Sent on
December 12, 2022

It’s quite cold outside, ain’t it? Get a nice warm cup of tea, coffee, or hot drink of choice (Bovril?) and cosy up with stories on: NA falling apart (again), UK CS falling apart (again) and HLTV hating on tournament formats (again).

Out of the Breach, Into the market

Illustration by NovaH. Source: ITB

The British might need to change their anthem because it’s UKCS that needs God’s saving.

Into the Breach has parted ways with its roster. Presumably, after they realised signing washed-up AWPers wasn’t sustainable.

The team housed Smooya after he became a free agent, where his tier-two farming earned him a move to Fnatic. Which must’ve left a Swedish taste in the mouths of Into the Breach as they signed draken to replace him.

With draken, they peaked at #41 on HLTV’s rankings, which for UKCS is like being a top five team! But, they quickly fell down again, sitting at #66 before letting their players go. ********Maybe it reminded the management of Order 66?

This was honestly all quite impressive for a core of UK players since, jokes aside, that scene does have quite a ways to go. So, UKCS fans will be delighted to hear, Into the Breach isn’t going anywhere.

The team’s manager has said they’re finalising negotiations with a new roster, although it’s unclear how many players will be from the UK.

If we had to predict who they’ll sign, our best bet is that they’ll sign CeRq. It’s not an Into the Breach roster without a washed-up AWPer, after all.

Into the Breach let go of:

  • William "⁠draken⁠" Sundin
  • Alfred "⁠RuStY⁠" Karlsson
  • Adam "⁠Adam9130⁠" Ahmad
  • Cai "⁠CYPHER⁠" Watson
  • William "⁠dobbo⁠" Dobson
  • Gustavo "⁠Juve⁠" Alexandre (coach)

Want the next edition in your inbox?

  • Get all the best stories in a quick read, twice weekly
  • We're cheeky and snarky a.f.
  • It's free, forever!
subscribe now

Too small for main, too big for EE

  • The Nouns project has already begun to crumble, with cxzi leaving the roster to find a new one after jeorgesnorts’ departure. They were quite promising, but the vultures picked off the impressive jeorge and left Nouns scrambling.
  • Even without him, Nouns found their way to a semi-final game with Complexity, which at the time of finalising the newsletter, hadn’t finished. But we assume Complexity won, because surely not even they could lose a semi-final to cJ and nosraC.
  • SAW broke back into the EPL Conference over Case, in the ESL Masters Spain Finals. Despite neither team being from Spain or speaking Spanish. Ah well.
  • ESL Challenger Melbourne has been announced for 2023, in late April. Ain’t that nice.

The big boy finals

Illustration by ANDY. Source: PGL | Joao Ferreira, FaZe, BLAST

The big BLAST final bonanza definite final world final premiere final FINAL, or whatever its official name is, is finally upon us. The last big event of the year, just before Christmas. What a gift.

Remember all of those other events called “final” — oh, and the showdowns? None of them was the real final; this one is. We think. Maybe BLAST has a world final FINAL FINAL FOR REAL THIS TIME on the surface of Mars on New Year’s Day.

Though it should be the biggest event in BLAST’s calendar - and it is - the #1 team in the world will be without their star player, stavn, citing that this was always planned. Not sure what that says about how they feel about BLAST events.

That leaves the title up for grabs, not that it wasn’t already. Outsiders smacked Heroic at the last big event they played them at, remember, and there’s an angry-looking FaZe and NaVi there too. Maybe G2 can finally put everything together and challenge.

Vitality, Liquid, and OG are all… present in Abu Dhabi as well.

Still, with the top four in the world making up half of the bracket, it’s hard not to get a little giddy. The opening games are Outsiders vs Liquid and FaZe vs G2, for crying out loud. Those look like quarter-final games at most events.

Which… they sort of are. But they’re in the group stage.

Heroic beat, erm, we mean play against OG and NaVi round out the opening games by facing off against Vitality, as per usual. ZywOo vs s1mple is always fun in some way, so we’re not complaining.

There’s a million dollars in prize money and a winning feeling going into Christmas up for grabs in Abu Dhabi. Who fancies it?

Wait, did we just say OG are in Abu Dhabi?


WHO is in Abu Dhabi?

Yep, you read that right: OG are, according to BLAST, one of the eight best teams of 2022.

BLAST have been fairly transparent about the benefits they need to offer their partner teams like OG, but this case takes it too far. It’s like inviting Qatar to a World Cup!

HLTV’s Striker has written a very good piece on just why OG’s presence in Abu Dhabi speaks to a more pressing problem at BLAST, and I’m not just saying that because he’s my boss.

  • 83% of OG’s 6300 ‘BLAST points’ came from the group stages of BLAST Spring (which wasn’t even a LAN!) and BLAST Fall.
  • 15,300 points are on offer at BLAST’s groups and showdowns, compared to 6000 for the Majors (excluding the winners, who gets a direct invite to Abu Dhabi) and 8000 for Katowice and Cologne combined.
  • The 12 BLAST partners are guaranteed to share a minimum of 40,400 of the 101,000 points on offer over a year.

As Striker points out, it’s not even like it just favours partners. Sure, non-partners like ENCE and Cloud9 deserve it more than OG, but it’s obvious why they’d rather have a BLAST partner in Abu Dhabi.

It’s the fact that even partners like NIP get screwed over just because their main achievements came outside the BLAST circuit.

If this is the cost we have to pay to avoid an ESL monopoly, there’s an argument that it’s worth paying. BLAST’s production is second to none, and the Paris Major is shaping up to be everything ESL promised us Rio would be.

But that doesn’t mean it’s not frustrating when we’re this close to greatness.

Holding the event at 7 AM EU time in Abu Dhabi — when there’s gonna be empty seats there anyway — is already going to make it struggle in a fistfight against Katowice and Cologne. This system only makes it harder.

There’s no such thing, of course, as a perfect method. But we’re pretty sure the brains behind an IRL smoke grenade mid-showmatch can come up with something better than this.


Sometimes maybe good, sometimes maybe sh-

👶👴 New (old) kid on the block

  • Even though ESL made a convenient video, we’ll just say Anubis’ addition was mediocre. Its already decent popularity prevented us from becoming the Anubis gods we were destined to be.
  • It’s the return of some iconic CIS names: facecrack and DavCost. Along with some Middle-Eastern talents, they form the new roster of Invictus Gaming.

📖 We found stuff on Reddit!

  • This Reddit user is looking for CS-themed number plates. We propose READTLDR.
  • Someone’s mom took time off from getting insulted by all those nine-year-olds in CoD lobbies and painted this beautiful watercolor of de_cache.

🛫 Arrivals and departures

  • Looks like Kato will have Russian players after all - Poland seems to have an exception to their entry ban for Russian travellers, although ESL doesn’t seem too certain.
  • cowana gaming - a staple of the German scene, we’d definitely heard of them before - has had to close its doors after some of its former members left following “payment issues”.

Unsubscribe anytime

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.