Red Reserve’s recent coming

Red Reserve initially started as a sub-group of the notorious FaZe Clan in order to satisfy fans of their roots in Call of Duty sniping as FaZe began to branch out. However, they made waves in the esports scene earlier this year after Swedish organization Orbit acquired all rights to the Red Reserve brand. It was a smart business move that utilized Red Reserve’s mass following in supporting their various esports teams.

Although the move was finalized many months ago, the organization has recently hit the spotlight following their Counter-Strike and Call of Duty teams results at events across the globe.

For you fans in need of a team to root for, I’m going to give you a couple of reasons as to why this organization is an exciting one to watch.

Counter-Strike and DreamHack Valencia

The team headed into DreamHack Valencia as an unknown – everyone knew they had acquired former major finalist Mikail ‘Maikelele’ Bill but were uncertain on the team’s level as they had not yet played on LAN or faced this type of opposition.

Their group matched the Swedes against fellow countrymen Ninjas in Pyjamas as well as two North American teams in CLG and NRG. My sole reason for tuning into the series was because I was an advocate of Maikelele when he played for the Ninjas and I wanted to see what he saw in this new squad. I was pleasantly surprised by the outcome.

A fragging leader

Hampus had some of the best stats at Dreamhack. [Source: HLTV]

Leading Maikelele and crew was eighteen-year-old Hampus ‘hampus’ Poser. The teenager seemed to be something rarely found: a fragging in-game leader. He was fantastic against Heroic in the semifinal and almost single-handedly took the game to a third map. On the map in question, Overpass, Hampus anchored the B bomb site, earning an array of multi-kills and boasting an ADR of 103.9 and a KAST* of 83.3%. Even in their previous series against CLG, he was only out-fragged by the team’s main AWPer.

A note I made on the strategic side of Red Reserve was that they had a heavy focus on Molotov based executes. As opposed to saving the Molotov’s for post-plant they would use four or five to safely clear the site. This meant that they were taking less 50/50 aim duels. They also seemed to have flashbangs left on players late in the round, making it possible for them to clutch many 2vX situations.

A deadly duo

The man in charge of the AWP was one of Red Reserve’s twins, Joakim ‘Relaxa’ Gustafsson. Unlike most top level AWPers such as KennyS or Fallen, Relaxa isn’t flashy but consistent down range. A trait mostly overlooked nowadays, he never missed shots he was supposed to hit. Similarly to Hampus, Relaxa was also an anchor on their favorite map Mirage. The player was quintessential in their CT side setup playing from CT spawn. Not only did he lock down the A site but also sniped down the tunnel into mid with deadly effect. Below is a clip of him popping off a little bit.

Now everyone loves a set of twins and this time is no different. Tipped by analysts as the next big Swedish player, Relaxa’s brother Fredrik ‘FREDDyFROG’ Gustafsson is a strong well-rounded player who is particularly good in the clutch. Although his performance dropped off as they faced tougher opponents, he was influential in their series against the Americans. If he can start to bring some of those plays to the worlds’ best he’ll definitely catch the eye of the top Swedish teams.

Right-hand men

The final two players to discuss are Alfred ‘RuStY’ Karlsson and Maikelele. These two seemed to be Hampus’ right-hand men. Whatever he needed them to do, they would do. RuStY, in particular, was impressive because of his ability to dedicate himself to entrying when needed. All though it had varied success, I believe one of the hardest things to do in Counter-Strike is fully dedicate yourself to entrying. On the CT side, he would provide utility for his star players to garner opening frags.

Maikelele had a pretty quiet tournament overall. He ran the second AWP when needed, but other than that usually he’d get one kill before being traded out. However having Maikelele for the future is a huge bonus as he is a player that can come alive at any time. When he’s having one of his days with the AWP he is near unstoppable, which he proved back in his days on NiP. His best map was the one which took them to the grand final where he netted 33 kills, demonstrating his tendency to show up when it matters.

CS:GO conclusions

Although it could be argued that Red Reserve should have never made it past CLG after Koosta’s mishap. The team showed great resilience, playing twelve maps in total, especially after their embarrassing opener against the Ninjas in Pyjamas. It did, however, make them all the more exciting to watch because every time it came down to winning they did so. They even gave NiP a run for their money on Mirage in the grand final. I believe Red Reserve has a bright future with Hampus at the helm and the likes of Freddy and Relaxa leading the charge.

Call of Duty and the Global Pro League

After finishing top eight at one of Call of Duty’s biggest events, MLG Anaheim, it seemed unfair that Red Reserve’s Call of Duty team was pitted against season one champions Splyce and a revitalized eUnited in the Global Pro League. Despite narrowly missing out on the playoffs on map count, they proved themselves to be a menacing team heading into the World Championships.

Europeans on the rise

European Call of Duty, in general, is trending at the moment, with Splyce winning the first season of the Global Pro League and Epsilon blossoming. There’s no better time than now to start getting behind another upcoming EU team.

The Red Reserve roster consists of Urban, Seany, Rated and Joe. Rated is the most recent addition to the squad, though he played with them earlier in the year. The change came as a surprise to many when his former team placed above Red Reserve last season but he still opted to make the move. The deciding factor was his chemistry with Joe, as the pair placed second at the World Championships last year and have played alongside each other for the majority of their careers.

Rated left Elevate to join Red Reserve. [Source: MLG]

Having a team you can rely on is essential in any sort of competition and it definitely showed in their play. In Crusher Search and Destroy versus eUnited, they made numerous plays that required full commitment from the team. In one round, instead of defending the bomb after it had been planted, they made a four man push into the base to catch the Americans off guard. And analysts were also full of praise for their judgment to go for straight defuses whilst there are still multiple players alive. This forces the hand of the opposition rather than allowing them to sit back and wait for the retake to come in.

A balanced roster

One aspect of Call of Duty that’s always been exciting is the trash talk and the hype some players bring to the table, and Rated is another one of those players. Over the years, players such as Aches, Clayster and Killa have gained recognition for their ability to throw opposing players off their game. Rated has had the same effect, it was only recently a Reddit thread with back and forth between himself and Zero of Splyce came to light. Not only does his fiery personality shine through on social media, it is replicated through his style in-game. The aggressive assault rifler does not let up on his enemies, pressuring them into making split second decisions.

His buddy Joe also has his own unique playstyle. The Brit likes to get behind enemy lines to kill multiple opponents from angles they don’t expect. He does so by anticipating their rotations and by picking the fastest routes to get there. Admittedly it’s harder to pull off against well-drilled opponents but it will easily upset some of the teams attending the World Championship.

Their NV4 player Seany has only recently popped up on my radar. Easily their best player over the course of their GPL weekend, Seany was earning killstreaks map after map with his laser like shot. These killstreaks mean that even if they are beat off of rotation they can be used to resecure the spawns for the upcoming hardpoint. If he can bring the same consistency to the World Championship, Red Reserve can rely on those streaks to break some of the more challenging Hardpoints against the most challenging opponents.

Finally, we have Urban. This guy has spent most of his professional career on Team Infused with MarkyB. They had many first place finishes at European LANs but were unable to replicate the same success overseas. During this time Urban has gained a wealth of experience and has started putting it to use on Red Reserve. For me, he can be the star player of this team if he can elevate his play ever so slightly. He’s a danger with any sort of weapon and can clutch up victories in any of the game types.

Call of Duty Conclusions

For you CoD fans this is an entertaining team to watch because of the variety of play styles on display that’s slowly being matched with strong calling. They are a team that goes against the curve and I think they’ll surprise many at CWL Championship. They may just become the giant killers and knock off teams we expect to place top eight.


You can ‘Like’ The Game Haus on Facebook and ‘Follow’ us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles. You can find me on Twitter at @JackWrightIGL. Feature image courtesy of redreserve.gg

*ADR means average damage per round and KAST stands for Kill, Assist, Survive or Trade percentage.

 

Poor performances see FaZe make early exit at PGL Major

The PGL Major is one of the most important tournaments of the year and there have been some surprising results thus far, to say the least.  It would be a tough sell to say that even Counter-Strike’s most seasoned analysts would have chosen BIG and Gambit as the first two teams to attain the coveted legendary status via going undefeated in Swiss play.  Furthermore, it would have been near impossible to predict that FaZe would bow out of the tournament without a single win.  One can attempt to break things down to see what went wrong in Krakow, but in the case of FaZe, it simply seems as though their star-studded lineup picked the wrong time to have a bad few days of Counter-Strike.

The Swiss system: Not the culprit

FaZe PGL Major

Exiting the PGL Major without a win will be a tough pill to swallow for FaZe Clan (via Dot Esports)

Not only did FaZe exit early, but they did so in quite an abysmal fashion.  They lost to BIG, mousesports and Flipsid3.  Many have gripes with the Swiss system in that occasionally teams can get the short end of the stick and have incredibly difficult draws throughout the tournament; however, FaZe didn’t even get the chance to play against another top 10 team.  The conversation would certainly be different if FaZe drew the Astralis’ or the SK’s of the world, but instead, they were only able to amass a whopping 33 total rounds against the 12th, 17th and 25th ranked teams they faced.

 

FaZe was comfortable with map picks

The next point of examination would be map selection.  Once again, it would be hard to pinpoint map picks as a legitimate reason for FaZe’s downfall in Krakow.  That is to say that it isn’t as if FaZe was forced to play maps that they weren’t comfortable with.  They played BIG on Inferno, and while the German side has shown their propensity for this map, FaZe has also been very good on this map in the past as well.  Aleksi “allu” Jalli is infamously considered one of the world’s best AWPers on Inferno, and FaZe recently has had success on this map against the strong Danish sides of Heroic and North.  The same goes for Mirage, where FaZe had taken down both SK and Cloud9 recently as well.  The only map one could try and form an argument around would be Train, but this was the map they came the closest to winning as they fell in overtime to mousesports.

The stats don’t lie

In this case, the tournament’s format and map vetoes played very little into the demise of one of the world’s best teams.  Rather, FaZe simply did not play to the standards one might have expected them to play at considering this is one of if not the biggest tournament of the year.  Star player Nikola “NiKo” Kovač did not pump out the numbers many would have expected him to, and support players Fabien “kioShiMa” Fiey and Finn “karrigan” Andersen both had several low ADR (Average Damage per Round) games including both just barely breaking 30 ADR in their overtime bout with mousesports.  It is quite ironic that the losing team NiKo was once essentially bound to as a hostage is now coming into form without him.

FaZe PGL Major

Statistics for FaZe vs. mousesports on Train @PGL (via HLTV)

At the end of the day, Counter-Strike is a game that comes down to teams playing as a unit and players hitting their shots.  FaZe Clan did neither in Krakow, and as such are now eliminated from the major that many may have considered them a favorite to win.  The Game Haus would like to offer its condolences for all the Pick’Em Challenges that FaZe destroyed in cold blood with their surprising and unfortunate 0-3 exit from the PGL Major.


You can ‘Like’ The Game Haus on Facebook and ‘Follow’ us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Zach “crackshot” McGinnis!

Featured image via https://www.hltv.org/

Dreamhack Valencia: Reflections

Dreamhack Valencia took place last week; although, it flew a bit under the radar, as bigger tournaments, specifically the Major and ESL One Cologne, overshadowed it. While it was no Cologne, this tournament was another tournament to use an idea for group stage formatting that could be massive for the scene. Before I get into implications in terms of tournament formatting, I’ll give my thoughts on the tournament results.

The New NiP

via https://www.hltv.org/

NiP with Fredrik ‘REZ’ Sterner at ESL One Cologne looked pretty decent, and at Dreamhack Valencia, they further cemented themselves back into the top 15 in the world. While they didn’t face the ‘best’ team there in terms of rankings, they laid the hammer down against the lesser ones. They may not have a very deep map pool, but their map pool is very tricky to play against. They are once again the best team in the world on Cache. You cannot play Cache against them, or you will go down 0-1. Their next best map is up for debate. For my money, it’s Nuke; however, they have looked pretty decent on Train as well. What makes their map pool tricky, is that no team in the top 10 besides Natus Vincere permaban Cache. This gives them a ‘free’ map in almost any series, and right now they look like they can play almost every map in the pool; admittedly they aren’t very good on most of the maps, but it is still an improvement for this squad.

The key for the Ninjas here is if REZ can prove to be a superstar player. The kind of player NiP has lacked since Christopher ‘GeT_RiGhT’ Alesund was in good form. He doesn’t need to be the next GeT_RiGhtT, but he does have to be their superstar. If he proves that he is, NiP could again be contenders for the world number one spot, as the supporting cast on NiP is among the best in Counter-Strike, with GeT_RiGhT’s recent resurgence.

The Rise of Red Reserve

via http://wiki.teamliquid.net

The young Swedish team, that acquired Mikiel ‘Maikelele’ Bill a little over a month ago, managed to make the finals of Dreamhack Valencia. To do so, they upset Heroic, a favorite to make the final, in the semifinals in narrow fashion. This upset doesn’t really mean much in my opinion. To me, it just seemed like the new Swedish roster was just on a hot run this tournament, and will not pose a threat to any of the top 15 teams in the near future. Their play style is erratic, and they rely too much on the skill of their players. This style will not get them very far in the current era; however, one particular player that impressed me was Hampus ‘hampus’ Poser. He could be someone to watch out for as an up and coming star player.

Heroic Fall Short

Dreamhack Valencia

via https://www.hltv.org/

I know I’ve already said it, but Red Reserve did upset this Danish Squad in narrow fashion. All in all, a bad showing from Heroic. Heroic with Patrick ‘es3tag’ Hansen is a pretty decent team; however, for my money, they could really make great use of a player like Philip ‘aizy’ Aistrup. As we know, aizy’s time in North is coming to a close. Es3tag has not been awful, but aizy is more skilled and would better fit this team. Not to mention, Marco ‘Snappi’ Pfeiffer, has shown us throughout his entire time with Heroic, he knows how to get players involved, and use them correctly. This is exactly what aizy needs to help get his career back on track.

GSL Bo3

Dreamhack Valencia

via https://allevents.in

The real headliner for Dreamhack Valencia, for me anyway, is the use of GSL format in groups; however, not the GSL Bo1 groups we are used to. Instead, the elimination matches were both best of three. I think this sort of group stage is a great idea and would love to see more of it; although, if I could have it all my way, I would make the first match a best of one, the winner’s, loser’s and decider matches would all be best of three. I think this would be the ultimate format for a tournament group stage, and would not even necessarily warrant an extra day for the tournament to run. Smaller tournaments can just invite fewer teams, and bigger tournaments would be able to fit the extra maps in.

The major for example has one day per group stage anyway, meaning this format would fit just fine. Not to mention, not every tournament organizer has to use this format; however, for a tournament that is seen as the end all for the discussion of who the best team in the world is, I think only the best format should be used, and the legend system simply must go, but that topic is for another article.

Dreamhack Valencia may not have had a huge prize pot, or all the best teams, but it did have some great formatting, that with some tinkering and patience, could well be the future of our game.


You can ‘Like’ The Game Haus on Facebook and ‘Follow’ us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Josof!

Featured image via https://www.hltv.org/

A fan’s journal of ESL One Cologne – Part Two

Link to part one in case you missed it.

Day 3 – Saturday – Semifinals

A chilled morning

Damn I miss their pizza and doughnuts. [Source: backwerk.de]

Since the semifinals didn’t start until four o clock local time we slept in till our hearts were content. We left to go out for breakfast at about ten – we’d had enough of cereal bars and waffles already – and went to a place called Back Werk which for you Brits is pretty much identical to Greggs except here they have more on offer.

For the remainder of the afternoon, we went back into town to return a t-shirt Lewis bought that was too small and got Subway, which while the menu was in English is quite an awkward thing to order in a foreign country because of the number of questions you get asked.

Game of the tournament

The first semifinal was Natus Vincere vs Cloud9 which was undoubtedly the best series for us, particularly the second map on Overpass. The last five rounds or so were hectic and it felt as if the entire arena was just waiting for Cloud9 to win it. The fact that it went right down to the wire made the ending even better. I’m a sucker for the underdog story so it was thrilling to see C9 make it to the finals.

After the SK/FaZe series, we headed back to the hotel to chill out and have a few drinks. When we reached the lobby of the hotel we saw s1mple lounging in the reception area and with some newly built confidence, I decided to approach him. I’m a big fan of s1mple simply because of his outrageous playstyle and his outlandish attitude which kind of reminds me of myself sometimes. However, because of this reason I was anxious to ask as I thought he might be contentious, but surprisingly he was willing to. I would even go as far as saying that he seemed happy to but we’ll never know, after all, it is s1mple.

Not much else to say about semi-final day as we spent most of our time at the arena. I did forget to mention that I got a picture with MrTweeday which I was particularly pleased about since his old NiP frag movies were one of the reasons that I became really passionate about the esports side of CSGO and NiP as well.

Day 4 – Sunday – Grand Final

I’m not avoiding you Tweeday, the sun was just blinding.

Sunday started out much the same shower, waffles and head out. If you’re interested in another awkward lift story, this time we got cozy with the Brazilians Lucas, kNg and their coach Zakk from Immortals. We exchanged greetings whilst waiting for the lift, but the whole way down to the lobby they were joking around in Brazilian with us having no idea what they were saying. The two of us were more interested in the black and brown Yeezys Lucas had on. We felt like we were hanging since we had our Ultraboosts on. Again the grand final didn’t start till later on in the day so we had a walk around Cologne to try and get some nice pictures.

On our walk around we found the signing area, where fans can obviously meet the players and take pictures or have things signed. You’ve probably been wondering why we had never been before but we didn’t feel the need to since anything like that we could have done at our hotel. The queues were quite long, we were in the area an hour before FaZe Clan were due in and the line was already a hundred people thick. If you have the time I don’t think an hour is too long to wait, I’ve waited longer to see concerts so if having your mouse pad signed or getting a picture with your idol would make your trip I would definitely say it’s worth your time.

A short time later was the grand final. We had our nachos and our cheeseburgers and we were ready to go. The series was opened with a performance of the theme for the event Fly Away by TheFatRat on stage. It was expected but I enjoyed it more than I anticipated. A prop I have for ESL is that they put on a good show all weekend long whether it was entertaining us with fan interviews or the opening ceremony or the various booths around the venue. They certainly made it a lot more enjoyable than just watching CS on a huge screen. Regardless of whether you are a fan of electronic music you have to appreciate the lights show that was put on, mesmerizing was the only way I can describe it.

As for the actual grand final itself, it depends on entirely what you define as entertaining Counter-Strike as to whether you enjoyed it or not. SK Gaming put on a clinic and you could see some of the adaptations they’d made to catch the Americans off guard. It was a shame C9 couldn’t pick one map up for the crowd. The stadium was a beautiful sea of blue and white with a few fishes of other jerseys swimming around. At least they gave us a couple of amazing plays to cheer for, the Autimatic deagle round on Train, in particular, had me jumping out of my seat. At the end of the day, SK deserved to win and the crowd recognized that and cheered many congratulations as they picked the trophy up.

Day 5 – Monday

Time to Leave

The realization that I no longer had to plan my days around watching the best Counter-Strike on one of the most alluring stages was depressing. I actually felt as if there was a piece of my heart missing. It might only have been five days but it was some of the best five of my life. Walking around Cologne for the final time, you could tell that the event was all said and done. The streets were desolate once again, you could tell because you could actually step foot in the Subway near the Lanxess. There were next to no people walking around in mousesports or Cloud9 jerseys or people with ESL lanyards. I wanted to hear the crowd roar. Just one last time.

The trek home was tiresome. Our flight was delayed, meaning that we missed our train. It took us seven hours to get from Manchester to Hull which would usually take two hours. I wouldn’t change any of it for the world though. I discovered esports when it had just started to walk, now I’m watching it run and I believe that it’s only going to get stronger. All I ask is that you give it a chance, be part of it.


You can ‘Like’ The Game Haus on Facebook and ‘Follow’ us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles. You can find me on Twitter at @JackWrightIGL. Credit to Affen mit Waffen’s YouTube for allowing the use of his recording of FatRat’s performance.

 

A fan’s journal of ESL One Cologne: Part one

Esports has been a huge part of my life ever since I discovered it. Playing games competitively was an escape from the many trials and tribulations I’ve been through over the past four years. For the entirety of the game, the only outcome that mattered was the win.

My journey started with Call of Duty, which was a game I had already been playing for many years and had an ability in. Counter-Strike, however, was different. Everything was new to me. I’ve seen myself climb from the bottom of the ranks to the top. All the learning it took to reach that point fuelled my competitive drive even more.

Pivotal in that climb was the amount of time spent watching professional players and tournaments. Although, in spite of my four-year love affair I’d never been to an event, that was until ESL One Cologne 2017. I’m writing this journal to convince anyone with even a remote interest in esports why they should attend an event. There’s a lot of waffle but I hope that there are a number of points I expand on that budding fans might be wondering about, most of all I hope you enjoy the read.

Day 1 – Thursday

Where it all began

Our travel day started with an early four o’clock start. My friend Lewis and I had to catch a two-hour train to Manchester Airport and then an hour and a half flight to Cologne. We’d brought an abundance of things to pass the time but we mostly spent hours talking about how excited we were.

For Europeans thinking of attending an event the travel was fairly cheap, our return flights were around £60 which I think is a fair price. If you don’t have the money for a hotel I’ve heard good things about the likes of Airbnb so it’s possible you could find cheap places to stay.

Both Lewis and I have decent jobs, and student loan, so we decided to pay more for one of the best hotels in Cologne the Radisson Blu. As the taxi pulled into the hotel we saw three vans marked with ESL stickers which we thought was a bit weird.

Wide open in the shape of an ‘o’

Source – Radisson Blu

The taxi pulled to a halt. After getting our bags we took in our surroundings, the hotel looked like our hometown’s famed aquarium The Deep, but more importantly, THERE WAS COLDZERA HAVING A CIGARETTE. AND THERE WAS THREAT LEAVING THE HOTEL. AND THERE WAS MIXWELL AND HAZED. I tried not to stare too much. I made my way into the lobby cool, calm, collected, on the outside at least. Well, that explains all the ESL vans, I thought.

The entrance to the hotel made me feel even more out of place. It was one of those rotating ones. I might be 19 years old but I look twelve. All these businessmen and people that I looked up to probably thought, “what the heck is that kid doing here?” I didn’t stick around long enough to find out. I caught glimpses of Na’Vi and North but I kept my eyes focused on reception and managed to keep my jaw from touching the floor.

After checking in we headed straight to our room so we could get changed and come back down for a better, more discreet look. Once the elevator doors closed and we were safe, I looked at Lewis, he just stared back. His mouth wide open in the shape of an ‘o’.

I knew we were likely to see players walking around Cologne or the arena but I didn’t expect that sort of emotion to come over me. The only way I can think of describing it is that I didn’t really believe they were real until seeing them. Watching through a tiny screen for years is the only way I’d ever known these people. Being in their presence filled my body with excitement, I was finally seeing those responsible for so many moments and memories.

Rounding out the day

After unpacking we needed to head into town to buy some breakfast. The breakfast at the hotel was an extra twenty-five euro per person per day. You know, I do well for myself but not that bloody well. We ended up in Penny Supermarket which we didn’t realize until after we left was the equivalent of Nettos to us Brits. Our purchases included a fake version of the chocolate Lynx, a two-liter bottle of lemonade for forty cents, about thirty cereal bars oh and some chocolate covered waffles.

We got back to the hotel at about six o clock but ended up dropping dead from all the traveling, meaning that was it for day one.

Day 2 – Friday – Quarterfinal Day

I wanted to ask for a picture but didn’t

Being a Ninjas in Pyjamas fan myself and with Lewis rooting for Cloud9, the quarterfinal we most wanted to see was between NiP and C9. Since the first series also seemed a bit of a thriller with G2 playing Na’Vi we decided to go early so we could get good seats for the second game.

Once we’d washed, dressed and munched on a few waffles we were good to go. We got into the lift to reception. GuardiaN was in the lift. Not going to lie, I played it cool, had to brush past him to get into space and did so without my inner fanboy setting off.

The whole way down he was talking to the Na’Vi manager in what I presume was Russian. My eyes were laser-locked on the back of his head. I wanted to ask for a picture so bad but in the middle of a packed lift didn’t seem like the right place. I decided once we got out at the bottom I’d pluck up the courage, that was until some old guy blocked me with his suitcase the size of a cow. GuardiaN was now a good few meters away and I wasn’t prepared to shout. Some might say I bottled it. However, my claim to fame for the day was that I shared a lift with him so I guess that’s still something right?

Not the best photographer but a decent view of the stage.

Atmosphere

No amount of pictures does it justice.

We got to the arena an hour before game one was due to start and the first thing that hits you is how much bigger it is in person. Looking through a 24” monitor, it’s hard to appreciate the height that esports is in right now. The main reason why I wanted to go was for the atmosphere. Being in the same place as 13,000 other people who love this game as much as you do was an amazing feeling.

I was sporting the white NiP jersey from 2014 and a few seats across from us were a couple of guys who were also out supporting the Ninjas’. For me, it felt kind of natural to start jumping up and down in my seat in support as it’s what I do at home behind the monitor. They looked across at me for reassurance to get involved with the cheering and I gave him a look that said you go for it son. By the end of game two we were fist bumping and yelling together, it’s a shame at the end we had our head in hands. At least Lewis was happy Cloud9 won but I didn’t really care about that.

That’s one point I love to stress about esports fans, in general, is that everyone I have met was friendly and willing to get involved. Traditional sports have lost their way slightly in that many fans go simply to fight or hate on the other team whereas our fans cheer for amazing plays no matter what jersey they’re wearing.

We didn’t watch the next two series as we knew they would be whitewashes and decided to head into Cologne’s city center.

The city of Cologne

You can climb to the top of the cathedral but it takes well over an hour.

For those of you considering making the trip to ESL One if it’s in Cologne next year, you’ll be pleased to know the city has enough to offer to satisfy you in-between being at the arena. There is a multitude of shops to explore ranging from Primark to Louis Vuitton. We were mostly interested in the trainer shops since both me and Lewis have a fetish for a fresh pair of sneaks. It seems Germany is big on the ‘Hypebeast’ trend at the moment with plenty of shops stocking the likes of exclusive Adidas shoes and the clothes to match. The river and cathedral are also very picturesque if you love a good photo.

The transport system in Cologne is amazing with trams, buses and taxis on hand to take you where ever you need, you could even hire a bike for something to do if you have the time. On a side note, the tap water was so nice. For those of you who have ever had the displeasure of being in Hull or England in general, the water is extremely hard, the complete opposite of the soft smooth water there. It’s not a reason to go to Germany but I couldn’t get over how nice it was.

A date with destiny

On the night, we decided to head down to the bar for a drink and maybe get the chance to meet some players. After sitting down I clocked the NiP players sat drinking cocktails a few tables away from us. I knew I’d regret it if I didn’t get a photo with them but first I needed a drink to calm my nerves. “Two JD and cokes please,” I asked the bartender, I didn’t even ask Lewis what he wanted, that was far back in my mind. The guy poured the drink in a savvy way but I noticed the drink equated to about two parts Jack Daniels, one part ice and one part coke. So it was strong. It was funny watching Lewis’s reaction since he never really drinks much, it definitely put me at ease.

Click on the photo and look at Heaton’s face, I can’t get over it.

I felt as if I was going to meet the Queen or something but quickly shook the nerves after I’d downed half my drink. I walked over, JD in hand, and asked for a photo politely as I could. Even though they weren’t busy this is supposed to be their downtime. All of GeT_RiGhT, f0rest and Heaton had no hesitation which made me feel better about disturbing them.

One thing I would say about all of the pros I spoke to was that they all try to make you feel comfortable. Especially for younger fans it must be quite daunting to go up to someone you idolize so I found it super comforting that they made the effort to speak with you rather than just stand-up, photo, done. So I would say just go for it if you see them unless it looks like an obviously bad time to ask. Anyways, I did it and I was glad because I know I would have regretted it if I didn’t.

To finalize our second day we were just going to head back up to the room and have a few drinks of our own and most likely stare at the picture for around three hours. I asked the bartender for the bill. Twenty-five euros… for two drinks. I sucked it up and paid with a smile on my face to seem like a baller but deep down I died a little inside.

The last part of the journal will be out within the coming days so keep on the lookout. 


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RFRSH: A Story That’s Not So Refreshing

RFRSH Entertainment was announced back on the 21st of December in 2016, aiming to help player’s build their careers. In-game and outside of the game. Unfortunately even with their “record high” investments into esports, this doesn’t seem to be RFRSH’s main goal as a company. RFRSH are here for money, not to make the scene better. In my opinion they are lying about anything and everything to make that money.

Lying About Ownership

In an article by Vince Nairn of Slingshotesports, Steen Laursen of RFRSH responded to the article titled “RFRSH Entertainment might be one reason the Danish Sports Federation won’t recognize esports as a sport,” saying that RFRSH does not own any of the teams they’re involved with. This includes Astralis, GODSENT, and Heroic. Within public knowledge, it is not known that they have majority ownership of GODSENT, but they do own the majority of Heroic and Astralis.

ASTRALISOWNERHEROICOWNEREjerandel = Ownership Stake

Stemmerettigheder = Voting Rights

RFRSH has 50% to 66.66% ownership of Astralis, while they step on the gas with Heroic going up to 66.67% to 89.99% ownership. To not say that RFRSH owns either team is a straight up lie. Not to mention the voting rights which go directly against what RFRSH have been saying.

Unfortunately for RFRSH, but fortunately for everyone else, they will have to abide by a rule set by the World Esports Association (WESA). Found here, WESA announced that they will not allow any sort of multi-team ownership. RFRSH directly supported this, saying that they will abide by the rule. They lied, as seen above. And not one change has been seen to adapt to this rule, and it’s almost been 4 months since the announcement of the rule.

A new tournament series by none other than RFRSH themselves.

Early yesterday morning, RFRSH announced the BLAST Pro Series that will take place in the Royal Arena, Copenhagen. While this may sound like a huge problem, it actually isn’t. At least not yet. The moment we see two of the three teams that RFRSH has ties with, there will be a problem. The BLAST Pro Series will turn into another EPICENTER and ESFORCE situation, but that’s another story for another time.

This tournament curcuit could be absolutely huge for the scene in Denmark, a place where many tournaments don’t happen. And one, where no stadium events have happened. Finally it’s changed! But is it really for the better? We’ll have to find out in the coming months.

Update: a new lie.

In an article from Callum Leslie of dotesports.com, RFRSH confirm their majority ownership of Heroic and Astralis. Though, they go on to say that they never lied about it. And going back to what Steen Laursen said, he directly stated that they do not own these teams.

Public documentation of the ownership of Astralis and Heroic can be found Here for Astralis and Here for Heroic. As well as RFRSH’s info Here has the same address as Astralis and Heroic.

Major credit to @RLewisReports of Turner, @VinceMNairn of Slingshotesports, and @callumleslie92 of dotesports.

Featured photo via RFRSH Entertainment.

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CS:GO Rivalries

The greatest CS:GO rivalries

Just as in traditional sports, esports have big rivalries as well. From incredible matches, rivalries are born. A few key elements to keeping our game exciting to watch are the storylines and rivalries between teams. Teams battling it out to stake their claim as the greatest of all time. Here are a few such CS:GO rivalries that transcended the rest.

NiP vs VeryGames

CS:GO Rivalries

via https://dotesports.com

Quite the rivalry this was; although, due to NiP’s dominance, it took a while for VG to be able to win against them. Despite it being lopsided in terms of results, it was an incredible David vs. Goliath storyline anytime they matched up, despite that VeryGames was actually the second best team in the world. VG made a lot of roster changes just trying to best NiP; when VG finally managed to knock NiP off their throne at ESL Major Series in fall of 2013, it was one of the most memorable moments in Counter-Strike history. This was the first of the many CS:GO rivalries, and both teams helped define the meta for years to come.

Fnatic vs NiP

Fnatic vs NiP is arguably the greatest CS:GO rivalry in history. When the two Swedish teams matchup, it’s nearly always a bloodbath. The rivalry took a very interesting start when Fnatic robbed NiP of Dreamhack Winter 2013, where NiP was the heavy favorite to win. NiP, now had a chip on their shoulder and were thirsty for revenge. The next time they would meet on a grand stage was following Fnatic’s additions of Olof ‘olofmeister’ Kajbjer, and Freddy ‘KRiMZ’ Johansson, at ESL One Cologne 2014. While a much improved lineup, NiP was not afraid. NiP was hungry for a major title, after falling short twice following the loss to Virtus.Pro at EMS One Katowice 2014. NiP managed to edge Fnatic in one of the most exciting runs through a tournament bracket I have ever witnessed. A great final, which saw NiP on top, finally.

CS:GO Rivalries

via http://wiki.teamliquid.net/

The next time these two would clash on a big stage was at MLG X Games Aspen Invitational. This match is one of, if not the most exciting and closely contested best of threes in CS:GO history. A must watch match for any new viewers, and another one of the great matches these two would produce. The last notable time that these two would meet, was in the grand final of ESL One Katowice 2015. The first two maps were absolute thrillers, but the third map was a bit of a letdown. The only real reason it was very close was that NiP mounted a monstrous comeback but fell short in the end. If it were a bit more back and forth, I think this very well could have been the best matchup between these two.

Fnatic vs LDLC/EnVyUs

This rivalry has a storyline similar to that of ‘Rocky’ as LDLC, in their first major matchup came but three rounds away from winning it on the third map. Then we had the most notorious boost in CS:GO history, that led Fnatic to come back from a 13-3 deficit. LDLC was gifted the semifinal spot; however, as Fnatic just surrendered the win to them, due to the massive controversy that had spewed from the boost. This led the LDLC core to win its first major. They would meet many more times, but the next most notable meeting was at ESL One Cologne 2015 in the grand final, following a French shuffle that saw Kenny ‘kennyS’ Schaub and Dan ‘apEX’ Madesclaire now on EnVy. This roster fell short of Fnatic that time; however, it would be the last time this team would lose to Fnatic during the era of their rivalry. They last notably met at Dreamhack Winter 2015, in the quarterfinals, where EnVyUs bested Fnatic with no massive controversy. This meeting would mark the end of one of the greatest CS:GO rivalries we have ever seen.

Luminosity vs Na’Vi

CS:GO Rivalries

via https://esports.yahoo.com

Two highly tactical teams meeting to create incredible games? Yes, please. This rivalry was a bit short lived; unfortunately, we never got to see the true end all on the grand final stage of MLG Colombus due to Ladislav ‘Guardian’ Kovács’s wrist injury. It still produced one of my all-time favorite best of three matches to date, in the semifinals of Katowice 2016. This match was the climax of their rivalry, where Luminosity trumped Guardian and Na’Vi. No other CS:GO rivalries had quite the same shock and awe factor as this one did, specifically pertaining to the tactical genius both squads brought, not to mention the amazing AWP matchup in GuardiaN vs Gabriel ‘FalleN’ Toledo.

SK vs Virtus.Pro

Another one of the best CS:GO rivalries was born at ESL One Cologne 2016, a matchup that admittedly could have been better if Virtus.Pro did not make the joker pick of Nuke for the second map, but Cobble and Mirage were still thrillers. In the end, SK emerged victorious on this one, but Virtus.Pro would strike back at ESL One New York in exciting fashion. VP would win out at the ELEAGUE Major as well, but SK was a bit handicapped by stand-in Ricardo ‘fox’ Pacheco; however, that didn’t stop them from making it one of the closest 2-0 best of three matches of all time. The rivalry would come to a bit of an abrupt end after VP would best SK one last time in the grand final of Dreamhack Las Vegas. The end of this rivalry was based on Virtus.Pro’s break from the scene for a while, when they came back, they were nowhere near the level they were at before they left.

Astralis vs FaZe

CS:GO Rivalries

via http://wiki.teamliquid.net/

The most recent matchup that I’ve had my eye on, Astralis vs FaZe could still have a few more thrilling matches to come. The grand final of IEM Katowice 2017 was an incredible first battle, and the follow-up meeting at StarLadder was not a disappointment in the slightest. They would meet a third time in the semifinals of IEM Sydney, where FaZe Clan would again take it in another great match. While the matchup has been dormant for a while, due to Astralis’ taking a break from the tournament circuit, upon the return of Astralis, I’m sure this will still be a great rivalry. This rivalry has only just begun it seems, and I cannot wait for all the incredible matches we should get between these two titans.

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive has created many great rivalries throughout the years; while these are not all of the great rivalries, but some of the most notable ones.


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Featured image via https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C2xTmtOHynk

ESL One Cologne: The tournament for the Americas

ESL One Cologne throughout the years has seen a couple different American teams playing on the stages. Whether it be the stage at Gamescon in 2014 or the stage in the LANXESS Arena. Not only that, but the last two years have only seen American teams in the Grand Finals. An interesting statistic to say the least. Here, we’ll go through the teams who played on the main stages of Cologne. Explaining how they got there, and how far they went.

SK Gaming/Luminosity

2015 was the first year the Brazilian scene met the main stage of ESL One Cologne. Barely making the playoffs over FlipSid3 in 2015, Marcelo “coldzera” David found himself in his first international tournament. And oh boy, did he surprise everyone with how skilled he was.

2016 saw the Brazilians dominate under the the Luminosity banner, before moving over to SK for ESL One Cologne. Finding themselves in the group of death, SK scored wins over G2 and FaZe, moving to the quarters against FlipSid3. For a second year in a row, SK beat FlipSid3 in Cologne. Making their way to the Semis against Virtus.Pro, SK Gaming found themselves struggling to close the match, but ultimately doing so in one of the best matches of Major history. Meeting Liquid in the final, it wasn’t too surprising to see SK dominate the North American side and take their second major title.

ESL One Cologne

Photo by: hltv.org

So far in 2017, we’ve seen SK at their worst and at their best, and we’re only seven months in. Coming into Cologne, SK had won two tournaments beforehand. They were by far the favourites for the event. Struggling slightly in the swiss stage, SK made it out 3-2 and met OpTic in the quarters. On paper, a one sided match up but OpTic showed themselves to be strong and took Mirage, but ultimately lost the series. SK moved on to beat FaZe, arguably their rival, and dominated the European team. Going into the grand finals, it may have been a surprise to find Cloud9 there. SK didn’t let the surprise get to them though. SK controlled the entire match and took the match 3-0 and won Cologne for a second year in a row.

Cloud9

Cloud9’s first experience with Cologne was 2014, where they played their first tournament with Mike “shroud” Grzesiek. A situation very similar to Luminosity’s first tournament with coldzera at Cologne. In the group stage, Cloud9 won against Titan, and had their famous comeback against Dignitas on Mirage. Making the quarterfinals, Cloud9 met Ninjas in Pyjamas, a fan favourite. Though, Cloud9 were favoured in the match, they ended up losing due to a very important kill by Adam “friberg” Friberg. Without this one kill, Cloud9 could have definitely made the finals of ESL One Cologne 2014, but talking about what if’s is a bad thing.

ESL One Cologne

Photo by: hltv.org

Leading up to Cologne 2015, Cloud9 looked like a Top 4 team, favoured to make the playoffs. Unfortunately, Cloud9 left the tournament in the group stage due to yet another clutch play at 13-13 in a round Cloud9 should have won.

Unfortunately, Cloud9 for the first time were unable to qualify for a major, being ESL One Cologne 2016. In 2017 though, Cloud9 were directly invited as PGL took reigns for the second major of 2017 over ESL. Here, we saw Cloud9 struggle at the beginning but claw their way back to make the playoffs. In the first round of the playoffs Cloud9 met NiP, a rematch of 2014. But, this time Cloud9 took the win and advanced to face Na’Vi in the semifinals. Na’Vi, on arguably their two best maps, lost 2-0 to Cloud9 who went on to play the grand finals against SK Gaming. Unfortunately for Cloud9, SK Gaming were looking for revenge for EPL Season 4, and SK won Cologne over Cloud9.

Team Liquid

Team Liquid first met ESL One Cologne in 2016 as they were directly invited by making the playoffs of MLG Columbus. Using Aleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev as a stand-in for the event, it wasn’t far fetched to say that Liquid would make the playoffs. They did just that by beating mousesports 2-1 to advance to the playoffs to face Na’Vi in the quarters. After beating Na’Vi, Team Liquid made it to the semifinals to face one of the favourites for the tournament. Liquid decided they didn’t like that title for fnatic, so they took the series 2-0. This put them as the first North American team in the finals of a major. Unfortunately for them, they met SK Gaming and lost 2-0 convincingly against the Brazilians.

ESL One Cologne

Photo by: hltv.org

2017 saw Liquid qualifying for the tournament online. Watching the swiss stage of the tournament though, you would have thought they were invited. Going 3-0 in the group stage facing Na’Vi, Immortals and OpTic Gaming, Team Liquid showed the world that the major qualifier was not who they truly were and made their way to the LANXESS Arena. Sadly, Liquid met FaZe in the quarters and were dismantled easily by the European team.

OpTic Gaming

ESL One Cologne 2016 was the first time any player on OpTic made a major. With their inexperience on the major level, OpTic lost to both NiP and FlipSid3 in the group stage, going 0-2 and dropping out of the tournament.

ESL One Cologne

Photo by: hltv.org

2017 was a different story for OpTic, who showed up to Cologne with zero eyes on them, and as little pressure as possible. At this point, every player on OpTic has played at the top level. Even though they went 0-3 at the major qualifier just a week before, OpTic showed up to Cologne on fire, taking down North, Space Soldiers and most notably FaZe. Only losing to Liquid in the swiss stage. Going into the playoffs they were matched against SK Gaming. Being the most one sided matches of the playoffs on paper, OpTic showed up with a little bit of fight in them. OpTic took the first map in the series off of SK pretty convincingly. But alas, SK Gaming are far more experienced in these situations and left OpTic in the dust in the next two maps.

ESL One Cologne 2017

 

ESL One Cologne

Photo by: Helena K @ ESL Gaming

 

This year, Cologne showed that the Americas, not just South America, has a place on the big stage. Admittedly, Astralis weren’t present at the tournament, but it isn’t too far fetched to say that they could have taken a playoff spot over Na’Vi or NiP rather than the North American teams.

Throughout the years though, Cologne has shown to be a nice tournament for the Americas, having an American team on stage every year. Not only just one, but half the spots were taken by the Americans this year. That shows some heavy improvement from the region, and maybe some extra confidence in the city of Cologne.

Featured image via ESL Gaming

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The significance of ESL One Cologne to Counter-Strike

After hearing the news some months ago that ESL One Cologne would not be a major tournament this year, I was disappointed. Since its conception in 2014, Cologne set the benchmark for tournament organizers all over the world. Its ability to provide great games, a great atmosphere and most of all major champions made it a must watch for any Counter-Strike fan. I believe we must credit much of Counter-Strikes transcendence into super-stardom to the infamous ESL One Cologne. This is why I believe, now more than ever, we should continue to support the tournament in the same way despite losing its major status.

Historic Games

NiP won the first ever ESL One Cologne championship. [Source: ESL]

At the heart of any tournament, there has to be amazing games; without that the viewer would simply be bored. Over the years Cologne has provided plenty worth watching again and again. One of the most obvious would have to be the 2014 grand final between NiP and Fnatic. At this point in time NiP had made the final of every major, only never to win, with Fnatic the team beating them out in the very first one. The series went to a decider map on Inferno, one of Fnatic’s best maps. However, clutch plays from Adam “friberg” Friberg and Christopher “GeT_RiGhT” Alesund sealed their first and only major win.

Another playoff series that stands out is Team Liquid’s win over the same dominant Fnatic side. The crowd was rooting for the Americans and European outcast Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev to get a juicy rematch of the previous major semi-final which Liquid threw away. The Americans narrowly defeated the Swedes 2-0 after winning both maps 16-13. S1mple sealed the deal with one of CSGO’s most memorable plays which earned him an in-game graffiti to commemorate his efforts.

There are even many astonishing group stage games to be re-watched. Hell, we just saw sixty something rounds between Cloud9 and Natus Vincere. One of the most shocking series of all time is Flipsid3 Tactics beating NiP in a best of three at Cologne 2016 knocking them out of the group stage for the first time in CSGO history. One group game full of exciting plays was at Cologne 2016 between Cloud9 and Team Dignitas. Late game heroics from Spencer “Hiko” Martin and Sean “seang@res” Gares secured a much-needed win.

The Mecca of Counter-Strike

Host Alex “Machine” Richardson hailed the LANXESS Arena as being the Mecca of Counter-Strike despite not being the first large-scale arena used in Global Offensive. Fans might be more familiar with the Spodek Arena, the venue for IEM Katowice. The Spodek was first used in 2014 a year before Cologne was moved to the LANXESS, so what makes the latter our very own Mecca?

The LANXESS Arena has played host to ESL One for three years now. [Source: TalkEsport]

Until this year IEM Katowice played host to an array of esports titles including Counter-Strike, League of Legends and StarCraft. In previous iterations, all the grand finals were played on championship Sunday meaning that there was an abundance of fans all attending for different games. The LANXESS arena was the first time a large-scale arena was used purely for CSGO. Not only that but it was actually free to get in, meaning that people all over Poland and Europe could attend at very little cost.

Heading into Cologne 2015 people were skeptical as to whether such a huge venue could be filled. However, the European fans did not disappoint. The year saw record numbers with over 12,000 attending in person and a peak concurrent viewership of 1,323,960.

After the removal of betting skins within CSGO, it seemed as if viewership was going to take a big hit. Despite concerns 2016 still saw an increase in attendance with 14,000 fans knocking on the door according to ESL. Even now with the tournament losing its major status it seems as if the pilgrims will be back again this year to echo the arena with their prayers.

ESL and their efforts

Although ESL might be the burden of many mishaps, they have been running events for well over a decade now. They have always stepped up their efforts when it comes to Cologne. Last year the biggest was bringing on PGL to handle the stream. However, that relationship might be a bit frosty now. In spite of that, they are still bringing on new ideas this year. One example was showing the B stream during a technical issue on the main stream. It not only made for better viewing but eases the pressure on the casters.

Just the inclusion of a B stream alone is something many tournament organizers won’t do so they don’t split viewership. The system means that we can have more games played in one day and means that more games are played overall. This avoids teams playing two best of ones and being knocked out of the tournament.

Although ESL One Cologne might not be a major this year I believe it is important that we continue to support it as if it is one.

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‘The Problem’: A reflection on the career of Kioshima

The career of Fabien ‘kioshima’ Fey has been quite the rollercoaster. He is a two-time major champion, so his career has been anything but disappointing; however, it has been anything but smooth sailing. While people will say he already peaked, his time with FaZe is showing that the French player is only getting started. Not only is his team performing well but so is he. So let’s take a trip down memory lane to see how this French star got to where he is today.

The up-and-coming

via http://www.epsilon-esports.com

Kioshima had his first huge showing at ESL One Cologne 2014. In this tournament he was key in fueling Richard ‘shox’ Papillion’s Epsilon team to a playoff spot, defeating eventual champions of the tournament, Ninjas in Pyjamas, to do so. He played very well in the tournament, so well in fact that LDLC leader Vincent ‘Happy’ Cervoni thought he deserved a spot on what would become the best team from France.

French domination

While LDLC was not the best team in the world, they had the pride of being the best team from France. A key detail is that Hovik ‘KQLY’ Tovmassian was VAC banned, leaving Titan very vulnerable in terms of firepower. LDLC did not seem to care in the slightest. In their time together as a team, they went between two different orgs and amassed a total of nine tournament wins, including a major. They broke the meta with their infamous force buy rounds. In these rounds, they leveraged their skill, along with dynamite teamwork, to win many rounds. After the famed ‘honeymoon’ period wore off, the poor economic decision making drove the team into the ground, an error Happy would make more than just this once.

Kenny the savior

via HLTV.org

Meanwhile, over in Titan, Kenny ‘kennyS’ Schaub, was fighting extremely hard in every game, dropping thirty-plus kills in order to give his team just the outside chance of winning. He eventually had enough with losing despite monster individual performances. He and Dan ‘apEX’ Madesclaire, swapped places with shox and Edouard ‘SmithZz’ Dubourdeaux. This EnVyUs team would bring kio his second major win, despite that his lack of a consistent role was causing him to suffer in terms of performance. Kenny and apEX carrying let the team ignore their problems, for a little while, until bad results started to pile up.

Outcast

When things started to really hit the fan, the team was left with no choice but to remove the worst performing player. That, unfortunately, was kioshima. Removing him at the time was definitely justified; however, in the coming year, it would become very clear that kio was not ‘the problem’ within EnVyUs. Kio was left without any options for a while, as he was still under contract from EnVyUs. Eventually, he ended up landing with a team known for being dreadful tactically that just leveraged skill. This team was FaZe.

FaZe up

via http://wiki.teamliquid.net

Coming into a FaZe Clan, a team that was trying desperately to build something special, kio was considered a role player. His form did not really improve with the new look; however, he seemed to make the team better, as not many players on the team were willing to play roles. Eventually, the team would add in renowned AWP player Aleksi ‘allu’ Jalli. Following the addition of allu, Finn ‘karrigan’ Andersen, renowned in-game leader, joined forces with FaZe after being removed from Astralis.

A team that was once only capable of group stage upsets was now a contender for playoff spots. FaZe even managed to reach the quarterfinals of the ELEAGUE Major; although, they weren’t happy just being a playoff team. There would be a blockbuster move in the coming months, that would make FaZe a contender for the coveted world-number-one spot. Nikola ‘NiKo’ Kovač had decided to join with none other then FaZe and kioshima after he escaped his mousesports prison.

via https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l3o7ETjya-Q

After the arrival of karrigan, kio’s individual form was on the up and up. It made an enormous spike after the arrival of Bosnia’s finest, NiKo. He was now more than just some role player, he was creating massive impact for his team, helping lead his team to four consecutive finals, and two tournament wins.

He is currently playing the best Counter-Strike of his career, and FaZe is a legitimate contender for the upcoming PGL major. ‘The Problem’ is anything but in this FaZe team, and things are only looking up for kio.


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Featured image via HTLV.org

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