It wasn’t meant to be for TYLOO at IEM Cologne. The only attending team from Asia fell short in the Play-Ins after dropping the decider against MOUZ, led by the Aussie Chris “dexter” Nong. Questions continue to be asked of the Chinese squad and their current state; a topic that concerns veteran Hansel “BnTeT” Ferdinand.
Only half an hour into IEM Cologne 2022, it looked like TYLOO’s campaign would end in a complete disaster; the Chinese squad was swiftly dealt with on Overpass 16-8 against Vitality in the opening best-of-one.
“Against Vitality we started on the T-side, and we knew that it would be tough; our T-side Overpass isn’t that great,” said TYLOO in-game-leader Hansel “BnTeT” Ferdinand to Snowball Esports.
“We still have a lot of rounds where we need to throw more utility and that’s where Vitality punished us.”
A change of sides then seemed to be the awakening call for the Chinese team, that went on to win eight consecutive rounds, gaining faith towards what looked to be an unmanageable comeback.
“On CT-side we felt pretty good in comparison,” BnTeT says.
Good, but not good enough as they still fell to the Frenchmen and were forced into the lower bracket, basically from minute one.
A bracket that would lead straight to Brazilian squad MIBR, who themselves went down against Movistar Riders.
In the intense best-of-three eliminator, both squads decimated the other on their map pick — TYLOO’s rock-solid Inferno pick was turned on them by MIBR 16-5, before TYLOO flipped the script on MIBR’s Overpass 16-3.
“We lost Inferno, a rough first map. Nothing was working that well on our T-side again. Then on Overpass, we just reset and felt confident because we got to start on CT first,” BnTeT said of the topsy-turvy series.
“We felt confident, and we knew that we would get there round by round, so we knew we wouldn’t have a big problem when we changed sides this time,” he goes on.
“Then on Dust2, we played vs. MIBR there before, we knew some of their [strategies] on the map so we kind of anti-stratted them and it worked.”
It worked a treat for TYLOO — a close T half was followed by a tight defensive setup with BnTeT and co. running away with the series 16-10, exacting revenge for their double-overtime EPL Conference loss to MIBR last month.
A win that set the stage for a fiery decider between TYLOO and MOUZ, both lead by Asia-Pacific captains in BnTeT and dexter respectively.
But it would be the Aussie’s crew that emerged victorious, with TYLOO going down 0-2 (7-16, 11-16).
“We knew Cologne is one of the really big events outside of the major, so we really wanted to qualify for the top 16 here,” said BnTeT, “but we’re not perfect yet as a team.”
Expectations for APAC as a whole have lowered since the COVID pandemic all but left the region isolated for the better part of two years.
The lack of opportunity didn’t faze TYLOO, who bolstered their stocks in February with the re-acquisition of BnTeT, replacing the retiring Haowen “somebody” Xu.
The Indonesian came across after an admittedly failed experiment with Extremum, where BnTeT linked up with former Renegades & 100 Thieves frontmen Aaron “AZR” Ward, Jay “Liazz” Tregillgas and Sean “Gratisfaction” Kaiwai.
While the Extremum squad were unable to achieve much in the way of results, it’s the experience garnered in Europe that was invaluable to BnTeT, with the 26-year-old — together with new coach Nestor “LETN1” Tanić — getting TYLOO into Europe to boot camp for the past month.
“The boot camp went really well for us, but we had six or seven weeks of it, which to be honest was a bit too much,” BnTeT said.
“We had no break and played CS for seven weeks straight.
“I think some of the players feel a bit homesick or burned out because we stayed away from home for the last three months to play CS. It’s hard for us but we still needed to do our best.”
It was a long but important stint in Europe for the team, who are still adapting to life under BnTeT and LETN1.
The Serbian coach is no stranger to BnTeT, with the two already working together prior in EXTREMUM.
The new coach joined to piece together the puzzle that is TYLOO, and bring a little balance to a sometimes chaotic system.
“LETN1 helps us a lot with our new approach of CS,” said BnTeT.
“There’s more structure, more tactics, more teamwork to our game now. We’re still not there yet, but I believe one day we will.”
For TYLOO in the interim, it’s a well-earned player break.
But ahead of them lies the crown of APAC CS:GO — a crown they’ve held for years — but of recent has been undoubtedly conceded to Rare Atom (formerly ViCi Gaming).
Rare Atom most recently made news for their achievements in Spain, where the Chinese squad took out a top four spot at DreamHack Valencia in one of the team’s first opportunities abroad.
Whilst still regional rivals, BnTeT believes that experience for as many teams in APAC is key to the growth of the region.
“Rare Atom is a really good team, we know them and play them a lot in Asia. I’m happy to see them performing so well and to see another Asian team doing a good job,” BnTeT says.
“It’s going to be fun when we get to play them again in an event in Asia.”
And that could happen very soon, at least after the summer break is over, as the men from TYLOO are now on their way back home to get some much needed rest before a bumped end to 2022 — with a spot at the Rio Major firmly in their sights.
“We’re now going back home to see family and friends, and of course over the break we will still practice,” said BnTeT.
“We will do that with a lighter schedule and then see what’s coming next.”