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November 14, 2022

Welcome to your first post-Rio newsletter. You won’t believe us, but Outsiders actually won the Major. Also, KSCERATO turned into a machine, MOUZ found themselves in a semi-final and we ask: Just how did we get here?

Outsiders best MOUZ in the Semis

Illustration by ANDY. Source: ESL

Two teams dismissed by most. One forbidden and outlawed, bearing a false name. The other struggling just to make the main stage of most events.

And yet here they were, facing one another.

It was a semi-final that was at least half a surprise, with MOUZ upsetting Cloud9 to get here. Outsiders had been clinical the day before, when playing against the similar mix of interesting talent - FNATIC.

Pick’ems coped and seethed as the two teams started on Ancient during this second to last day of IEM Rio. MOUZ paid the price for their pick as they started off on the T-side, and as hard as torzsi and frozen may have tried, it was not enough.

Outsiders finished off the second half, and MOUZ were now a map down.

But something clicked for the international mix as they loaded up Overpass. Sht was about to go down.* The clinical look of Outsiders was gone, and in spite of Jame’s 1.55 rating worth of effort, MOUZ was disrupting the CIS team.

It was messy, but it was just enough. The scoreboard read 16-14 in favour of MOUZ as they went to map three with Grand Final dreams alive.

And what other map could it be than the one and only decider map: Inferno.

frozen started us off with a nice 3k on the pistol, and things looked close as the first half reached its end. Outsiders were ahead, but only by five rounds. MOUZ now seemingly had all winds in their favour, playing on the commonly considered “easy” side of CT.

But it wasn’t easy. It was heart-wrenching.

One measly round is all the men in red could muster – ignore the Brazil jerseys for a second, we’re trying to set a mood – as Jame gathered his disciples and booked their place for a last suppe- eh, Grand Final. It was over for MOUZ.

All in all, MOUZ did surprisingly well and punched above their weight.

However, cracks are still showing in the system, and some basics still don’t seem like they’ve been learnt. Even after all this time. Just as we saw with acoR, dexter seemingly doesn’t enable his AWPers, as torzsi struggled for impact.

Then again, there’s no shame in losing to the eventual winners. Read on for more on that my dear speed reader.


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Heroic broke Brazilian hearts at the (semi) final hurdle

Illustration by ANDY. Source: ESL, Adela Sznajder

In terrible news for KSCERATO’s MVP attempt, the Major viewership record, and Brazil as a nation, FURIA’s fairytale came to an end in the other semi-final.

Their fangs were blunted by cadiaN’s Heroic squad, a team that should have been one of the most susceptible to the intense atmosphere in the Jeunesse arena if you believe in their ‘weak, onliner, mentality.’

Yet, Heroic stood tall.

They took a 16-6 defeat on the chin during FURIA’s pick of Inferno and managed to recover with a whopping 15-5 lead on their own map pick of Ancient. Just one T-side round away from tieing the series up 1-1.

Naturally, they lost the next ten rounds.

With KSCERATO dropping 18 kills and 6 multi-kills as FURIA clawed their way back to 15-15. But — and hear us out — that actually makes Heroic’s win even more impressive.

After losing eleven rounds in a row, and staring elimination in the face, they rallied.

Heroic won all three CT rounds in overtime to take Ancient 19-17, a victory that shattered the spirit of FURIA and the full arena that had showed up to support their home heroes.

On the decider of Nuke, there was no contest.

Heroic, the team that had crumbled in Copenhagen’s Royal Arena against Astralis, conquered their on-stage demons. A 1v3 from sjuush silenced the crowd, and a 1v4 from stavn made them turn towards the exit door.

If there had been more than three Brits in the audience you can bet a chant of “you only sing when you’re winning” would have broken out.

What had previously been a virtuous cycle, where FURIA fed off the crowd’s energy to fuel their momentum-based, high-octane play-style, turned vicious. The crowd were silent, but FURIA were even quieter, losing 16-5.

cadiaN had returned the favour from when FalleN silenced Denmark, his screams upon victory standing out on a backdrop of 18.000 silenced Brazilians. And, nobody could argue he didn’t deserve it.

With Astralis watching at home, Heroic had qualified for the Major final.


Come in as Outsiders, leave as winners

Illustration by ANDY. Source: ESL

Do not adjust your monitors.

Do not pinch yourself.

Do not rub your eyes in disbelief.

Outsiders - yes, that Outsiders - just won the Major trophy. The whole thing. The real deal. The full monty. Jame, sheepishly, lifted the trophy in front of the muted Brazilian crowd.

What on Earth just happened?

It was an extremely anti-climactic final, admittedly. Jame, fame and FL1T coasted to victory in two maps. After the high of the FURIA quarter-final, which was incredibly loud and felt like a grand final, everything probably was going to feel a little less than.

This was FL1T’s true ascension. Though many realised he was good, very few expected that he could drop a 112 ADR series in a Major final. Honestly, we doubt Outsiders ever thought he could either.

With the three-headed monster posting 1.24, 1.25 and 1.30 ratings, Outsiders were dominant. They were one of very few teams with genuinely good T sides, and their style of play was ridiculously effective - but more importantly, it existed at all.

A lot of teams seemed to lack a clear direction or style, while both finalists have very defined styles.

Many will write off Outsiders’ success as a fluke, or an indictment on the other teams’ performances - but this was cold, calculating and the fulfilment of years of refinement. Yes, other teams faltered, but Outsiders’ overwhelming quality is consistency and bloody-minded insistence on their style.

This was Jame’s crowning moment, and it was in the city with Cristo Redentor in it.


Yeah, probably.

Jame said he’d share his reflections on the Major in Russian, with subtitles, on his Youtube channel. By the time you read this, he’s probably published it, so go check it out.


How we got to this Grand Final in Rio

Source: ESL

In that last piece, we asked a very important, but rhetorical, question. What on Earth just happened?

Though it’s rhetorical, we thought we might try to answer it anyway. Because we’re crazy like that.

Outsiders emerged from the wreckage of IEM Rio, wielding the trophy above their head. But how did so many teams collapse?

The first thing to talk about, is pressure.

We only have to think about playing in front of a crowd to get the jitters, so to then actually play in front of them must have been a harrowing experience for those who lost.

Liquid looked like they were crapping their pants as soon as Spirit started winning rounds. Team Vitality completely collapsed. Even NaVi seemed to struggle once FURIA got going, and they’re more than used to it.

It’s tough, man. But it doesn’t seem like Jame even notices. Even after winning, he merely looked a bit embarrassed to be on stage lifting the trophy.

Secondly, we can probably talk a bit about seeding.

After years of being promised that seeding would fix everything, we were left with Outsiders winning an event without playing any of the top four, and were very close to seeing FaZe play NaVi in an elimination game.

Whatever happened with the seeding was a bit skewiff. Some might argue that seeding itself is always prone to these issues, while some would blame the specific system.

Most would probably just blame FaZe and NaVi for soiling the sheets, Vitality for being a bit rubbish and Liquid for getting vaporised by Spirit, in fairness.

But for Outsiders, this was a perfect alignment of stars. They came in in good form, having smacked MOUZ in Rotterdam (turns out playing in the open circuit might be helpful!), with other teams having patchy form and struggling with the pressure.

And their style was perfect to abuse the unique atmosphere. They killed the hype and cruised to victory.

Outsiders were deserving, if unexpected, winners.

Final standings:

1st 🇷🇺 Outsiders - $500.000 plus invites to BLAST Premier World Final 2022 and IEM Katowice 2023

2nd 🇩🇰 Heroic - $170.000

3rd 🇧🇷 FURIA - $80.000

4th 🇪🇺 MOUZ - $80.000

5-8th 🇺🇦 NaVi - $45.000

5-8th 🇷🇺 Spirit - $45.000

5-8th 🇷🇺 Cloud9 - $45.000

5-8th 🇪🇺 FNATIC - $45.000

9-11th 🇺🇸 Liquid - $20.000

9-11th 🇩🇪 BIG - $20.000

9-11th 🇪🇺 ENCE $20.000

9-11th 🇩🇰 Sprout - $20.000


Time to rek0nfigurate

👔 Career refresh

  • k0nfig’s seemingly made his recovery as he used a TwitLonger - because of course he did - to announce his return to the scene.
  • HeatoN’s Taken oN the job of bringing back Swedish CS. Good luck.

🏟️ The crowd goes wild!

  • s1mple has his ways with the Brazilian crowd…
  • And so does cadiaN.
  • Who knew Brazil would give us an IRL ResidentSleeper. BR > EU crowd though!…
  • … and if you don’t believe us, just see this dB reading from the arena. Only 35 dB lower than a jet engine!

👨‍🎨 A Brazilian masterpiece

  • We’d say this is the right kind of vandalism.
  • Now that Jame has his Major win, we can finally verify this picture by PleyGG as factual - he is the messiah:

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