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Outsiders vs TT9 Esports preview: Russian derby sees Scyther take on his former Team Empire teammates

The Russian derby is back with new rivalries this super-week.

Image: Ubisoft/Joao Ferreira

Play day seven of the European League will take place tonight as Rogue aim to become the first European team to reach the Jönköping Major.

  • 6:00PM CEST -- Outsiders vs TT9 Esports
  • 7:15PM CEST -- Team BDS vs Natus Vincere
  • 8:30PM CEST -- Wolves Esports vs Rogue
  • 9:45PM CEST --  MNM Gaming vs G2 Esports
  • 11:00PM CEST -- Team Secret vs Heroic

Rogue can qualify for the Jönköping Major today with three points against Wolves, regulation losses by NAVI and Heroic, and anything outside of a regulation victory from Outsiders.This is quite a list of needs, meaning qualification this week is fairly unlikely. 

Step one on this list involves a head-to-head between Wolves and Rogue, two of the consistent European leaders. While both teams will likely make it to the Major, this match today will be important for the final seeding.

MNM vs G2, meanwhile, is mainly a test of G2’s ability to recover from Monday’s abysmal performance against NAVI, where they lost 0-7. While qualifying for the Major already looks like a tough ask from G2, a loss today would officially rule them out of contention. Notably, MNM beat G2 during Stage 2. 

Secret will have a tough game against Heroic, as the latter team hopes to climb back into the top four after winning just two points in the last three games. With their final two matches being MNM and Rogue, they need every point they can earn here. 

BDS vs NAVI is a key game for both teams. A loss for BDS puts them at risk of missing the Major as they’ll likely drop down to fifth, while a win would almost certainly send them through. For NAVI, if they lose and MNM win, then there’s probably a three point gap to the top four, with Outsiders and Wolves left to play.

Finally, this week will also see the Russian derby between Outsiders and TT9, the rosters previously known as and Team Empire. Not only is this a national meeting, it is also the first time Scyther will be in the same server as his ex-Empire teammates, dan, Always, and JoyStiCK since they lost the Six Invitational 2022 grand-final. 


While Empire had a very good record against last season, an almost complete change in Empire, now known as TT9, and two player changes in makes this worth dismissing. This year, have won two out of two games. 

  • 2022 Stage 1 -- 7-3 to Outsiders on Bank
  • 2022 Stage 2 -- 7-4 to Outsiders on Chalet

These two games both saw standout performances from Outsiders, with Amision -- an ex-Outsiders player -- the top rated TT9 player in both matchups. 

This record is one that Outsiders will be clear favourites to build upon today, with a win necessary to keep any Major hopes alive. 

Dan, Always, and JoyStiCK vs Scyther

Seven months ago, the Six Invitational 2022 was almost a complete blowout for Europe as a region with the exception of one team -- Team Empire made it to the grand-final for the second time in their history. Following a loss to TSM FTX, the roster then made a shock decision to leave the team due to disagreements with the organization.

Only one player remained on Team Empire, later known as PWNZ and now TT9, Scyther. 

The remaining players had a number of months away from competitive play before three of the four members joined Outsiders in September; dan and Always as players and JoyStiCK as a coach. 

Now, for the first time, we’ll have the core of arguably the second-most successful team of all time together in a professional game split across team lines. 

The return has been a rocky one for Outsiders. With three games remaining, they have a 2-0-2-2 record compared to 3-0-0-3 and 2-0-1-3 records in Stage 1 and 2, respectively.

While the primary goal would be qualifying for the Six Invitational 2023 -- though the likelihood they’d be able to attend such an event is low -- it’s definitely less of an explosive start that the return of “Empire” led many to expect. 

TT9’s record so far

While this game will likely be an easy win for Outsiders, TT9’s zero points hide an unfortunate reality -- they have been very close to points this stage, having lost 5-7 to MNM, Heroic, NAVI, and BDS this stage.

The latter result on Monday was of particular note, as they kept neck-and-neck with BDS throughout the game and only lost at the end. Renshiro nabbed 11 kills to six deaths this game and they still were right on par.

TT9 have the ability to perform, something very rarely said about a team with six losses in a row. The familiarity between rosters in this derby will be unlike any other head-to-head outside of APAC, meaning an upset could be on the cards.

Overreliance in both teams

Despite the return of dan, a player who was crowned the ESL Pro League Season 9 MVP just two months after his 18th birthday and after just five professional games played, Always has been Outsiders’ standout performer. 

Playing on Ace, he’s managed eight of the team’s 13 plants and has the best kill differential on the team. The team’s main entry player has a minus three opening kill differential, while Rask on Iana has a minus 11 kill differential. Always is performing much better than the rest of the team, despite being a support player. 

On TT9, Amision is leading the team in a dramatically more one-sided manner. While he’s not a support player, he is leading on entry and has the team’s only positive kill differential. This adds up to a 1.13 SiegeGG Rating, compared to his closest teammate on 0.98.

This is not a good sign for either team. Even if a single player is good enough to carry a roster, they can’t be expected do it every game.

For Outsiders we’ve already seen this weakness abused, as Always was the worst player in the server against Wolves -- the team’s only clear loss the team’s had all stage. Neutralise him or Amision and it’s game over for either team.

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