This is the eighteenth in a series of articles revealing the top twenty TrackMania²: Stadium tech players of 2014. For more information, see the first post.
The first of the top three players to be revealed is Tim “Spam” Lunenburg, former Electronic Sports World Cup winner and long-time member of Team Dignitas. Last year, we saw Lunenburg achieve in events from across the tech-scene spectrum: team cups, solo tournaments, offline events events and even a True Talent Cup. Although he plays with less flair than players such as Marek “tween” Pacher and Dennis “Massa” Løtze, he showed through his successes last year that he is still one of the world’s best players.
The start of the year marked the end of ESL’s Competition Premiership Season 12. After a semi-final match against PyRoGEN, which Lunenburg did not play in, Team Dignitas played against Team Acer for the CPS12 title. After the first two submatches of the final were claimed by Lunenburg’s teammates, he joined Carl-Antoni “Carl Jr.” Cloutier and Jesper “KarjeN” Karjalainen for the three versus three. Lunenburg started off well, setting good times in the first few rounds and securing round wins as his teammates struggled. It didn’t take long until all three Dignitas players were setting incredible times each round, leaving the Acer trio— Kalle “frostBeule” Videkull, Ördög “Royal” Botond and Michael “PokeR” Neuhold—no chance to take the map. Lunenburg took second in the total points ranking in the match, in between Karjalainen in first and Cloutier in third.
Lunenburg continued his success in the next major team event of the year: the TrackMania Masters Team Cup 14. After navigating a tough playoff tree, Team Dignitas eventually took the title, and Lunenburg was part of the backbone of core players that his team relied on during the competition.
The group stage was, as many expected, a breeze for the CPS winners, and although GamersLeague managed to take a few rounds off them, Lunenburg and his teammates took the top seed going into the playoffs with relative ease. From their second playoffs game, things were far more difficult. Fureur’s French lineup, containing players such as David “Ranked” B, had the potential to cause an upset in the round of 16, and in the quarter-finals, BX3 took a map from the Dignitas all-stars. Lunenburg played well versus Fureur, taking second most points behind Fredrik “Bergie” Bergmann on the first map, and taking second-least points on the second, remarkable since he was playing the map without having trained it beforehand. Lunenburg was up-and-down against BX3, beating all BX3 players points-wise on the second map, but then taking the second-least points on the third.
Lunenburg was less impactful in the semi-final matchup between Team Acer and Team Dignitas, with Cloutier and Karjalainen doing much of the work in securing victory in two maps, but he was back in form for the grand final match against Druidz, topping the scoreboard on the first map and again scoring well on the second. Just as in the CPS final, Lunenburg showed how he rarely feels pressure in big games, and can be relied upon to perform well for his team.
Just before the end of TMM TC14, Lunenburg participated in his first LAN event of the year. The Gathering, in Norway, is one of the largest offline gaming events in the world, and 2014 saw TrackMania on the list of games to be played. The four most highly-regarded players in terms of their tech skills—Lunenburg, Peter “znik” Skarstein, Sigurd “Ziggy” Mikkelsen and Asgeir “TommyD” Hansen—all progressed to the tournament’s grand final. Right off the bat, Lunenburg dictated the pace of the match. After fending off the Norwegians through a rotation of the maps, Lunenburg reached finalist mode, and closed out the match the next round. His victory earned him three thousand krone (roughly 350 Euros).
Lunenburg’s next TrackMania venture was again a solo competition. The first myRevenge cup attracted an array of successful players, and its use of relatively-short TMM tracks meant that the cup was anybody’s for the taking. After seeing off Julian “Asserich” Novacek and “JoDooky”, Lunenburg had a grand-final-matchup against Fabian “beat” Kuehn, Andrea “Extreme” Benedetti and Emanuel “Sky” Vlakic. What started off a close match turned into a two-horse race between Kuehn and Lunenburg. The German, who performed fantastically on “TMM¬Arr!” by tomczan, clinched it in the end, leaving Lunenburg to take second.
Lunenburg takes second in myRevenge Cup 1. Screenshot from Lunenburg's YouTube channel.
May marked the start of another ESL Competition Premiership Season. Defending champions Team Dignitas looked to show the other teams in first division that they were still the team to beat, and their efforts in the group stage secured them first in the group-standings and thus a spot in the grand final of the competition.
Lunenburg's group stage saw him play with mixed success. On many occasions, he would sit somewhere in the middle of the scoreboard, which we saw in Dignitas’ matches against Funteam and PyRoGEN-LDLC. However, during big games, Lunenburg usually stepped it up, seemingly thriving on the pressure. In the group stage match against BX3, the Dutchman importantly won the one-on-one submatch against Skarstein, although in the same match, he let down his team on the five versus five submatch, meaning the game ended a draw. Against Team Acer, Team Dignitas took another draw after Lunenburg took the most points in the 2v2 and second most points in the 3v3 behind Karjalainen. That being said, Lunenburg, just like in the match against the Norwegian BX3, started to lose his prowess after the first few submatches, and couldn’t play well enough to stop Team Acer taking the five versus five submatch. A good way to sum up Lunenburg’s group stage would be to say that he had his ups and downs, but that he very rarely played worse than all his teammates.
Team Dignitas’ playoffs consisted solely of a grand final matchup against rivals Team Acer. Lunenburg, on the contrary to what we saw earlier in the year, had a tough time in the first two submatches that he played. Both he and Dennis “Massa” Løtze struggled to match the pace of the their opponents in the 2v2 and 3v3 submatches, and if it were not for Cloutier’s win against Michael “PokeR” Neuhold in the on versus one submatch, the final would have been finished before the five versus five was played. The heroics of Cloutier and Henri “Insane” Kyynäräinen brought the match to a decider five versus five, and it was there that Lunenburg started to redeem himself. He finished with the fifth most points, behind three Team Acer players and Cloutier, and therefore deserves a lot of credit in securing a win after over an hour of high-pressure play.
The second half of 2014 saw Lunenburg play a number of highly competitive solo competitions, starting with the second myRevenge Cup in June. The competition’s grand final saw him joined by Benjamin “Kronos” Suzenne, Løtze and Ördög “Royal” Botond in what was an epic clash on the second ESL CPS13 map pack. After the first map, Lunenburg broke away from his opponents, and looked to take the final by storm after winning many close rounds. However, after being forced to retire for two straight rounds later in the final, Lunenburg allowed Suzenne to reach finalist mode before him. The Dutchman was able to restore his focus, and won two rounds in a row to deny Suzenne victory and take it for himself.
Just as impressive was Lunenburg’s success in Stadium Giant Cup 1. The level of competition in this tournament was at least as high as in myR Cup 2, and Lunenburg’s road to the grand final saw him dispatch of opponents such as Koen “Koenz” Schobbers, Yoann “YoYo” Cook and Michal “Flyer" Vo. Suzenne, Fredrik “Bergie” Bergmann and Dennis “Scrapie” Heinen would challenge Lunenburg for the SGC1 title. Suzenne was the favourite to win, and he started the grand final by taking a sizeable points lead. Things were close between Lunenburg and Bergmann right up until the end, but the Norwegian was could not match his Dutch teammate and took third behind him, while Suzenne took first.
In July, Lunenburg won True Talent Cup 10. The popular weekly events organised by TrackMania Masters test a players ability to drive consistently and learn maps in a short time period.
From the end of September, many professional players, Lunenburg included, spent the majority of their time in-game preparing for Electronic Sports World Cup. After unsuccessfully attempting to defend his 2012 title a year before, Lunenburg was not seen as a favourite to win the 2014 edition of the yearly tournament. However, Lunenburg showed that he should never be underestimated, and cemented his position among the elite by making the grand final last year.
Lunenburg’s run in Paris started with a winners bracket match against Jonathan “Slink” Stenström (during that time he was known as Manta) and Marek “tween” Pacher. Despite his timid performance in the Time Attack qualifications, the Dutchman landed himself in a group with only two others, and he and Pacher made short work of their opening match and progressed forward in the winners bracket. Suzenne, Skarstein and Heinen awaited twenty-year-old in the second round. Suzenne was the best of the group, and took first place. There was a fierce battle for second place, but Lunenburg got the better of his opponents during a triple-finalist round, overtaking Skarstein in the last few turns to take second. In his final match that day, Lunenburg took second behind Pacher, knocking Robert “Tamarillo” Crone and Cook to the losers bracket.
Joined by Andy “Sabre” Wilson, Pacher and Carl “Carl Jr.” Clouter in the winners bracket final, Lunenburg had to play above his usual level to stand a chance of proceeding directly to the grand final. He matched the times set by favourites Pacher and Cloutier, and in addition, made far fewer mistakes than the Slovakian, and it meant that Lunenburg broke away from his opponents and took second behind his Canadian teammate.
Lunenburg with his Team Dignitas teammates. Picture: Marlene Davidsen.
Our third-place player would no doubt have hoped to continue his success in the grand final. He did, after all, win the competition two years earlier. Familiar opponents Pacher and Cook took the losers-bracket route to the grand final, and Pacher was, unlike in his previous match against Lunenburg and Cloutier, fully warmed up. From the get go, Cook and Lunenburg looked a level below their formidable opponents. The two-horse race lasted a few maps, but Pacher lost his grip on the unstoppable Canadian, and was just ten points ahead of third place when Cloutier won his second title. Lunenburg occupied fourth until the end of the match, no doubt a disappointing result for him given his performance earlier in the day. Making the grand final of the year’s biggest event, however, surely shows us how Lunenburg should never be underestimated.
After the conclusion of ESWC, the playoffs of Stadium Team Championship 10 were played out. Lunenburg, with Team Dignitas, tried their best to win the competition and thus hold titles from all of 2014’s major team tournaments. After playing the majority of the competition’s earlier matches, Lunenburg player particularly well in the semi-finals and the grand final. Against Penta Sports in the semi-final, Lunenburg played well, and on all three maps the third-best Dignitas player or better. In the grand final, however, Lunenburg’s best wasn’t enough to ensure his team overcame their Team Acer opponents. Despite scoring an impressive 87 points on the first map, three fewer than points-leader Michael “PokeR” Neuhold and seven more than the next best player, Team Dignitas lost it 7-6. On the second map, only Dennis “Massa” Løtze showed significant resistance in the 7-3 victory for Acer (Lunenburg scored mid-table). It is fair to say that Lunenburg’s STC season was good, but not the best he could have hoped for.
The final events that our Dutch focus played were in December, on the newest batch of ESL maps. Competition Premiership Season 14 coincided with a number of solo cups, the Go4TM cup series, and Lunenburg was very active in both these individual events and the team competition itself. Throughout his matches that month, Lunenburg was rarely the star player for his team, but almost always hovered at the top of the points list. Noteworthy performances include the five versus five submatch versus Against All Authority, and the three-on-three against Penta. Lunenburg played all four of December’s Go4 cups, but failed to make the final each time, at best reaching the semi-finals before being knocked out.
Looking at the year as a whole, it is fair to say that Tim “Spam” Lunenburg had a lion’s share of success: he made the final of two LAN events, winning one; he showed top level performances in four team tournament grand finals, and placed well in a variety of large online individual cups. Lunenburg is not a particularly flashy player, but that does not mean that he is any less a formidable opponent, as he has shown through a large number of competitions. All things considered, he takes the third spot in our Top 20 ranking.
Video: The Gathering grand final, casted by Kalle "frostBeule" Videkull.
>> News Tools