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April 24, 2023

Heroic lose once more in Rio, Cloud9 and NAVI capitulate again and Vitality shine one event too early one more time. It’s all looking like Outsiders will win the Ma… ah, never mind.

We’re not cool enough to say ‘brazy’…

If you’re starved of good Counter-Strike in the checks notes three days between events, you’ll be happy to know there’s two events coming this week.

There’s ESL Challenger Melbourne coming up - which we’ll preview more thoroughly on Friday morning - but before that we have the brilliantly named Brazy Party.

With it’s weird branding and odd prize pool ($333,000?), you’d be forgiven for writing this one off as another nothing event with teams you’ve never heard of. At first, we did too. It wasn’t even on our radar until late in the writing process.

However, there’s certainly enough to keep you ticking over. With Cloud9, 9INE, Astralis, ENCE, OG, BIG, paiN, Eternal Fire and other solid teams all here, it’s like a menagerie of teams just below the threshold of great teams.

Put it this way; all 16 teams are in the top 50 on HLTV. By that metric, it’s better than the RMR was, standard wise. It’s pretty much what the CCT was.

And by that, we mean an excuse for Astralis to maybe win a game.

This one looks a lot tougher than CCT ever was, though. Games start on Wednesday and next Wedensday, with all BO3s all the time, baby.

That should fill the void until the Major, which starts in two weeks from today. Two weeks!

Maybe there’s something to this “oversaturation” theory…


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The Cloud9 Bottling Factory

Illustration by NovaH. Source: Cloud9

The crowd might not have shown up, but the teams did.

The semi-finals at IEM Rio were utterly chaotic and had so much choking you’d think the Spurs were involved. Missed it? Don’t worry, we got you covered.

Our first game was a bit more traditional. NAVI and Heroic are both absolutely banging teams and showed it on Map 1. First half? 8-7. Second Half? 8-7. In favor of the T-sides on Overpass. When did Overpass become T-sided? Point being, the two teams were inseparable, everything one could do the other did better. It took another 17 rounds of overtime to split them apart and give Heroic the lead in the series.

If every map was this close, the series will be amaz- Oh, Heroic is up 14-1 on map 2? Figures.

Ancient was pure destruction. Everywhere NAVI tried to go, Heroic had 3 men staring at them. cadiaN might be a comediaN but he was reading the NAVI strat book perfectly. A bit of s1mple magic and some great plays by a Perfecto+NPL combo, managed to earn NAVI 8 rounds and made some people believe. But it was over before the comeback really began.

Where’s the choking you might ask? Over at Cloud9 of course!

Nafany’s merry men started off in dreamland with sh1ro schooling ZywOo on how to AWP on Inferno. They even won all 7 of the T-rounds they played. With nafany as the IGL that’s a miracle. As map 2 began, the dream continued with another 12 of the 15 T-rounds converted. We were witnessing history. But, nafany and company must’ve looked over Vertigo’s edge, because their dream turned into a nightmare where they couldn’t stop falling.

Vitality got their own 12-round half, led by an absolutely ridiculous dupreeh performance. How ridiculous? Well, he had a 2.55 rating on that T-side, so that ridiculous.  In fairness, he was probably helped by sh1ro forgetting how to press mouse 1 more than once a round. With those performances, it was no shock that Vitality won OT too.

Normally, we’d try to trick you by hinting at a C9 redemption on Map 3 but you’ve read the title and seen the image. They lost, seemingly leaving their heads on Vertigo.

This leaves our two Finalists: Vitality and Heroic. Read on for more.


A Heroic failure

Illustration by Crash_ Source: ESL

Viva la France!

Or perhaps, whatever Denmark is in French. We could literally just Google it, right now. But let’s not pretend either of us care to.

Just as they did pre-Rio Major, Vitality have hit their stride one event early. Last year it was Pro League, but this time around it’s actually in Rio.

After a stunning performance in the semi-final, dupreeh was a little more subdued - especially on map two - but still came up big with some massive rounds to get Vitality a foothold on the T side of Vertigo.

Instead, it was the turn of the other Dane to take over. On the CT side of Vertigo Magisk picked up 17 kills in the big game as ZywOo wasn’t really needed. In fact, that’s kind of the story of the playoffs.

In the past, it’s seemed like ZywOo vs the world, and in big games on the stage he can’t carry. Not as much, at least - but Magisk and dupreeh have won so many events. Why shouldn’t they pick up the slack?

Indeed they did, and brought more Rio final pain on their Danish brethren. For all of cadiaN’s showmanship, his huffing and puffing, and his bravado, Heroic could not stand up to scrutiny in another final.

In many ways, it’s reminiscent of karrigan’s FaZe Clan roster, or perhaps indeed dupreeh’s old rosters way back when. Heroic are so, so good. Until they aren’t.

Inferno saw apEX show up in spades with 16 CT side kills of his own, as Vitality climbed to an insurmountable five round half time lead, leaving Heroic crestfallen in Brazil once more.


The Nations Game

🤓 Fun fact

  • Did you know there’s been a 200% increase in the amount of Dutch players that have played at a CS:GO Major. Too bad it’s the last one.
  • Mirage is the NAVI of maps”. That’s good. We’re jealous we didn’t come up with it.

🇧🇷 Direto do Brasil

  • Say all you want about who they support, they do know how to create an atmosphere.
  • cadiaN even thinks they improved since the Rio Major. Either that or the Brazilian teams did worse. Your guess.
  • I mean, they can even get Neymar to show up, who wouldn’t want that?

😑 You may have been a little too goofy and/or silly

  • Heroic weren’t losing that one, until they were. Falls in the category of: fck around, find out.
  • Whoops, wasn’t meant to show that. Would you like to restart CS:GO?
  • Ignore the stats because what in tarnation is that graphic, ESL?!

And finally, enjoy this preview of CS2 de_santorini from map maker FMPONE (click for more)


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