After conquering China, TyLoo moved on to the next step: the world stage.
There had been some brief moments of brilliance along the way. TyLoo upset Luminosity (now SK) at DreamHack Malmo with a win on cache and inferno and also has best-of-one wins against Immortals (at the Major qualifier) and Natus Vincere (at Starseries). The team seemed ready to take the next step, to move on from best-of-one upsets and start winning more consistently against the better teams in the world.
But moving onto the world stage meant TyLoo moved into the light. And once they began to boot camp and compete in Europe and NA, their flaws began to appear. As a team, TyLoo’s playbook and style are incredibly shallow. TyLoo depends on fast, simple attacks to take bombsites. It’s a risky style and predictable once found out. In addition to that, they do the same thing on their anti-eco’s, making them more susceptible to losing rounds that should be won.
TyLoo’s economic discipline is also horrendous. TyLoo loves to force buy instead of saving. The problem with this is TyLoo isn’t successful enough with force buys to justify how much and how often they do it. EnVyUs hit the same problem earlier this year and was upset by NRG at Counter Pit because of it. TyLoo is also overly aggressive in chasing down guns after the round is secured and helps the opposing team by feeding them kills.
TyLoo has met only a few international teams of note on LAN: Renegades, Team X (now Heroic), ENCE, Immortals, Luminosity (now SK), Na`Vi, Cloud9, Splyce, Dignitas, Epsilon, Astralis and Echo Fox.
I’ve noted TyLoo’s good wins against against SK, Na`Vi and Immortals. They’ve also beaten Renegades at the Asia Minor. The problem is the circumstances that allowed TyLoo those wins likely won’t happen again. None of those teams seemed properly prepared for TyLoo. SK chose cache, and after losing, it became their permaban. TyLoo used a new anti-strat CT setup to surprise Na`Vi, but surprises like that only work once. They beat Immortals and Renegades at the Major qualifier and Asia Minor, respectively, and both teams seem to have issues when playing the big events.
Beyond that, they’ve beaten Splyce once. They lost to Team X, ENCE, Dignitas, Epsilon and Astralis. ENCE beat them after studying them. Team X (now Heroic) beat them handily, as did Epsilon. Dignitas and Astralis beating them is worse than it appears because the match came before Dignitas’ rise to a world class level. Astralis was slumping.
Perhaps most worrying of all is TyLoo’s performance at IBuyPower Masters over the weekend, in which they barely beat a struggling Echo Fox 16-13 on Mirage. Echo Fox had come off one of the worst group performances ever totaling six rounds in three maps the previous week at ELEAGUE. They then lost 16-0 to Cloud9 on Dust 2. TyLoo then rematched Echo Fox and nearly lost the rematch as they made crazy comebacks on both Dust 2 and Overpass to win the series.
Domestically, the second best team, CyberZen, is catching up to TyLoo. CyberZen beat them 2-0 at the Asia Minor and in the rematch TyLoo barely won 2-1 with one of the maps going 36-33 in overtime.
For TyLoo, there is still hope. They have good firepower, even if it isn’t stable or consistent. They’re good at trade fragging and when they go in, they do not hesitate. But the entire structure of the team and the team’s identity isn’t working. TyLoo’s style is too predictable. It lets them upset better teams, but without the surprise factor this won’t get them much further.
TyLoo is at a crossroads. I applaud them for taking the plunge in trying to better themselves on the global stage, though the attempt been met with disaster. So what will they do now? When teams start losing, the personal issues break down and they break apart. Former CS 1.6 team NoA broke apart because of a prolonged stay in Korea. The Liquid League of Legends team broke after a boot camp in Korea. Will TyLoo break after their tour abroad? Or can they learn from their mistakes, rebuild and reform? For TyLoo these coming months will be the crucible. Will they be reforged into something stronger or will they shatter?
Photo by Adela Sznajder/DreamHack