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Zechs Files: A beautiful mess

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Zechs Files: A beautiful mess

Space Soldiers proved once again that Counter-Strike is anyone’s game right now. The next major is looking like a real treat.

Space Soldiers proved once again that Counter-Strike is anyone’s game right now. The next major is looking like a real treat.

Stop me if you heard this one before, but isn’t it a great time to be a Counter-Strike fan? Alright, you got me: that’s exactly what I wrote about last week. If anything has changed since then, though, it just to keep on getting better.
 
Today was the opening day of ESL One Cologne and in the very first round of games we saw a huge upset. Space Soldiers – who have been waiting for their shot at a really big tournament forever – defeated the number one ranked team in the world. SK, winners of the past two events they have competed in beaten by a team who have never even competed at this level before. Space Soldiers had never even played against SK until today.
 
Boy, did they ever come prepared, though. Space Soldier’s T side was impeccable. They played with a cohesion that only comes with hour upon hour of dedicated practice. Sure, their CT side looked about as stable as Terea May, but a 12-3 first half left them plenty of wiggle room. They needed it, leaving it till the last round of the game to finally claim victory, but it was a famous victory nonetheless.
 
Yes, there may have been mitigating circumstances. SK may have taken their Turkish opponents lightly. Maybe Space Soldiers anti-stratted SK (although, if your strategies are unravelled by a team rushing B eight rounds in a row, you probably need some ones). Maybe Fallen didn’t have time to watch some inspirational anime before the game – who knows?
 
And, yes, it’s only one game. If SK have to lose to a so-called lesser team, no doubt they would rather lose early in the tournament rather than later on when it really matters. Certainly they bounced back nicely in their next game, crushing Virtus Pro 16-9. A defeat to Optic in their second game suggests Space Soldiers may have peaked for this event, that maybe their win was a bit of a fluke.
 
But even if Space Soldiers lose every other game and don’t progress in the tournament, they have shown that their long-awaited opportunity was well deserved. They showed the importance of of working hard and proved that it can pay off. Rumour has it, the trio of Xantares, Calyx and Ngin played over 600 FPL games in the past three months. That is how you come into your first big tournament with confidence. That is how you upset the number one team in the world.
 
Space Soldiers did what other up-and-coming teams struggle with: they played with that all-important confidence. How many times did we see one of their players running through a smoke to get a kill? You might call it dumb luck, but Space Soldiers made it look like a planned tactic. SK certainly didn’t seem to be expecting it and they were riled by a team who refused to be cowed into playing the SK way. Indeed, SK got back into the game and nearly tied things up in the second half when Space Soldiers stopped playing their own game. Only when the Turks stopped playing with confidence did they look like they were in trouble.
 
So with the next major less than two weeks away, who’s to say we won’t see further exciting upsets? We know BIG, with gob b at the helm, will come prepared. Vega Squadron have history, too, and there are certainly teams who go into the major on dodgy ground. Many former titans of the game are struggling lately. Just look at Virtus Pro and Navi – both are capable of losing to the likes of Penta. Then there’s Fnatic. On the mend somewhat in the past month, but the name no longer demands the respect it once did.
 
Nobody is safe, come the major. There are no sacred cows. If SK can lose to Space Soldiers, why can’t Faze or Astralis go down to Flipside? It’s a beautiful mess and I can’t wait to dive right into it.

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