cs_summit 2 preview
With the second cs_summit looming large, here are some of the storylines going into the first event of the season after the ELEAGUE Major.
The cs_summit 2 tournament, which will take place at the Beyond The Summit house in Los Angeles, is known for its relaxed environment in which teams and players enjoy leisure and competition under the California sun. But February 11t, after four days of bracket play, only one team will be proclaimed champion, taking home $63,750—the lion's share of the $150,000 prize pool.
|Upper bracket quarter-finals|
|North||vs. Vega Squadron|
|Ninjas in Pyjamas||vs. Liquid|
Seven teams, Cloud9, Liquid, SK, Ninjas in Pyjamas, North, Vega Squadron and OpTic were invited. The last on the list, however, pulled out amidst roster changes and will be substituted by Braxton "swag" Pierce & co.'s Torqued. MOUZ were initially supposed to attend the event after winning a qualifier but decided to withdraw, with Heroic taking their after finishing second to Tomáš "oskar" Šťastný's side in the online tournament.
Due to recent roster changes and it being the first event of a new season, this preview includes some of the traditional elements of a preview but is laid out following some of the key storylines going into the event.
|Ratings used are from the past three months on LAN
SK & C9: The favorites
|SK (#2)||Age||Rating||Cloud9 (#3)||Age||Rating|
|(EGB.com rate: 1.71)||(EGB.com rate: 3.74)|
|Marcelo "coldzera" David||23||1.22||Tarik "tarik" Celik||21||1.17|
|Gabriel "FalleN" Toledo||26||1.13||Timothy "autimatic" Ta||21||1.13|
|Ricardo "boltz" Prass||20||1.12||Jake "Stewie2K" Yip||20||1.11|
|Fernando "fer" Alvarenga||26||1.10||Tyler "Skadoodle" Latham||24||1.06|
|Epitacio "TACO" de Melo||23||0.98||William "RUSH" Wierzba||23||1.04|
|Soham "valens" Chowdhury (coach)|
SK and Cloud9 are the second and third ranked teams in the world, respectively, and certainly the hottest sides coming into cs_summit 2 in the absence of FaZe. While the Brazilian team just lost their number one spot in the ranking, the North American squad sky-rocketed up to the third place after becoming the first North American team to win a CS:GO Major in Boston last month. That being said, FalleN & co. will now have a full roster to play with as they seek revenge on the North Americans.
Starting on opposite ends of the bracket, there is a high chance that the upper-bracket final could be a replay of the ELEAGUE Major semi-finals, in which the North American side defeated SK after three maps. This time around, however, the Brazilians will have their full lineup, as boltz—who was ineligible to play the Major with SK and was substituted by SK's backup member, João "felps" Vasconcellos—will be back in action to help his team climb back to the top of the rankings.
The last time the two teams clashed was online in the grand final of the WESG Americas qualifier. The Brazilian team came out on top by a 2-1 scoreline, although the match was just for the lion's share of the prize pool as both teams had already secured passage to the WESG World Finals, which are set to take place in China next month. If these two sides are to clash deep in the tournament, this could solidify a rivalry between two teams competing at the top in the North American region.
North & Liquid: New lineups debuting
|North (#16)||Age||Rating||Liquid (#11)||Age||Rating|
|(EGB.com rate: 21.74)||(EGB.com rate: 24.79)|
|Markus "Kjaerbye" Kjærbye||19||1.12||Keith "NAF" Markovic||20||1.30|
|Valdemar "valde" Bjørn Vangså||22||1.00||Russel "Twistzz" Van Dulken||18||1.13|
|Philip "aizy" Aistrup||21||0.94||Jonathan "EliGE" Jablonowski||20||1.10|
|Daniel "mertz" Mertz||19||0.91||Nick "nitr0" Cannella||22||1.03|
|Mathias "MSL" Lauridsen||23||0.80||Lucas "steel" Lopes||24||0.83|
|Alexander "ave" Holdt (coach)||Wilton "zews" Prado (coach)|
Fresh out of the busy transfer period, North and Liquid are the two teams coming into the tournament with new looks. The Danish squad no longer have René "cajunb" Borg and Kristian "k0nfig" Wienecke in their ranks, but have acquired the services of the former Astralis entry-fragger Kjaerbye as well as mertz—a former Academy player for the organization who will be handling the 'Big Green'. Online, North managed to take their first steps as a team, coming in 3rd-4th in the IEM Katowice Qualifier to earn themselves a spot in the Polish tournament.
The Danes will come in with a brand new mindset as MSL has been tuning the team's play ahead of their debut. North had a terrible showing in Boston, going out in last place with a 0-3 score in the New Legends Stage. Now, however, the revamped lineup will have an event in a laid-back atmosphere to start to mesh, and MSL will bee keen to prove he has what it takes to lead his team back to winning ways. Worth watching will be mertz, the youngster, a highly praised player who will be dipping his feet at a level of competition above the one he has been used to until now.
The other team with big changes is Liquid, who signed NAF from Renegades right before the roster lock. Not able to use steel at the ELEAGUE Major just as boltz was unable to play with SK, Liquid will also be playing with their full roster for the first time this year. In Boston, Liquid—who played with coach zews—went out 1-3 in the New Legends Stage in somewhat expected fashion despite the coach's best efforts to support his team in-game. Liquid were then able to bounce back and qualify for IEM Katowice after winning the North American qualifier, in which they still competed with their old roster.
Liquid have decided to cut ties with Josh "jdm64" Marzano, a player known for needing an AWP to have a big impact. NAF, on the other hand, is an all-round player, talented with both rifles and the AWP, and he can add another dimension to Liquid's play as the team will now have several hybrid players, making it easier to adjust to different situations. This roster hasn't played any official matches yet and will be on display for the first time in California at the Beyond the Summit house.
NiP: Dark horse?
|Ninjas in Pyjamas (#8)||Age||Rating|
|(EGB.com rate: 10.62)|
|Fredrik "REZ" Sterner||20||1.16|
|William "draken" Sundin||22||1.09|
|Patrik "f0rest" Lindberg||29||1.08|
|Christopher "GeT_RiGhT" Alesund||27||1.03|
|Richard "Xizt" Landström||26||0.89|
|Faruk "pita" Pita (coach)|
Ninjas in Pyjamas are one of the biggest question marks going into cs_summit 2. The Swedish team had a flash of genius at IEM Oakland in November, when they beat SK in the semi-finals and FaZe in a five-map final to lift the trophy in the Bay Area. However, the Ninjas were unable to follow that feat up, finishing sixth at Blast Pro Series and 9-10th at the ESL Pro League Finals to end 2017 on a sour note. Those bad results may have been what drove Ninjas in Pyjamas to release Björn "THREAT" Pers, whose shoes will now be filled by a known face to the Swedish organization, pita.
Ninjas in Pyjamas's current form is a mystery as they have not played any official matches since their group stage exit in Odense in early December. Their first match in California will be against Liquid, who, despite not having had much time to practice since the acquisition of NAF, will surely feel revitalized by the added firepower the Canadian player will bring to the team. If Ninjas in Pyjamas can't bring out the magic like they did in Oakland and are overtaken by a honeymooning Liquid, they could easily find themselves trying to claw their way back into the tournament from the lower bracket against teams who have been more active than them since the start of the year.
Vega Squadron: CS:GO's longest standing roster
|Vega Squadron (#14)||Age||Rating|
|(EGB.com rate: 33.71)|
|Nikolay "mir" Bityukov||22||1.09|
|Leonid "chopper" Vishnyakov||21||1.06|
|Pavel "hutji" Lashkov||22||1.01|
|Dmitriy "jR" Chervak||24||1.01|
|Sergey "keshandr" Nikishin||23||0.94|
|Artem "Fierce" Ivanov (coach)|
With Wiktor "TaZ" Wojtas being removed from Virtus.pro, Vega Squadron became the oldest lineup in CS:GO. The Russian-Ukrainian squad is one year and four months old, and in that time the team has gone from being mostly unknown to being ranked amongst the top 15 in the world.
Vega Squadron's first event of the year was the ELEAGUE Major Boston, where they survived the New Challengers Stage in convincing fashion after beating teams like FaZe and Liquid along the way. In the next stage, they went 2-2 after moving past Liquid (again) and North—the two teams at cs_summit with roster changes—and losing to MOUZ and FaZe. Unluckily, Vega Squadron were drawn against the eventual champions, Cloud9, in the final round and could not advance to the playoffs, in Boston.
They remain that same side who have steadily grown, going from a small CIS team battling to get out of their region to a squad that is used to crossing multiple timezones in the international circuit. The year has not been all smooth for the Russian-Ukrainian side, however, as on top of the exit at the Major they lost to HellRaisers online and will miss the SL i-League Season 4 Finals in Kiev. Paired up with North in their first match of the tournament, Vega Squadron will be looking to outplay a newly-put together team with their well-oiled machine.
Heroic: A strong online start to 2018
|(EGB.com rate: 35.29)|
|Jakob "JUGi" Hansen||20||1.27|
|Andreas "MODDII" Fridh||28||1.15|
|Nikolaj "niko" Kristensen||19||0.96|
|Marco "Snappi" Pfeiffer||27||0.93|
|Patrick "es3tag" Hansen||22||0.87|
|Luis "peacemaker" Tadeu (coach)|
Heroic have seen some activity online in the past couple of weeks, playing nine matches across two qualifiers that went their way as they booked spots at IEM Katowice and at the SL i-League Season 4 Finals. The Danes managed to win all of those matches except one—the SL i-League Season 4 qualifier final against HellRaisers, which came at a time when qualification had already been secured.
Before that, in December, Heroic had lost the final of the LOOT.BET Cup 2, the qualifier for cs_summit 2, to MOUZ. Luckily for Heroic, however, the European mixture withdrew from the event that will take place in California, and the Danes were rightfully given their spot. After having a good start to the year against some smaller opposition, the Danish side will need to carry that high level of play against bigger sides, with their first match pitting them against the brand-new Major champions, Cloud9. But not even a deep run could salvage the roster as reports suggest that Ruben "RUBINO" Villarroel will be brought into the fold as a replacement for es3tag, who will be out to prove his worth in LA in a bid to secure a transfer to another team.
Torqued: The iBUYPOWER core back together
|(EGB.com rate: 45.69)|
|Matt "Pollo" Wilson||20||1.03|
|Kenneth "koosta" Suen||21||1.01|
|Braxton "swag" Pierce||21||0.99|
|Keven "AZK" Lariviere||26||0.88|
|Joshua "steel" Nissan||28||1.17*|
|James "JamezIRL" Macaulay (coach)|
* Online rating due to lack of LAN attendances in the past three months
Torqued made it to cs_summit 2 by chance, as they were invited by the organization after OpTic pulled out due to roster instability. The team is formed by the ex-GX core of Pollo, AZK, and swag, who are joined by koosta and steel. The former three, in their heyday, got second place at the FACEIT League Season 2 Finals and competed at the ESL One Cologne 2014 Major under the iBUYPOWER banner, and some of the more nostalgic fans will no doubt be watching out to see if these players can somehow regain some glory.
On paper, this is the weakest team of the lot; under GX, the core of this lineup finished last at the MDL Global Challenge LAN and failed to qualify for the ESL Pro League. Although still untested at this level, this squad has been showing promise, with four convincing wins in MDL since steel and koosta joined the ranks.
One of the biggest questions surrounding this team is whether swag has it in him to once again be a star player. Last year, he played at cs_summit as a stand-in for Cloud9 and was awarded an EVP as he helped the team in their fourth-placed run, garnering a 1.17 rating over 10 maps played. Torqued are proving their worth in MDL, but an opening match against SK may be a bit too much for them at this point.