keep it as traditional as possible.


In an attempt reach an agreement all could be happy with, ETF2L admin team released what they called the “Cinnamon” unlock ruleset. They allowed particular weapons:


  • Main combat classes (scout, soldier, demoman, heavy): Bonk, Equalizer, Sandvich and Pain train allowed.

  • Support classes: All allowed, except Wrangler, Vita-Saw and Amputator which are banned.

  • Set hats banned (where possible)

  • Weapon (re)skins, hats and other visuals are enabled by default, but can be disabled if teams wish so.


Now this doesn’t seem like too much allowed, in particular for the main combat classes like Scout, Demo and Soldier (only 3 unlocks for those 3 core classes allowed) but the support classes allowed almost everything, including the dreaded Mini-sentries and all Pyro unlocks. All in all, it was a move that did not go down well with the pro-vanilla purists, nor particularly well with some of the pro-unlock members of the community, disappointed to see things like Gunboats and Force-a-Nature banned. The result would lead to the fallout from some of the best European teams snubbing the league completely in favour of ESL and leading a campaign to try and move the community to ESL. To quote a few of the bigger names in the scene at the time:


Moose (former Power Gaming leader/Soldier):


These unlock rules are even worse than most of us expected. Oh well, see you in ESL guys. I just hope they’ll introduce vanilla rules for all divisions so that the lower tier teams won’t have to be dissapointed either and we’ll get a proper standard league for competitive TF2.

Darn (former Team Dignitas leader/soldier)

As these arguments are done for in the prem level, I dont understand why do you still keep this useless debate alive. This will not go anywhere since ESL has given an option to play there for the good people who prefer the lovely vanilla.

Droso (Current Premiership Scout turned defender of teammates)

Once again, good job detering prem teams from your league though.
I’m pretty sure you’ll regret it in one or two seasons.



To this day I cannot say whether or not ESL would have been better for our scene, certainly in terms of giving the High levels teams more serious competition, there is no doubt ESL would be better but with a less user friendly website, ESL wire and the Vanilla unlock rule-set – it’s hard to say whether or not it would have benefited the community as a whole, it will have to be left to a discussion for another day. The fact of the matter was though, Europe’s largest community league was in peril at the top of the scene. Those who were drafted in from Division 1 to replace the top teams that had snubbed the league felt the blow and heat of the competition dying in ETF2L, 7 out of 10 teams folded within a matter of months leaving only three teams willing to see the season out to the end. These teams were Team Thermaltake (only recently sponsored, we will always see them as Fakkelbrigade), TCM Gaming and K1ck eSports. These three survivors of a turbulent season kept going and fought it out in a 3 team playoff to crown the ETF2L season 9 champion.

Fakkelbrigade had actually drawn with K1ck eSports in the regular season, so come playoffs there was some doubt if they could do it but despite the talent of these 5 Israeli’s (plus a young MGE Mike) FB took them down over two maps setting up a final against TCM Gaming, who had beaten both these teams already in the regular season.

TF2 was at Defcon 1 – Credit to Arie for the image.



So now onto the main event – Team Thermaltake versus TCM Gaming for the ETF2L Season 9 championship. It may not have been the expected giants of TF2; no Power Gaming, no Dignitas, no Epsilon, no Buttonbashers but these two teams were both Premiership sides within their own right and were fighting for the hardware prizes and the pride of being ETF2L Champions! VanillaTV was one month old and going strong, Comedian led the production with the likes of Torden and Admirable for company to cast that night and with voice-comms of each team available for the casters to link in, so the stage was set it was down to the teams themselves:


Team Thermaltake (Fakkelbrigade):

Scouts – Bash and Fisshu (aka JoeyC)

Soldiers – Exfane and  Dr Leon

Demoman – Kaidus

Medic –  Mirelin


TCM Gaming

Scouts –  Skinnie and  Coinz

Soldiers –  Flisko and  Pena

Demoman –  Byte

Medic –  Antty


Map 1 – Badlands

Right off the bat TCM dominated middles, despite Kaidus’ speed on the rollout, the two soldier’s aggressive strategy from TCM was too much for the English Demoman as Tt/FB (I will call them Fakkelbrigade to avoid confusion) were crushed and it took little over a minute for TCM to establish the lead. Second middle was more of the same, though FB favoured a more passive rollout with Kaidus going through choke, but it still had the same result and FB were back on last with uber disadvantage. Luck favoured the Dutchies though as Antty began to warp around, disconnected during a pause after a failed push and giving FB the chance to push out and eventually securing the round. Third middle, third mid loss for FB as they adoped the same strategy with a passive Demoman unable to support the aggression of Exfane and Dr Leon, they fell apart and TCM took the round shortly after. It was only until the fourth middle when Kaidus showed his prowess on rollouts and dominated the mid point for FB as TCM failed to establish position on point and were forced out back to last and FB smelt blood, pushed non-ubered, got 2 entry frags including the Demoman Byte (nice trade by JoeyC) and then had Bash sneak around and backup to bring it to 2-2.


A blistering first 15 minutes or so showed no signs of slowing as TCM took a decisive fifth middle, keeping Anty alive with both soldiers doing massive work taking down Mirelin. They capped spire and pushed into last but failed to deal with the heavy of Bash, but managed to regroup for the FB push out and rendered it useless before Anty and Byte came in again with uber advantage and capped it solo.




3-2 to TCM and kaidus once again beat Byte to middle giving his scouts position whilst Exfane counter jumped the aggressive Pena and kept his Medic safe. JoeyC was able to cleanup shop and a full wipe plus uber belonged to FB, who capped easily as TCM found the frags and equalised the score again. Another mid wipe followed as Torden called out TCM’s bad position on mid moments before the aggression from Exfane, DrLeon and the FB scouts destroyed everyone from TCM and once more we saw FB push TCM’s last, though this fight became more scrappy as FB only managed to trade leaving a 3v3 fight between Flisko, Byte and Antty versus Mirelin, Kaidus and Bash. Bash came in from bottom right and found the frag on Mirelin then charged Byte, but Flisko defended his captain but not before he cratered after a pipe fight with Kaidus leaving only flisko to defend the point versus a Medic and Demoman, he managed to find the kill on Mirelin but an 11hp Kaidus bottled him off the point before he could connect his shotgun and gave FB the lead for the first time in the match. TCM were having none of it, capitalising on an early kill on Kaidus they took middle, JoeyC attempted a backcap but it didn’t pay off as Exfane overextended after uber allowing a momentum switch from Spire to capping last and tying the game once more.


The ninth and most decisive mid fight commenced and TCM seemed to be taking the initiative as once more the FB combo was forced out, but JoeyC somehow found the frag on Antty as the mid fight ended and gave FB a chance to push mid back. They failed to find the frags but stabilised on their 2nd point after an overeager push by TCM, making the game tense and slow for the first time, a methodical Byte probed FB for weaknesses and pushed in, winning the uber fight they took position and forced the surviving Demo + Medic out, but lost their Medic Antty and set up a last push for the game with only a few minutes left. FB went for broke and pushed out of last off their small advantage and the TCM team were not in a position to backcap allowing a free cap for FB. After re-capping middle, they took their time on spire but found a frag on Byte and a bad uber from TCM gave FB the spire and a chance to push last as the retreating TCM held on for dear life…alas it was not enough as kaidus zoned out the remaining TCM players allowing Bash to cap and give FB a dramatic 5-4 first map victory with less than 25 seconds left.


Map 2 – Gullywash

Perhaps the best remembered part of the game, this map does go down in TF2 history as being one of the most dramatic, I can only point those of you who have not seen it in the direction of the VOD to know why, or alternatively read on.

The confidence of winning the first map gave Tt a massive boost coming into middles, right off the bat Kaidus killed Skinnie and gave his team position on the point with Tt running Dr Leon on Heavy, making life difficult for the two roaming soldier style TCM enjoyed playing on middles. TCM were forced back to their last point with uber disadvantage, but a poor Tt push was defended successful by TCM, Torden putting the blame on Kaidus for not supporting his team on the point. Despite this the English Demoman got out with Mirelin and helped lock down 2nd point and they maintained their uber advantage, repushing straight back into last seeing Kaidus piling out the damage as Tt took a 1-0 lead. For mid fight number two, Byte tried a fast right side rollout to try and catch Kaidus napping, but Kaidus reacted well falling into a defensive position and baiting the aggression of Pena and Skinnie onto the awaiting Tt scouts and yet again, TCM found their way back onto last, though this time Antty had survived and had his uber to defend. A key point in the game also saw Flisko switch up to heavy who sat on that Gullywash ring on last point as they awaited the Tt push. One look at Flisko on the high ground opted for Tt to throw in some suicides, eventually getting the uber force with Exfane though the re-push came fairly rushed and sporadic, not enough damage was done and the TCM scouts showed their power as Coinz and Skinnie cleaned up the heavies damage and TCM recapped 2nd, going all the way to the Tt last, before failing to a Pyro airblasting them. At this point in the match the game really started to get frantic and exciting as TCM attemped to backcap as Tt came into middle, though Anty survived with uber, Bash managed to get the backcap onto middle and the game got a bit messy, with a couple of trades of middle before TCM pushed in dry and a jump by Pena managed to eliminate Antty from the contest – the TCM rocket surged forward into last and took the round.

At this point I would like to credit the linking of the comms by accident on the 10 minute mark – unbeknown to myself, my VanillaTV admin rights occidentally saw me link Tt comms and interrupt Admirable when I merely intended at the time to switch to their channel listen. A great broadcasting mishap, one I confess to now only years later after I am beyond the justice of Comedian and Byte. Tt struck back with a mid win, a medic pick and a straight forward push into last, taking the round and regaining their lead. Mid fight number four saw a change in tactics from TCM, running Skinnie on sniper and Flisko on Heavy and thanks to some meatshots from Coinz they took middle and only saw Mirelin and Kaidus survive. Pushing last with equal ubers, a misstep from the Latvian medic saw their Heavy Dr Leon dropped and a scrappy fight ensue, Skinnie sniping a few people before an overzealous Antty ran for the point with blood in his eyes, only to run into the respawning Dr Leon and die, denying TCM a chance to repush with uber advantage, much to the frustration of Byte in the team comms.





The game had to this point, been really open and teams did not wait long for advantages or stalemates, opting instead to push and gamble. A refreshing posture on a map like Gullywash, Bash went big as TCM tried to repush second and turned a double kill on Antty and Byte, switching momentum again…until they botched a push onto 2nd with uber advantage before TCM botched another push into last trying to take a Heavy into water. Lots of back and forth and failed pushes and interesting strategies and rolls of the dices, with the next few minutes devolving into failed pushes onto eachothers 2nd points until a decisive Byte kill onto Mirelin gave TCM their chance to push Tt’s last once again with uber advantage…a chance they once again failed as a resounded Byte declared their pushes to last as “absolutely dire”. 2 minutes on the clock and Torden said TCM would need to do something “spectacular” to make the Golden Cap and the next 90 seconds would become a rollercoaster that we all could not take our eyes off.

So one last gasp attempted, TCM pushed out of their last with uber into an ubered Tt combo….meanwhile a flank from TCM managed to overrun lobby and the Tt combo got baited by damage they did on Byte, suddenly tides had changed and a couple of missed shots by Bash onto Antty saw TCM suddenly have the means and momentum to push out with all but 45 seconds to convert the cap from their last to the opponents. Byte was rallying his troops forward, micromanaging each player with the craft of a dictator as Tt gladly conceded two points to gain uber for last. With 15 seconds left, TCM ubered and Tt replied their their counter pop as Byte made one of those split second decisions to go behind in water in an attempt to draw fire and bring people to the point. The gamble paid off, Tt’s main combo fell to the floor and the other players got picked off by the Scouts, whilst the Heavy of Flisko started mowing people down as Byte came back onto the point, completely ignored and TCM secured a dramatic cap with 1 second left on the clock and gave themselves a lifeline with a Golden Cap round – A round they managed to take after rattling Tt more with a mid win, though they completely botched their uber advantage up a ballsy backcap play was rewarded as Tt failed to deal with the heavy of Flisko and TCM pulled off one of the most unlikely wins coming from being literally milliseconds from defeat to on the verge of winning ETF2L.



TCM’s famous last push within a minute has since become TF2 folklore. It is rumoured that Byte still brings up his 40 second last to last push at Dinner parties around the world in his retirement. 


Map 3 – Granary

So here we are, the final and decisive map of the series with the winner getting all of the glory and the prize of….6 x SteelSeries Siberia v2 headsets! Shameless marketing here as the map started with a bang, only 2 up for Tt as they took middle. But Byte, the ever old wiley veteran seems to see things before they happen and predicted where the flank of JoeyC and Dr Leon would go and took them both down with one of his famous sticky traps. Those two kills completely opened the oppurtunity up as they tactically outplayed a committed Tt combo trying to backcap from the TCM garage and turned this into a round win. JoeyC from Tt was not the type of player to go down lightly, he rallied his teams with cries of “focus Byte” on middle and it worked, Leon jumped straight into his face and they gained position and took the middle, followed by the round a minute later and the game was tied up at 1-1. TCM’s mids picked up and Byte showed the young Kaidus how its done on Granary middle, being decisively quicker and with help from Pena, they locked Tt into the corner and we saw Exfane and Mirelin try an ambitious multi-uber strategy on the second point to make up for lost numbers. The plan failed as TCM surrounded them and picked them off ruthlessly, converting the round and sharpened their claws aiming for the Tt jugular and ETF2L glory.

And who could stop them, though TCM failed a Kritz push into last, some clever juggling of Mirelin in granary yard (by that man Byte again) opened the door for TCM to push onto 4th with uber advantage, if it wasn’t for a classic JoeyC backcap on middle through the dropdown area, splitting TCM up and allowing Tt to to gain momentum in the round, where they pushed an uber advantage into yard and got kills, forcing TCM backwards and backwards before they finished them off in last and squared the game up at 2-2 with 15 minutes left on the clock. Wham! Big mid win for Tt as Exfane took down Antty and Kaidus hit an airpipe on Pena to deny all aggression…the nerves were getting to both sides and Exfane showed his anguish with a cry of despair, declaring Tt’s last push failure as a “sissy push”. Tt’s chances of gaining a 3-2 lead returned after a crazy fight in the left yard (from attackers perspective) saw many bodies drop until Exfane cleaned up with a 2k, rocket + shotgun combination on Byte and Skinnie, gifting Tt a mid cap and as they pushed into second, an ambitious Byte put on his gambling hat and called for his team to backcap…a move that failed and cost TCM the round and gave Tt that 3-2 lead they craved.





Game on and TCM flew into middle, and took down 4, only Mirelin and JoeyC managed to escape to last as for the first time in 2 maps worth of gameplay, we saw the game slow down to a stalemate and a classic TF2 Granary last-wait-for-a-pick battle of wits ensued. But after it failed, TCM just pushed straight in and forced an uber as Pena worked his way in ready to drop on Mirelin as it faded and a well worked play saw JoeyC capitalize on the damage and get the medic pick, giving TCM an uber advantage to go into last with. A push…they failed once again but only just enough to bait Tt to come back into second where Skinnie crept up on Kaidus and JoeyC to take them down, joining up with Coinz and Antty to have a go at pushing last…until JoeyC sniped them down causing Tt to push back into TCM’s fourth point. Now at this point in the cast, the action was so frantic Admirable called it an “emotional rollercoaster” and for those who wonder how Mirelin became the Medic he is today, look no further than the brutal verbal abuse he got from Exfane for running into Byte’s pipes on 2nd gifting TCM another uber advantage onto last point. As it were, there seemed to be no reason to panic as the story of the game would go – TCM gain advantage and waste it, once again as with 5 minutes to go Tt tried to retake their yard.

Into the last few minutes and the tension was getting to Tt, with a 1 round lead and one mistake away from defeat, they got forced on their last point after a key kill by Byte onto Kaidus and a jump in by Pena….third time lucky for TCM as they smashed through the gate and found the frags they needed to tie the game up with little over 3 minutes left to play. One mid fight is all it took…one decisive wipe and the championship would be won, but for whom? The fight went in favour of TCM, Byte managed to find Antty on the crates but JoeyC was running on a pure adrenaline as he took down three, eventually only Pena survived the bloodbath with 12hp, though TCM got the mid cap it really meant nothing in the overall balance of who could sneak the win. So TCM pushed, Tt defended with a well co-ordinated uber fight but overstayed their welcome on middle and suddenly TCM saw their opportunity with Mirelin down and a failed suicide attempt on Antty, they pushed 6v4 (as the clock did not allow time for the uber) onto Tt’s last but the power of the Heavy and poor focus fire by TCM saw them lose their chance of winning the crown and once again we saw another Golden Cap to decide the fate of the ETF2L Season 9 champions.

So here we are, the final middle of the season and it was a huge one for Mirelin, his magical footsteps and needles fended off Flisko as Anty went down in the fray and Tt got that uber advantage they so desired. But there is one constant you can guarantee in this contest – Byte’s experience and desire to have  this crown for himself was so big, first his stickies put enough fear into Tt to slow them down into yard before a nervous Mirelin dropped two to one of Byte’s deluxe traps (there is a reason why his sticky plushy remains my most prized gift) and allowed TCM a chance to get back into it. The German Bash was a cool head of experience for Tt; his excellent thinking to run behind and draw TCM back allowed Tt to gain 2nd decisively as the German scout showed why he would emerge as the world’s best in two years time for Epsilon. But back in the present fight, Tt had a great chance to push last with TCM a medic down and bleeding players but they were indecisive in the face of opportunity and in the end opted to regroup and push their uber….into a heavy with a sandvich as a mobile healthpack and failed decisively. Byte pounced like a shark smelling blood in the water and saw his chance to push back and re-cap middle, Tt were looking in bad shape until Dr Leon managed to sneak his way in through Z and flank the TCM combo and switch momentum once again. At this point the comms were frantic, little doors opened up for both teams shots were hit/missed as the watching audience and casters held their breathe at the excitement of this season’s climax. It was anybodies game and the tension was getting to its highest point.

So once again Tt pushed yard and used their uber to get second, but TCM had built in time for last and got two picks and attempted a re-cap of their second point. Exfane was not going to give it up that easily, they immediately responded by killing two TCM played and frags went down all over the second point until it was a Soldier/Medic vs Soldier/Medic on both teams. Flisko took out Exfane but Mirelin showed flashes of the legend he was to become…instead of backing off he rolled the dice, knowing Flisko was not loaded enough to kill him, he jumped into his face and baited the young English soldier into trying to kill him…enough of a bait to allow the respawning Dr Leon to take him down and suddenly it was Tt pushing against only Anty, with 85% uber and 2 respawners running into the fight. The TCM spawns came in time but Mirelin popped off his uber at the wrong time for Byte and his men…clear focus of targets and the call to kill before capping saw TCM players drop in desperation, a last ditch backcap effort was blocked and Tt capped last to scenes of sheer jubilation in their mumble. Fakkelbrigade had beaten Team Cooler Master and Exfane had defeated Byte and won the ETF2L crown.


Team Thermaltake, aka Fakkelbrigade – Shown here at i42 (Minus Bash) were ETF2L champions in Season 9.


The game was a spectacular showpiece of competitive TF2 at its finest. Although both teams made streams of errors and the fights were scrappy – Neither side waited around or settled for slowing the pace down, both teams went at eachother like animals in a cage, tearing eachothers limbs out until one of them crawled out the victor. It was TF2 at it’s finest with a great combination of casting – Experienced analysts like Torden and Admirable picking apart the bad plays and praising the good with what I can only describe as “childlike” enthusiasm of Comedian, who was known for bringing hype and excitement to each push. Mix this in with the constant use of team comms, we were given a treat of what it means to play this game competitively. The passion shown by both teams in the game, with their appraisal of their decisive round and map wins, their sheer frustration and cursing at their mistakes and losses and the celebration after FB/Tt overcame TCM in that Granary golden cap was enough to make the spine tingle for any TF2 lover. Anyone who witnessed that game could not have logged off their PC that evening without the thought of putting 200% extra into their next pcw so they could reach the top one day and emulate the story of Fakkelbrigade.

On the face of it, one really good TF2 game doesn’t make the scene suddenly resurge like magic and the reality of it was, it didn’t in itself “save” European TF2, merely become one of many mitigating factors that helped shape some resurgence. However I cannot play down the importance of such an event amongst the many factors and why it will remain a significant moment in time for our scene. When you visit the forum or news content websites on a daily or weekly basis, like many of us do as part of this community and you see only doom and gloom, disagreements about unlocks, higher level players talking down admin decisions, boycotting leagues, folding and in general only negativity – It brings the whole community down. Atmosphere is one of the most important parts of the community and I distinctively remember my favourite game and past time, Team Fortress 2 being troubled. There had been little if anything in the way of positivity for months on end, the unlock debate being the huge underlying issue (behind many others like maps, prizes and TF2 as an ‘esport’) that had divided the community massively and brought forward many debates, arguments and even hatred. When you are surrounded by negativity on each occasion you log into Steam account and browse the community forums, it is only a matter time you will stop coming back. It’s the same with teams who play in a negative driven environment most of the time, they become a ticking time bomb destined to die out quicker than you want it to.


So to have this one amazing, positive TF2 match that showed us that despite all the war of words and teams deciding where and who to play based on weapons, maps and prizes. Despite all the clashes, all the cries of “TF2 is dead”, all the negativity displayed throughout the past half a year or so within that community at the time – One great TF2 game, where all the talking is done in-game, where the drama, passion and skill comes out above all else and reminds us how great Team Fortress 2 is to play and to watch and despite all the problems in the community, such a spectacle like this was so good that people wanted it more and more and so it was now worthwhile again to log into Steam and open Team Fortress 2 and play in ETF2L. It was one of the catalyst of some of European TF2’s brightest moments – Highlighted here in my 2011’s year in review article and will always remain one of the most memorable TF2 matches to date.


So thank you Exfane, Fakkelbrigade, Byte and TCM Gaming. Thank you VanillaTV for bringing the coverage and a big thank you to Arie for continuing to do good in community even today many years after you’ve stopped playing. You’re the real hero of Fakkelbrigade!


Does this version of history agree with your own recollections? Would you like to dispute these accounts? Was ESL actually the best way forward? Did Fakkelbrigade infact kill TF2 by winning ETF2L? (as predicted by JimmyBreeze). My final thought will be to quote a friend and teammate of mine, creator  zoob looking ahead to 2015:


TF2 in 2015:

[*] Legitimate chance of getting official competitive matchmaking
[*] will be released
[*] Huge TF2Center update will be released
[*] Huge update will be released
[*] ETF2L Season 20 about to be most exciting one in years (lots of improvements)
[*] ESEA Season 18 confirmed
[*] i55 confirmed
[*] A tournament with 2200+ completely NEW players just finished (Highlander Open)
[*] Competitive player numbers still growing (Source: monthly stats)
[*] Concurrent players peaking in Steam lately
[*] We have a proper professional streamer :p
[*] EU pugging at all time high currently (
[*] Stream viewer counts still growing


Rest in Peace Vanilla.

Go to the comments

TF2 by the Numbers – i52


September 14th Feature

Is there no respect for the dead? Can’t we just leave the corpse to it’s eternal rest? Why am I subjecting Vanilla TF2 to the equivalent of exhumation and being ridden around the graveyard in a macabre game of horsey horsey with this record breakingly long graph fest on the joys of i52? Just remember, if the cops come by, this is the way we found it and we’re just trying to bury it again as any civic minded citizen would do.

One year ago I started these articles reviewing the stats at i49. At that tournament an innocent and bright eyed young Demoman named War (at that time rated as one of the best Demos in Yorkshire) playing in an unfancied local team made his name and has since become an integral fixture at the top of the TF2 scene, with i52 marking his final coming of age representing Europe’s finest. And then he (and the rest of his team) fucked it up.

Hopefully I’ll rise to the challenge of summarising this awe inspiring event a little more successfully than the grand finalists, although the spectre of players deliberately selling out their team to inflate their stats purely to look good in this article has raised its barely believable head, so much of this article also contains experimental and never before seen analysis methods. Can I find a way to stop the stats being dominated by log trolls? We’ll see.

Continue reading

Top 10 TF2 plays – July 2014


September 13th Movies
Tagged: commentary eXtelevision extine eXtv Highlights

Lucky Luke — This is the 40th edition of our Top 10 TF2 plays, for July 2014! Don’t forget to send your submissions for the next edition here! Thanks to eXtine for the commentary, Airon for the sound mixing and all our Patrons for sponsoring us this month.

Go to the comments

Admirable x Arie


September 6th Interviews

Admirable — Yeah nice work closing the site,  Arie. Fucking idiot!

Go to the comments

So long…


August 26th Announcement

Arie — and thanks for all the fish.




Go to the comments

i52 HighLANder Cup – Sponsored by Team Awesome!


August 22nd i52

Russian Guyovich — Looming in the shadow of the intercontinental 6v6 cup this year, i52 is playing host to another tournament dedicated to the 9v9 enthusiasts this side of the globe sponsored by the Team Awesome community and run by its very own Rob as a parting gift to all as he attends his final LAN before becoming pussywhipped getting married. While it is not the first 9v9 tournament featured at the i-series, it may well and truly be the debut of a LAN tournment in which the majority of participants are attending to primarily play highlander (after a casual, cannon fodder-like approach to the 6v6 group stages have come to an end).

Continue reading

i49 Fragumentary released!


August 18th i49

Arie — Finally.

Go to the comments

Older Entries »