Race to the Summit
Rope, check. Locking carabiners, check. Backpack, check. M4, body armor and defuse kit, check. The bags are packed and the eight contestants are dropped off at base camp as the race to be crowned kings of the cs_summit is under way! The state of California may be home to the Sierra Nevada Mountains but all eyes are on the cs_summit this weekend as CS:GO fans gaze on the city of Los Angeles for the first CS:GO event from Beyond the Summit (BTS).
BTS are best known for their involvement in DOTA 2 however they have decided to make their move into Valve’s other big name game, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. For this event, Ninjas in Pyjamas, OpTic, SK, Liquid, GODSENT, EnVyUs, Gambit and Cloud9 will look to get their hands on the lion’s share of $150,000. Due to having a smaller attendance list than most events, the tournament will be running Best of 3 double elimination which will lead to the most consistent performers coming out on top.
If one was to predict the outcome of the tournament simply based upon the HLTV ranking of each team SK gaming would be the runaway winners. However whilst I would class SK as the favourites, it will not be as clear cut as it once would have been. For example they have recently proven themselves to be susceptible to upsets from all manners of teams, from the high flying FaZe and Astralis to the less consistent OpTic and Cloud9 and even coming close in a 19-17 overtime victory over Bee’s Money Crew.
They will be helped however by the turmoil some of the other teams have been going through, some of whom will hope to be settling at this event and others who are likely to be hampered here. Whether it be roster changes, general inconsistency or the public pressure to succeed many of the teams in attendance are fighting their own uphill battle.
First on the list is Ninjas in Pyjamas, a team with all the history in the world searching for the strength to climb back to the top spot they once commanded. After 2016 saw them win three big events, the start to 2017 saw them bench their newest addition Jacob ‘pyth’ Mourujärvi and add the rising star William ‘draken’ Sundin. Sundin, who used his AWP to fire himself into the spotlight through the Minor system has yet to fully hit a consistent level in his biggest challenge yet. Adapting to a new team is hard enough, but when the pressure of being the 5th to some of Counter-Strike’s most legendary names is added into the mix, it is understandable if it takes him a few events. The performance of the Ninjas likely hinges on the performance of star players like f0rest and GeT_RiGhT, if both of those turn up they have the ability to go all the way.
Second up, OpTic, a team disrupted by the departure of Peter ‘stanislaw’ Jarguz to Liquid, will be playing with Jason ‘jasonR’ Ruchelski who is currently a stand-in. The team appeared to have major potential with their shock win at ELEAGUE Season 2 however since the changes they have fallen down the rankings and, as is evident by their current vacant fifth slot, are yet to find stability. If they are to make a dent in this tournament I would expect mixwell to have to put in a big performance alongside tarik to make up for the lack of team cohesion.
Liquid are a strong contender at this event for me although they have had a relatively small ammount of time to prepare with their newest addition Russel ‘Twistzz’ Van Dulken and lack of international tests since the addition of stanislaw. I believe this lineup has the firepower to go head to head with the best on their day as individuals and it simply remains to be seen if they can put that all together into one team display. Their HLTV ranking of 18th misrepresents their talent in my eyes, and I expect them to make a steady climb up the ranks from here on out.
GODSENT are a team very much created out of major unrest in the Swedish scene some months back, leading to a massive shakeup. After the dust settled and some players realised they had regretted their decisions to split, with those players being fnatic, the rest were essentially left with GODSENT. A much unknown challenge who recently won their promotion back to the ESL Pro League after winning a series 2-0 over BIG. With the experienced leadership of pronax and the potential of some of the players such as disco doplan I believe the team has the chance to create some upsets in single Bo3 matches but ultimately it would be a surprise if they did much damage in terms of the overall tournament result.
EnVyUs are currently playing the role of the “other” (mostly) french team. Whilst G2 are showing signs of solidifying their status as a top team once more, EnVy are falling on harder times struggling to make their mark. Mostly coming alive when ScreaM has one of his unplayable performances it would take something special for them to contend for this event.
Gambit are the team that don’t bring a massive sense of danger by name, but certainly have the ability to cause some upsets when it comes down to trading blows. Whilst I wouldn’t expect them to be winning this event, most thought the same when they attended a similar event DreamHack Winter 2016, facing some of the same names, and they ended up taking first place.
Cloud9 will be playing with a fan favourite Braxton ‘swag’ Pierce this event, who has very little to judge upon since his high profile match fixing ban. He will be stepping in for the teams AWP player, Skadoodle who is still out for medical reasons. This will make them an unknown entity for at least their first game as while players such as Stewie certainly have the ability to turn games on their head on their own, I’m not sure they can keep it going for multiple best of three games with a stand-in who spends so much of his time outside of professional play.
My overall favourite for the event is still SK as I believe they currently have the most stable lineup with incredible star power in the likes of coldzera and FalleN’s leading to guide the way.
My one to watch for this event is Twistzz, I am a believer in his ability to put in high power performances no matter how the team around him is performing and I am excited to see him against international opponents on LAN with his new lineup.
The schedule for the first day is as follows (All times CEST):
18:30 SK vs EnVyUs
21:30 Gambit vs GODSENT
00:30 OpTic vs Cloud9
03:30 NiP vs Liquid