From the Ashes of the CGS…
INSIDER ESPORTS - Eric Kawaguchi talks about the revived 1.6 scene after the death of CGS.
Since the fall of the CGS in mid-November, we have seen many familiar faces make a reappearance in the US 1.6 scene. From early 2007 to late 2008 we have seen the once strong Red, White, and Blue take a back seat to the flags of Europe. With the CGS taking, or some may say stealing, the extremely talented and well known Team 3D, compLexity, Team Pandemic, Evil Geniuses, and Jax Money Crew as well as the folding of professional organizations Check-Six, zEx and United 5, the United States was left with, at the time, a mid-level pool of teams to rely on. However, as time passed and the CGS was airing on Channel 101 on DirecTV, these teams have stepped up to reach the level and reputation their predecessors had left them. But was it enough?
Though American teams like Gravitas Gaming, x3o gaming and EG.USA were strong contenders for being the “new generation coL/3D” when competing against the European, South American, and Asian teams in international competition, they weren’t much of an impact. However, the term insignificant would be an understatement. Though taking no gold at any international LANs these teams have come up with a few impressive finishings, however I say the word few with great care.
Let’s take a look back at international events in 2008:
KODE5 in Moscow, Russia:
1st – mTw of Denmark
2nd – fnatic of Sweden
3rd – SK Gaming of Sweden
USA? – 5/8th with EG.Usa
ESWC Masters in Paris, France
1st – mTw
2nd – fnatic
3rd – mousesports of Germany
USA? – Eliminated from Group C
GameGune 2008 in Bilbao, Spain
1st – Made in Brazil of Brazil
2nd – mousesports
3rd – Amazing Gaming of Ukraine
USA? – 4th with Gravitas Gaming, 5th with EG.USA
ESL EM III in Los Angeles, California
1st – SKGaming
2nd – Made In Brazil
3rd – EG.USA
ESL EM III in Montreal, Canada
1st – fnatic
2nd – SK Gaming
3rd – Made In Brazil
USA? – 4th with Gravitas Gaming, 5/6th with EG.USA
WCG 2008 in Cologne, Germany
1st – mTw
2nd – SK Gaming
3rd – e-STRO (We Made FOX) of South Korea
USA? – 5/8th with Gravitas Gaming
As you can see, America has had their “good days” placing top 3 at some events but other than that, nothing impressive. Where the once strong compLexity bestowing by the stars and stripes of America sat Number 1 spot on Gotfrag’s World Rankings now sits the Danish red and white brandished by the strong play and almost unbeatable mTw. Looking back at during the pre-CGS era where North American powerhouses Team 3D and compLexity swept through competitions we now see American teams struggling to finish with a bronze. Let’s recall SOME events that showed the true skill of American Counter-Strike.
Team 3D’s International Success:
-1st CPL Winter 2002 in Dallas, Texas
-1st WCG 2004 in San Francisco, California
-1st WCG 2005 in Suntec City, Singapore
-2nd WSVG Grand Finals 2006 in New York behind Germany’s alternate aTTax
-4th ESWC 2006 in Paris, France.
compLexity’s International Success
-2nd WEG Masters 2006 in Hangzhou, China behind wNv of China
-1st WSVG Intel Summer Championship 2006 in Dallas, Texas
-5th CPL Winter 2004 in Dallas, Texas (Debut Performance)
-1st ESWC 2005 in Paris, France
Granted there have been roster changes on both ends and comparing 4 years of achievements to one year is irrational, and I will give you that. Sure you may consider Gravitas, x3o, and EG as “growing teams” that have just began their journey in to international competition, had not 3D and compLexity convert to Counter-Strike Source for the CGS these teams would not have had the chance to represent the USA.
Before the CGS when 3D and coL had their own “National Rivalry” much like Sweden’s fnatic and SK, the spotlight had always been on these two teams and at times Pandemic, JMC or zEx would sneak pass by. Nothing big ever came out of eMg Gaming or Flow Gaming [organizations prior to 2007] or even x3o. Don’t get me wrong, they were good American teams but they weren’t the BEST. It is unquestionable that if 3D and mainly compLexity, were to stay with 1.6 then the international scene and rankings would be changed. Sure the Europeans teams would still have an upper hand and would most likely win a majority of the tournaments; they would have a run for their money with shaGuar and fRoD’s AWP, method’s rifling ability, storm’s clutch play, and tr1p and Rambo’s leadership skills.
CGS w/o coL and 3D?
We all know the main reason why coL and 3D converted to Source. The Championship Gaming Series. Who wouldn’t want to get paid a stable salary with media coverage and a cool jersey with your name and desired two-digit number on the back to play a game that’s much like a game you’re really good at? I would, wouldn’t you? The fact is is that 3D and coL switched not only because of the organizations being “acquired” as franchises but also because of the benefits and incentives the CGS had to offer. However let’s go back in time two years ago and suppose the idea of the CGS was shot down. We would see 3D, coL, JMC, and Pandemic still sweeping the headlines sogamed and Gotfrag’s 1.6 news section and playoff predictions for CEVO-P.
Back then, it was safe to say that compLexity has grown to be the more dominant North American team rather than the “washed up” 3D who have lost countless times to coL. Jason Lake and his squad had impressed thousands of people by being the #1 team in America and at one point, the world. Still, the ever going battle between North America and Europe would wage on and it can easily be predicted that compLexity could just be the team to keep the Europeans on their knees. coL’s break through success can only make us wonder what the team could achieve.
Don’t count 3D out though. Though not as impressive as compLexity in winning tournaments 3D has been one of those teams that “win when it counts”. Even though compLexity can overcome what ever 3D throws at them 3D still manages to win the right to represent America in the WCG from coL twice and manage to beat them to win WSVG LANWar in Louisville, Kentucky. The point is, theoretically speaking, if 3D and coL didn’t switch the Source for the CGS and continued to play 1.6 through 2007 and 2008 then we would see a lot higher placings and medals for America.
Let’s Get to The Point
Let’s stop digressing and get to the real point of this article; a revived USA 1.6 scene. After the collapse of the CGS many wondered about what would happen to the 1.6 talent pool. Many hoped for the return of their once idolized players to come back to help reclaim America’s place in the global arena. In Mid-December Canada’s widely known Evil Geniuses released all but one player, Jordan “n0thing” Gilbert, of their current USA team to pick up Tyler “storm” Wood, Matt “Warden” Dickens, Corey “Hanes” Hanes, and Danny “fRoD” Montaner of CGS’ LA compLexity. Weeks after the EG announcement came the debut roster of former Dallas Venom manager’s team Jax Money Crew. JMC was a hybrid 3D/Venom mix picking up Mikey “method” So, Sal “volcano” Garrozo, Erik “da bears” Stromberg, David “zid” Chin, and Justin “sunman” Summy before merging with a crippled compLexity to help form a generation of compLexity gaming.
Other teams that have risen up from the ashes of the CGS.
MoB Gaming – Striker, foogz, hahN of Chicago Chimera, and org and sonny of Carolina Core.
eMazing Gaming - azn, cbz, dee, i0nz, m4gic [revamped roster of the former zEx]
When the rust wears off?
2009 has started off extremely strong with the return of extremely talented players and formations of skilled and highly experienced teams. Granted playing Source for two years it may take time to re adjust to 1.6, as can be seen by coL not making it past group play for CEVO-P placement, when these teams have warmed up their 1.6 skills we can expect to see exciting and entertaining matches across America and eventually across the globe, the only thing stopping them is time. And by mid-2009 I can almost guarantee seeing the good old red, white, and blue taking gold.
With the USA coming back strong in the Counter-Strike scene it’s only a matter of time before the rest of the world recovers from the CGS aftershock. Both the Rio Sinistro and Singapore Sword have returned to their 1.6 roots. The TitaNs, former Singapore Sword, made their return to 1.6 with a new roster in the ESL Asia Continental Final coming third behind WeMade FOX and wNv. The Rio Sinistro came back to 1.6 under their former name Made in Brazil and suffered a slight roster change. Region 3’s Birmingham Salvo have announced that they and their manager would return to their former organization Team Diginitas but will still continue on to play Source. The other international CGS teams such as the Mexico City Furia, London Mint, Stockholm Magnetik, and Berlin Allianz had yet to announce the status of their teams.
With the Counter-Strike world changing drastically not only nationally but globally what can we expect to see in 2009? Just wait and see.