It didn’t take long for the newly recomposed Counter-Strike teams in France to show what they are capable of.
A recent wave of roster turnovers left the upper echelons of the French Counter-Strike scene in an almost unrecognizable state. The country’s top three teams swapped players between themselves, with the end result being the same 15 players competing for the same three sponsors, but composing three new and different rosters.
This weekend in Stockholm, Sweden, all of that chaos and confusion seemed to pay off.
French sides Titan and LDLC were among the eight teams invited to compete in DreamHack Stockholm’s invitational Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournament. And the two sides wasted no time in making a big impression on fans and players alike.
Both Titan and LDLC managed to produce victories over the world’s likely top team coming into the event, Swedish team Ninjas in Pyjamas.
The Swedes had recently announced that they were pulling out of some competitions to better their focus on the events they were attending, and that decision will likely come into even greater question given their early exit from this tournament on their home soil.
In the semifinals of the playoffs, LDLC swept upstart Finnish side 3DMAX, while Titan dominated another Swedish team, Fnatic. This set up an all-French final featuring the two newly recomposed squads.
That final saw yet another sweep play out, though this one did go down to the wire before it was closed out. After easily taking the first game, Titan would need overtime to defeat LDLC in the second to claim victory in the event.
Titan’s run was highlighted by the fine play of sniper Kenny Shrub, but he wasn’t alone in his efforts. Teammates Dan “Apex” Madesclaire and Hovik “Kqly” Tovmassian, both formerly of LDLC, played particularly well during Titan’s playoff run.
Former Titan player Nathan “NBK” Schmitt joined LDLC’s new star Richard “Shox” Papillon in putting up a strong fight in the grand final, but ultimately it wasn’t enough.
Beyond the success of the two French teams and the dramatic failure of Ninjas in Pyjamas, the biggest remaining story from the weekend was likely that of Danish side Dignitas.
Considered by many to be among the very best teams in the world, the Danes were eliminated in agonizing fashion prior to the playoffs, losing successive overtime matches to Fnatic and 3DMAX, respectively.
Screengrab via CSGOVODs/YouTube