Counter-Strike: World Offensive’s first Main of 2022 is now over in Antwerp. After two explosive weeks and an unimaginable remaining weekend, followers of the legendary FPS noticed historical past within the making this previous Sunday. But, whereas the playoffs showdown is the place legends are made, the earlier phases of the occasion additionally noticed loads of developments going down.
So, contemplating how lengthy and prestigious the PGL Main Antwerp is, it’s no shock to study that there are extra winners than simply the crew which ended up lifting the trophy. In spite of everything, we noticed some squads going above and past what have been anticipated from them, even when they didn’t attain the sector this previous weekend. In the identical be aware, although, there are some groups that left Antwerp upset. Whether or not by an upset or not residing as much as their expectations, there have been some catastrophe tales right here, too.
To evaluate each successful and shedding sides of this Main, right here’s our winners and losers of the event. As all the time, it’s unattainable to cowl all angles from all of the groups within the competitors, and for that cause, I’ve picked those who caught my consideration probably the most. Anyhow, right here is our winners and losers’ recap for PGL Main Antwerp 2022.
FROM ONE HUNDRED TO 2 – 3 – ASTRALIS
The Danish squad led by Lukas “gla1ve” Rossander got here to Antwerp wanting reinvigorated after a stoop earlier within the yr. Since including Asger “farlig” Jensen to the roster, Astralis stored exhibiting constant enhancements, and coming to Antwerp they weren’t favorites, however they have been anticipated to no less than attain the second stage of the event. Sadly, that didn’t occur.
Astralis began their run in Antwerp effectively sufficient. The Danes crushed their first opponent, IHC, however have been instantly humbled of their recreation towards Vitality. Astralis bounced again within the second day of the competitors by successful a detailed match towards MiBR, and from that time, they have been one match away from advancing to the subsequent stage. Spirit was subsequent, and issues began going downhill for Astralis. Crew Spirit outclassed Astralis and took benefit of Andreas “Xyp9x” Højsleth underwhelming for to win their recreation.
Within the remaining day of the opening stage of the Main, Astralis would face their rivals from one other period, Crew Liquid. The North Individuals have been wanting weak, and lots of thought-about that match nearly as a free ticket for the Danes. But, Nicholas “nitr0” Cannella select the precise time to step up for his crew, and the Individuals ended ending Astralis run proper there after a tough but clear best-of-three, with Astralis closing the sequence with out a map.
It’s unlucky that every one progress Astralis made by means of these previous weeks weren’t sufficient. But, it’s inarguable that Astralis greatest problem wasn’t their latest addition however as a substitute one of many two gamers that stay from the Main successful core. Xyp9x was a legal responsibility for the crew, and his general HLTV 2.0 occasion score was a pointy decline in comparison with Stockholm’s Challenger Stage, which wasn’t nice both. Astralis has left Antwerp realizing that one other roster change is coming.
SWEDEN LIVES – NiP
Whereas Ninjas in Pyjamas ended Antwerp in 5th – 8th place identical to they did again in Stockholm, there’s loads of distinction from the NiP we had then and the one we now have now. For some context, again final yr NiP attended the Main with Linus “LNZ” Holtäng and Nicolai “dev1ce” Reedtz. Whereas dev1ce is, in fact, a residing legend, LNZ place in that crew was typically questioned. He was one of many academy gamers NiP trialled final yr and in the end, LNZ was despatched again to Younger Ninjas.
Now, NiP appears to be a a lot stronger unit, even with out dev1ce of their lively line-up. Ludvig “Brollan” Brolin has been an unimaginable addition to this roster, and surprisingly sufficient Patrick “es3tag” Hansen has been doing a stable job because the crew’s AWPer. One can’t neglect about Nicolas “Plopski” Gonzalez Zamora type both. Plopski had been a continuing problem with this roster, however since January he has been bettering and he’s in a significantly better place now. Similar to the whole roster.
General, when put next with final yr’s NiP, this crew is lastly feeling like a cohesive squad. An intertwined crew if you’ll. Hampus “hampus” Poser, NiP’s chief nonetheless has a whole lot of work forward of him, certain. NiP in the end failed towards FaZe Clan and Natus Vincere, and it’s clear this crew has increased ambitions than third-best or something earlier than that. But, for a crew with out an AWPer, NiP has carried out far more than anybody might ask for them, and this squad is the higher the group has fielded in years.
THE DARKEST MAJOR FOR AUSSIES – RENEGADES
After a weak exhibiting on the Asia-Pacific RMR, expectations for the Australians from Renegades have been low. They have been one of many favorites to be eradicated from the Main winless, they usually met these expectations. But, their elimination was unhappy. Greater than the same old, even. It’s not unusual, particularly these days, to see the one crew coming from Oceania ending in final in worldwide occasions. However this time there’s one thing totally different.
Through the three matches we noticed Renegades taking part in, the Aussies couldn’t struggle. Regardless of a handsome CT-side from them of their opening match, the remainder of the Main noticed Renegades wanting misplaced and uninspiring. All gamers of the crew closed Antwerp with a score beneath 0.90, and Jordan “Hatz” Bajic, the worst performing participant of the crew left Belgium with a 0.70 score. After the occasion, Simon “Sico” Williams admitted that the crew didn’t apply earlier than the occasion. One thing which didn’t assist.
Nonetheless, with apply or not, with different gamers or not, Oceanic Counter-Strike is in a really dire place. As many have talked about because the return of LAN occasions, it’s essential the area finds themselves a squad to spearhead them and rebuild all of the work Renegades, Order, Grayhound and different groups achieved earlier than the pandemic. But, Australia continues to be ready for this crew.
For now, although, there’s not a lot to do. Renegades goes again to the drafting board and their subsequent problem will probably be in mid-June when they may head to the ESL Professional League Season 16: Convention. Hopefully we see a greater show from the Aussies there, and hopefully the scenario for the scene improves over the approaching months.
THANKS, MAREA TURBO! – IMPERIAL
It has been lower than three months since Imperial first joined the server for his or her first official match collectively. The squad constructed by Gabriel “FalleN” Toledo was presupposed to be the one final experience in his profession, and because it’s very formation, it has been continuously criticized. But, in Antwerp, any critics that have been towards the existence of this undertaking disappeared. Imperial gave their followers – and even those that don’t comply with Brazilian Counter-Strike – a run to cherish.
Imperial didn’t have a single simple match in Antwerp both. They began their run with a tricky match towards Spirit. The Russian squad took down the Brazilians, which needed to face Liquid subsequent. Fortunately for FalleN, Crew Liquid wasn’t a match for Fernando “fer” Alvarenga aggression, and Imperial went to the second day of the event with a 1 – 1 file. Sadly, although, the Kosovan squad from Dangerous Information Eagles bested Imperial then, sending them to the verge of elimination.
Nonetheless, Imperial prevailed. They first needed to face the ever-dangerous IHC. The Mongolians managed to begin their best-of-three sequence robust, however in the end failed to shut it out. After sending IHC packing, Imperial went to the ultimate day of that stage with excessive hopes however realizing it wasn’t going to be simple. Surprisingly sufficient, nonetheless, forZe, Imperial’s remaining opponent within the Challengers Stage, was no match for Imperial in any respect. The Brazilians demolished forZe and superior within the Main.
Finally, within the Legends Stage we noticed Imperial failing to BIG within the opener. Afterwards, we noticed the controversial smoke bug being found by the group. Whereas it wasn’t first used towards Imperial, the bug was impactful of their recreation towards G2. After shedding to the Europeans, Imperial was as soon as towards with their backs towards the wall.
TAKING IT TO THE NEXT LEVEL
Imperial run to this point was already far past most would’ve anticipated out of them. They could’ve misplaced to G2, however they gave the most effective groups on this planet a run for his or her cash. Not solely it, however their win towards forZe proved that Imperial nonetheless might compete towards a lot youthful groups. On the second day of the Legends Stage, although, Imperial would’ve to begin doing miracles to not be despatched residence.
Their first elimination match noticed Imperial going through Dangerous Information Eagles as soon as once more, this time in a BO3. The match was shut, however Imperial received each groups’ picks, and despatched the Kosovan pressure packing. Subsequent, nonetheless, it was Cloud9, and regardless of all the pieces the Brazilians had carried out to that time, Cloud9 was asking an excessive amount of. Or no less than that was most thought. The CIS powerhouse fought tooth and nails towards Imperial and took the sequence to a 3rd map, however in the end, FalleN’s Mirage shocked and concluded an unreal upset.
Lastly, Imperial took on Copenhagen Flames on the decider map. Sadly for the Brazilians, the Danes crushed them on their very own map choose. Within the second map of the sequence, Vertigo, Imperial put a struggle lastly, however weren’t sufficient. After two overtimes, Copenhagen Flames received the sport, and Imperial completed their dance in Antwerp.
Imperial went past each single expectative set for them on this Main, they usually deserve the reward they’re getting. This undertaking which gave the impression of one of many least promising ones from the Brazilian scene firstly of the yr is proving out to be the extra profitable one. The Imperial household has a shiny future forward of them.
OUTCLASSED – G2
Earlier than the Main, there was a transparent thought about who have been favorites, darkish horses, and underdogs. FaZe have been favorites with G2 and Natus Vincere intently behind. ENCE and FURIA have been left with the darkish horse roles. All these 5 groups carried out as anticipated however one: G2. The Europeans began the event effectively however in the end crumbled and left a bitter style in followers’ mouths. The frustration is totally comprehensible, although. G2 had some tough showings up to now months, however this was the Main. The Main!
G2 kicked off issues proper, although. The Kovač cousins together with Ilya “m0NESY” Osipov made fast work of Crew Liquid and received their opener. Crew Spirit was subsequent, and whereas the CIS squad punished G2’s weak T-sides, G2 nonetheless left the server with the win. Within the second day of the Challengers Stage, G2 confronted ENCE and whereas Lotan “Spinx” Giladi’s crew took one map from them, G2 received that match. Profitable then meant undefeated development, with helped increase the crew and followers’ confidence going ahead.
At first of the Legends Stage, G2 stored going robust. They misplaced their opening match towards Natus Vincere in time beyond regulation and have been capable of overcome a tough Imperial subsequent. Within the second day, nonetheless, issues began to vary for the more serious. G2 was unable to win one other match which went to time beyond regulation. This time, Heroic was up, and shedding that meant G2 was one loss away from elimination.
Nonetheless, Aleksi “Aleksib” Virolainen survived their first take a look at. G2 confronted Outsiders and received, albeit some eyebrows have been raised when the CIS crew was capable of steal G2’s map choose, Vertigo. In any case, G2 had gotten their final day ticket, they usually have been set to face one other squad a part of the Brazilian Storm. This time, the most effective one: FURIA.
G2 began their sequence towards FURIA effectively sufficient on their opponent’s map choose, Vertigo. FURIA was capable of get seven rounds on the T-side which is spectacular, although, and it was clear why the Brazilians picked Vertigo. Finally, G2 did not get greater than 4 rounds within the second-half of that map, and FURIA introduced their very own map residence. Inferno was subsequent, and that was G2 territory, however it didn’t look like it.
Inferno noticed a powerful T-side from G2 which isn’t unhealthy, however in the end, Aleksib had a tough time on the CT-side. FURIA was capable of convey the map to the final spherical in regulation and the end result got here right down to a one versus one with Audric “JACKZ” Jug defending G2’s aspect. JACKZ was capable of win that scenario and in the end introduced Inferno residence, taking the sequence to its decider map.
Lastly in Historic, FURIA and G2 gave all they’d within the map. G2 completed the map’s first-half forward by 5 rounds, and if they’d a good T-side, they may’ve received it. Sadly, although, they didn’t have a T-side in any respect. Moreover successful the second spherical of the second-half, G2 was unable to do something towards the Brazilians and in the end, have been despatched residence earlier.
Now, G2 must rapidly resolve what this crew needs. Does this roster want extra time within the oven, or one thing should change? Is it value bringing Mareks “YEKINDAR” Gaļinskis to the crew, or does these gamers really feel like they want extra than simply extra firepower? Extra importantly, although: does G2 trusts Aleksib?
AIMING HIGHER THAN EVER – TEAM SPIRIT
After Stockholm, Spirit was in a tough place. The crew benched three gamers, together with its captain Leonid “chopper” Vishnyakov in addition to their star participant Nikolay “mir” Bityukov. Whereas chopper was introduced again, the crew determined to advertise two gamers from its academy crew this yr, and never a lot was anticipated from Spirit since then. Forward of the Main begin, Spirit was in reality one of many favorites by the group to exit winless.
In opposition to all odds, although, Crew Spirit proven they have been removed from being despatched residence earlier, the opposite. Leonid’s crew began with a win within the Challengers Stage over Imperial and an time beyond regulation defeat to G2. Within the second day of the competitors, Crew Spirit stepped up and after a powerful exhibiting by Boris “magixx” Vorobyev, received towards Everlasting Hearth. Lastly, Spirit confronted Astralis, and the CIS powerhouse didn’t depart any opening for the Danes. Spirit received that BO3 and certified for the subsequent stage.
Within the Legends Stage, Spirit took no time to break extra Decide’ems. On the opening day of that stage Spirit defeated each FURIA and Heroic. Two heavyweight darkish horses within the competitors. Now one recreation away from the playoffs, Spirit was set to face Copenhagen Flames. CPHF managed to win their very own map choose however couldn’t sustain with Abdulkhalik “degster” Gasanov and Robert “Patsi” Isyanov.
Having certified for the Champions Stage, Crew Spirit achieved their highest putting in a Main ever. But, chopper’s crew wouldn’t be glad with simply that. In a rematch towards FURIA, Crew Spirit proved their earlier win wasn’t a fluke due to a powerful efficiency by Pavel “s1ren” Ogloblin. Finally, Spirit fell to FaZe Clan, however this Main run put them again within the map.
DEAD HORSE BEAT – COMPLEXITY & TEAM LIQUID
Hope dies final for followers of North American Counter-Strike as seen in these previous couple of months. The area is arguably in a greater place than they have been by the top of 2021, however removed from a snug place. Crew Liquid and Complexity have been the one two groups to qualify from the continent as South American groups took the final spots from the Americas RMR, however there was nonetheless hope for each.
Finally, Complexity was an entire catastrophe on this Main and their greatest end result was a win over IHC Esports. Crew Liquid, within the different hand, shocked as we talked about above, however general, they didn’t do significantly better both. Nicolas’ crew survived the Challengers Stage after ending the primary day of the event on the verge of elimination. Liquid despatched 9z, their colleagues from Complexity after which Astralis packing whereas being towards the wall.
Within the Legends Stage, nonetheless, Liquid did not hold their momentum. They have been as soon as extra on the verge of elimination after the primary day with losses to Heroic and FURIA. Subsequent, they confronted Crew Vitality and after shedding their very own map choose, Liquid tried to bounce again however because of a weak T-side on Mud II, they have been unable to get well. Crew Liquid completed in final place within the Legends Stage, whereas Complexity completed their Main run with a single win to their title.
It didn’t take lengthy for rumours about what’s subsequent for Crew Liquid to floor, although. If these are to be trusted, Richard “shox” Papillon is leaving the crew, most likely after IEM Dallas 2022. The French participant has been probably the most criticized participant on this crew, and it’ll be fascinating to see which participant Liquid will convey to switch him. As for Complexity, the long run is unclear.
FINALLY, THEIR MAJOR – FAZE CLAN
Lastly, it’s time to congratulate FaZe Clan. The crew led by the veteran legend Finn “karrigan” Andersen got here to Antwerp realizing this was their Main to lose, and in a different way than again in 2018, FaZe Clan didn’t let their followers down. FaZe stored proving themselves over the course of the whole event and in the end, of their final recreation once they confronted Natus Vincere, Karrigan and Håvard “rain” Nygaard confronted their ghosts once they headed again to Inferno and nearly noticed Na’Vi stealing that map.
There’s not a lot else to say about this victory that hasn’t been stated but, although. Karrigan has been taking part in for years now, so it’s unimaginable to see him lifting the trophy of his first Main, and the identical goes to rain. These two have been investing their careers in European line-ups for years now, and it has lastly paid off. It’s an ideal second for them and proof that blended nationalities squads can work on the very best stage.
Now, For Robin “ropz” Kool, after actually losing final yr with MOUZ, it should really feel nice to be right here. Not solely due to the Main title, however as a result of this can be a crew that may lastly put his ability to make use of. As for Helvijs “broky” Saukants and Russel “Twistzz” Van Dulken, they’ve additionally made historical past. Together with rain and ropz, they’ve introduced the primary Main for his or her international locations, and for Twistzz, particularly, hopefully that in some way helps North America ultimately.
Nonetheless, FaZe made historical past in the present day, and the group and gamers are actually eternized in Counter-Strike. No matter occurs subsequent, that is the most effective iteration of FaZe has ever fielded, and they are often pleased with what they achieved. So, congratulations!