Part One: Introduction
Like many an avid TFTV reader, I found myself engrossed by Tery’s NA Invite Top 100 at the end of last year. It was a refreshing change of pace from the usual content seen on TFTV and a nostalgic trip down memory lane as someone whose first introduction to competitive TF2 was SalTV NA Invite casts in around 2011. Naturally, it got me thinking about creating something similar for my own region. I’ve always felt that Oceanic TF2 has often been a bit of an unknown to those from Europe and North America. Outside of the Team Immunity and Jasmine Tea rosters that have competed against the best overseas, many of the region’s best players are still relatively unknown on the global stage. With the matches on either in the early hours of the morning or in the middle of the day while everyone is off at work or school, Europe and North America’s only options for keeping up with OCE TF2 is to either watch the VODs of the matches or the infrequent TFTV news post, usually limited to a season preview or the occasional roster change. My goal for this list is to hopefully shed some light on the Oceanic players who have made the scene over the past five years.
One of the first questions you might have is: Why not make this an all time list too? Well, I initially began drafting this list as an all time list only to realise that it was going to be very difficult, and so I decided to shift to a more recent five-year timeframe for several reasons.
One of the main reasons is lack of data and information. Prior to the creation of logs.tf, ozfortress used a plugin called livelogs. This was a similar, in-house stats analyser created by former ozfortress administrator bladez. After logs.tf became widespread and was adopted by all ozfortress servers in around 2014, livelogs sat dormant until 2018 when it was finally removed from servers. Because of this, all logs from before 2014 have been lost to time, making accessing stats from important matches prior to season 13 very difficult. To add to this, the ozfortress received a new website in 2016 and a backup of the old one is yet to go up. This means that not only are there no stats, but for many of the matches there are no easy to access match threads, meaning it’s very hard to tell which players even played in the biggest matches prior to season 13. While sites like ESEA have recorded stats dating back to their first season still accessible today, Oceania has no such resource. This means a lack of data for many of Australia’s best teams, including MAD DOGZ and Team Immunity.
Another reason is simply that if my goal is to put the spotlight on lesser known players, then creating a list full of predominantly Team Immunity and Jasmine Tea players wouldn’t really accomplish that. This list features no former iM players and several former Jasmine players, but is mostly composed of players who haven’t played with either team (at least not internationally).
With these factors in mind I decided to opt for a more realistic timespan of five years. Starting at season 18 (early 2017) and going through to season 32 (late 2021), this gives us exactly 15 seasons of play over this time. I was tossing up between changing the starting season to season 16, as that was the first season of Premier without the Team Immunity core in a very long time, but decided against it as I thought this would lead to more of a focus on the Jasmine Tea players (sorry Paulsen). Another benefit of the season 18 starting point is that it marks two significant events: The first full season since Jasmine Tea played their last international LAN (I have dubbed this era the “post-LAN era” due to this), and the first season won by a team that didn’t feature the core of either Team Immunity or Jasmine Tea.
Before I discuss how I ranked the players, I should clarify that this list is judging players on their performance in regular seasons only. No cups or other events factored into this, as the data is hard to gather and many teams experiment during these cups (not to mention the cups are also often experimental, featuring maps the teams have never played on). Even though the title references Oceania, I have included Asian players who have played in Oceanic competitions as it would feel unfair not to.This list is also based solely on ozfortress competitions. Apologies to the Asiafortress players that do and don’t make an appearance on this list, but gathering data for Asiafortress seasons was just not feasible. Seasons where players played six or fewer maps also were excluded as they usually skewed data. Some metrics used include seasons played, playoffs appearances, finals appearances, wins, etc. So far, exactly what you’d expect.
ozfstats and gamescore
Some Oceanic and international players may already be familiar with ozfstats. For those who aren’t, ozfstats is the creation of ozfortress statistician Sean. As you would assume from the name, it’s a hub of various statistics from ozfortress seasons stretching back to season 14, in 2015. It contains leaderboards, player comparisons and POV demos, amongst others. One of the most interesting features of the site, however, is the ‘gamescore’ metric Sean has created. Many different games try to quantify performance, to varying degrees of success. People familiar with either CS:GO or VALORANT may have heard of either HLTV rating and ACS, respectively. At the end of a match, players will receive a number on a scale that represents how well they played. This is exactly what ‘gamescore’ is: an attempt to quantify performance in TF2.
While the bulk of the numbers I’ll be talking about are in the five year timeframe, I will also occasionally reference stats spanning over eight years. This is purely because ozfstats dates back to 2014 and I am unable to filter certain statistics to just a five year time frame instead of all time.
How does gamescore work?
The idea behind gamescore is simple, there are four different categories: impact, survivability, efficiency and objective. Impact measures your damage, kills and heals received stats, survivability measures your damage taken and deaths per minute stats, efficiency measures your damage and kills in relation to your damage taken and heals received, and objective measures your caps and win margin. Each player is given a score for each category, as a percentage. 50% is around the average, so anything below 50% can be considered a below average performance while anything above would be considered an above average performance. ozfstats then takes these four stats and spits out an overall number to qualify how well you played: The gamescore. Not all four of the stats are worth the same amount when calculating the gamescore, however. Impact is worth 50% of the gamescore, survivability and efficiency are worth 20% each and objective is worth 10%.
If we look at this log as an example, we can immediately see that skaz has some of the highest stats in the server, however EKWNOX ultimately ended the game with a narrowly higher gamescore as he was able to put up similar numbers while taking only 12% heals versus skaz’s 35%. We also see based janler (could) and Blankiest Blank (World) end up with very similar gamescores despite based janler’s higher frag count, as Blankiest Blank performed well with very little heals and less damage taken (also resulting in the starkly different Efficiency percentage).
There is more that goes into these stats than just what I have discussed here. The metric works differently for Medics than for combat classes which I won’t talk about now, but if you want to read about it and the gamescore system in more detail, you can do so here. There is also a log analyser on ozfstats that you can put your own logs into here if you want to see how you actually did versus how well you think you did. Any gamescore from 50 - 60 can be considered an above average performance, and anything from 60 - 70 can be considered a good or even great score. The 70+ barrier is hard to break, and I have only ever seen a couple of logs with 80+ scores.
Gamescore features prominently in the list. It was a very useful metric to refer to and I discuss it through the article, usually through five year averages and trends over the seasons. I also looked at playoffs gamescore (during which I upsettingly discovered my only foray into Premier division playoffs was so bad that I am statistically the worst Premier division playoffs player in the last eight years) and grand finals gamescore.
While gamescore is a useful metric to have, it's not without its flaws, a few of which are worth noting. I’m not entirely sure why (I believe it’s something to do with heals in the logs) but season 18 seems to have slightly inflated stats for all players that participated. This isn’t a major issue as it doesn’t really affect averages and trends overall, however it does make comparing season 18 stats to other seasons a bit harder. Prior to season 22, ozfortress servers did not count overheals in the heal stats for Medics. This means that Medic gamescores are lower in those seasons than in recent ones, as without heals their overall healing numbers are much lower. Again, this isn’t a major issue as long as we’re aware of it and take it into consideration when looking at these players' scores.
It’s also worth taking class into consideration when thinking about statlines. Unlike games like Counter-Strike where all ten players have access to the same resources, the classes in TF2 all play differently and have different roles within the team. For an extreme example, you wouldn’t look at a Medic with two kills and a Scout with twenty and assume the Scout played 10x better. While Medic is an outlier to an extent, the same can be said of the combat classes too. While Demomen do damage and Scouts get kills, two roles that greatly benefit stats, Soldiers are often relegated to creating space and setting up the rest of their team. These roles often don’t translate to the scoreboard and as such, Soldiers tend to have lower gamescores on average. Again, as long as it’s something we’re aware of and take into account, it’s not an issue.
This all may be a lot of information to take in so thank you for reading if you took the time to, don’t worry if it’s just gone in one ear and out the other. As a large amount of what I’ll be doing is comparing players’ stats to other players’ stats, and in those situations the only real takeaway that matters is: The higher the gamescore, the better they played.
The Teams: A Brief History of the Past Five Years
As I mentioned earlier, it may be hard for an outsider to follow the Oceanic scene so I thought I would give a rough timeline of the teams that have made up the past five years.
Jasmine Tea/Y U G I B O Y S (S18 - S23)
Despite no longer attending international LANs after season 17, Jasmine Tea still made periodic appearances in ozfortress seasons, winning season 19, 21 and 23.Their opponent in the finals was often no safeword, a team made up of former Jasmine Tea players and younger talent (no safeword also won season 18, the first season win from a team that didn't feature the Jasmine Tea or Team Immunity core). Season 23 was a particularly dominant performance from the experienced superteam as Jasmine won in a very convincing fashion defeating xeno in the final in an infamous match marked by then-xeno Demoman Doge.exe’s absence due to being asleep. Jasmine dropped only nine rounds across the entire season, with some players putting up career-best performances.
The Sauce/KILLA BEEZ/Pencil Case (S20 - S22)
In the seasons between the Jasmine Tea wins, the core of redcoatzygote, riot and yewl formed in The Sauce and began to gain momentum. Winning season 20 and placing second in season 21, the efforts of the core (then known as Pencil Case) culminated in their win against a markedly different Jasmine Tea roster in the finals of season 22. They disbanded after season 22 and many of their players went on to create Coffee Clock in season 24.
Coffee Clock/happy feet (S24 - S29)
Season 23 was the last time the Jasmine Tea name would sign up to a season, and from the ashes of Jasmine Tea rose Coffee Clock, a mix of former Pencil Case and Jasmine Tea players looking to establish themselves as the number one team in the region. They did so successfully, winning the next three seasons with varying degrees of ease. Despite several roster changes, the core of redcoatzygote, yewl, riot and cooki remained consistent across all three seasons, defeating a different opponent in each final they played. After several roster changes and a name change to happy feet prior to season 27, the team claimed another two more championships, having now won the last five seasons in a row.
soirée (S29 - S32)
happy feet were looking untouchable after their dominant win against Head Cavers in the season 28 final. Head Cavers overhauled their roster in response, bringing in cooki, silvo, Paulsen and lau and renaming the team soirée. soirée were looking very strong during the regular season of season 29, and going into finals had the odds in their favour. A convincing win in the grand final for soirée over happy feet saw the latter crumble in the postseason with the former establishing themselves as the new top dog in Oceania. Since this initial win, soirée have continued to dominate the scene. Across the first five titles they’ve won (including ozfortress seasons 29, 30, 32 and 33), soirée have only dropped seven maps, winning a colossal 89. soirée are still the team to beat, having just won ozfortress season 33 albeit with a fairly different roster than we’ve seen before.
These three players are the players I believe would have been in the #21st to #23rd rankings (not ordered), but just missed out for various reasons.
Veteran Medic lock was a Premier staple from many of the early seasons in this time period, often playing with longtime teammate HERTZ. His absence from the main list is largely a result of his zero season wins, unfortunately collecting multiple second place finishes despite nine playoffs appearances. lock was, however, in the discussion for the best Medic in the region for a long time and as such is just shy from breaking into the top 20.
A relative newcomer to the top of Premier, Roaming Soldier feyn has 11 Premier playoffs appearances. Despite this, he has only one season win to his name as many of his teams had to settle for third or fourth place. In addition to this, feyn’s stats fall just short of the top 20 with several other players having low win counts but slightly better numbers, however feyn is still an elite Soldier and one of the best Roamers in the region.
Another Medic main who almost made the list, arnold sets himself apart from his counterpart lock with two season wins in season 20 and 25. However, arnold is on the other side where despite several season wins he only has six playoffs appearances over our 15 season timeframe, and ultimately falls just short of the top 20 despite still being one of the best Premier Medics active today.