Published on ESEA Europe in 2008.

Being as ESWC has become the most prestigous Counter-Strike tournament in the world it seems only fitting we take a look at some of the teams who will be attending and discuss the points of interest surrounding them. That way when it comes time to take your seat and watch the first match you’ll be in the right frame of mind to enjoy 1.6’s annual pilgrimage to the world’s most important tournament.

SK-gaming (top seed)

SK is in a transition period right now, their team is good enough and has had enough relative success that ESWC could well be the spark for three directions of travel for the team. Either they will get over the hump and finally take down a big event, they’ll remain stuck in their current 2nd/3rd/4th trajectory or they’ll take a risk and change their personnel. With zet getting better at 1.6 everyday the latter option is a serious one and one which should be motivating the current SK starters to make this ESWC a memorable one by all standards.

Alternate (high seed)

This German team has showed promise at a number of the year’s big events but now where before they were capable of beating anyone now a fairly rigid number of teams has emerged who can beat them when it counts. This makes their tournaments a lot less exciting and leaves spectators to wonder what their missing quality is. Part of their problem might be a lack of fire power, they have skilled players but not the kind of big name top fraggers their toughest opponents do. That doesn’t mean they can’t win, it just means they have to do it with teamplay and not with one person going off. This event will seal in my mind whether or not alternate can become a world force again or is destined to be stuck in the outer dark horse catagory for the remaining part of the year.

MoB (medium seed)

This team is going to be interesting to spectate because they’ve done some damage to the other top American teams online but have yet to get their own shot at a big international event. Hopefully ESWC should give them ample opportunity to either prove they’ve got some game or fall by the way side quickly. Big events like these make or break teams who are on the fringes. EG and X3O have both shown to some degree their international pedigree and we now know what to expect from them, a team like MoB is a different kettle of fish entirely. The worst thing for this team will be that any poor result here will see their online game criticized majorly for the next few months.

n!faculty (medium seed)

This team interest me for a similar reason to MoB: they can hang with the top teams in their country at times and here is a shot at a big international tournament to prove themselves. This team has some talent but a lot of it isn’t the in form of big name players so confidence is going to be a huge key for this event. I think they are certainly one of the best in their seeding catagory so look for their group games to be important vs the 2 better teams they draw.

Clear your diary for the finals of ESWC on August 25th-27th in San Jose, California.