immortals

Achieving immortality: a look back on the Immortals saga

This probably wasn’t what the organization had in mind with regards to its name, but it’s pretty much guaranteed now that the major-finalist roster of Immortals will forever be etched in the annals of esport history – not as a world-beating, unstoppable team, but as the one that’s associated with some of the most unprofessional behavior since the major system kickstarted the rapid growth of the pro CS:GO scene. It’s a sign of its growing pains in more ways than one – and honestly, I’m surprised it took so long for something like this to happen.

Are you sure you want to quit?

Perhaps the most explosive news of the whole CS:GO scene as of late involved the complete combustion of the Immortals lineup at DreamHack Montreal with three members of the Brazilian outfit failing to show up in time for the finals, thereby forfeiting the first map of a best-of-three series against North. They promptly lost the match right after in the following map. The events were juicy enough that they even made it to the Daily Mail, probably alongside a dozen new causes of cancer and a few adorable pandas.

And just as if it were a cheap paperback novel, this is where the death threats began. Vito “kNg” Giuseppe didn’t take a fellow player’s tweet about the situation particularly well, and proceeded to reclaim his lost honor by… threatening to kill the colleague in question.

No, not on the servers, but in real life. Apparently, he had to be restrained in the hotel where they were both located for the event. The justified outrage soon followed, and kNg was first benched and then released from the team. Normally, this would be the end of our juicy little story, but we do have an extra twist in the tale: thanks to the way the major spots are distributed, if at least three of the qualified players join a new organization, they automatically take their Legend spot with them.

Guess who joined ranks with our little harbinger of doom? The other two alleged partygoers, of course. At least some elements of this story are predictable!

Progress and perfection

There’s always been this weird allure of “professionalism” in esports circles, the idea that increased exposure and stability would somehow automatically mean a more mature environment and playerbase. (Of course, the literal definition of the word “pro” is already fulfilled once you’re playing your chosen game for a living, but people generally use it to refer to something more, be it behavior or gameplay quality.)

Thing is, we’re living alongside what I like to call the 0th generation of pro players: young people who haven’t grown up with esports as a viable and reliable career path, they sort of stumbled upon it and created the opportunities on their own.

There are no Williams brothers yet, who conquered women’s tennis basically on the orders of their father: the people in the highest echelons of CS:GO are players who have been playing the game for fun as kids. While this can add some sort of charm to the proceedings, it’s nonetheless important to note that whatever we think of “professionalism” is likely going to be more present in players who were purposefully nurtured to become the best of the best as opposed to those who liked playing a game so much that they turned their hobby into a career.

Can you imagine any other well-paying job where communication is so key and almost everything is organized in English where basic grammar is sometimes beyond the employee’s capabilities and so-called journalists are ramming their tweets into Google Translate to figure out what they really were trying to say? Just because we have six-figure prize pools flying around, that doesn’t mean we’re past the Wild West-period of esports.

It’s a good sign that players throwing around death threats are swiftly removed, but unfortunately we can’t treat this as a total aberration. Especially considering how a very specific group of people actually consider the presence of “bad boys” a positive in the scene: usually casters and commentators who would like to spice things up. Of course, their desire for a unique voice is understandable in a scene where a team can completely migrate from one organization to the next without any change apart from their branding (just imagine if something similar happened in football), but actively hoping for disruptive elements is simply self-defeating, no matter how good copy they would make.

Also, the perceived oversanitization of the esports scene – oh please, you haven’t seen anything yet – is due to most of its participants’ lack of social and interviewing skills. While this usually amounts to awkward silence and boring discussions, tweeting out threats and generally behaving like a twelve year-old is due to the same root cause and should likewise not be celebrated by any responsible member of the community.

On the spot

Putting all the drama aside, the real consequential element of the Immortals controversy is undoubtedly the fate of the coveted major spot. As things stand, the top 8 teams from the previous major are automatically invited to the next one as “Legends”, provided they keep the majority – at least three players – of the lineup. The issues are obvious: if some of the players want to leave or force a better contract, they can essentially hold the organization hostage.

There isn’t really a good solution here: do we prefer orgs hosting players hostage, or vice versa? The implementation of the current system is quite telling as it seems to imply that the organizations seem to be more expendable in the eyes of Valve. If we look at the checkered pasts of the VP or SK rosters, you could actually make a persuasive argument for that.

As things stand, Immortals will be refreshing their roster with Caio “zqkS” Fonseca (recently of Ghost), the trialist Lucas “destiny” Bullo and their summer signing in the form of João “horvy” Horvath who has been held back by visa-related issues until just recently. Is this going to make up for the brothers – Lucas “LUCAS1” Teles and Henrique “HEN1” Teles – requesting to leave? Will the organization get the million dollar bounty they are reportedly asking for them and the major sport? How will they cope without Boltz and Steel? We will have to see.

One thing is for sure: no organization will back a player that may or may not have spent the night before a final partying, then proceeds to show up late to the event and then follows all this up with death threats. No number of in-game frags can make up for even the possibility of a real one.

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fifth ninja

S1mple and the curse of the fifth ninja

At Global Offensive’s beginning, every conversation began and ended with the Ninjas in Pyjamas. The legendary lineup encompassed; the world’s best player by leaps and bounds, Christopher ‘GeT_RiGhT’ Alesund; second best player, Patrik ‘f0rest’ Lindberg, dominant entry fragger Adam ‘friberg’ Friberg, in-game leader Richard ‘Xizt’ Landström, and role player Robin ‘Fifflaren’ Johansson. When Fifflaren decided to retire, the Ninjas went with a strategy of keeping a core four, and just finding a new fifth every year or so, until just recently when friberg was removed from the team. As of late, people have been using this same argument that the curse of the fifth ninja suggested, against the young prodigy Oleksandr ‘s1mple’ Kostyliev.

Natus Vincere

People seem to forget, there was a reason that Na’Vi felt they needed a change. Following a highly mediocre start to 2016. The two finals appearances in MLG Columbus and Dreamhack Malmo were impressive; although, their routes to the finals were rather unimpeded. Overall, for an organization with championship aspirations, the year had been unsuccessful. They needed to bring in another superstar to pair with Ladislav ‘GuardiaN’ Kovács, as Egor ‘flamie’ Vasilyev, is a player that tends to shrink as the lights get brighter.

S1mple, after stomping Na’Vi in the quarterfinals of ESL One Cologne 2016, was recruited to the CIS powerhouse. After going out in last place at SL i-League Invitational, they scraped together a win at ESL One New York, off of the back of a fantastic performance from s1mple. A long line of disappointing performances ensued, and the general public seemed to agree that it was the fault of s1mple, despite his stellar play. While this was happening, it just reminded me of the NiP curse of the fifth ninja.

 

Thankfully, the story didn’t have the same ending as NiP’s, as they bought in on s1mple as their franchise centerpiece; they added more firepower and leadership around him. The current Na’Vi roster heavily intrigues me. I cannot wait to see them in action as, on paper, their players should fit fantastically well together. They still have one of the best role players money can buy, the criminally underrated Ioann ‘Edward’ Sukhariev. A leader like Danylo ‘Zeus’ Teslenko only comes around once in a lifetime. Denis ‘electronic’ Sharipov is a very good playmaking lurker and flamie when hot can click his opponents face off before he even sees flamie’s shoulder.

 


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iBUYPOWER Masters 2017: The favourites

iBUYPOWER Masters 2017 starts today, with Cloud9, Liquid, Renegades, OpTic, Misfits, Luminosity, CLG and NRG in attendance. Only half of these teams have a chance at taking the title though. Let’s take a look at those teams.

Cloud9

iBUYPOWER Masters

Photo by: hltv.org

Cloud9 just came off a steaming hot victory at Dreamhack Denver, and even though the only team on their level attending was mousesports, they looked great. Aside from maybe Renegades, they look to be in the best form out of every team. Taking the wins (on LAN) that they should and not getting upset too much.

Placed in a group with Renegades, NRG and Luminosity, they are clear favourites to take the first seed in the group. And, unless an upset in Group B occurs allowing Liquid to face Cloud9, Cloud9 should have an easy path to the finals. The final will be a challenge regardless of whether it’s Renegades or Liquid; but Cloud9 should be the team to take the tournament.

Renegades

Out of the three victories that Liquid, Renegades and Cloud9 managed to get, Renegades achieved the best one. They got a victory at the Starladder i-League Invitational #2 over Virtus.Pro. Not only was it a victory, it was a domination. With a 2-0 over Virtus.Pro in the final, plus a Bo3 victory over HellRaisers, Renegades had a very impressive victory finally getting over their issue of choking away leads.

Renegades should end in the second seed for Group A underneath Cloud9, but there is always the chance for an upset sending them into the playoffs as the first seed. Although they’re not the easy favourites to win the tournament, they could definitely take the trophy at the end of everything.

Team Liquid

iBUYPOWER Masters

Photo by: hltv.org

Liquid have been looking weird since coming off of their double-final run after New York. Being unable to win a series at either ELEAGUE or EPICENTER, they went into the Americas minor with a couple question marks. They lost a Bo3 to Misfits but were able to come back and ended up taking the tournament.

In a group with OpTic, Misfits and CLG, it’s a possibility that Liquid could be upset or even eliminated in the group stage. With all that considered, Liquid should still make it out as the first seed, but it’s not guaranteed. Though, assuming the entire group stage is Bo1s, making it to the playoffs should ensure them at least making the final or taking the trophy.

OpTic Gaming

Being the only one out of the teams I’ve mentioned to not take a tournament in the recent future, they’re still one of the favourites just due to pure firepower. They have looked quite good online as well, although it doesn’t mean too much. They’re currently second in EPL although they’re only seventh in ECS. They did however qualify for IEM Oakland over Renegades.

Losing Bo3s against EnVyUs and Space Soldiers at the European minor means they’re probably unlikely to win against any of the three teams above in a Bo3 on LAN. But of course, since it is CS:GO, it is very possible for them to do anything. And, considering their firepower, they can definitely win matches with just pure aim.


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Na`Vi

Na’Vi sign electronic

When Natus Vincere picked up Counter-Strike prodigy Aleksandr ‘s1mple’ Kostyliev, they were supposed to be the best team in the world. After narrowly winning out in ESL One New York, the team was fairly underwhelming. Na’Vi reacquired Danylo ‘Zeus’ Teslenko and they were primed to be a top five team. This prophecy never came to fruition either; the public seems to be blaming s1mple, considering that Na’Vi, a franchise that was experiencing a lot of deep tournament runs prior to picking up s1mple, are now making group stage exits regularly. The real problem with Na’Vi has been Egor ‘flamie’ Vasilyev, as he has not brought the star power he did in 2016. S1mple needed another true star player to dominate with him, and now he has it.

Will electronic fit in?

One key problem I’ve noticed within Na’Vi has been how s1mple and flamie play. They are both very volatile, aggressive players. Well, flamie is supposed to be, but it looks like he is lacking confidence, as he is playing more passively. Either way, that should change with Denis ‘electronic’ Sharipov on the team. Electronic plays his best Counter-Strike as a passive player and rotator. His style of play reminds me a lot of former Na’Vi member Denis ‘seized’ Kostin, whom electronic is replacing. He is the perfect secondary star to pair with s1mple, as electronic is the type of player who can find ways to win clutch rounds.

Na’Vi now has the ideal team built around s1mple, with electronic, Ioann ‘Edward’ Sukhariev, Zeus and flamie. S1mple can now play almost the style of Counter-Strike Jesper ‘JW’ Wecksell was able to play in 2015; being able to make plays at will, knowing if he dies it isn’t detrimental to the round. This team reminds me of the Team Liquid that made it to the finals of Cologne. With flamie drawing comparisons to Nick ‘nitr0′ Cannella, Zeus being similar to Spencer ‘Hiko’ Martin, Edward looking like Josh ‘jdm64’ Marzano and electronic playing up to Jonathan ‘EliGE’ Jablonowski’s level. That last comparison is pretty loose though. My point is that they’re secondary playmakers for their respective teams.

In an ideal world, I would cut s1mple loose, and let him do whatever he wants to, basically, as long as he communicates it. He has played his most dominant Counter-Strike when cut loose (see MLG Columbus, ESL One Cologne 2016). While we don’t live in that ideal world, I foresee a lot more playmaking from s1 in the future.

Implications

In terms of rankings, I would personally slot Na`Vi back into my personal top 10, looking something like this.

  1. FaZe Clan
  2. SK Gaming
  3. G2 esports
  4. Astralis
  5. North
  6. Cloud9
  7. mousesports (edgy, right?)
  8. Na’Vi
  9. Liquid
  10. Virtus Pro

The Virtus Pro ranking is probably a bit questionable, but the potential is there as seen in previous classics. I stand fully behind the rest of the rankings though. Realistically, this team should be better than mouz, C9 and North on paper. However, I’m not falling back into the Na’Vi trap too quickly. I think it’s fair to put them at eighth in the world, just considering the firepower. Also, none of Na’Vi’s new big three are even 21 yet, and oozing with potential. I love their upside, and I would predict within the next three to five months that they creep into the top five in the world.


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Virtus.Pro finally bring back their plow

Virtus.Pro have been plagued with issues over the course of the last year. They went from being in the final of a major and winning Dreamhack Masters Las Vegas to making six group stage exits, only making it out twice. Meeting EPICENTER was a whole different story. It’s almost like we saw the old VP who showed dominance over the best in the world. Let’s take a look at their tournament run.

Group Stage

vs SK Gaming

VP left the starting line at a slow jog. They showed almost nothing of what they did later in the tournament, being short work for SK. Honestly though, this was more a win for SK than a loss for VP. They performed at the same level in this match as they have the last months, nothing new here.

vs Gambit Gaming

Virtus.Pro

Photo by: hltv.org

Although this match could have gone either way from the get-go, Gambit were still favoured to win. From what we saw in the first map, VP looked like the clear favourites, but throughout the rest of the series they had troubles closing out. The second map went to Gambit but had trouble themselves closing out as the economy for both teams were in the dump. Cache, the deciding map, also had the same story going along for it. Neither team really impressed but eventually VP came out on top. While this wasn’t necessarily the best win for VP, it is still a win against a top eight team. Not the most common things that they have seen.

vs FaZe Clan

The number one team in the world was about to make short work of the Polish team and make their way to the semifinals… right? Well, the first map definitely said so. 16-2 in favour of FaZe, but VP shook it off and came back. Stronger than we’ve seen since they were in Las Vegas. While the second map wasn’t exactly a comfortable win, it wasn’t hard either. VP won Cobblestone 16-11 with Inferno being the deciding map. Surely FaZe wouldn’t lose on their best map. I’m not too sure about what I should be sure about anymore, after VP took the map eliminating FaZe and sending themselves into the semifinals.

Playoffs

vs G2 Esports

Virtus.Pro

Photo by: hltv.org

G2 had an impressive tournament all things considered, dismantling both Astralis and especially North in the group stage. Compared to FaZe or Gambit at the event, G2 looked fantastic and were clear favourites to win the series against Virtus.Pro. But is anything allowed to make sense anymore? Throughout the entire series G2 struggled to stay alive. Almost losing the second map in the process which would have given VP a quick 2-0 victory. G2 showed some individual brilliance in the series, but other than that there were no more pros to pick out of the team. Losing rounds they had advantages in or a round they should win in the first place. The same can also be said about VP. Both teams made plenty of mistakes, but VP were fortunate to make the least.

vs SK Gaming

A classic match between the Polish and Brazilians, and what a match it was too. Dubbed as one of the best grand finals to date, both teams fought their hearts out. VP started out with the map lead but were immediately traded by SK taking Inferno. Train was probably a kick in the face for VP. Starting out with a 12-3 lead on the CT side, SK Gaming brought it back into Overtime and took the map 19-16. VP then took Cache, not letting the previous map affect them, and after that came the magic. A grand map to end a grand series. Cobblestone. One of the greatest maps for either team happened to be a decider, and what better than taking it to double overtime? Unfortunately for VP they weren’t able to manage a round on the second overtime, but they showed brilliance that a fluke-run would never be able to show. This is Virtus.Pro coming back telling everybody to watch out, they’re here to win. Even if they weren’t able to lift the trophy.


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roster

The three best roster moves of 2017

2017 saw plenty of roster changes, from a global shuffle to swapping out players mid season. Some good and some bad, but today I’m going to single out the best. More specifically my top three roster changes of 2017.

#3: SK Gaming pick up João “felps” Vasconcellos

roster

Photo by: hltv.org

At first when SK Gaming picked up felps, they didn’t look so hot. Aside from Dreamhack Masters Las Vegas, they went out in groups of IEM Katowice and Starladder Season 3. Fortunately for them, starting at cs_summit, they made a comeback. From that point on, they went on to win IEM Sydney, Dreamhack Open Summer, ECS Season 3 finals and ESL One Cologne. Obviously this roster started having issues after the major, being unable to make it past the first rounds of playoffs or even losing out sooner.

Felps added a new dynamic to the team, changing SK from a mostly passive team aside from Fernando “fer” Alvarenga. It seemed that felps just held down the W key while playing, and it encouraged everyone else to do it as well.

With the success that this roster had throughout their time with felps, this makes the team one of the most successful teams of 2017.

#2: FaZe Clan pick up Ladislav “GuardiaN” Kovács and Olof “olofmeister” Kajbjer

Although this roster has only been together since August, they saw massive success. Winning the biggest event aside from the majors in ELEAGUE and another one of the biggest at ESL One New York. Though they found themselves out in the group stages of Dreamhack Masters Malmö and EPICENTER, their success in such a short time is almost unmatched. And, somehow picking up these two seemed to activate Håvard “rain” Nygaard even more, turning him from beast to god.

Adding olofmeister and GuardiaN gave these two a new beginning. They both fell from being the best at what they did in 2015 to being 2nd-3rd best on their respective teams after both of them suffered injuries between IEM Katowice 2016 and MLG Columbus. Fortunately, since joining FaZe they have started looking like their old selves. GuardiaN becoming unstoppable with the AWP and olofmeister ripping off the heads of their enemies.

The success in such a short amount of time and winning two of some of the best events this year easily puts them towards the top of the leaderboards. Becoming the number one team in the world and possibly starting their own era, FaZe are the most skilled lineup in CS:GO history after this roster change.

#1: FaZe Clan pick up Nikola “NiKo” Kovač

roster

Photo by: Helena K

FaZe picking up NiKo is no doubt the best roster move of 2017. Possibly one of the best in CS:GO, rivaling Marcelo “coldzera” David’s birth onto the scene in 2015 and Dennis “dennis” Edman’s joining of fnatic in 2015. Picking up NiKo, FaZe saw immediate success. Making it to the finals of IEM Katowice, Starladder Season 3, IEM Sydney and ECS Season 3 Finals. Winning Starladder during their journey, NiKo found himself his first MVP medal and a new home. Not to mention the wins at ELEAGUE and ESL One New York as well.

NiKo instantly became the best player on FaZe and propelled this team to the top. This was definitely an upgrade from Philip “aizy” Aistrup who massively under-performed since he joined the team in 2015.

Picking up NiKo and then much later on olofmeister and GuardiaN, FaZe arguably became the best team of 2017. Between SK and FaZe, it’s a battle and we’ll see by the end of the year after BLAST Pro Series, IEM Oakland, ECS and EPL Finals are finished who ended the best.


Featured image via ELEAGUE.

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NiP

NiP: The fall of giants

Ninjas in Pyjamas were once a legendary team and name in CS:GO. Unfortunately for them they are far from being legends, literally. They have failed to qualify for the last three majors, the last two being in the minor qualifiers. What went wrong?

Lack of proper leadership in-game

Richard “Xizt” Landström has never been the best IGL in the world, and pretty far from it in most people’s eyes. For years his approach to the game hasn’t changed. The only times that NiP has looked their best is either when everyone is hitting their shots or when their coach Björn “THREAT” Pers takes the IGL role. Both of these instances are very rare nowadays, especially the latter.

NiP

Photo by: hltv.org

Map vetoes have also been a very famous issue for this team. Xizt is known to pretty much pick and ban in the opponents’ favor. The most well known example of this issue is whenever NiP plays Cache. Aside from ESL One Cologne, NiP fail to win a map on Cache in almost every important matchup. FlipSid3 at Cologne 2016, Vega Squadron at the ELEAGUE Atlanta Main Qualifier and now PRiDE in the qualifiers for the EU Minor.

Not only is there these two issues, but from an outside point of view, Xizt doesn’t seem like the leader type. He doesn’t hype the team up as much as he should. While yes, you do have practically all your other teammates doing that aside from Fredrik “REZ” Sterner, not doing it yourself while being the IGL of the team isn’t a good sign.

A dying star and no compensation

Christopher “GeT_RiGhT” Alesund is seen as one of the greatest, if not the greatest player of CS:GO. But ever since a shift in the lurker meta, GTR, Spencer “Hiko” Martin and Vincent “Happy” Cervoni aren’t as important. GTR managed in 2016, but towards the end and into 2017 he dropped off into an abyss. Being one of the main reasons that NiP could even close out rounds due to his clutches, NiP lost the ability to win the rounds late.

Losing GTR in-game happened to be a huge blunder for the team, with only Patrik “f0rest” Lindberg consistently performing. It’s very hit or miss if William “draken” Sundin shows up on the server as well, and he’s also a huge part of any wins that this team will get. Xizt is also very inconsistent due to the IGL role. When taken away during the time that THREAT was calling, he was able to perform well without the pressure of shot-calling. REZ has also been mediocre since joining the squad, and it doesn’t look like much is changing.

There are very obvious flaws in this team, and unfortunately for NiP, fixing them is the hard part. Replacing a player isn’t always easy, especially when Sweden lacks any insane talent worth picking up that’s not already on fnatic or GODSENT.

Featured image via hltv.org.

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college esports

College esports could be helpful to NA Counter-Strike

College esports have not been welcomed with open arms by everyone. In my personal opinion, an ideal world would have no traditional sports or esports using the collegiate system; however, we don’t live in an ideal world. Collegiate esports can help players prepare for the professional scene. It takes time for people to mature, to “grow up” if you will. This is the reason why the NFL and NBA require young athletes to play some college ball: in order to mature themselves and their game.

Positives

Listening to coach

One thing I have seen that certain teams are trying to implement is the idea of using their coach in the way NBA teams do: making in-game adjustments during timeouts, managing egos and designing the game plan. From my point of view, the ideal style of coaching in CS:GO is adhering to those three duties.

Whatever you might think, having players coached on a college team will make players more coachable later on. They can learn to respect the voice of the coach earlier in their career; while it won’t make everything perfect, it should help coaches be more respected, specifically in the North American scene.

Quite honestly, I think organizations are part of the problem with this. An easy fix to the lack of effective coaching without having to bring college esports into the equation would be having a clause in players’ contracts that prevent them from being paid while listed as ‘inactive’. Then, allowing coaches to demote players to ‘inactive’ status should they choose not to cooperate. Basically, the orgs just need to give the coaches more power to make changes in the lineup, even something as simple as benching players outright could work.

Practicing properly

It’s been rumored that most North American teams have not made the most of practice time. While we can’t know exactly what happens in their practices, there has been a lot of buzz from the Brazilians about how bad the practice is in the NA scene. Playing under a proper coach in a defined system with proper practicing, as we see in college football, will help prepare the next generation of players for success. After all, perfect practice makes perfect.

Maturity within the scene

One major thing lacking in the NA scene is professionalism and maturity. Teams are often built on personal relationships rather than trying to win. This has led to many possible super-teams falling out, just based on personality clashes.

Chemistry in CS is important, I’m not discrediting that, but at a certain point, egos have to be set aside. Admittedly, this dives a lot deeper than just Counter-Strike, at this point we’re going into the culture of the region, specifically the United States; so fair play if you call me out on that.

After going through the college system, players will be much older when they come into the professional scene, meaning they will be adults rather than 16 to 18-year-old kids. Specifically, it should help the work ethic within the scene, which seems to be a problem.

With more mature players in the scene, more teams will be formed with intentions to win. This would be an enormous step for NA; it could be the stepping stone into having a team capable of dominating.

Fall back

This is an aspect that could apply to the entire world of esports, as players don’t last forever at the top. There are some exceptions, like Henry ‘HenryG’ Greer, a former Counter-Strike: Source professional, but having a college degree to fall back on is always useful. So in general, going to college would not only help the quality of Counter-Strike being played but also give the players a plan for after esports; not to mention, should esports get big enough, large amounts of college could be paid for if playing for a college esports team via scholarship. In fact, there already are some scholarships for college esports out there.

Negative

Talent comes/goes too quickly

For the most part, talent comes and goes pretty quickly in terms of the top level. There’s a reason we point to people like Christopher ‘GeT_RiGhT’ Alesund, or Filip ‘NEO’ Kubiski, as special cases. Spencer ‘Hiko’ Martin was just a few years ago in the argument for best player in North America, and now he’s playing for a team that should probably be in ESEA premier. This can be the downside of requiring collegiate experience before recruiting; however, I don’t think we would need to require college experience. In my mind, the best system for the college system is to make it optional, and just a good thing to add to your resume when applying for a team.

Overall, I personally think the positives outweigh the negative, but who knows if we’ll ever find out.


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Coaching

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive’s greatest years are still ahead

It has been quite a meme within the Counter-Strike community to poke fun at the game dying. While some are joking, others actually fear for the future of the game. I am here to explain why Counter-Strike hasn’t even hit its stride yet, in terms of the competition level anyways.

Coaching

This is the reason Counter-Strike is only going to be going up. The coaching we currently have in CS:GO is decent. There are a few coaches that are very good tactically, people such as Björn ‘THREAT’ Pers and Chet ‘ImAPet’ Singh. They are few and far between these days though. Very soon, some of our older players will eventually have to retire. While it will be sad to see such legends like Filip ‘NEO’ Kubski and Christopher ‘GeT_RiGhT’ Alesund not playing, their storied work ethics, experience in high-pressure situations and knowledge of CS:GO’s meta specifically, should make them fantastic coaches once they do step away from the mouse and keyboard.

The incoming generation of Counter-Strike players should have some of the best coaching our game has ever seen. This will allow talent influx to be more fundamentally sound, and thus giving us more competitive Counter-Strike from teams deeper in the rankings. A number ten ranked team getting an upset over a number two ranked team in a best of three might be plausible in two years or so. The main point I want to get across is that the coaches that could come will have experience specifically within Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, which I believe will help our scene expand and the competition level grow even further.

What the scene could really use, is a Gregg Popovich or Phil Jackson type coach, and I believe that people like GeT_RiGhT or NEO could get there.

Talent Level

The release of CS:GO for free in Asian countries, specifically China, could be enormous for our scene. Known as some of the best in other esports such as Starcraft and League of Legends, the Asian scene could really raise the bar for CS and bring some phenomenal players into the mix. Call me an optimist, but I believe the Asians will catch up to the Europeans, and bring us more talent. This, of course, is thinking a couple of years in advance; but it is nice to know we have almost an ‘insurance policy’ if you will for the level of talent in our game down the line.

The overall talent level within the Counter-Strike scene is only getting better, and a key detail is that players are starting to really figure out the spray control within the game. Certain players like Jonathon ‘EliGe’ Jablonowski, have nearly perfected the spray. Players will only be getting better as time goes on as well. Other players, of course, are becoming godlike in terms of their first-bullet accuracy. Look at people like Dan ‘apEX’ Madesclaire as an example. Obviously, there are still problems within the game that need to be fixed in order to raise the skill ceiling of the game in general. Nonetheless, the skill of the average pro player is on the up and up.

Decision-making was a problem I used to see a lot of pros face, which has gotten better. Economically, decisions are awful, but I feel we can pin that one on Valve just as much as the teams. In terms of mid-round decision-making, it seems like the average pro is a lot better at being decisive. One key problem within some professionals was indecisiveness; being indecisive is the worst mistake you can make in Counter-Strike. At least, that’s how I see it.


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Featured image: HLTV

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mlg csgo major

Why MLG should be host to the first major of 2018

MLG Columbus was one of the best majors to date, if not the best. They didn’t have any ridiculously long delays or technical problems. They also had amazing community interaction, fixing anything a viewer found as an issue. On stream or live in person, it was great, MLG was great, and they deserve to come back.

Another MLG Major

MLG hosted their major in 2016 in the city of Columbus, Ohio. It’s a city that is easy to travel to from any city on the east coast and central area of the United States as well as the most populated area of Canada. It’s also not a hard place to get to from the most western parts of Europe. It’s probably the best location in North America for a CS:GO major, next to New York, Toronto or Atlanta, the latter of which happened to be the host of ELEAGUE’s major in January.

Aside from being an easily accessible city, MLG already has the Nationwide Arena in their hands for another event this year and they have plenty of equipment in Columbus. Granted they can reserve the space, it would take the least amount of trouble to host an event. They’ve also proven themselves to deserve another major with their production value, community interaction and respect for the CS:GO scene.

Photo by: hltv.org

One of the communities main concerns was the fact that MLG almost only hosts Call of Duty events. “Will they even know how to host a CS:GO major?” was a question a lot of people had. They answered with a “Yes”. Capital Y, of course, to answer it even better. MLG’s Adam Apicella was always asking questions and listening to the CS:GO community ahead of their 2016 major. MLG made sure to listen and take notes to get good feedback from the community.

The last point to mention is that North America has been host to some of the best crowds. Take IEM San Jose, ELEAGUE’s Atlanta, and of course MLG Columbus, as examples. Even outside of Team Liquid or Cloud9, the crowd always cheered, even roared. Virtus.Pro, Astralis, NiP, and Na’Vi have been favorites in not only Europe but in North America. They’ve been welcomed with open arms, and crowds would be absolutely ecstatic to watch these teams. And aside from Dreamhack Masters Las Vegas, venues were packed. North America has the audience, and they are willing to travel from all over to watch a major.

Reactions from the teams, talent and the community

When MLG hosts an event, players and talent always have something nice to say about the organizers. Duncan “Thorin” Shields actually said in one of his recent videos titled “Events worked in 2016” that MLG adapted and handled every problem like a boss and along with that said that MLG Columbus could possibly be the best major ever.

Whether it be in CS:GO, Call of Duty or any other game, MLG has always had positive feedback from those attending the event in any manner. They treat the players and talents like kings, they take note of problems said by the community, and always keep in touch with the community as well. What more do we need from a tournament organizer?

MLG deserves another major. They were host to one of the best to date and fans would like another.


Featured image via Major League Gaming

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