The abearth paradox: A team that has never been worse – but also never better

  • Champions.
  • 4th.
  • 5-6th.
  • 5-6th.
  • 5-6th.
  • 7-8th.

What im listing is the evolution of abearth (bringtheheat) placements in major cups since Reborn Cup #1 in may 2020. A step back for every tournament, and hitting their worst form for the past three years in the first cup of 2023.

Yet I would argue abearth has NEVER been better.

”Okej mr Edgelord, let’s hear it”, you might think to yourself. And you are damn right. You are going to hear it.

But first a history class. Hey, stop snoring in the backs!

Ablazing earth had a late entrance to competitive UO. When the game died out in 2012 they had just starting hitting their peak and was the only challenger to FRS, together with System, after TcfC folded. A core of marchello (back then known as prophet), meti-o (method), rat-o (rvrsd), lacas, fr4nkyboy and late addition of STVNO formed a very dynamic team mostly known for two things:

  • Unstoppable peaks.
  • Unstoppable speed.

Their map pool was by no means wide. It was centered around the usual hungarian suspects. Peaks, germantown, uo_harbor and at times some railyard.

But no matter map they had their, to talk business language, usp (unique selling point) in playing fast and ruthless. Lots of smokes, lots of nades, lots of speed. Take use of shellshocked opponents, overwhelm the enemy. And just keep going until round was over. 

Now you might think to yourself; this is not at all the abearth im used to see. And you are absolutely right.

That style worked very well in Reborn #1 when they could run over any opponent much thanks to playing with a core from ten years ago, but also all opponents being rusty and unorganised. However when competition tightened we saw a completely different type of team.

It was by all means necessary for abearth to pull the handbrake at times. I do not think any team can play that aggressively and be consistently succesful in UO, unless you have some insane tactical setups that suppport it. But going from playing with the highest tempo, to many times see them have the most passive approach of all teams, was almost shocking.

To see them have the most passive approach of all teams was almost shocking.

Suddenly we got to witness prepared slow smoke setups on uo_depot and railyard, Ocranadefenses on uo_dawnville and even an previously unseen hesitance on their former bread and butter: peaks.

For a long time it feels like abearth stubbornly have refused to live up to anything that resembles their own legacy. Up until now.

The summer league have been a breakthrough for the team. With less then a week left before deadline they are momentarily inside the top 4 and could very well reach playoff. If so that would be their biggest success since late 2020. During the groupstage they have challenged all the top teams and refused to lose to them. 

Dreamteam, although with mixer, had to fight in overtime to win one map over abearth. The hungarians won germantown, a map Dreamteam have been undisputable #1 on lately.

HunHS had to give up one map to abearth.

MoD got stomped by them on uo_depot.

Same with FRS that stood no chance on neuville.

Only team team to beat abearth so far is Pokerfaces. Which is unusual. Because a weakness for abearth previously have been an inability to perform that last 10% against the top teams. They have a history to draw the short straw in close games, especially against their fellow hungarians iMMORTALiS in the beginning of Reborn. On paper abearth had a more skilled lineup looking at all 5 players, but it was like they mentally broke everytime they faced L1mewax and STVNO.

But during this league they have shown a new mentality. Or should I say an old one? Because finally I feel like I recognise abearth as the team I once knew them to be.

At last they once again play determined and powerful. They try and get their wheels spinning and don’t pull the brakes.

In our game against them on neuville there was just nothing we could do to change the outcome. This despite abearth pulling more or less the e-x-a-c-t same strategy each round. And this have always been their strength. Sure, every team is different when they play with confidence. But playing a confident abearth is like day and night.

And from what I have seen there is one specific player which have had a major impact in their playstyle. And that is trixiko. By no means is he a leading star fragwise, but he is incredibly sacrificial in the roles he takes and you can almost always expect speed.

When we played them on railyard I swear to god he would try and fastplant 10/12 rounds.

When we played them on railyard I swear to god he would try and fastplant 10/12 rounds.

No care in the world if he would die in the process.

No care in the world if there was a nade in his path.

No care in the world if someone had his aim on the exact entrance he always ran out from.

The way I see it a vcod player have re-ignited one of the most UO-classic playstyles in a team known for playing true UO-style.

Who would have seen that coming?

But this is not only the reason behind better results lately. Another reason is that one of the most underrated top players of the scene keeps fragging his mind out without getting much notice.

I am ofcourse talking about marchello.

Marchello was already in 2011-2012 one of the guys I rated absolutely highest outside of FRS. He and Gee (e-nOObs) were two players I would envy other teams having in their lineup.

And also during 2020-2023 marchello have been good, but lurking in the shadows of other bigger names. But for me he still remains one of the guys I pay most respect to ingame. With BAR and mp44 I consider only a handful players to be better. And he has also improved his mosin by a lot. What stands out is his ability to control the weapons on all kinds of distances and also having a very sharp aim. If HS-percentage was counted I have a feeling marchello would be high in the rankings.

Marchello have been their best or second best fragger in 23 out of 28 maps in league.

During the league marchello have participated in 14 games for abearth. That gives a total of 28 maps played.

Of those 28 maps he has been abearths #1 or #2 fragger on 23 of them. Only 2 maps has he been below average of his team, and one of those maps he had a 15-4 score but the rest of his team fragged even more.

It’s clear to see what an impact he got, and to succeed in the highest tier of UO it looks these days as all teams need a performing carry. Don in Dreamteam, TjEEEBi in FRS, L1mewax in TcfC, r3ziner in TMO, kARMa in fatality … and marchello in abearth.

Can abearth as a team take up the hunt on the other mentioned top teams? I don’t see any reason why not. Can klanmor beat Dreamteam, can e9 beat FRS, then I’m sure abearth can beat TcfC. We could see an interesting battle for the top spot in Hungary coming up. 

Surely all stars would need to align, and I think they are very rough around the edges for being a team that would go all the way in the coming major. But even though their most recent cup was the weakest in recent history, I do consider the current iteration of ablazing earth to be toughest I played against in the last years.

And most importantly: finally we recognise them again.