Los Angeles in Southern California is the site of a new tournament as Beyond the Summit unveils their entry into hosting CS:GO. Better known for Dota 2 and Smash events, Beyond the Summit have invited eight teams, with Ninjas in Pyjamas the final team confirmed.
NiP are joined by Cloud9, Team EnVyUs, Gambit Esports, GODSENT, Team Liquid, OpTic Gaming and SK Gaming. There’s no Astralis, FaZe Clan, Natus Vincere, G2 Esports, Virtus.Pro or fnatic, but seven of the top 20 CS:GO sides will battle for a share of the prize pool in the double elimination, best-of-three event.
Let’s take a look at the teams.
SK Gaming will come into this tournament as one of the clear favourites, with the Brazilians the only perceived Tier 1 squad coming to Southern California.
At the DreamHack Masters Las Vegas 2017 in February SK Gaming took 2nd place overall, losing out to Virtus.Pro 2-1 in the Grand Finals.
Felps seems to be working out so far for the team after replacing former star player fnx, who is now at Immortals. The 20-year-old has opened up fer to be more of the Robin to coldzera’s Batman for the former top team of 2016.
SK Gaming take on Team EnVyUs in the quarterfinals. This match-up would have looked a lot more interesting before the French Shuffle of 2017, with the star players of EnVyUs heading to G2 Esports.
Cloud9 have been slumping for weeks now and on top of that will be using a stand-in for this event. Valens will be playing for main AWPer Skadoodle, with the 23-year-old American sidelined after complications from surgery.
With Stewie2k in the team anything is possible for this squad, but with a stand-in expectations have to be minimal for the once top North American team.
Gambit Esports limp into the 2017 cs_summit after losing to Counter Logic Gaming in a best-of-one affair at the StarLadder Invitational in early April as CLG snapped Gambit’s 10-map winning streak on Cobblestone. Gambit Esports had been one of the best teams in the world on that map and were almost perma-banned on Cobblestone as a result.
Before the hiccup at StarLadder, the Eastern European squad would have been a sneaky favourite for this tournament as after adding former Natus Vincere player Zeus in late 2016, Gambit have increased their relevance in the CS:GO scene.
Team Liquid haven’t played in many major tournaments since they shuffled their roster, with stanislaw arriving from OpTic Gaming and replacing former leader Hiko. The North American side did upset OpTic Gaming twice last week at the Esports Championship Series though.
This team is a wild card to be sure and they have an equal chance to bomb out in the first round or make it extremely deep into the tournament. They will face Ninjas in Pyjamas in the quarterfinals, a team that is still gelling after adding a new primary AWPer in Draken.
After getting swept up in the back half of the 2017 Swedish Shuffle, GODSENT are a team trying to regain their balance. Fnatic and GODSENT swapped players with former fnatic duo JW and flusha heading back to their former stomping ground in early February.
GODSENT aren’t flashy, but they usually get the job done despite having a rather new and inexperienced roster. Twist and disco doplan coming back from fnatic are two players to watch, with the duo performing better than expected when with fnatic late last year.
GODSENT will face off against Gambit Esports in the quarterfinals. The Swedes are willing to play Cobblestone, the question is will they risk that map pick against Gambit like CLG did earlier this month?
Since losing kennyS, apEX and NBK- to G2 Esports, Team EnVyUs have been a little up and down after falling from the top spot in French Counter Strike.
They retained Happy and added the constant head shot machine in ScreaM from G2 Esports, but Team EnVyUs are still an unknown. If this tournament was a best-of-one, they would be a prime candidate to secure an upset or be upset themselves, but the best-of-three format may actually help the French squad stay around longer than expected.
OpTic Gaming have been an extremely inconsistent team since losing stanislaw to Team Liquid earlier in the year. In the last month they have beaten SK Gaming on Cache, but have also lost to Team Liquid four times and even Brazilian lower team Luminosity.
The Green Wall will also be playing with a stand-in, as former Splyce entry fragger jasonR will be filling the shoes of stanislaw. In their first match they will face Cloud9, who also have a stand-in. The winner of this game will have to face SK Gaming or Team EnVyUs and will be an underdog against either squad.
Ninjas in Pyjamas
Ninjas in Pyjamas could claim the title of current best Swedish Counter Strike side with a strong showing in Los Angeles. The Swedes have put up some extremely solid showings recently, with victories over Astralis and Virtus.Pro in the last two weeks.
NiP fell to HellRaisers at StarLadder in early April, but have recently beaten the teams they have been expected to beat. With the lack of top end talent at this tournament, NiP could pull off a top four showing with ease.
A key note to remember in this tournament is that the format is best-of-three. This should make upsets much less likely during the quarterfinals and allow the better sides to prevail. It all gets under way later this week and as can be seen, promises to be a very competitive affair.