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March 24, 2023

Two of the best teams in the world lost in playoffs, we put out two newsletters in two days, two podcasts in two days, apEX got about two kills in map three and Counter-Strike 2 was announced. It must mean something. Welcome to the TLDR Newsletter 2.

Source 2 nearly distracts us from a G2 catastrophe

Illustration by ANDYJ. Source: PGL | Stefan Petrescu

On Wednesday, Counter-Strike’s scene was rocked, and not just by Source 2.

G2 lost their map streak, their series streak, and now they have bottled their tournament streak to boot with a round of 12 exit at EPL Season 17.

They were vanquished by the less-than-mighty ENCE, who have looked electric since adding NertZ but should still pale in comparison to G2’s star-studded roster.

ENCE do have a veto advantage, banning Inferno (G2’s second-best map) and being really good at Nuke (G2’s best map) but let’s be real: NiKo, huNter-, and m0NESY versus dycha, NertZ, and SunPayus should not be an 0-2 defeat.

This might have come at a good time for G2. They have been humbled ahead of the RMRs and Major, which could re-focus them as we enter the business end of the season.

But sometimes, the first event loss is the most damning. You lose your aura, and suddenly every team is rushing to pounce. They take their normal duels, show their normal lack of respect, and truly believe they can topple Goliath.

It’s what happened to FaZe last year, as just a few losses all but eroded the clutch factor that carried them to so many trophies at the start of the year.

HooXi and company will hope they can avoid the same fate. Paris may well be the last Major played on Global Offensive, one final chance for NiKo to get the tournament he has hunted for nearly a decade.

EPL is not the be-all or end-all, but it is a crossroads. G2 could become the last great CS:GO dynasty, or be relegated to just another flash in the pan. Their legacy is in their own hands.


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Liquid brought to paiN

Illustration by Crash_ Source: PGL / Joao Ferreira

First, Liquid lost to Rare Atom, and we didn’t laugh because Rare Atom only know Inferno.

Then they lost to Spirit, and we didn’t laugh because Chopper is a genius.

Then, they lost to paiN, and we didn’t laugh cause there was no one left to lose to. Just in case that wasn’t clear enough, paiN knocked Liquid out of EPL, and it didn’t even look close.

The Brazilian team was matched up against Liquid for the first round of Pro League knockouts, and most of us had the NA team to win. I mean, look at our Pickstop league; so many bad decisions. None as bad as Liquids’ decision to pick Mirage, though.

paiN has an 87.5% win rate on Mirage. It’s their best map bar Anubis. Why in gods name did Liquid decide to pick it? Well, whatever their reasoning was, it didn’t work out. They lost the map 16-7 and got embarrassed on their CT side with biguzera giving NAF and Yekindar nightmares.

Whilst Ancient was a bit closer, what’s the point of hyping up the extra 4 rounds Liquid won compared to Mirage? The reality of the situation is, Liquid looked horrible. Now, don’t let that seem like we’re discrediting paiN. That’s not our intent, but they’d be the first to admit that it shouldn’t be this easy for them against a supposed top-tier contender.

It’s clear as day that Liquid lacks the consistency to fight at the top. Their yo-yo results are simply too unpredictable to fight for an undisputed #1 spot. The longer this goes on, the more people will want to see heads roll and replacements made, so who’ll be the first victim?

Or, maybe we’re wrong and we’ll see Liquid turn into a FaZe 2022-esque event dominator. We don’t need to be Kassad to tell you: Don’t bet on that.


Heroic going bust?

A lot has happened this week, so we have two podcasts coming your way.

As part of the approaching RMRs we’re talking to ‘experts’ from each region - but we couldn’t find one for NA, so we got Ryan from on.

Thankfully, we were able to use Ryan’s actual expertise, finance. Heroic need a cool million just to continue existing it seems, and we were able to gain some insight as to what this means not only for Heroic, but for esports as a whole.

And also we got to mock NA for a bit.


Any other business?

  • JACKZ is back without a team despite his impressive performance at Pro League, and isn’t even allowed to finish what he started. dupreeh came back for their game against ENCE, clearly realising that if JACKZ kept performing, he might be without a team himself.
  • Speaking of which, do now have their team, themselves. Outsiders won’t be Outsiders for much longer - except more literally, with VP now being allowed to name their team after themselves and wear their shirts. No more black T-shirts with Outsiders written on it, sadly.
  • The EG Blueprint experiment is over, obviously, with the ‘Party Astronauts’ team being ejected. We’re not going to pretend we’re surprised.

Counter-Strike 2. Yes, really

Counter-Strike 2 is real.

If you missed yesterday’s newsletter, check your inbox. Or go to this link. It’s got everything you need to know, hopefully.

At the same time, we put out a bonus podcast if you prefer your news in audio form. Complete with four cute faces and our highly qualified opinions.

Hell f***ing yeah.


Into the nitty-gritty

Five games left of a five week tournament, and everyone will be a banger - but first, how did we get there?

You already know about paiN and ENCE, but you might not yet know that paiN were eased out by MOUZ. The Brazilians took map one, but all five MOUZ players had their moments to push them past paiN.

ENCE, in the meantime, continued their streak with a convincing win over the newly-dupreeh-armed Vitality, including this ridiculous round from Nertz, who let a man pass to set up a huge clutch.

JACKZ must be feeling incroyable right now.

That left MOUZ vs Cloud9 for a spot against ENCE in the semis, with Cloud9 taking the dub. Ax1Le was in ridiculous nick, putting up 69 kills and almost 100 ADR over three maps. sh1ro wasn’t even really needed.

On the other side of the bracket, NAVI snuck past 00NATION in slightly dodgy fashion, but soundly dispatched of a lacklustre Outsiders team just like they did in Katowice. That leaves Heroic vs NAVI as a quarter-final game. Yummy.

FURIA ran over fnatic thanks to their twin fangs popping off - despite an excellent performance from nicoodoz - but were swept away with ease by FaZe, who dropped just 16 rounds over the two rounds.

Somehow, if you had forgotten just like we had, that earns FaZe the chance to play against Jerry’s titans, forZe. Or as it’s now apparently stylised, FORZE. Probably to avoid any similarities with their opponents.

That leaves Heroic vs NAVI and FORZE vs FaZe in the quarters, and C9 vs ENCE in the semis, so far.

We absolutely bloody cannot wait. This was worth waiting four weeks for. Maybe.


Historical moments

👴 Never gets old

🤝 Why can’t we be friends?

  • Seems like NAVI don’t need better players, they need to get along better.
  • Holy smokes Ryan, ye killed em. Either that or the lack of funds for Heroic.

🙏 The ultimate sacrifice

  • 3kliksphilip walked (across beautiful nature) so CS2 could fly (onto our screens).
  • Worried about not getting in on the CS2 action? Even HooXi didn’t get in at first. The FOMO is real.

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