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Original Reporting

Brazilian COUNTER-STRIKE: GLOBAL OFFENSIVE teams have taken IEM Fall North America by storm. Out of the five PGL Major spots allotted to NA, three are claimed by Brazilian rosters: FURIA Esports, GODSENT, and paiN Gaming. Not only this but one of these teams is slated to win IEM Fall 2021. GODSENT and FURIA will face head-to-head at the grand finals.

While Brazilian CS: GO fans rejoice, others are disappointed domestic NA teams failed to perform. Beloved squads like Bad News Bears, Triumph, and Extra Salt were fan favorites. However, the Brazilian teams’ solid performances and powerful teamplay caused their NA counterparts to fall by the wayside.

“The NA scene is dead, pretty much.”

For nearly two years, NA CS: GO has struggled to keep itself afloat. The COVID-19 pandemic made offline competition impossible. Also, a lack of organizations interested in investing in the NA scene left players to fend for themselves. As a result, competitors and orgs looking for financial stability and investment returns transitioned to the budding VALORANT scene.

Many professional NA CS: GO players switching to VALORANT caused a noticeable shortage of high-level talent. As a result, many teams struggle to find players ready for the highest level of competitive play. While domestic NA teams work towards rebuilding strong rosters, Brazilian squads that have stuck together are starting to earn their stripes.

When asked to comment on paiN and GODSENT’s performance and the thriving Brazilian scene, FURIA player Vinicius “VINI” Figueiredo said one of the reasons why Brazil is outpacing NA is because “the NA scene is dead, pretty much.” Vini continued, “I think it was the proper tournament and the right time, [paiN and GODSENT] are great teams. ”

Practice makes perfect

An essential factor inhibiting domestic NA teams from reaching a higher level of competitive play is the access to quality practice. It’s no secret that European CS: GO teams are known for their structure and competitive scrims. Before mandated travel restrictions to the EU, it wasn’t uncommon for NA teams to travel overseas to play EU tournaments and boot camp.

A reporter asked VINI to compare the level of competitiveness between EU and NA scrims. The player disappointedly admitted FURIA struggled to practice in NA.  “We didn’t even have a practice here. It is too hard to find teams to practice,” he said. VINI explained that because they don’t want to scrim teams they will face in a tournament, FURIA had “basically nothing.” Instead, the group settled for “talking and reviewing” strategies over scheduling scrims.

A hopeful future for NA CS: GO

Admittedly, the last two years have been an uphill battle for NA CS: GO. However, the remarkable resilience of teams like Triumph, Extra Salt, and Bad News Bears have held the community together. Bad News Bears, in particular, is an impressive example of how to cultivate a solid and committed fanbase organically. Triumph, a team that was mocked for a player’s mistake, showed at IEM Fall their team can bounce back. Finally, Extra Salt is a team that exudes potential, and with additional opportunities for EU practice, could reach the highest level of play.

Upcomer asked VINI about the prospects of NA CS: GO coming back into the limelight. The player was hopeful for his colleagues and said, “I think the scene might grow back if LANs come back to NA.” He also added that if “EU teams come to [NA] and start practicing,” the scene will strengthen.

Moreover, Upcomer asked VINI which NA teams he thinks have the most potential. After a moment of thought, he said, right now, he thinks Extra Salt has the most potential. Additionally, VINI stated he thinks Bad News Bears is ” playing good, but the thing is they don’t have a full lineup.” He explains that if BnB were to find a strong player from FPL, the team could be competitive in the EU with some practice.

While times are tough for NA CS: GO, the competitive community is taking this time to rebuild more robust than ever. Teams are working hard against all odds to carry themselves to the top. As the COVID-19 pandemic winds down, LANs are slowly returning to NA. Hopefully, with time, the NA CS: GO community will thrive and bring forth new talent.

Minna Adel Rubio is an esports journalist with an interest in first-person-shooter games. She specializes in class-based, arena, and tactical shooters like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Valorant, Overwatch, and Team Fortress 2. Additionally, Minna is a senior CS:GO guides writer at Dignitas and a graduate student. Catch her on Twitter for memes and more content!
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