HTC Reborn Invitational: FugLy's First Impressions

June 06 2015

With the HTC Reborn Invitational underway I spoke with Jacob “FugLy” Medina about the newest iteration of the North American shuffle. In his own words, FugLy gave his opinion on who are strong contenders and who got the short end of the stick with their new roster changes.

In its history, North America has seen multiple roster shuffles over the years, generally following the ESEA LAN finals. The new “kings” of North America have yet to be decided. “In terms of all the teams with the exception of Cloud9, I think it is still too early to tell,” Medina said. “Teams are still adjusting to their new players/spots and you can only take an educated guess as to who will be top 2/3.”

However, Medina predicts that there will be some upsets this weekend. “At the moment, any of the top teams in NA can beat each other. If anything, all of the teams who switched up players in the NA shuffle were for the better minus one team and we will get to that later. For [Team Liquid], I feel we are beginning to rise through the ranks and solidifying ourselves as a top contender for #1 NA,” said Medina.

Cloud9 brought on Skadoodle and fREAKAZOiD a little over a month ago. “On paper, Cloud9 has the strongest lineup with us right behind them. I feel the only thing that they have that we don't have is the experience versus the Euros, “ Medina said. “I can’t remember who said it, but I remember someone saying that fREAKAZOiD can pretty much demolish all NA teams purely based off of aim which is true. Now when he goes over to Europe, I think he will crumble until he adjusts his playstyle that doesn’t work versus the T1/T2 EU teams.”

On home soil however Cloud9 is a different story. “Recently in NA, Cloud9 have been a powerhouse, but they definitely are beatable. We beat them under unfortunate circumstances in the ESWC Qualifier and they also beat us when we used a2z as a stand-in in the ESL ESEA Pro League 16-13. Time will tell but in my opinion it is either us or Cloud9 with Keyd right behind us.”

Moving down the list of the teams competing in HTC Reborn, we look at eLevate’s recent change, dropping desi in lieu of Professor_Chaos. “Just from what I’ve heard, I think Professor_Chaos will make for a better and more positive team environment. In terms of pure fragging ability, desi was better… but with players like roca/RUSH, I think they will be fine.“

Onto Tempo Storm, who picked up ShahZaM after his departure from Cloud9. “ShahZaM is the type of player who can make or break a game. He gets crucial picks that put his team up 5v4 early in the round or can overextend and make it a 4v5. He has definitely improved that roster in both the fragging department and experience.”

Lastly we spoke of team affNity, an up-and-coming group of seasoned players who recently qualified for the ESL ESEA Pro League. “I think teams just underestimate these sort of teams so they make plays they normally wouldn’t make versus top NA teams and it just fails. affNity has potential to upset top teams, although unlikely, but I don’t think they are a top team.

It’s safe to say that Medina is confident at his teams chances at claiming the crown. “adreN is the brains of the operation. He is our strat caller and has been calling fully ever since daps was released. His calling is very lenient and works off of what we want to do.” said Medina. "He also has a lot of experience in this game and his previous game Counter-Strike: Source with Team Dynamic. We are all confident in his ability to call and IGL.”

Medina believes that each member of the squad plays a vital role within the team. “nitr0 is an all around solid fragger and a very versatile player. He knows how to work with others and you can always depend on him no matter what the situation is in-game. EliGE has crazy aim, great comms and he’s confident in his play. He is our entry fragger due to his aim plus high sensitivity and flowsicK is a super confident player, lots of experience and has the best flanks NA. I feel before we had flowsicK we were just lacking a confident player who would take risks and a person who had the experience. I think we found just that with him.”

The HTC Reborn Invitational is running today and tomorrow on The tournament will be cast by Daniel ‘DDK’ Kapadia and James ‘JZFB’ Bardolph of FACEIT fame. There is a $10,000 prize pool at stake and the claim of the best team in North America in a post shuffle world.

Writer // Dylan Walker