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Letters for the Future Fan – Selfless Gaming

Volamel 2019-02-01 05:16:19
  Dear fan of the future, I am unsure who is dominating the Overwatch esports ecosystem when you read this, or who is quickly climbing the rungs of the competitive ladder, but I write to you today about a team, player, or organization that is long past your time. Something that is timeless in their story and their purpose. Something that dared you to challenge your perception of the current landscape of Overwatch. These are my letters from the past to help educate people on where the community has come from and to act as a Rolodex of info on just who these teams were so that their legacy might continue to live on through you, the reader.
In this issue we lament a team who passed on much too quickly. Selfless Gaming was a team whose flame was blue hot, but sadly had a short wick. Their potential was met, but never given the room to breathe to cement themselves as masters at their craft. However, they found other ways to blaze a trail that began in the spring of 2016. Selfless Gaming stepped into the Overwatch space on June 13th 2016 as they signed upincoming team, b1am's boys and siccari, a team which consisted of players with a mixed history in many other FPS titles such as the Call of Duty franchize, Team Fortress 2, Painkiller, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.     During their debut Selfless Gaming pulled from a mixed bag of solid results in weekly tournaments and qualifiers for major events up until July 21st of 2016. The summer months began a long stretch of poor showings for the young squad. For approximately around four months and 18 events, the team had an average placing of approximately 6th place. However they had two solid performances throughout this drought. One during ESL’s King of the Hill #1, Selfless Gaming placed 3-4th and another at the BaseTradeTV Cup where they finished second to Immortals. With massive roster changes leading into 2017, Selfless Gaming started out with three repeat 3-4th place finishes at Academy Gaming Overwatch Weekly #37 and #38 as well as the COW Open Weekly Series: Season 1 #10. This only a precursor to the massive rise this team would have in the following months. Ignoring byes, Selfless Gaming went on a massive 31-0 match win streak which broke down into 52-4 in map record, over nine events. The team only dropped maps to CLG during the Overwatch PIT Championship Season 1 qualifiers, FaZe Clan during Alienware Monthly Melee - March and one map a piece to Renegades and Hammers Esports during Enter The Arena: Overwatch. This wave was ridden up until March’s Alienware Monthly Melee where the French team, Rogue, met them in the grand finals. In an epic best of five, Selfless Gaming would fall to Rogue, 2-3. Selfless Gaming’s brute force style through 2017 bred what is now known as the “Selfless comp.” This composition normally consisted of Reinhardt, Roadhog, Soldier 76, Tracer, Ana and Lucio. The team would frequently spawn camp their opponents, both on defense and offense, leaving their Reinhardt player to push the cart alone on both Escort and Hybrid maps. To explain further, Overwatch League analyst, Josh "Sideshow" Wilkinson has a beautiful breakdown of their style and explains it in depth.
Even with the return of Overwatch giants Rogue and Team EnVyUs to the North American scene, Selfless Gaming still marked their territory as a top team. Within their next five events, the team would not place below third -- which is still a massive improvement from nearly a year prior. Sadly, just as fortune had favored the young and eager team, things would take another quick turn. For Season 0 of Overwatch Contenders 2017, 32 teams were invited to play in a single elimination tournament to qualify for the main event. The top eight would advance and places 9-16 would be given priority seeding in the second round of qualification. Selfless Gaming would defeat Toronto Esports and Calvin and the Chipmunks to qualify, but would lose a close set to FNRGFE. While there was no prize money on the line and Selfless was already assured qualification, it was a odd sign to see one of North America’s top teams bested so early. On June 5th two days after the qualifier, star DPS player, Daniel "dafran" Francesca, was banned from Blizzard sanctioned event and the majority of June in 2017, which coincides with Selfless Gaming’s sharp decline, due to admitly throwing games and griefing on the competitive ladder. The team managed to muster some trial signings, but it didn’t seem to pan out. Selfless Gaming approached Overwatch Contenders Season 0 with hesitation. Being placed within Group A, they were paired off against CLG, FaZe Clan, and Team Liquid in a double round robin group stage. Selfless emerged from the smoke last in their group with one match in and a 9-16 map score. This would end up being their last event together. Twelve days after their one year team anniversary, paradise was lost. Selfless Gaming, as an organization, shut its doors and the Overwatch team was released from their contracts. While their flame has been snuffed, the legend of Selfless Gaming will always reside in its players and their aggressive tendencies, many of whom have gone on to find success in other teams and, for some, in other games. William “chilly” Saavedra, Rebecca “sicarri" Ysteboe, and Taylor "blam" Forrest all joined the team from the original core of b1am’s boys and sicarri. They all departed from the Selfless Gaming before the team’s explosion of success in 2017. Not much is known about chilly and sicarri, but blam continued competing with teams like Kungarna and Grizzlys Esports, but as of the spring of 2018, it seems like he’s working on building his streaming community. The team's star Tracer player, Jay "sinatraa" Won, found his way to the Overwatch World Cup stage shortly after the team disbanded. His prowess reportedly attracted many scouts, but he ended up reuniting with his former coaches and playing with the San Fransisco Shock for the first season of the Overwatch League. Meeting him in San Francisco was the former main support for Selfless Gaming, Daniel "dhaK" Martínez. DhaK played with the team for Season 1 of the Overwatch League, but parted ways with the team that following August. He is currently listed as a free agent. After the team ceased operations in July of 2017, Jeff "emongg" Anderson focused primarily on building his streaming community on Twitch.tv. He is now one of Overwatch’s leading content creators on the platform. Bobby "Kresnik" Wiemer left Overwatch to play Paladins professionally. In October of last year he and his team, B, won the Paladins Global Series North America Fall 2018. Michael "Michael3D" Wilbanks left the team as it disbanded and is currently listed as a free agent, but has been relatively quiet on social media. Mike "Midnight" Ryan and Lee "Carpe" Jae-hyeok joined the team on a trial basis one month before Selfless Gaming closed its doors. Midnight went on to play for XL2 Academy, Copenhagen Flames, and Skyfoxes before his retirement in November of 2018. Carpe moved to FaZe Clan and played with the team for 2017’s Overwatch Contenders Season 1, then transferred to the Overwatch League and currently resides with the Philadelphia Fusion. As he stepped away from Overwatch, Dafran, in a “tell all” TwitLonger, stated that the practice hours and competing made him “very depressed and bored.” He returned to the game and would join NRG Esports as a streamer, but would return to competitive play alongside the Atlanta Reign for Overwatch League Season 2. Justin "kellar" Kellar left the team sometime in 2017 and transitioned to Tempo Storm until March of that year. For the rest of 2017, kellar joined and competed with Virtue and would leave the team in June and would resurface with OpTic Academy for 2018. Since OpTic Academy/GGEA dissolved in October kellar has been floating around in free agency. Support player Rob "rob-wiz" Kennedy left the team mid-December of 2016 and formed the team Rly Cool Guys. He retired shortly after his departure from Selfless Gaming. Former Selfless Gaming main tank, Preston "juv3nile" Dornon, left the team in October of 2016 and would join Kingdom Esports, Renegades, and UB Team but has been listed as a free agent since the spring of 2017. Former co-owner and coach, Brad "Sephy" Rajani as well as coach Dillain "LegitRc" Odeneal both moved on to work with the San Fransisco Shock for Overwatch League Season 1. Both were let go in May of 2018, but they landed with the amature team, Last Night’s Leftovers, where they found some success. Sephy now works as the head coach of the Atlanta Reign and LegitRc works as the coach for ATL Academy. Selfless Gaming, along with teams like Arc 6/Denial and FNRGFE, were some of the teams that people rallied behind because they made us believe that with enough hard work and some team work you too could take games of some of the best -- and in your own way. Selfless had a style all their own and were true to themselves for the duration of their time at the top -- and for that they are rightfully heralded as a great team. Remember them as the team that would wait outside the enemy spawn room, looking for a fight. Remember them as the proud lions of North America. Remember them as Selfless Gaming.
Joseph “Volamel” Franco has followed esports since the MLGs of 2006. He started out primarily following Starcraft 2, Halo 3, and Super Smash Bros. Melee. He has transitioned from viewer to journalist and writes freelance primarily about Overwatch and League of Legends. If you would like to know more or follow his thoughts on esports you can follow him at @Volamel. Images courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment.
 

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