Aug 17 2014 - 12:33 am

Cloud9 and Ninjas in Pyjamas play the best match of ESL One

Rivalries are the lifeblood of any sport
Samuel Lingle
Dot Esports

Rivalries are the lifeblood of any sport. Rivalries infuse competition with emotion, adding another layer to any regular old game. Winning is important, but beating those guys? The ones you hate? That’s what you live for.

One of the greatest things about esports is its international nature. Teams and players from around the globe compete in every tournament. And Cloud9 and Ninjas in Pyjamas epitomize the kind of international rivalry that forms from such Counter-Strike competition--America versus Europe.

The two teams also seem to be building a bit of a personal rivalry, considering how often they meet in major events. They wrote the next chapter in their extensive history against each other at the Electronic Sports League (ESL) One tournament at Gamescom in Cologne this weekend.

More than 320,000 people watched Ninjas in Pyjamas eliminate the Americans in their tournament debut under the Cloud9 tag. The Swedes took the series 2-1 after winning two maps by the skin of their teeth.

The two teams met in the opening round of bracket play after Cloud9 won their group by beating both Dignitas and Titan. Still considered the best team in Europe despite a recent slump, Ninjas in Pyjamas escaped their group after suffering a ding against French team Epsilon.

The last time these two teams battled was last month when Cloud9, then wearing the black and red of Complexity instead of their new blue-and-white digs, bested the Swedish powerhouse at the ESEA Invite Season 16 finals in America. That was the event that announced Cloud9 and fellow American team iBuyPower were true contenders on the world stage.

In Cologne, the Swedes would take their revenge on Cloud9 in the best series of the tournament. But it certainly wasn’t easy.

Cloud9, sporting a new look lineup featuring up-and-coming Canadian talent Mike “shroud” Grzesiek, took the first map of the series, de_nuke, in convincing fashion, 16-8.

The next map, de_dust2, went down to the wire. The teams were only one round apart at the half, but Ninjas in Pyjamas jumped ahead with five straight round wins to start the second half. With a 15-10 lead, it seemed inevitable the match would end in NiP’s favor, but the Americans battled back to within one round of overtime before ultimately falling short.

The series finished on the controversial map de_cbble, recently added to the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive rotation. A map often panned for the ridiculous defensive positions and long range angles available to Counter-Terrorist players, it was unclear just how prepared either team was for a match. Did they have strategies prepared? Did they know the angles? Apparently, that didn’t matter. At least in terms of entertainment value for the hundreds of thousands watching the game.

The two teams combined for one of the most exciting games of Counter-Strike you will ever see, trading blows in a match filled with clutch play, ridiculous shots, and crazy turnarounds. With the dust settling, it seemed that Ninjas in Pyjamas would again win with a 15-13 lead, but Cloud9 took the next round and forced an eco from the Swedes. Overtime seemed inevitable. Ninjas in Pyjamas thought differently.

Patrik “f0rest” Lindberg denied Cloud9’s attack on bombsite A long enough for his team to rotate, with Christopher “GeT_RiGhT” Alesund picking up an AK47 dropped by a dead Spencer “Hiko” Martin and mowing down two more of Cloud9. It was an insane round to win, the Swedes opening it with little more than a MAC10 to their name, but they somehow pulled it off. That's the kind of action that filled the match, shown below.

It wasn’t the best Counter-Strike in terms of execution, considering the newness of the map lead to multiple mistakes by both teams. But it was one of the most exciting games of Counter-Strike you’ll ever see.

Alesund was the MVP of the series. He probably deserved it just for his dominating de_cbble game in the face of elimination, where he put together 31 kills against 19 deaths and sealed the deal in the final round. But Ninjas in Pyjamas' win was still a team effort. Adam Friberg, for example, put up 26 kills and 17 deaths on de_cbble and pulled off a ridiculous clutch where he assassinated the bomb planter with seconds on the clock, allowing his teammate to hide from the last two members of Cloud9 to secure a round.

For the Americans, Grzesiek had his coming-out party. Never a player at an international tournament, the Canadian who some critics blasted for being “online” quelled all doubters against Ninjas in Pyjamas. On de_nuke, he put 19 kills and 13 deaths with a ridiculous 78.95 headshot percentage. He lead his team in kills on each of the next two maps, putting up 27 kills on 18 deaths on de_dust2 and 23 kills to 19 deaths on de_cbble.

The loss was a bit disappointing for Cloud9, considering how close they came to advancing to the semifinals, but it answered a lot of questions surrounding the team: Cloud9 is a legitimate contender for any tournament in the world. Their new player, Grzesiek, looks like a perfect fit and gives Martin a partner in crime, adding fragging power to the lineup.

Ninjas in Pyjamas, on the other hand, will try to exorcise the demons that hurt them in the ESL One group stage and at Gfinity 3. The most dominant team in Counter-Strike desperately needs to return to their winning ways. They’ll start with French team LDLC, who upset Virtus.Pro to advance, in the semifinals.

Screengrab via ESL/YouTube

Jan 17 2017 - 4:42 pm

Ambitious CS:GO mod aims to capture the spirit of the Wild West

Did someone say Classic Offensive?
Sam Nordmark
Writer at @dotesports
Screengrab via JarroRus/YouTube

Two ambitious Counter-Strike: Global Offensive players want to take the game in a whole new direction.

Going by the names Jarro and CTX, this successful modding duo (who have released popular custom maps in the past), are looking at developing a fully functional and expansive add-on centered around the Wild West. This will be based on the foundation of Valve's extremely popular first-person shooter title CS:GO. Complete with brand new features such as combat on horseback as well as larger maps, the two developers have taken to crowdfunding in order to guarantee that CS:GO Western Add-on, as they have dubbed the mod, will be released within the next 6-8 weeks.

While the team's crowdfunding campaign is set at $1,000, Jarre and CTX have also set two other campaign goals at $400 and $700. The first two goals are centered primarily around necessary features such as dedicated servers for constant game testing, and introducing more unique assets and expansive maps to the mod.

If the two developers reach their crowdfunding goals, the mod will be completely free of charge and distributed via the Steam Workshop. Valve encourages enthusiasts and modders to produce their own custom games based off of the company's intellectual property. The most notable example being Counter-Strike itself, which started out as a mod of Valve's inaugural title in the Half-Life franchise.

For the time being, the mod is looking to feature three separate game modes: A standard player vs. player mode, team-based hostage scenarios, and finally a linear game play map featuring cut scenes and co-op game play.

If the wait for Red Dead Redemption 2 and the second season of Westworld is killing you, the Western Add-on should keep you occupied until then.

Jan 15 2017 - 8:00 pm

FlipSid3 take home DreamHack Leipzig title

The team didn't drop a single map throughout the tournament.
Sam Nordmark
Writer at @dotesports
Photo via Fragbite

Flipsid3 Tactics claimed the biggest Counter-Strike: Global Offensive title in the organization's history, dominating their opponents at DreamHack Leipzig.

Without dropping a single map throughout the event, FlipSid3 emerged as champions of DreamHack Leipzig after a convincing 2-0 victory in the event's grand finals. But despite its impressive record the team, which features CS 1.6 legend Yegor "markeloff" Markelov, did struggle at certain points throughout the final series against crowd favorites BIG.

While the German favorites were able to take eleven rounds in both maps of the series, FlipSid3 were always one step ahead. This was particularly obvious in regards to the team's latest recruit, Denis "electronic" Sharipov. The Russian player dominated in terms of statistics, as he tallied the highest number of kills in the grand final, earning him an ADR (Average Damage per Round) of 102.

While FlipSid3 finally taking home an international LAN is a big story in and of itself, BIG's performance at the event is almost an equally as notable achievement.

Having only assembled the roster on Jan. 2, DreamHack Leipzig was BIG's LAN debut. The roster, which contains names such as in-game leader Faith "gob b" Dayik and recent AWP star Kevin "keev" Bartholomäus impressed throughout the tournament. The team's 0-2 defeat against FlipSid3 was far from one-sided, as BIG were consistently able to impress against the Eastern European team.

BIG had upset Group A winners Heroic in the semifinals, taking a 2-1 victory, while Flipsid3 had swept aside the challenge of French side LDLC.

Flipsid3 will look to carry this momentum into next week's $1 million ELEAGUE Major, where they will face FaZe Clan in their first swiss stage clash.

Despite not being the most competitive event, DreamHack Leipzig brought a considerable amount of excitement and has already set 2017 off to a flying start.