The headlines over the weekend mainly focussed on one team and their insane dominance of the top tier of CSGO, and rightly so, but while Liquid were sweeping all before them in the States there was another tale unfolding in Berlin. Dreams were coming true, or being dashed in some cases, as a selection of sides battled through the Minors for a spot at the Starladder Major later in the year.
So far we’ve had the American and European Minors, with the CIS region and Asia yet to decide who they will send, but fear not, there is no lack of intrigue in the results to this point. we’ll start in the States, metaphorically speaking of course as all games were played in Germany, and look at who the Americans will be sending to Berlin to probably make up the numbers behind Team Liquid.
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Vindication or par for the course?
Runners up: Furia
It’s not unfair to say that NRG would probably have expected to be at the Major with their old lineup, so their success in Berlin, qualifying as the top team from the American Minor, is not a huge surprise. For all the headlines about Furia’s five-year Nike deal, and eUnited’s prowess in other FPS games, none of these teams are really on NRG’s level of investment when it comes to CS, and it showed in the results.
What will have pleased the Americans most will be the 2-0 win over Furia, as the Brazilian team are very much the flavour of the month despite a drop off in form recently. Once that game was over, the rest of the tournament looked to have a quite predictable shape to the way it would unfold, and that turned out to be the case with Brazil’s finest eventually able to shake off their compatriots and battle through and all-BR lower bracket to take the second qualifying spot.
When you consider that more than half the teams involved were Brazilian, and the great strides the Argentinian scene has made over the last twelve months or so, there is an argument that the ‘Americas’ is too large a region to be covered by a single Minor anymore, and needs splitting into north and south at least. With the potential removal of ‘Legends’ spots long term, this would be even more logical, and create a stronger scene in both parts of the American land mass.
In terms of the result, NRG should be pleased but nothing more, and we sincerely hope Tarik was joking when he claimed it was 'time for a much needed break' on Twitter. This team needs more work to get to where they should be before Berlin, and taking a few weeks off would be a poor decision with that in mind.
While the cat’s away…
Runners up: CR4ZY
Europe is traditionally the strongest region when it comes to the Minors, and it’s fair to say this time was no exception. Like CIS, Asia and the Americas, there were two spots at this event that would get you into the Major, and the likes of Mouseports, Fnatic, North, CR4ZY and BIG were all in the mix trying to see if they could be part of the big show.
For Fnatic, North and BIG it was a sad story, ending in disappointment and nothing more than the chance to watch the Major from home, and it might have made a real impact on some legends of the games too judging by the twitter posts made after the event. For others, it was more a reward for good work, well done, than any big surprise, although there is an argument that CR4ZY are something of a shock qualifier, especially if you've not see them play.
For the top team, Mouseports, this is exactly what they should have expected, and the continuation of karrigan’s redemption arc after being slashed from FaZe Clan for nothing more than complete failure. Fan revisionism may have gone too far, but like NRG this is a team with the ability to make a real impact in Berlin, and both they and the Americans should consider the upcoming player break nothing more than a month to train, and get as ready as they can for the Major, as they’ve not been together long enough to do otherwise.