100 Thieves have announced their withdrawal from Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, with the futures of the Australasian squad now up in the air.
Whilst not unexpected, the news signals a likely end to an internationally-based Oceanic core in CS:GO with rumours that individual players within the ex-100T squad had received and/or accepted offers elsewhere.
Justin ‘jks’ Savage’s move to Complexity is all but assured, ending a six year partnership with teammate Aaron ‘AZR’ Ward that spanned close to a thousand maps and three organisations. Elsewhere, the futures of Jay ‘Liazz’ Tregillgas, Sean ‘Gratisfaction’ Kaiwai & Joakim ‘jkaem’ Myrbostad are still yet to be determined, however it is believed a number of organisations have reached out in earnest for all three members.
Notably, this also spells the end to a partnership with their veteran manager in Chris ‘GomeZ’ Orfanellis, long thought of as the ever-present sixth man of the roster. There with jks and AZR, GomeZ has seen out every iteration of the expatriate Oceanic lineup from the very beginning, with his future also unclear.
It was mid-June of 2015 when the then-captain of Vox Eminor, Chad ‘SPUNJ’ Burchill, landed a deal of a lifetime with the North American-based LA Renegades, realising their own Great Australian Dream; to ascend to full-time international competition in esports outside of their part-time jobs and Oceanic homes.
Through changes in organisation ownership and the acquisition of multi-national players from outside of Australia, jks, AZR and GomeZ carried with them the hopes and dreams of a region — that a team of rag-tag Aussies and Kiwis could possibly make a dent on the international stage. In doing so, they opened the door for the next generation of Oceanic superstars to do the same.
And while the journey was always going to be tough, it was the highs that kept the dream alive; from the first international trophy at the StarLadder i-League Invitational in Shanghai, to the incredible Major breakthrough at IEM Katowice and subsequent improvement to top four at the StarLadder Berlin Major in 2019.
The reintroduction of Oceanic talent into the squad through Liazz and Gratisfaction had sparked new life into the lineup and reinforced the depth that the region possessed, and together with coach Aleksandar ‘kassad’ Trifunovic, Renegades and 100 Thieves proved a potent force at the end of 2019.
2019 was truly the year of The Boys, both as a team and on an individual level; the ever-consistent jks was rewarded with a highly coveted Top 20 spot in HLTV’s end of year player rankings at #15 — the first player from Oceania to receive such an award — while the lineup peaked at a dizzying #5 in the world rankings.
2020 has proved a rough year for most, but the cancellation of all offline events and the move to online competition hit hard for 100 Thieves. Initially unable to replicate their purple vein of form, and unable to return home due to global coronavirus travel restrictions, results stagnated.
There still poses an opportunity for the squad to finish their run together on a high. 100 Thieves fell just short of a maiden trophy for the organisation at ESL Pro League a fortnight ago, and are poised to enter the playoffs of IEM New York in what is shaping as their last event in the red-and-black.
In any case, no matter the result of this week’s playoffs, none will forget the impact of the original trio of jks, AZR & GomeZ had upon CS:GO in Oceania and beyond.
This is a developing story. Stay tuned to Here’s The Thing for the latest on the 100 Thieves exit and the future of the playing roster.