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September 30, 2022

k0nfig’s come out swinging, shox has gone out with a whimper and Complexity went out with a bang in Malta.

shox pulled out of ESEA Advanced

If you give an organization a great team, they’ll make it last a season or two, but if you teach them how to put a good roster together, they can do so over and over again.

The problem is that if the organization overestimate their skill at the latter, they’ll end up throwing (tons of) good money after bad. Like North, or NiP or… dare we say it, G2 before HooXi?

Apeks have become the latest victim of the trend. They were a team bordering on top 30 when they had AcilioN and chawwzy on the roster, but as performance dropped a bit, they decided to rid themselves of the proverbial dead-weight, while keeping STYKO, jkaem and nawwk.

In theory a sound move, especially as shox replaced chawwzy and talented youngster jL came in to let STYKO take over for AcilioN. That’s a lot of firepower on paper.

But while paper is good for keeping records, it’s also destroyed very fast, and the speed at which Apeks has gone up in flames is quite spectacular.

In the last two months they’ve managed the following achievements:

  • Not qualify to the EU RMRs, while several random mix teams did
  • Lose to BIG Academy in the Fragadelphia semifinals (where Apeks’ own academy team got to the finals the last time)
  • Get knocked out of CCT Central Europe Series 2, after losses to eSuba, HONORIS and Enterprise. Yeah, we don’t know either.

And finally, as the cherry on top, Apeks have decided to simply pull them out of ESEA Advanced. You know, the tournament that gives you access to a tournament where you can win access to ESL Pro League.

It’d be like putting Karim Benzema in Crewe Alexandra, and then pulling the team from League 2 for not being good enough.

It’s so bad that it’s almost funny.

Which it obviously isn’t. And Apeks’ statement reads like the corporate version of Jason Lake’s juggernaut-tweet: “We hate our results but can’t get rid of our players”-ish.

Maybe they should do what Complexity did and pick up k0nfig. We hear he might be available soon…


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Benched Heroes denied Major qualification chance

Illustration by NovaH. Source: Dreamhack / Joao Ferreira

Benched Heroes, Smooya’s mix team that shockingly made it through to the European RMR-tournament, are now shockingly not making it through anyway,

First things first: The mix team has a Russian national on it; Aunkere. Guess what happens when a Russian tries to get a visa to a country in Europe at the moment: Yeah you got it. Access denied.

So the last week has been filled with uncertainty for the mixed EU team; would they be able to use Thomas, their 6th player, as a standin for Aunkere? Smooya did seem to suggest on Monday that he would be able to, but their attendance were still in doubt due to Calyx not receiving his visa either.

And here we are, mere days before the RMR is supposed to begin. Smooya has finally, after(1) some(2) whining(3) sure(4), confirmed the inevitable on Twitter: Calyx didn’t get his visa and Smooya is bonked, yet again.

Aunkere's Visa issues were never a secret. Traveling as a Russian in 2022 is hard enough, but the EU tightening its laws couldn't have helped.

The real issue was not that Calyx can’t get a visa, but rather that he won’t be able to get it on time. According to Smooya: the Turk tried a different agency in an attempt to speed up the application process. But instead of speeding up, they messed it up, allegedly being the sole reason the Benched Heroes won't be playing at the RMR. Which does sound pretty convenient.

Who knows, maybe the agency actually messed up. Or maybe Benched Heroes replacement Iluminar took a page from the book of Paul Pogba and went to the dark arts. Calyx did say this was the first time his visa got rejected.

The world may never know


k0nfig swings first

Illustration by Fuffy. Source: PGL / Joao Ferreira

Can you break an ankle by punching someone?

According to Jaxon, k0nfig was involved in a bust-up with an unnamed party in Malta, described as a ‘fist-fight’. Which is odd, for one big reason.

k0nfig’s absence from Astralis is due to a broken ankle, and whenever we get in fist-fights, we ain’t throwing kicks. k0nfig, apparently, is more Anderson Silva than Anthony Joshua.

We… also don’t fight much. Maybe this is quite normal.

We’re just happy we weren’t in a fight with k0nfig. He’s a scary fella. If he came out of it with a broken ankle, what on Earth did the other guy look like?

Of course, this might not be entirely true. Jaxon suggest that k0nfig is on the brink of being benched due to this alleged fight, while the Dane has denied it as ‘mostly BS’.

Erm, Kristian, what does ‘mostly’ BS, mean?

Did the fight happen and you’re not being benched? Are you being benched, but there was no fight?

Did you break your ankle trying to kick blameF?

There’s also the possibility that the two incidents are unattached. Perhaps he broke his ankle in a completely unrelated incident, just days after his kerfuffle.

Seems unlikely, but unlikely things happen all the time. Just last week, one member of TLDR even made their parents proud. Unlikely things happen.

Whatever actually happened is unclear, and we doubt Astralis are going to come out and say “yeah lol he absolutely decked someone” and confirm any rumours - so it comes down to Jaxon’s assertion vs k0nfig’s denial.

We’re not sure we’d want to be on k0nfig’s bad side, mind you. Jaxon’s got some balls.


s1mple gets cyberattacked, still wins

After mould gate, the Benched Heroes debacle, and a stage for EPL that could easily have been from DreamHack Winter 2011, ESL could do with some good press.

Naturally, the universe doesn’t work that way. Late Wednesday night, as we entered map three of a Heroic-NAVI slugfest, s1mple started lagging. Yep, lag. On LAN.

The memes started rolling in. Were ESL running their server from Katowice as well as their production? s1mple was so upset he went full Italian on an admin. Reddit proposed that ESL should send a spy to BLAST to get some tips.

There was just one problem: It wasn’t even ESL’s fault. The issues were actually caused by everyone’s least favourite CS:GO community — the gamblers.

Most of you won’t remember when 75% of online games were DDOS’d a few times a map, but these guys have been at it for years. This new exploit, worryingly, works by sending 100s of Steam friend requests to professional players’ accounts which sends your PC into oblivion.

After a two hour tech pause, some new PCs, and probably fresh Steam accounts (we guess, since NAVI lost their skins) the game resumed, with a 1HP s1mple sealing the deal with a knife on sjuush. Don’t poke the bear.


Grim drops 59 in two maps vs FaZe, still loses

Before the s1mple Steam friends exploit, we got treated to some real, proper, Counter-Strike.

And, in somewhat of a not-surprise to those that watched the group stage, it was Complexity who provided the bangers. Most of us wrote COL off when they were drawn against FaZe, but nobody told Grim that.

Stewie2K’s old support act gave FaZe a lesson on Overpass, sporting 27 kills in a 16:9 win over the world’s best team. Grim didn’t slow down on Inferno, either, dropping 32 kills featuring an ace that even had NiKo impressed.

He had near single-handedly fired Complexity to a 12:7 lead over FaZe — the Americans were just four rounds away from a 2:0 win. And then, FaZe did what they always do when the pressure’s on. Level the fck up.

At 14:14, Twistzz popped up with an ace just as good as Grim’s, demolishing four players in as many seconds at the top of mid. That pretty much confirmed FaZe’s comeback, and Complexity ran out of steam on map three.

FaZe really are starting to have that 2015 FNATIC energy. They look so beatable, but once it’s the playoffs they are just allergic to losing.

Elsewhere in the round of 12, Liquid got past 2022 FNATIC, Outsiders won the turtle-and-hare derby against FURIA, and NAVI defeated Heroic but you knew that already

Now, in the quarters, it gets real exciting. Liquid made quick work of MOUZ as we wrote this newsletter, while we have C9-FaZe, G2-NAVI, and Vitality-Outsiders to come.

You can’t help think how hype it would be to have these games and, potentially, a FaZe grand slam in front of a crowd in Dallas or Odense instead of this mouldy (allegedly) hotel lobby in Malta.

Yet, it is what it is. This is still gonna pop off. We’ll see you on Monday, when FaZe could be $1,000,000 richer, HooXi could have broken s1mple, Spinx could have fixed ZywOo, or Cloud9 could have done a Dallas. Until then!


Out of the Flames, but not burnt out

🔥 Bringing the heat

  • It’s funny to think that 4/5 former CPH Flames landed on their feet in their new teams and were in the playoffs for ESL Pro League.
  • Pala really wasn’t pulling any punches when it came to his Pro League pickem. We’ll know whose advice not to take once the Major comes round, Pala.
  • We don’t know what Grim had for breakfast but he’s been on fire recently.
  • Ever wondered what it sounds like to go 10-0 in EPL? G2 has you covered.

🤨 It’s not that s1mple

  • The s1mple vs ESL saga continues as ESL try to nerf the superstar by giving him lag.
  • Apparently, NAVI and GGBET’s ties aren’t as clean as people thought. It might be time to lawyer up NAVI…

🤓 Nerd alert

  • Quick update on Source 2: there might not be many updates. Gabe Follower probably won’t be able to follow much more of the devs’ work now that they’ve deleted his way in.
  • But before he got shut out, he did give us some more juice to overthink about.
  • m1cks gave us a little insight into big boy CS strats between BIG and FaZe.

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