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June 20, 2022

We break down the chaos of EPL Conference, the brilliance of s1mple and the inevitability of Dignitas’ dissolution.

The good, the bad, the TYLOO

Source: ESL

You might not have noticed due to BLAST going on, but there was a very important secondary event occurring this weekend.

That event was to decide the final six teams for ESL Pro League, which is definitely important for a whole host of teams. Most of the ones it’s important for failed, sadly, but there’s been some chaotic games and nonsense all around.

There’s still two games left today, so if you want to see a spicy French derby or Portugal’s new heroes taking on Poland’s newest contenders, you still can.

But for now, we’ll focus on the teams whose position is known.

Let’s start with the good.

The good

Outsiders looked stellar with their new look roster, and the new boys fame and n0rb3r7 showed what they can offer. Headshotting and such, mainly. Outsiders didn’t have to work too hard to overpower Falcons and Illuminar, shockingly.

Eternal Fire won all four maps they played in convincing fashion, and will be in the next season of EPL, joined by MIBR who did the same. MIBR did need overtime to complete the 2-0 over TYLOO, which… well, we’ll get to why that’s concerning later.

Endpoint debuted Kjaerbye, and with all the eyes on him, he was completely eclipsed by Nertz. Nertz came in as a solid player, but ended Sunday night as the 2nd highest rated player at the event following some destructive games.

Endpoint went through too, though, so Kjaerbye will have another chance to show what he can do; and maybe Nertz is worth keeping an eye on too. God knows what they’re feeding them in Israel.

The not-so-good

HUMMER looked dangerous, but ultimately fell to Falcons and won’t be moving on. No shame to it, but they’re just not quite at that level yet. They were also the victim of what might actually be the most disgusting pistol round we’ve ever seen.

Our USPs do not do that. Largely as we don’t aim at head level, mind you.

cowana’s new line-up huffed and puffed but just couldn’t make the step up. It’s a typical kRYSTAL team - all the ideas, but none of the gear. To sum it up, here’s their star rifler losing an unloseable 1v1.

kRYSTAL is a great IGL, but so limited by his own hands - and in that case, his teammates.

VERTEX and Encore weren’t expected to do well, but will probably leave with a few regrets, while their compatriots ORDER were soundly beaten by FTW in an important game. Which, fine, they’ve looked pretty good.

But are they that good?

Strife are North American, so nobody expected them to win a round, never mind a map.

The appalling

Appalling is a strong word. Maybe we should use a stronger one.

TYLOO and Sprout are the only two teams in this category, but honestly, they deserve it. Sprout came in as one of the favourites and left in a puddle of shame.

An upset loss to HUMMER isn’t too bad, but they were then also upset by FTW afterwards. Yes, they were close losses, and yes, this is team who were known for coming close and losing a lot. But that’s usually to good teams.

Not teams we had to look up to remember who was on it.

Sprout even won the first map against FTW 16-1 - their opponent’s map choice - and then got battered back and lost in double OT on Vertigo.

We’re not used to expecting Sprout to do anything, and we never will again.

And TYLOO, well. They beat Strife, pushed MIBR close on map two, but totally capitulated against Illuminar. They picked up five rounds in a BO3. They lost 16-3 on a map that their opponents have no officials on in three months, and they have a 100% win rate on.

Well, had a 100% win rate on. Their post plants were abysmal, their trade spacing non-existent, and their understanding of the game seemingly so non-existent it sort of, breaks the space-time continuum and negatively exists.

A terrible, terrible showing.


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Dignitas turn off the life support

Personally, we’re amazed that Dignitas weren’t in CSGO for the long term benefits.

A team with friberg and f0rest on it just screams ‘long term planning’.

Dignitas have officially announced their departure from CSGO and the subsequent releasing of their players, meaning they’re all available to be signed.

f0rest had been standing in for fnatic, and would now be free to pursue that as a full-time position; while friberg will surely transition into a non-playing role.

That said, EYEBALLERS are going for the nostalgic vibe, so you never know. friberg might be able to continue his streak of eight years running with an under 1.00 rating.

hallzerk is the one young player who comes out of Dignitas and might be looking for a good move; the Norwegian is a capable AWPer who still has his best years ahead of him.

He’s not exactly ripped it up on Dignitas, but he looked good before he joined - but his biggest issue will be that there are no Norwegian teams worth joining, nor Swedish teams any more.

It’s always sad to lose a decent org who invested in Counter-Strike, but ironically enough given their name, this project always looked DOA.


electroNic is the best IGL of all time

Illustration by NovaH. Source: BLAST Premier,  electroNic

BLAST Lisbon rocked. It was exactly what the non-Major and non-Cologne/Kato events should be: banging crowd, banging upsets, and no best of fives. Looking at you EPL.

After losing to G2 in groups, FaZe found themselves in a quarter-final against NAVI. And it was then that NAVI reminded everyone just why every team and their nan was creating a superteam in the winter.

1.80 Rating for s1mple, 1.63 for electroNic, 1.48 for b1t. And just seven rounds for FaZe. You heard that right — SE7EN. FaZe found out what was in the box, and it wasn’t pretty.

After a 13-2 T-half on Dust2 (that became a 16-6) NAVI then 16-1’d FaZe on their map pick of Inferno.

The quarter-final began at 4:30 local time. FaZe were eliminated at about 6:45.

We knew post-Major-win blues were a thing but Jesus wept FaZe are starting to look like the stars of Avatar 2*.* If they still want that era, they’re gonna need to look a hell of a lot better than this at R̶o̶o̶b̶e̶t̶ ̶c̶u̶p̶ IEM Cologne.

It was all very 2021, and it became even more 2021 when Vitality beat not one but two top 10 teams. The first of those wins, against ENCE, showed what this roster was supposed to be: a competent supporting cast for ZywOo. On map one, apEX dropped a 1.44 Rating and then dupreeh bested him on Nuke with a 1.50.

As for ENCE, Spinx has not seemed the same since returning from COVID, which makes it hard to decipher whether he’s been figured out or if long COVID is rearing its ugly head. We dont have time for a full hit piece, so he and ENCE get the benefit of the doubt. This time.

Semi-finals are always better than Finals

After that 2-0 win, Vitality were faced with G2 for dupreeh and Magisk’s first match in front of a crowd since 2019. And boy did this one deliver.

Normally a rivalry of which over-expensive team can flop harder, this game slapped harder than degster.  After 21 kills on the CT-side of Dust2 NiKo forgot how to shoot on T, letting Vitality — on the back of another turbo apEX performance — grab 10 CT rounds to win 16:13.

NiKo was quiet once again on Inferno, but that was mostly because he didn’t see anyone: Aleksib called a perfect T-side, something which is easy to say when entry fragger JACKZ is cracking sites open that easily. 16-8 G2.

Then, the map that might actually be more entertaining than save-ferno: Nuke. NiKo hoovered up heads in a 3v5 post-plant to give G2 an 8-7 lead at the half, and they even won a pistol (meaning carlos had to think of a new tweet format) to make it 10-7.

Then, G2 G2d. At 11-9, they were one gun round away from breaking Vitality’s economy to take control. Naturally, they lost it, as well as the next 5 rounds and the map.

We’ll forgive them for this one, though. Words can’t describe ZywOo sometimes.

And just like that, Vitality were in the final. As were NAVI, who actually lost a map to OG but never looked like losing on the decider of Mirage.

So, was this the time Vitality silenced all their critics? The time they got their Fran-dan-glish clicking? The time they justified apEX saying “YEKINDAR does not interest” them?

No. It wasn’t.

16:8. 16:5. Another boring final in the NAVI era. Wait.

But seriously though — NAVI are scary again.

Even IGLing, electroNic posted a 1.25 Rating in the event. Boombl4 may be gone, but B1ad3 isn’t and he’s making electroNic look like prime gla1ve and MOUZ NiKo at the same time.

NAVI — if 20-time MVP s1mple doesn’t take a break at least — are still hunting that era.


Heroic bench refrezh ahead of IEM Cologne

Illustration by NovaH. Source: PGL / Luc Bouchonluc

“Quit while you’re ahead” is probably a decent piece of advice under normal circumstances, but when you’ve just won a $250K event against your Danish rivals, it feels weird to cut a player.

We get it, Heroic has been close to greatness, but disappointed greatly when it mattered, so a change was probably warranted.

But that doesn’t mean we don’t feel for refrezh, who had to take the knee just a week after lifting the trophy at Pinnacle Cup.

From heaven to hell in 7 days.

It’s like something straight out of French CS... well, minus the bickering, moaning, leaking and backstabbing.

In fact everyone seems to be truly happy for each other. cadiaN laments the need to kick a friend (so why did you do it??), and refrezh has nothing but “great words” for the players that kicked him.

In a cut-throat business like CS:GO, where kicks usually lead to livestreamed leaking of internal issues, this feels... unusual.

Maybe Heroic are just a nice bunch of friends, and this lineup had reached the end of its life, and winning against Astralis was just icing on the cake before the send-off? All that’s really missing is a viking-burial style video.

So who’s replacing refrezh? Danish media TV2 reported on the 11th of June, that Heroic was in conversations with CPH Flames about jabbi.

Which sort of makes sense. Heroic has struggled on LAN, no less through refrezh’s drop off, and jabbi had a magnificent run at the Antwerp Major with 1.40 rating in the EU RMR group-stage and 1.03 at the actual Major.

With less than two weeks until IEM Cologne however, Heroic will need to move fast to get jabbi signed and integrated into the lineup if they want to fire on all cylinders at the marquee event in Germany.

And refrezh? Well for now he’s “open to offers”, but we’d be surprised if a smart IGL doesn’t pick him up soon. Hey, MSL is still a free agent...


Hey Liquid, you’re late.

⏱️ Time is running out

  • The NA scene’s roster moves are so unimportant we just put them in Everything Else now. It’s totally not because Liquid announced it just when we finished writing our main stories.
  • As said by hougnogkasjhf - or whatever his name is - there should be a French Last Dance. They don’t have long left to argue and bicker their best team to bits.

👼 Doing God’s work

  • Say all you want about ESL, their Impact league has to be one of their most impactful works so far. Female CS still has a long way to come, but at least it’s off life support.
  • Thanks Wilzuu for finding boosts for us that we don’t have the skill and the boosting teammates for.
  • A bomb keycap? We say give it to G2 so they don’t forget about it.

🦇 Nanana Karrigan!

  • Karrigan is the hero Counter-Strike deserves, but not the one it needs right now. Maybe at the next tournament.

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