Ascension: the final form

By Riot Sephyre

Over the last couple of weeks we have been profiling the teams that qualify for the Autumn Regional tournament. The final team is Avant Garde: Ascension, with the boys in blue earning their spot by winning the Cybergamer qualifier.

Up until three days ago Avant Garde: Ascension was known as Mindfreak eSports. Avant made the team an offer they couldn’t refuse after qualifying and acquired them. It’s a big turnaround for a team that has struggled to live up to their hype. Ascension was never an underdog, they were always amongst the favourites going into Oceanic tournaments, but they just couldn't seem to pull off the big win.

Being good only gets you so far and it was starting to seem like Ascension would never be great. That was until they played their way to the top of the Cybergamer qualifier. It's not considered to be an easy way into the regional, as Cybergamer operates a challenge ladder, where you earn points for challenging a team ranked higher than you and for successfully defending against those below. You take a points hit when you lose, so it can be hard to remain at the top. Ascension overcame this problem by going undefeated.

Coming into the playoffs, Ascension were once again heavily favoured to do well but not win it. There was something different this time though, the team were finally firing on all cylinders and could not be stopped. They even knocked off Avant’s other team, Redemption, in the semifinals.

Minkywhale (above)

Nobody embodies the type of team that Ascension is better than their top-lane player Minkywhale. He's known as a bit of a joker amongst the Oceanic scene and has played for many of the other top teams, including substituting for Team Immunity.

"I've played for a lot of teams, under every position and a few teams as subs," explains Minky. "Coming from competitive DOTA into League I was already familiar with Cybergamer and versing top tier teams in schoutcasted matches by the one and only Pastrytime."

He's also a big fan of physical fitness and will chat your ear off about the greatness of weight training if you let him.

"I get really nervous before tournaments and it helps that I go to the gym and do a lot of sports often to help relieve the stress," adds Minky.

Something he doesn't mention quite so much is that he hides the fact he plays professionally from his parents.

"They are aware that I play video games a lot, but they don't know that I compete or that I am a professional," continues Minky. "I prefer to keep this part of my life within the game and its community."

ErectGymnast

One of the trouble spots for Ascension last year was their bot-lane. They just couldn't find the right combination and went looking for new blood, which is how ErectGymnast on support and Cardrid the marksman came to join.

"With the release of the Oceania servers I got back into League in a really big way and eventually made my way to near the top of the challenger ladder," says ErectGymnast. "Myself and Cadrid had been duo-queuing quite a lot and when Mindfreak were in the market for a new bot lane and they came to us."

ErectGymnast is also known as a bit of a solo queue junkie. While Minky likes to talk about the benefits of watching LCS and OGN, he prefers to extoll the virtues of alone time.

"On a personal level I feel solo queue is really important, mostly to keep practicing mechanically and to be up to date with subtle shifts in the meta," says ErectGymnast. "Also duo queue is a really useful way to build synergy in a low pressure environment."

ChuChuZ (pictured top)

 Something Ascension also struggled with was finding a mid-lane player that could match up with local heavyweights like HeavenzCurse, Swiffer and Keane. Which is where ChuChuZ comes in. Despite never playing for a pro team before, he has proven himself by going up against the more established veterans and never backing down. Going pro has actually been a dream for ChuChuz ever since he watched the Season 2 World Championship and saw Taiwan’s Taipei Assassins overcome all odds to beat Korean powerhouse Azubu Frost.

"Once I watched the grand finals between TPA and AZF I was immediately hooked and played Akali almost every game," he recalls. "Like a lot of professional League players I was picked up in solo queue after transferring over to the Oceania server."

He also spends a lot of his time watching international League games to try and improve.

"Outside of the game I like to watch OGN where I can see different perspectives of mid-lane champions played at a top tier level and adapt that into my own play," adds ChuChuZ.

In a lot of ways Ascension has become the little engine that could. They were not an instant success, but rather a team that put in the hard work and dedication to improve. It’s starting to pay off now, with the team of very goods finally looking like they are ready to challenge for greatness.

 

Check out the other teams that have qualified:

1 - Team Immunity 
2 - Frenetic Array 
3 - Team NV 
4 - Little Wraith 
5 - Eviscerate 
6 - YSSC 
7 - Optic Snipers 


4 years ago