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The American Underdogs Of Counter-Strike

2016-11-08  LOL     Source: 未知  
"U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!" chanted the crowd at the IEM San Jose Counter-Strike tournament. It was an echoing roar that persisted during games, while players were speaking on stage, and sometimes even in the halls. Valve's competitive first-per
The American Underdogs Of Counter-Strike

"U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!" chanted the crowd at the IEM San Jose Counter-Strike tournament. It was an echoing roar that persisted during games, while players were speaking on stage, and sometimes even in the halls.

Valve's competitive first-person shooter Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is an international sport. Teams from multiple different countries gather to compete in the tactical shooter for increasingly sizable cash prizes. The game is one of deceptive complexity. Two teams of five compete as terrorists and counter-terrorists, the former trying to plant a bomb while the other attempts to disarm it. Within that relatively simple formula is room for brainy nuance and wild unpredictability. Players have to take into account what weapons to buy at the start of each round, tactically advantageous positions on each map, and the fact that it can all be over in seconds. As the sport has grown, certain trends have emerged: weapon strategies, grenade-throwing patterns, little bits of wisdom.

The American Underdogs Of Counter-Strike

Then there's the more overt stuff, truths that simply can't be ignored. One of such truth becomes evident if you just take a cursory look at any given list of team rankings: European players dominate, especially in the top ten. And North American teams? Well, they're getting there, slowly but surely. But slowly.

They are, however, gaining. After spending years near the bottom of the totem pole — hovering precariously above joke status — the North American CSGO scene is shaping up. Two NA teams, Team Liquid and Cloud 9, are widely considered top-ten calibre.

IEM San Jose, which took place the weekend before last November 21-22, was a rare major Counter-Strike event on US soil (most take place in EU territories or Dubai occasionally for, uh, reasons), featuring the top two North American teams nestled among a stacked EU field. Every team was vying for the top spot, and — after a couple key wins — it actually seemed like North American teams had a thin, glimmering sliver of a chance.

The American Underdogs Of Counter-Strike

It was Saturday. I was en route to San Jose's SAP Center, but I was running late. While in line for the bathroom at a coffee shop nearby, I checked my phone. I was surprised to find that Reddit and Twitter were going nuts. Cloud 9 had taken a full game — a best-of-30 rounds set — from Team Solomid, a Denmark-based team that many thought had a good shot at winning the whole tournament. It was this electric moment, even as far removed from the event as I was. The win wasn't unthinkable, but it was highly unlikely. All bets were off. Maybe the North American teams weren't gonna be guppy fodder for the bigger fish after all.

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