Lamenting the demise of Flipsid3 Tactics South Africa

Lamenting the demise of Flipsid3 Tactics South Africa

Flipsid3 Tactics (F3) are an international MGO (multi-gaming organization) most famous for their international Counter-Strike: Global Offensive roster’s seemingly inexplicable ability in recent years to make it to the Valve CS:GO Majors. This is despite usually having a relatively underwhelming team when one looks at the individual players.

Since its inception in early 2015 under in-game leader Andrey “B1ad3” Gorodensky, their CIS squad has had some rather good players come and go. Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev, current Natus Vincere hard carry and one of the world’s very best players, had a stint in the team as a young up and coming terror in 2015. F3 have a history of developing new stars in the CIS scene under the rigid tactical approach of B1ad3. While things didn’t go quite to plan at the recent ELEAGUE Boston Major, they have a history of perennially overachieving in making it to the Majors, often finishing top eight in the past.

Flipsid3 Tactics: South Africa

So how does this relate to the South African arm of Flipsid3? The parallels are rather startling when it comes to the leadership of the team. Since joining the squad in June 2016, experienced tactician and in-game leader (IGL), James zerOch4Nce” Wijnberg consistently guided his team to top place finishes at the biggest tournaments in the South African scene. Of course, this wouldn’t have been possible without the help of team owner and manager Anthony “SkyChief” Nel’s willingness to give zerOch4Nce free reign and back his desire to grow young talent.

F3’s zerOch4Nce showed a consist propensity for developing and nurturing young talent. In many cases, these players have gone on to bigger and better things. The most famous example of a is Dean “massacre” Davids, currently playing for Goliath Gaming. When he was picked up by F3, he was widely regarded as a cocky young player that was too unruly to take a risk on. F3 took the risk. The result is that massacRe is now seen as one of SA’s brightest young talents.

In his time at F3, zerOch4Nce never had as many resources at his disposable in the form of the coaches, analysts or sports psychologists that have been used successfully by the likes of Bravado Gaming or Energy eSports. He was one person fulfilling the role of player, captain, IGL, and coach. There are many reasons to regard zerOch4Nce as one of South Africa’s best ever tactical IGLs before he moved to F3. Post F3, that sentiment has only been reinforced by his exploits.

zerOch4Nce making the most of less

Going into their first LAN at Telkom’s Masters 2016 tournament at rAge, there wasn’t a great deal of expectation from anyone of a top-placed finish. As it happens they confounded the critics and finished in a highly competitive fourth, just behind Damage Control. They shouldn’t have finished ahead of some more fancied teams on paper. Thus began the era of F3: SA teams led by the zerOch4Nce and SkyChief combination overachieving at South Africa’s premier CS:GO tournaments. A fourth-place finish at the Mega 8 Autumn CS:GO Cup followed up by another fourth place at the Mettlestate Samsung Galaxy CS:GO Championship cemented them as the team posing the biggest threat to South Africa’s top three in Bravado, Energy and Damage Control.

The gradual decline

That was until the team split apart. Three players left to form part of the MGO that essentially took F3’s spot as SA’s fourth-best team, Goliath Gaming. In their wake, F3 went through rebuilding phases in both ESL Africa Season One and Season Two. In both seasons, playing with several talented young newcomers, zerOch4Nce attempted to mold the team into a competitive outfit. The downside of their fairly rigid tactical approach was that it wasn’t very adaptable to integrating multiple new players at once. This was compounded by repeatedly attempting to integrate multiple inexperienced youngsters each time the lineup was forced to change. The rebuilding phases were all the longer because of it.

Despite being understrength, they still overachieved at times, showing some decent results. Their overall finishes in the leagues were disappointing, but they consistently showed flashes of tactical brilliance despite the squad’s players lacking in experience.

What happened to Flipsid3?

With zerOch4Nce retiring as a player in late 2017 and going on to become the coach of current top three team Big 5 Esports, fans wouldn’t have heard anything of the MGO since. Sadly, the reason for that is that the team has been disbanded. F3:SA is no more.

Is there any reason to care?

Aside from if you care about a famous international brand among MGOs disappearing from our shores, not on the surface. Although I would argue we should care about a big name no longer being present in the SA scene.

It’s when you look below the obvious and see the implications for the development of new talent in the SA scene that show what a profound loss it is. Between zerOch4Nce and SkyChief, they showed a willingness to gamble on youngsters. There simply is no current opportunity in SA for a young upcoming player to play under as good or experienced an IGL and gain exposure at the top level. To take the next step forward in their careers, younger players need to be exposed to that kind of tutelage and structure. It’s an important step in their development.

While there are still plenty of teams for youngsters to ply their trade in, there isn’t a current lineup outside of the top five or six teams that could offer them something similar to what F3 had. It was special. It was a team that represented something unique in its approach thanks to the people that were involved.

I guess this is goodbye

I for one will miss the presence of Flipsid3 Tactics: South Africa in the local CS:GO scene. Thanks to all the players that were part of the team, pre-zerOch4Nce and during his tenure. There were some truly amazing matches that will forever be etched in my mind both as a spectator and a commentator. Thanks for a good few years F3!

Michael “axtremes” Harmse is a Counterstrike: Global Offensive commentator, analyst, desk host and interviewer. Michael lives and breathes CSGO and esports. He is dedicated to growing esports in South Africa, one tournament, article and stream at a time.

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