All dynasties must come to an end eventually, and it is now froyotech’s turn to take its bows and fade gently into the stars. In honor of their impressive achievements, let us review their history from meteoric rise to fall from grace and look at the legacy they leave behind for teams to look up to.
The background for the formation of a new superteam was the events of ESEA Season 15. The season began with watch this, a highly anticipated team expected to be competitive in the race for the title, choosing to disband after disputes with ESEA admins, leaving several veteran players without Invite teams. In addition, b4nny’s team iT had fallen to perennial rivals Classic Mixup in the grand finals of ESEA LAN, losing two best-of-three series in stunning fashion.
The formation was swift after that - four players of watch this joined with b4nny and shade (a long-time teammate and Medic who had taken a break for the previous season) to form froyotech. The team also picked up Ruwin to replace milo on pocket Soldier before the season started. Thus began their reign over Invite. While froyotech quickly jumped to a 6-0 record in the season with their star-studded roster, not all was well within the team. Ruwin, most well-known for his deadly Scout play in seasons prior, had been struggling with the transition to pocket Soldier. Through a mixture of performance and playstyle issues, the team would part ways with Ruwin before the onset of week 4. Replacing him on pocket Soldier was lansky, who had previously retired after b4nny had left iT. With lansky’s return, froyotech would go on to finish the season with a perfect record of 16-0, coasting into the first seed for LAN.
froyotech would undergo one more change before the end of the season. Prior to the final week of the regular season, b4nny and dummy would switch roles. While b4nny would return to the very familiar role of Demoman, this would be dummy’s first attempt on Scout. Some people questioned this change, but the team quelled any doubts during the week by dispatching both Exertus eSports and Classic Mixup in a convincing 5-2 fashion. dummy seemed comfortable (enough) on Scout, and b4nny showed that even with a season off that he could still drop disgusting damage as Demoman. However, this would all come tumbling down during the teamfortress.tv Invitational powered by Twitch, in which Classic Mixup narrowly beat the team in the upper bracket finals and then crushed them in the grand finals 5-0 on Badlands to claim first place. This triggered an immediate return to the old roles for ESEA LAN.
At LAN, froyotech dispatched their first round opponents of Street Hoops eSports on Viaduct and Snakewater without much trouble, setting up an upper bracket final against Classic Mixup. froyotech took Process fairly convincingly, but found themselves unsuccessful on Badlands once again, setting up a decider on Pro Viaduct. A stellar performance from the team booked them their place in the grand finals, in which Classic Mixup rose up once again to face them. The team fell on Snakewater, but once again took Pro Viaduct to force a third map of Granary. It was a nailbiter, but froyotech held on to a slim one round lead as time expired in the second half to prevent a second series and claim the championship for the team - the first of many to come.
Becoming World Champions
By winning ESEA LAN, the team was automatically guaranteed to be one of the two North American teams to compete at Insomnia52, the third intercontinental TF2 tournament. Classic Mixup powered through the online qualifier to be the second.
With dummy deciding to step down, the team poached duwatna from Street Hoops eSports to fill his role. He immediately showed his worth, helping the team defeat all of its rivals convincingly in the matches of ESEA Season 17 leading up to Insomnia52. The one exception was a loss to Exertus eSports on Granary, which was significant in itself as the end of b4nny’s streak of regular season wins since ESEA Season 12 in late 2012. Despite this loss, the team appeared ready for a run at the international title, even being considered by most as favorites to take the tournament.
Finally, the weekend arrived, and teams from across the world flew to Coventry to compete. b4nny and shade arrived for the third time looking for a win, having been denied by Classic Mixup as part of Leviathan Gaming during Insomnia46 and then by both Epsilon eSports and Team Cooler Master as part of High Rollers Gaming during Insomnia49.
The group stages went fairly strongly for froyotech, with the team losing to Australian powerhouse Team Immunity 6-2 and also to European powerhouse Epsilon eSports in overtime to finish with the third seed. This set them up well for the bracket, where they rolled through their first two matches to reach the upper round of 6. Up against them was Team Immunity, who they beat in overtime on Badlands and then crushed on Gullywash to advance to the upper bracket final against Epsilon eSports. They blanked the European team on Process and then managed to hold on to their lead on Snakewater to advance to the grand finals.
In the lower bracket, Classic Mixup beat out Team Immunity in a thrilling three-map series that went to overtime on the third map, sending the Australians home with another fourth place finish. They then went up against Epsilon eSports in a back-and-forth series, but this time were not able to win in overtime on the third map, thus knocking them out of the tournament without being in the grand finals for the first time in their history.
It was thus Epsilon eSports that would be the final challenger in froyotech’s quest for the world title. This would be the first intercontinental grand final in the history of the tournaments, with Insomnia46 being an all-American showing and Insomnia49 being dominated by Europeans. However, the historic occurrence ended up being disappointing for most fans, with Epsilon eSports only able to take one round across two maps in the grand finals. As a result, froyotech were crowned world champions and thus ensured their places in the history books. The star team would not stop there, however.
Returning from their successful title run at Insomnia52, the team was once again stunned by Team eLevate (the rebranding of Exertus eSports) in ESEA, this time on Pro Viaduct. These two losses to the rising team, which had completed a perfect season as a result, meant that froyotech would have to face their bitter rivals Classic Mixup in the first round of the LAN playoffs.
Before this, however, came theGXL Universe 2014. Thanks to the efforts of organizer TheFragile, the LAN was set to be the biggest ever for North American TF2, with twenty teams participating and a staggering prize pot with hardware prizes from Corsair and $3,200 in cash. CEVO had also agreed to hold their first-ever LAN finals at the event, setting the stage for a huge showdown ahead of ESEA LAN in early December. The brackets were serendipitously laid out exactly the same for CEVO LAN as for ESEA LAN, thanks to froyotech finishing ahead of Team eLevate and Classic Mixup falling behind Street Hoops eSports, leaving CEVO LAN to be a great preview of what was to come later.
froyotech came out strongly, not dropping a single map en route to winning the finals. They then repeated the same feat during the community tournament the next day, albeit in best-of-ones instead of best-of-threes. Thus, they proved themselves to be ahead of Classic Mixup, winning all seven of the maps they played. In addition, they had proven the online losses against Team eLevate to be a fluke by beating them 2-0 in the CEVO finals. For their part, Classic Mixup lived up to their reputation as LAN warriors by dismantling Exertus eSports and keeping their spot as the finalists in North America.
Almost two months would pass before the top teams would spar for the much more significant title of ESEA, however. froyotech once again took the title, this time without dropping a map in the process. The surprise came in the second place team: Team eLevate managed to take down perennial finalists Classic Mixup in the lower bracket finals on Process and Badlands, thus preventing them from reaching the grand finals of a tournament for only the second time in their history. This loss led Classic Mixup to disband, cementing froyotech’s position as the best in North America even further.
ESEA Season 18 proved to be the breakout season, where the team finally managed to cement in the truly perfect season they were denied for so long, not dropping a map during the regular season or the LAN finals. Team eLevate, which had fallen somewhat out of form and ended up in fourth seed for the LAN finals, managed to surprise everyone by taking out both Mad Men and Street Hoops eSports in order to end up in the grand finals with froyotech once again, but the ultimate outcome was the same as last season: froyotech ESEA champions, now for three seasons running.
The offseason was filled with many changes, most notably ESEA deciding to drop their Invite LAN playoffs due to a partnership with ESL to create the ESL ESEA Pro League for CS. The news was thankfully mitigated by a recent meeting with Valve that revealed competitive matchmaking was in the works, but it was still a very large blow to the North American scene.
As a result, the season began on a muted note. froyotech would take the first half of their season without any losses. A major change would be in store for the team, though, which they had managed to avoid since their first season. lansky, who had grown to be regarded as one of the game’s best pocket Soldiers, was unable to attend Insomnia55, and thus decided to step down midseason in order to allow his replacement time to play in ESEA as preparation for the major event - for most of the remainder of the season, that player would be serv0. However, a loss on Sunshine to regional rivals Ascent (who had rebranded following being dropped by Team eLevate) left them with second seed and seeking answers. The problem seemed to be solved by acquiring ash from Street Hoops eSports to play in the pocket Soldier role.
ash seemed to be the answer they needed, but they would hit disastrous results in the playoffs, dropping one close map to Street Hoops eSports and then outright losing the upper bracket final to Ascent and facing elimination. With in-game leading being the problem, b4nny decided to switch roles with ash in hopes of strengthening the team. A bizarre decision by ESEA led to the best-of-three lower bracket final against The Five Dollar Club being reduced to a single map, which froyotech managed to take 5-3, thus arriving in the grand finals and facing an uphill battle against Ascent to take the regional championship. The first best-of-three series was very close, but froyotech took it in two maps to force a decisive final series. In this series, they crushed Ascent, thus defending their title.
froyotech was thus ready to fight at Insomnia55, being considered favorites to take it as many of their rivals had faded away in the year separating the two events. The fundraiser for their trip was almost jeopardized by insensitive comments made by their newest player, but they managed to make it up and thus attended with Ascent. This time, they were fairly dominant in the group stages, ending up with only one tie against the European team The Last Resort. With first seed, the team proceeded through the brackets without much trouble.
They would not face a major challenge until they hit the upper bracket final against nerdRage.tf2. froyotech looked poised to take it after the first map, but an unreal performance by nerdRage.tf2 helped them take the second in overtime and then the third, handing froyotech their first best-of-three loss on LAN and knocking them down. In the lower bracket, Reason Gaming, widely expected to be the top team of Europe but falling short so far, awaited froyotech. The two teams traded maps, setting up a final showdown on Product, which froyotech continued their dominant performances on by winning, thus avoiding elimination and moving on to the grand final. nerdRage.tf2 awaited them there, and the stage was set for an epic best-of-five series. Most of the series was the froyotech show, with nerdRage.tf2 managing to take the first map in overtime and then only getting one round in the three maps that followed.
Thus, froyotech were once again world champions, albeit in a much less dominant fashion than the previous year. This, unfortunately, would be the last major title they would ever take.
End of an Era
ESEA Season 20 began soon after the champions returned from their victory at Insomnia55. froyotech was one of the only top teams that remained stable with several others performing roster changes. They began the season with a very close victory over Ascent on Granary, highlighting their continuing struggles on that map and against their regional rivals. Still, they proceeded to not drop a map against any team for the first few weeks, outside of a single forfeit loss.
theGXL Titan 2015 happened in the middle of October and thus in the middle of the season. While being severely reduced in stature compared to last year, the event was still attended by top players and fairly competitive. The three top teams attending were froyotech, Ascent, and Street Hoops eSports (who had actually rebranded to Team SoloUber in ESEA), although all three were utilizing standins. froyotech used ninjanick as a replacement for shade and marmadukeGRYLLS as a replacement for blaze for the tournament. Similar to last year, the team had no problems, dispatching all of their opponents without dropping a map. It was not very indicative of the team being the best in North America considering that all of the top teams all had standins, but it was a win nevertheless.
The next major tournament was the weekend after GXL: an online tournament dubbed The Fall Classic. froyotech had proceeded to the upper bracket finals of the tournament, where they once again lost to Ascent and were dropped to the lower bracket. A dispute arose in the lower bracket final, in which they contested froyotech utilizing ash, who had been having Internet problems. This eventually resulted in them forfeiting, advancing froyotech to the grand finals once again. It looked as if they would once again perform the same feat as they did in the previous ESEA season when they won the first series against Ascent, but Ascent responded by thoroughly defeating them in the second series, thus winning their first-ever title. It was only the second tournament froyotech had ever lost, the first being to Classic Mixup over a year prior.
The ESEA regular season proceeded to its end without much fanfare, with even the race for fourth seed ending very anticlimactically. froyotech once again lost to Ascent, this time on Metalworks, and ended up with second seed once again. They faced Team SoloUber in the first round of the playoffs and narrowly defeated them in order to advance to the upper bracket finals against Ascent. They had a promising start by winning Badlands, but lost on Viaduct Pro and then Process to be knocked down to the lower bracket final where they would once again face Team SoloUber.
This match would be the final stand of the team. A surprising decision to switch the roles of b4nny and clckwrk quickly put them down three rounds, a deficit they could not climb out of even after switching back. Disputes within the team saw ash leave after the first map, forcing them to utilize seymour for the remainder of the series. They managed to tie up the series with a dominating performance on Gullywash, bringing up a decisive third map of Granary. It ended up being a very tight map dominated by stalemates, and regulation expired with the teams tied, forcing overtime. It was here that the giants were felled, unable to win and thus getting knocked out of the tournament without seeing the grand finals for the first time ever.
As a result of this loss, the members of froyotech realized that their time was up. The team disbanded within the next few hours, with only the captain b4nny planning to return for next season, the others lost to retirement. The story of the legends had come to a close.
froyotech is without a doubt a dynasty. From the early formations in March 2014, they have had a stranglehold on the North American scene and boast back-to-back world titles. Given this dominance, the stability of the team is unheralded. Across five seasons and practically two years, they have only had to make three significant roster changes (lansky for Ruwin in ESEA Season 16, duwatna for dummy before ESEA Season 17, ash for lansky in ESEA Season 19). No other team in North American history has even come close to that level of stability. They’ve even had a world-class backup on the team. As teams form and others acquire new players, froyotech had an advantage simply because they already had team chemistry built. It is an inspiring yet often overlooked component of their success.
Of course, one does not simply maintain a roster and just gain dominance in TF2. froyotech has had some of the game’s most exceptional players at every position. clckwrk will go down as one of the game’s very best Scouts on one of the very best teams, with ridiculous aim that only seemed to amplify on LAN. blaze rose to prominence back with srsly br0 but has further cemented himself as an elite roaming Soldier with his time on froyotech. duwatna had a meteoric rise to the top of Invite, as proven by his quick pickup by the team for Insomnia52. lansky and shade need no further comments as they are recognized as arguably the greatest pocket Soldier-Medic combo in all of TF2, with the championships to back it up. dummy and ash are perhaps unsung heroes due to their more brief stints with the team, but they made both significant and consistent contributions to the team. Lastly, there is b4nny himself. Once a young Demoman main thought to be cheating because he was simply “too good,” b4nny’s presence at the top of North American TF2 has been as versatile as it is illustrious. People doubted him when he switched to Scout; he performed above all expectations on LAN. People doubted him when he switched to pocket Soldier; he performed above all expectations on LAN. He has won many an ESEA crown on Demoman and taken world titles on both Scout and Soldier. There aren’t many players who are as multitalented and successful as he was during his time with froyotech, and his story isn’t even over. Who knows what is next.
A certain Medic mastermind once said, “the day that b4nny figures out how to properly push all the time is the day he’ll be almost unbeatable.” froyotech embodied that statement to a T. The team was known for abusing tiny advantages. They could turn simple calls into pushes in the blink of an eye, aggressing forward and picking opponents to pieces with their deadly aim. Of course, having the most powerful flank in clckwrk and blaze certainly helped push the agenda. But b4nny did not forget his origins, his time with High Rollers Gaming. While froyotech showed they could be aggressive and force people into uncomfortable exchanges, they could also slow the game down to their liking as well - whether by running in clckwrk and having him switch to Sniper, baiting out mistakes and overextensions from their opponent, or stalemating until blaze makes a huge bomb. These were also tactics froyotech utilized to their advantage. Being successful in both the slow and fast game kept the opposition on their toes at all times, and with the stern coordination natural to one of b4nny’s teams meant the reverse rarely happened to them.
From a pure empirical standpoint, Badlands and Snakewater were froyotech’s worst maps. Of course, this should be prefaced by the fact that froyotech simply did not lose very often. In terms of ESEA and the Insomnia LANs, though, Badlands and Snakewater account for 40% of froyotech’s losses. Sunshine and Metalworks have also been sights for losses here and there, but perhaps that’s in the nature of being newer maps in the rotation. New maps means less familiarity and more exposure to weaknesses that may not manifest on other maps. It should also be noted that since the team’s inception in ESEA Season 16, the map list has remained unchanged for 4 seasons, once again proving their consistency. On the other side of the spectrum, froyotech has never lost a Gullywash match in ESEA or the Insomnia LANs. The only memorable instance they have lost on Gullywash was to Classic Mixup in the teamfortress.tv Invitational powered by Twitch, of which they were up 2-0 at the half before ultimately falling 3-4.
Greatest of All Time
There are many teams that have laid claim to the title of best in the world, especially with the Insomnia LANs that featured the best teams from the two major regions of TF2 (Europe and North America). However, it is a much more difficult feat to claim the title of greatest of all time. froyotech has laid a very convincing claim to it in their performances over a year, and there are no other teams that really contest the title.
The achievements are there to back it up: two Insomnia titles, four ESEA championships, two GXL wins, and one CEVO win. All but one of these wins was on LAN and against teams that could claim to be in the top ten of the world at the time. The stats are even more impressive - only one series (and eight maps) lost on LAN across the eight LAN tournaments attended. Their online record was much less stellar throughout their history, but their missteps there were not significant compared to their LAN achievements.
Of course, there are other teams that can claim to be as dominant as froyotech were. Some Europeans will whisper about dignitas, mostly lost from the history books but able to claim similar domination on LAN in an earlier era, and many more will shout about Epsilon eSports, who compiled a near-perfect record in their domination of Europe around Insomnia49 (and of course their domination of the world during Insomnia49). However, froyotech distinguishes itself based on the circumstances - dignitas never had the chance to prove themselves on an international level, and Epsilon eSports performed most of their achievements online against an arguably weaker European scene, whereas almost all of froyotech’s achievements are on LAN, especially during the first part of their history.
It’s of course a very difficult situation to decide - some would argue that Epsilon eSports might have ended up with the Insomnia52 title had they played with their dominant Insomnia49 roster and thus been recognized as the greatest of all time. Unfortunately, though, we can only judge history based on what has happened and not what could have happened, and by those standards froyotech is fully deserving of the title of greatest of all time.
- ESEA Regular Season Record: 74-6
- ESEA LAN Playoffs Record: 9-0 (Maps: 18-2)
- ESEA Online Playoffs Record: 5-3 (Maps: 12-7)
- Insomnia Group Stages Record: 9-2-1
- Insomnia Playoffs Record: 10-1 (Maps: 18-4)
- GXL LAN Record: 12-0 (Maps: 14-0)
- CEVO Regular Season Record: 32-1
- CEVO LAN Playoffs Record: 3-0 (Maps: 6-0)
- CEVO Online Playoffs Record: 4-0
- Online Invitational Record: 10-4 (Maps: 13-6)
- 1st place, CEVO-Main Season 4 (clckwrk, dummy, blaze, lansky, b4nny, shade)
- 2nd place, teamfortress.tv Invitational powered by Twitch (clckwrk, dummy, blaze, lansky, b4nny, shade)
- 1st place, ESEA-Invite Season 16 (clckwrk, b4nny, blaze, lansky, dummy, shade)
- 1st place, Insomnia52 (clckwrk, b4nny, blaze, lansky, duwatna, shade)
- 1st place, CEVO-Professional Season 5 (clckwrk, b4nny, blaze, lansky, duwatna, shade)
- 1st place, theGXL TF2 Invitational presented by Corsair Gaming (clckwrk, b4nny, blaze, lansky, duwatna, shade)
- 1st place, ESEA-Invite Season 17 (clckwrk, b4nny, blaze, lansky, duwatna, shade)
- 1st place, ESEA-Invite Season 18 (clckwrk, b4nny, blaze, lansky, duwatna, shade)
- 1st place, ESEA-Invite Season 19 (clckwrk, ash, blaze, b4nny, duwatna, shade)
- 1st place, Insomnia55 (clckwrk, ash, blaze, b4nny, duwatna, shade)
- 1st place, theGXL Titan 2015 Team Fortress 2 Pro Series (clckwrk, ash, marmadukeGRYLLS, b4nny, duwatna, ninjanick)
- 2nd place, The Fall Classic (clckwrk, ash, blaze, b4nny, duwatna, shade)
- 3rd place, ESEA-Invite Season 20 (clckwrk, ash, blaze, b4nny, duwatna, shade)
Many thanks to tery_, who contributed a significant amount to this article.