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The fighting Dragonites flew south and came home with a trophy, a familiar face has resurfaced on an unusual team and we got some big games - on a monday!
Illustration by Crash_ Source: Mist Games, Discover the World
With the WePlay Academy League behind us, there’s not much left to do for the players signed to big organisations’ academy teams.
They get the odd open and closed qualifier, sure. Some of them might even be promoted one day, though it’s harder to build up a CV in a world with WePlay.
But other than that, these young guns are basically just sitting at home and twiddling their thumbs.
That was, until Mist Games announced Heroes of Lofoten: an $8K LAN hosted in the Lofoten Islands.
For those unfamiliar, this Norwegian archipelago is ridiculously far north. Like, more north than Iceland north.
It’s the type of place you’d build a nuclear submarine base, not host a CS:GO LAN.
This is where we’d normally make a joke about Astralis (Talent) sending Xyp9x to the end of the world just after he was benched.
But honestly? We’re kind of jealous.
The commercial break drone shots were as good as the games. Just look at where they’re playing.
Speaking of, it was the Danes of MASONIC who ran the gauntlet, 2-0ing MOUZ NXT, Astralis Talent, and then 00NATION’s ‘Prospects’ in the grand final to take the trophy home.
It was a great event, a real breath of fresh air in a circuit that used to have pit stops all around the globe and now spends 10 weeks a year in Malta.
Even if it’s ‘just for academy teams,’ we’re glad events like this exist. We just wish there were more.
1. 🇩🇰 MASONIC ($5.500)
2. 🇸🇪 PROSPECTS ($2500)
3-4. 🇩🇰 Astralis Talent
3-4. 🇫🇮 ENCE Academy
5-6. 🇪🇺 MOUZ NXT
5-6. 🇸🇪 Young Ninjas
Financially speaking, esport teams aren’t exactly known to be a “sure thing”.
Look at FaZe clan. They seemingly have it all (trophies, youtubers, big collabs) yet currently, sit at a $0,5 stock price, down 20x since they went public less than a year ago. And that’s just one example amongst many of the top teams.
Don’t get us wrong. We love all the organisations out there who are taking big swings to further the scene. And for the most part, we can also see what they’re trying to achieve.
But occasionally, a new org pops up, where can't quite get the plot.
We’re talking about Ambush, a tier 2’ish Danish organisation that’s been around since 2017, shut recently down and has now been revived by a local power utility company, Energive. They’ve decided to invest their money in a roster full of players with turbulent careers at best.
The team is led by Maze. If the name sounds familiar, it might be because it’s the same Maze that left Snax’ “Let us cook” to join Sprout, only to be kicked two days later. But he isn’t the only player that makes us doubt this roster's longevity.
His fellow Dane NaToSaphiX isn’t exactly known for being a player with long stints. Exemplified by the fact he hasn’t had a permanent position on a roster since his one-month stint on Complexity back in 2021.
Usually, this is where we’d mention a star player that might bring the roster up. But we’ll be honest – this roster is just confusing.
suNny of former ENCE and MOUZ fame could’ve been that shining star, but even his career hasn’t been all sunshine as of late (well the past 2 years really).
Why did Ambush decide that this was the squad for them? There are so many rosters looking for a home that have shown more promise. Do they want to be part of the ESL challengers circuit or do they have higher aspirations?
For the player’s sake, we hope that Ambush is their chance to revive their careers and give some of these not-so-youngsters a lifeline.
The full lineup:
🇩🇰 MaZe (IGL)
Illustration by Fuffy
All hail the new kings of DreamHack Op-, erm, we mean ESL Challengers.
It just doesn’t sound the same.
After a flawless victory in their home country, Movistar Riders had been frozen out in Rotterdam and Melbourne. Uninvited, unwanted and unloved, the Spaniards were left to lick their wounds having missed out on the Major.
Until they got the last minute call to replace TheMongolz. The Riders were imbued with an sense of injustice, and set out to punish ESL for their insolence by smashing everybody once more.
After two ridiculously long days, Movistar decided to make up for lost time by picking up two 2-0s to complete the event without dropping a single map.
alex and mopoz came out as the best players in the event, joined by Martinez in the top three rated. Yes, the top three rated players at the event were all fighting Dragonites. That’s dominance.
They came up against Bad News Eagles in the grand final, and were largely untroubled in a two map victory over an admittedly jetlagged opponent - though they didn’t fly any further than the Riders, on their Dragonites.
They were even able to win while noscoping their own teammates to death in important rounds, for crying out loud. Seriously taking the mick.
One has to wonder if not qualifying for the Major makes you better at the game in the short term.
Or maybe one qualifying event isn’t entirely representative of a team’s level over an extended period of time. One of the two.
1. 🇪🇸 Movistar Riders ($50.000)
2. 🇽🇰 Bad News Eagles ($20.000)
3-4. 🇩🇰 ECSTATIC ($10.000)
3-4. 🇦🇺 Grayhound ($10,000)
5-6. 🇺🇸 Complexity ($3.000)
5-6. 🇨🇳 Rare Atom ($3.000)
7-8. 🇺🇸 EG Black ($2.000)
7-8. 🇦🇺 VERTEX ($2.000)
Well, now we at least know why it’s called Brazy Party (… wait for it)
The Quarter Finalists are ready with a few unexpected faces. Let’s give you the tl;dr on what happened in the groups:
Apeks topping Group A isn’t so surprising when you hear that Jkaem is playing like it’s 2015 and we’re in Cluj-Napoca. Taking down both Eternal Fire (meh) and OG (close but impressive) on their path and securing the spot in the playoffs.
Despite falling to Apeks, Degster and Co. will still make an appearance in the playoffs after besting Eternal Fire. OG are excused for this bumpy start since they had to play with coach ruggah because NEOFRAG was stuck in flight.
Group B is an odd one. Consisting of PAIN, 00Nation, BIG and Into The Breach you’d be forgiven for thinking that BIG would breeze right though any opponent.
Nope! They won 1 map. Guess Brazy Party wasn’t their one good event of the year. There’s always BLAST Fall Groups.
paiN ended second and Into The Breach topped the group through sheer grit and hard work. Hmm? What’s that? Oh, they only faced the Brazilians? Makes sense. Well… at least this serves as an excuse that their RMR run wasn’t a fluke. They’ll probably win both now.
Over in Group C we got SAW in the Playoffs. ENCE is out and we’re not really sure what else to say.
After once again barely missing out on the Major, SAW are seemingly trying to prove that they should’ve been there. If only they could have got these results at the RMR**.** They didn’t even get the easy game against GamerLegion.
Altekz was clearly the missing piece for Astralis and it leaves us wondering why they left it so late. Yes they lost to SAW but new rosters always have problems. This didn’t blow their confidence though as they were easily able to deal with the threat of ENCE in a 2-0 fashion. Keep up the good work Altekz!
Cloud9 and 9INE fought for the top spot of Group D in their BO3. Winning their own picks convincingly while the decider, Overpass, was an overtime affair. Ultimately it was Cloud9 who took the victory and solidified their spot as the best 9 team.
Following on from that 9INE faced Sprout who would win their own map pick before being dominated on the next two maps. 9INE is definitely a team on the rise and we wouldn’t be surprised to see a deep run at this Brazy Party.
Here are today’s match ups:
🐝 LA LA LA LA LA LA LA, Vitality!
🫖 Caution: tea spill
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