A look at the teams for ESL One Cologne: Part 5 – FlipSid3 Tactics
In the following 3 articles the focus will be on the remaining teams in Group B: Team Kinguin, Luminosity Gaming and EnVyUs.
This will be a somewhat shorter article due to FlipSid3 having attended less tournaments, as well as having lost s1mple due to differences with his teammates after their surprisingly good performance at ESWC 2015.
Starting at DreamHack Tours 2015 FlipSid3 narrowly lost to Dignitas 19:17 (Mirage), dispatched of the French team Awsomniac who came from the BYOC qualifier 16:6 (Cobblestone) where s1mple showed his skill level with an ace. However, s1mple was unable to keep his impressive level up for their next rematch against Dignitas, which they lost 16:4 (Mirage).
The next event was DreamHack Summer 2015 they first went up against Titan, who they lost narrowly to 19:16 (Cobblestone) only due to apEX matching s1mples fragging. FlipSid3 then breezed through LGB eSports 16:5 (Cache) before facing Titan again, which they again lost 16:11 (Cache) with kennyS, Maniac and apEX displaying their abilities.
One of FlipSid3’s better performances was at StarLadder StarSeries XIII where they lost narrowly to Natus Vincere 16:13 (Cobblestone), beat Gamers2 quite convincingly 16:5 (Mirage), losing only just to EnVyUs 16:14 (Inferno), winning against Gplay, who is now known as E-frag.net, 16:12 (Mirage), blasted through HellRaisers 16:9 (Cache) before they in the semifinal was trashed by Natus Vincere 16:4 (Cobblestone), 16:5 (Inferno).
At ESL ESEA Pro League where FlipSid3 came dead last in the online qualifier was also without s1mple, who is unable to attend any ESL events as he has a ban, and while their substitute did perform fairly decent he was by no means at s1mple’s level, and the amount of practice with the rest of the FlipSid3 team was less than desirable with him playing some matches and s1mple playing others.
As FlipSid3 was no strangers to playing with a stand-in they were forced to play with another stand-in at ESWC 2015 due to WorldEdit was unable to obtain a Canadian visa so they got Hiko to play as stand-in. If you want a better view into how, and how they managed to make it work I suggest reading this by Hiko.
First they played KeyD Stars, who now is playing under Luminosity Gaming, where after some initial problems they were able to win it 16:13 (Cobblestone) with a pretty good performance from Hiko. Then they faced the Canadian mix team Boreal, who they destroyed 16:4 (Cache) before facing Hiko’s old teammates from Cloud9, but neither Hiko or s1mple was able to mount a grand defense and Cloud9 won 16:10 (Cache). They reached the quarterfinals where they faced Ninja in Pyjamas who they managed to win despite a miserable first map where they managed to grab 1 round. The result ended up being 1:16 (Inferno), 16:10 (Mirage), 16:12 (Overpass) in FlipSid3’s favor, also if you got plenty of time check out this interview with Hiko. In the semifinal they faced Natus Vincere who annihilated the FlipSid3 team 16:9 (Mirage), 16:1 (Inferno). While it was their most impressive result for the lineup it was also the point where s1mple left the team. As a replacement they brought in DavCost, and while I know little about the CIS region I have seen DavCost play a little in some of the lesser teams as TEAMSWAGYOLO with players as kibaken.
The first display of the team without s1mple on lan was at ESL One Cologne 2015 – EU Offline Qualifier, where they initially lost to KILLERFISH 16:14 (Mirage), narrowly beat PENTA 19:17 (Overpass), wrecked Property who more or less was a mix-team 16:3 (Cobblestone). Then they faced KILLERFISH again, who they this time beat 16:14 (Mirage) and watch this pistol ace by schneider, and in the winners qualifier match they faced Dignitas, who they before have had a bad track record against, and that was with s1mple occasionally putting up close to 30 frags, however, FlipSid3 was able to edge out a win 19:16 (Mirage), but not one of the teams was playing particularly well, and aside from aizy it was a pretty poor performance from Dignitas who perhaps had misjudge the time they took their vacation.
While FlipSid3 before was a bit of a wildcard especially when it came to Bo1s due to s1mple being able to carry his team to victory through his immense skill level and bold plays, however, while the team catered to his needs it also lived and died by him securing the entry. Aside from being really skilled s1mple did also contribute negatively to the team chemistry, as markeloff says in this interview. It is not that FlipSid3 is without any decent players now, but their firepower is much lower than with s1mple on the team. The question is if a player like bondik, WorldEdit or the old 1.6 legend markeloff can step into the role and become the star of the team. While bondik usually is pretty consistent and do occasionally step up, and WorldEdit is in my opinion around one of the 10 best AWPers in the world, but as the FlipSid3 team agreed to make s1mple the main AWPer he have switched to the rifle, and as a defensive rifler he is playing to his capability and understands the importance of being alive at a bombsite instead of engaging in a 50/50 firefight. markeloff did once have the skillset to be dominating force, and while he does from time to time show it he has embraced the more defensive supportive role there was a need for in the team, and while he might not boast of impressive numbers he is also playing the smart game where he will rather fall back and being a threat to the enemy than go for the highlight reel and in most situations just die. B1ad3 might not be the most skilled player, but he has made FlipSid3 work with the tools at his disposal, and while the tactical approach of FlipSid3 until s1mple leaving was often based on his roaming and entering it was properly the best approach. DavCost seems like a capable AWPer from the matches I saw at the ESL One Cologne qualifier, however, I do not understand why they would get another AWPer as WorldEdit is by far a superior AWPer and it is in the rifle department that they could use a boost.
FlipSid3 is one of the weaker teams going into the major, as well as their first match being against the invigorated EnVyUS lineup it is a tough road ahead of them. I would be quite surprised if they did not end in the 9-16th range, as the only teams that I think could be weaker are Immunity and eBettle.
Links taken from HLTV.org and Liquipedia.