Tyloo is an easy team to dismiss. They are, for many people, a novelty amidst killers. On the world stage, they sit outside the top ten. Their impossible mix of English & Mandarin communication, Indonesian & Chinese nationalities, clashing styles, and win conditions, however, seems dramatically out of place. Amongst the likes of ENCE’s structure, NiP’s cohesion through explosiveness, Optic’s stars, and G2’s skill ceiling, Tyloo is an ugly duckling. In more ways than one, it’s hard to conceptualise them at the level of a lower level European side, as their ranking  might suggest.

Regardless of how strange the build of Tyloo’s ship is though, they are a team who can still ride the same lower tiered currents as their peers.

Tyloo at the ZOTAC Cup Masters 2018 TaZ

Tyloo’s most recent result at ZOTAC Cup Masters 2018 would, on the surface, suggest otherwise. In Hong Kong, they were knocked out in the first stage by third-string Polish side, team Kinguin. In a tournament bracket where they should’ve rivalled MIBR or Optic for a six-figure paycheck, they were sent packing with nothing to show for it. It’s reasonable to be cynical towards Tyloo with such a result. Kinguin are a team that battles to be placed in the top thirty, and for spots at LAN. ZOTAC was the first international LAN Kinguin qualified for since Copenhagen Games in March. They are not a good team. But that does not make Tyloo a bad one, as a result.

Tyloo’s loss to Kinguin at ZOTAC is very much consistent with first, the state of lower tiered CS competition, and second, their place within that ecosystem.

When you start to wander outside of the top 10 teams in the world, you descend into a truly chaotic realm. Everyone beats everyone at this level. This isn’t, though, by virtue of teams being so ladenned with flaws they can’t string together wins. Rather, the intense level of competition breeds a closely contested pack of many teams with high differentials in month-to-month performance. Think of it like a pyramid broken up into portions. As you descend from the top, each portion grows and represents a larger number of teams. A team within their respective portion - or more aptly, ‘tier’ - have reason to back themselves into a match-up against another team within their tier.

Tyloo ZOTAC Cup Masters 2018

While Tyloo, ENCE, NiP, and Optic sit at the top of their tier, they are not necessarily above its laws. Imperial won Dreamhack Summer 2018 in dominant fashion, destroying Optic, North, AGO and Gambit to claim the trophy without dropping a map. The week directly after, they lost to Kinguin in a Bo3 to qualify for ZOTAC.

It’s not necessarily a knock on Tyloo within the context of their portion of the pyramid to lose to Kinguin. It happens. Now, if we were to talk about them as a team who should be at a top 6-10 level, this apologetic mindset shifts to a critical one. Although it’s only a marginal difference in terms of placing, it’s a jump in ‘tier’. If they were a team at this level, we’d expect a dominant victory. Which is, by the way, what MIBR dealt to Kinguin in an assertive 3:0 in the grand finals of ZOTAC (MIBR being a team in that top 6-10 range, at least).

The way in which they lost to Tyloo as well, wasn’t necessarily signs to abandon ship. They lacked a lot of polish on T-side - especially Train, and failed to capitalise on a lot of the mistakes Kinguin were making. Kinguin presented many opportunities on CT-side Mirage and Overpass to accelerate Tyloo’s score. Tyloo’s linear focus, weak entry work and reliance on clutching saw Kinguin skate out of both halves with 5+ rounds when it could’ve been 3. It never should’ve gone to Train.

Tyloo’s upset loss to Kinguin doesn’t isolate them as a potentially problematic addition to CS:GO’s tier two sides as much as validate them in that spot. They don’t possess the consistency or depth to jump up to the next tier, as much has been shown over the last three months since their rise with Xccurate. Their losses to NRG, Renegades and now, Kinguin, better establishes the boundaries of this side’s potential. Rather than spell out the end of their run as a team, I think it shows they are just as subject to lower tiered forces as their peers. If anything, it helps remove the strange caveats around coming from the Asian region and being ‘on-the-rise’. Because there’s nothing more European than losing to an unknown side with a former legend in a Bo3 on LAN. Even if you have three Chinese and two Indonesian players.