Honour among The Boys: Why 100 Thieves’ Counter-Strike return means so much for Oceania

The squad informally known as ‘The Boys,’ the ex-Renegades roster, has recently been transferred to the ever-growing North American organisation 100 Thieves.

Many fans have been waiting in anticipation for the team’s next move, with news swirling from as early as Berlin, where the boys were eliminated 2-0 by eventual runners-up AVANGAR in the semi-finals, earning themselves a place at the next major.

Around the same time, 100T founder Matthew ‘Nadeshot’ Haag made it quite clear Counter-Strike was once again on the agenda for the flourishing org, especially after they have rebuffed a place in Activision’s impending 2020 Call of Duty League.

According to the former COD pro, returning to CS:GO has been part of 100T’s plan since the organisation was founded three years ago. They were just waiting for the right roster.

“There’s just so much history, so many storylines, so many players and organizations that have been here before us,” Nadeshot said in the team’s announcement video. “And I’m so damn excited to be able to participate in it again.”

For Oceania, the move is massive. The acquisition brings with it a host of potential opportunities for the overall esport industry and the ongoing role in the legacy of Counter-Strike.

100T are among many organisations who are entering the CS:GO landscape with the intent of building a highly competitive, championship-calibre lineup. With this change coming at the end of the Major cycle, 100T will also be able to ease into the changeover.

It is also important to note this roster’s top-four finish in Berlin means they will fly the 100T banner high at the next Major, and will likely be a shoe-in for invitations to other international tournaments on Aussie soil like IEM Sydney in 2020.

The team is currently competing in the ESL Pro League, and – as of the publication of this article – are still battling for second place behind Astralis in Group A at IEM Beijing.

While playing under the Renegades banner, the team made steady improvements on the global scene, peaking at fifth on the HLTV.com official rankings thanks to back-to-back top eight finishes at both of 2019’s Major Championships.

With this pressure comes the expectation to perform, and aim for trophies with the clearly-strong lineup. There’s now eyes on the team, wondering what they can achieve both with their recent success, and a new upgrade in terms of organisations.

For Oceanic fans, the chance to support a massive global esports brand in 100T is massive for the scene, and one that fans have already begun to embrace with both hands.

For the players, there’s only upside.

“We got approached by a couple of organisations after the Major… (we’re) pretty happy with the way it’s going (so far),” Aaron “AZR” Ward told HLTV during their Beijing campaign.

“I think, for us, we just needed a chance. It was a big thing to make the move to 100 Thieves. The fanbase is huge, that’s something we didn’t really have in Renegades. I don’t want to talk down on Renegades, but 100 Thieves is just a lot bigger.”

Furthermore, the move offers a more valuable goal for the Oceanic region to shoot for, with the team often touted as the pinnacle of the region’s talent.

Jay “Liazz” Tregillgas and Sean “Gratisfaction” Kaiwai were two recent players who made the step up from the domestic circuit into the star-studded Renegades roster, and both spent time as potentially the best players in Oceanic CS:GO before making the switch.

While there’s been no major indication that Nadeshot and 100T will look Down Under for roster replacements should any of the core players step away in the near future, if they stay on course with the same moves, 100T could stay as the pinnacle team for Australia talent.

As for the initial eye test, Beijing has been the first showing for the team with their new organisation. A 2-0 thrashing of ENCE was followed by a disappointing struggle against Astralis, but the results have still set the team up for a possible playoff appearance.

Under the leadership of AZR, as well as the addition of hometown heroes Liazz and Gratisfaction, the roster seemed to have been revitalised in recent times.

A slump following Katowice, which included a poor run at IEM Sydney where they missed playing in front of their home fans at Qudos Bank Arena, meant the ex-Renegades team was unable to keep the ball rolling in terms of consistency and placings.

This new change, however, is another opportunity for them to rewrite the script.

“We had that pretty bad period in June and July, I remember after Chicago when we got knocked out in last place we went straight to the practice room and talked for like four hours about how we can fix our shit,” AZR revealed.

“The main points were about being more open with each other, since tensions started to build in the team because we were losing a lot. The other thing was the ability to reinvent our stuff because we hadn’t been up in the top 5-10 and didn’t have teams watching us before.”

“After Katowice we talked about our strats and were like, ‘we have a pretty good strat book, we don’t have to change anything,’ but obviously that wasn’t the case [laughs]. After Dallas we watched our demos and could see teams were reading us, so we had to completely change.

“We did it for the Major, and since then we’ve been constantly revamping to not fall into the same path that we did.”

Now, the team seems to have fixed their internal problems, and are wearing new colours on-stage in a new period of potential success for the Oceanic roster.

With Liazz and Justin “jks” Savage once again finding their rhythm, and AZR and coach Aleksandar “kassad” Trifunović finally settling on plays, tactics, and how they want to approach Counter-Strike, it seems like the team is back on the right path.

Whether the boys can hang with the likes of current global powerhouses like Evil Geniuses, Team Liquid, and Astralis has yet to be confirmed, but with the backing of two countries and the entire 100T fan base behind them, they’re giving it their best shot.


Follow 100 Thieves on Twitter. Catch the boys in action during IEM Beijing at live.intelextrememasters.com.

ProducerJosh Swift
Ash Whyte
Ash Whyte
Ash 'Shhlee' Whyte is all about Counter-Strike and its stories. While he did look at playing League of Legends at some point, he soon opted to specailise in CS after being told Shyvana top was apparently not 'viable' and that Bronze was not a 'good' rank.

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