I have been postponing this long enough, but here it finally is. Sadly it comes out a week where Movistar Riders is out of top 30.
This is actually a part of my part 9 of My Take on the HLTV Top 30 - weekly analysis/update - even though I have released part 10
Part 9 - hltv.org/forums/threads/2301997/part-9-m..
Part 10 - hltv.org/forums/threads/2306514/part-10-..
Movistar is a telecommunications brand in Spain and Latin America who in 2017 decided to get into esports, and specifically CSGO (they also got Overwatch and R6S teams).
Their first roster was signed March 30th but released only 6 weeks later.
On July 24th they signed the full KPI Gaming roster, which was the highest ranked Spanish roster at the time, which included some famous players - for those who follow Spanish CS.
The roster was:
For the ones who is interested: Mopoz have been a part of the roster ever since its inception.
Due to only being able to perform on a local basis and never qualifying for international events, even though they sometimes were close some times, they changed coach a few times but nothing helped.
ALEX left the squad in April 2018 and was replaced by the Portuguese rifler MUTiRiS who had been released by Team Kinguin just a month prior.
Right after that roster change did they qualify for their first international LAN in Moche XL Esports 2018. Since it was the first LAN it was mainly just a play for experience, and they went out in last place together with Tempo Storm.
The results didn’t change and the team got a quite sweet opportunity. Tempo Storm, who held two top Spanish players, had internal issues with their coach being kicked due to being connected to multiple VAC-banned accounts made the roster rumble. This happened more or less at the same time as the superstar brand name Mixwell’s trial with G2 ended.
So over a day, being the best Iberian team just now included top Iberian players, which made them to become a reliable force in the continental qualifiers.
The rest of the year was littered with first places in local events and online qualifiers and they built up the strat-book, map pool and experience in a sweet way going into 2019 with a great spirit within the roster. Which is quite understandable if you just compare ALEX, loWel, Mixwell and SOKER over Dragunov, MeisoN, MUTiRiS and donQ. So even though one of the inaugural players were in the roster, all five was added recently and they grew as a roster. Early 2019 they added bladE as a coach to go into ESEA MDL season 30, which was a great starting season since it was a training season and some of the best teams sat out.
By moving up the echelons of CSGO from a local hero to a continental newbie left the results and placings quite bad in the opening events, but they gained more and more experience and slowly built a better team, without doing any roster changes. I think a lot of similar orgs - the new lower tier with strong economy - should learn from this story. In my eyes, this is the way to go when building a long term project.
But they started to at least qualify for the bigger events and slowly learned how to play in those events, among coming 2nd in their first MDL season.
But with the growing success more eyes were put on the team and bigger rosters started to pull on their members and loWel left for a trial in HellRaisers in March 2019 and DeathZz joined as a replacement less than a week later.
With the quite big difference in both skill sets and skill ceiling regarding the two players, Movistar Riders had to do some updates to their strat book, role distribution, protocol and responsibilities.
This turned out to be great for the roster. Their changes just made them more reliable. They still didn’t really qualify for the bigger events, but they went farther in the qualifiers than they had before and the results stabilized, against almost all opponents.
In their first MDL season fully with this roster they still made playoffs (ForZe, HAVU, Virtus.Pro did not) with an impressive 13-4 result, better than Team Spirit, Vitality and GamerLegion (Ranked 21 right after the regular season) and continued to the playoffs, where they won first match against Chaos (mainly Japaleno today), then lost semifinals to Sprout after two close maps, to then lose the 3rd place decider against Team Spirit in one of the closest maps in MDL history (16-14, 13-16, 19-16 to Team Spirit).
One impact round win more against Sprout and they would have qualified for the LAN final against Vitality, and a possibility to go to EPL s10, or one more impact round win more against Team Spirit would have given them a spot in the EPL s9 Relegations, which would have made it possible to get a spot in EPL s10.
Just winning one of those games would also grant them a spot in the ESEA season 31 Global challenge where they’d meet ATK, Team Singularity and Furia, among others.
That would have been a serious outing of the team and make it possible to get some serious prize earnings.
Right after that their absolute star player, and AWPer, Mixwell was poached by the Cloud9 building a new NA team aspiring to be a top team. The replacement went to EasTor, who is a totally different style of AWPer, than Mixwell. But they adjusted as a team to put him into comfortable situations.
But Mixwell was also the IGL (Can’t really find information to confirm or deny this info, but from memory, he was their IGL) and a vocal person in the server. This
After that they continued their grind through qualifiers and came close to Games Clash Masters, where they lost to Sprout 2-1 again. Sprout went on to become 2nd in the event earning $20,000 against teams like BIG, Furia, Syman (who later qualified for the StarLadder Berlin Major).
They continued the grind for a few months, without any changes in results or roster development at all. It looked like they had hit their skill ceiling. That was until mid of October last year, when they decided it is more important to get an established IGL rather than any Spanish player (Spanish scene was more or less Movistar Riders at this point), and they decided to bench SOKER for the Brazilian semi-legend Steel.
At the same time they got an opportunity to bring back loWel, the only high-skilled available Spanish player, and benched DeathZz.
This was mid MDL season and they had played 4 games and was at the standing 1-3 and on the bottom part of the standings. After the Roster changes they went 10-3 and ended up on a playoff spot, above Cr4zy (today’s c0ntact) but then somewhat dropped the ball against HAVU and Pro100, again in close games.
At the same time they played the new event European Champions Cup filled with top 30 teams, and due to a weird format and teams dropping out, they managed to get a consolidation playoff spot, even though they were eliminated in the group.
They also got eliminated in that playoff, but again due to weird format rules and teams dropping out they got another chance in the Final Stage playoffs where they beat Godsent and Ex-windigo to qualify for the LAN finals in Malta where they were put in a group against Furia, ENCE and TyLoo, and still managed to come 3rd place (by winning the opening BO1 against ENCE).
This boosted them in the ranking to finally break into top 30, which made them higher seed than they used to be and that’s how they managed to get long enough in the European Minor qualifiers to get into the recently ended Road to Rio event, where they finally became a household name.
Between the qualifier and Road to Rio they played their usual league MDL where they once again managed to get into playoffs, but this might have been due to all the weird stuff that happened during the spring with Flashpoint 1 and EPL changing and switching teams back and forth, which lead to BIG, Team Spirit and HAVU gaming drop out of the league.
Once again in the playoffs they lost to Sprout, but this time not a close game, to get into lower bracket where they won against Pro100 and then lose a really close match to Nordavind.
In the Road to Rio they came in being considered a punching bag in group B, but they ended up coming 6th place in the group with a 3-4 scoreline with wins over Mousesports, c0ntact and Godsent, as well as taking a map against FaZe, who only dropped 3 maps in 7 BO3’s.
This made them get into the decider match for 11th place which they won and they now got 600 RMR points, same amount as AVANGAR (today’s Virtus.Pro) got for being runner-up in the Berlin Major.
Since then though, they have dropped out completely and look even worse than they did during all the months they ground through the qualifiers, going out in last place in two HomeSweetHome cups, after stopping to play that weekly event, losing against AVEZ in a BO1 in round of 16 in Dreamhack Masters Spring Open Qualifier as well as missing the playoffs of Blast Rising due to H2H against Japaleno and FATE Esports.
For the future I think we have seen the ceiling when this team may do their best (1th place in a huge European tournament) but not seen their bottom (dropping out last place in low tier weekly leagues).
The mentality seems to be a continuous issue for the team, which Steel hinted at in an HLTV interview hltv.org/news/29525/steel-beating-mouses..
I believe the team, which have had the same core (well!) since the inception of the squad 2 years ago, and have had the same roster for almost one year.
I would suggest finding a way to integrate EasTor into Steels playstyle, because he has dropped off the more Steel get the team to work his way.
They also need someone to do the “unlikely” and I think you can find players like that in Spain, or they can go for the South American players.