Who would have thought competitors in the professional Counter Strike realm would be duking it over the, usually peaceful streets of the internet? Rhetorical question! Literally everyone. As many of you may know by my numerous reports and constant coverage of pro CSGO, the ECS was replaced by FlashPoint, previously known as B Site. This was done in an effort to be a direct competitor to the massive league that is ESL, which has dominated the Pro CSGO scene for years now. The driving point was to create a healthier environment for the players to thrive in, boasting higher player payouts with a “competitive” roster of teams, of course opinions have shifted since more details have come out. The most notable being that ESL signed 24 of the top teams in the scene, with 14 of the top 15 teams being exclusively tied to ESL under 3 year contracts, the current pool of teams in FlashPoint just don’t stack up.
I’ll leave the deep dive video above for my in depth discussion points, but huge figures in the industry have been going back and forth attacking and defending both. Thorin is easily the most vocal at the front lines proclaiming issues against Astralis for backing out, while the CEO of Astralis had to defend their stance. He did so by explaining the clause Astralis had with joining FlashPoint and that was that Astralis would sign to FlashPoint IF FlashPoint was able to sign a minimum of two Top 10 teams. Ultimately FlashPoint did not so they went back to ESL, which kicked up an even dirtier shit storm of promoting the player incentives for FlashPoint and bastardizing the exclusivity contracts of ESL. In the end I genuinely believe it all boils down to which league viewers are more likely to watch, and at the end of the day, ESL has secured the most competitive talent in the entire CSGO industry. All that being said, there is still so much more we can learn from FlashPoint, who knows they may have some incredible things up their sleeves. As for me, I will be trying my best to follow all of this and keep everyone informed.
Blast Premier Group Stage C took place over this past weekend and it followed a very similar pattern to the previous two weeks. Notable Top tier teams underperformed, more than likely due to ring rust. Previously declining teams reshaped themselves for 2020 and started to compete at a top tier level, and relative unknowns showed up and made a statement. 100Thieves pulled an Astralis from week 2 and just never got anything going. I had high hopes for them to start off 2020 hot and was ultimately let down by inconsistent performances from most of their players and their poor executions in their own map pools. 100Thieves ended up being the first team eliminated, being relegated to the Showdown going 0/4 in maps. Another high caliber team, Evil Geniuses ended up almost as poorly. Similar to 100T, they were too inconsistent, trading maps with the likes of OG and getting taken to overtime to ultimately lose in the end. They were eliminated by OG and also relegated to the Showdown.
This left the young and newly formed team of OG esports and G2. To paint the picture, OG was formed in November 2019 around their big brain IGL Aleksib. They have some great young talent that is relatively unknown in Issa, Valde, and Mantu, but NBK rounds out their squad with veteran status and pliability. G2 had finalized their roster toward the latter half of 2019 by adding another young big brain IGL with Nexa and a potential superstar in Hunter. They seemingly couldn’t get their shit together throughout 2019, losing to Mousesports at BitSummit in the finals while Mouse had a stand in with Natosaphix replacing Woxic and their coach playing while Karrigan had to fix visa issues. So, OG an unknown team came out of nowhere just like Complexity did in week 2 to make a name for themselves besting some of the best teams in the world. G2 came out absolutely firing on all cylinders playing at peak performances just like NaVi in week 2. G2 hit a stride and were virtually impossible to beat winning 6 maps and only losing 1, while OG showed serious grit by battling their way back from near elimination. G2 ultimately won in the end, but both teams secured spots in the Moscow tournament in June. If G2 can consistently put on performances like they did this weekend, they are a scary team that has the potential to beat anyone else on LAN. OG has a lot of growing to do, but they proved this weekend that they are a team that people need to keep an eye on. So stay tuned for more coverage in the near future. IEM Katowice should be kicking off next week, while we will be at PAX East, but I will do my best to catch up ASAP.