iBUYPOWER Invitational Preview: Denial

denial-header

Denial E-sports

Roster:

Timothy “autimatic” Ta

Soham “Valens” Chowdhury

Kyle “flowsicK” Mendez

Joshua “sanczington” Ballenger

John “Professor Chaos” Doe


Notable Results:

Group Stage Exit: Clutchcon due to round differential (defeated Kabum.TD, lost to eLevate)

Quarterfinals: ESL Katowice Online Qualifiers (lost to Mythic)

ESEA Season 18 Invite Record: 6-5


Team Overview:

Denial E-sports Logo
It’s been an odd ride for Denial’s newest lineup. Formerly known as LunatiK, the team won ESEA Season 17 Premier but lost key starters in the ensuing off-season prior to their rookie campaign in ESEA Invite. Mitch ‘Dumore’ Green was removed from the squad’s starting roster and ultimately went on to join SKDC, while Mitch ‘Glorinsz’ MacInnis had to step back due to work issues, and is now a part of Ascendancy. Warren ‘hades’ Rettich would go on to become a part of Mythic’s core roster, leaving a daunting rebuilding process for Soham ‘Valens’ Chowdhury. Denial would add veterans like Alec ‘Slemmy’ White and Timothy ’autimatic’ Ta in an attempt to create a solid core to build around, but the team ran into roster troubles early. White chose to step back from gaming in order to focus on other commitments, while core member Skyler ‘Relyks’ Weaver departed to join SKDC mid-way through the season.

Valens was left scrambling to plug the gaps, and ended up added Kyle ‘flowsicK’ Mendez, Joshua ‘sanczington’ Ballenger, and the mysterious Professor Chaos. Mendez has been in and out of ESEA CS:GO Invite with teams like Flaming Rainbows and Area51, and was a longtime CS 1.6 Invite player. Ballenger had a brief stint with CLG in their early seasons as mouseSpaz, filling in as a backup role. He took a break from competitive play for the past two seasons, but has stepped in to help fill the recent void left by departures. Professor Chaos (who, being a villain has requested his true name be withheld) had been a former starter for Denial in previous ESEA Main seasons but transitioned to a backup role during their Premier run.

FlowsicK

Valens himself has successful stints through ESEA Open and Main for four season prior to his championship run as a part of then-LunatiK in ESEA Premier Season 17. Autimatic was one of the youngest Invite players in CS:Source and has played in previous ESEA CS:GO Invite seasons for teams like We Are Lions and brief stints with The Stream Team and Flaming Rainbows. He took two seasons off from competitive play, but has returned to active duty and has been the leading producer in frags for his team during the season. The team has been busy practicing and trying to make up for lost time, having logged over 30 scrims in the month of February on ESEA alone, without including matches and other leagues. But even with an active scrim schedule, Denial is learning on the fly and trying to fit their pieces together as quickly as possible. Valens had this to say about his team’s recent performance and outlook:

“We are more frag centric now on T side and can run away with matches at times. At the same time, we have had trouble closing out some close matches as this type of play style puts a lot of pressure on our CT side if trades don’t go our way on T. We are currently focused on revising what would best be described as an “order through chaos” play style that allows freedom but establishes backup plans for mid round based on what happens.”

Surprisingly, Denial has actually performed quite well in their most recent matches despite the recent fluctuations. Although they started the ESEA season 2-4, the new lineup is now 4-1, with an impressive dismantling of CLG and Area51, as well as a close 14-16 loss to eLevate and a 16-13 win over Cloud9. They are currently tied for a potential tie for a playoff spot, and their three new additions have all played very well, especially sanczington, who is averaging over 20 frags in five matches played and leading the team in ADR. With the new additions holding their own and the active scrim schedule, Denial has been pushing opposing teams hard, both in ESEA and CEVO, taking wins off SKDC and Ascendancy while losing a close contest to CLG. Even more impressively, they downed one of the hottest teams in North America when they defeated Mythic 2-1 in CEVO-P Playoffs. Oh yea, even though it was not technically a part of this roster, …valens provided one of the most memorable winning rounds of the year so far in an RGN tournament.

 

RGN’s cast of Valens 1v5 Ninja Defuse vs. A51
 

 

Valens ninja defuse from PoV of teammate Autimatic
But one has to wonder if they can keep the magic going. Their margin for error is essentially zero at this point, especially in a Bo3 tournament. Despite the impressive win over Mythic and their recent mini-run of success, they still face an uphill battle each night. They’ve drawn a first round opponent in eLevate that is beatable, but also extremely consistent and starting to hit their stride. eLevate will push Denial every step of the way, and I’m not sure Denial has the depth in firepower or the chemistry at this point to overcome them in an extended series. The teams split their ESEA matches, each one taking a win at 16-14, and I think we’ll see another close set of maps here as well. I give Denial a puncher’s chance, but they are the underdog at this point.

Preview by Brian ‘Rotaderp’ Antoszyk – ESEA News. Follow him on twitter: @antoszykb

(photo sources: ESEA News, Denial esports. Video from RGN)

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by Brian Antoszyk, on February 25, 2015