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Original Reporting

On one of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Premier team Triumph’s most defining match days, the unthinkable occurred.

On Oct. 7, 2021, the team was set to go head-to-head against Evil Geniuses at IEM Fall 2021, a match that signified their opportunity to make the PGL Major Stockholm 2021. However, moments after matche’s start time, Triumph announced they were forced to forfeit EG. It was shortly revealed that Triumph member Jack “xCeeD” Holiman slept through the match’s start time, and the team was not allowed to compete.

According to Triumph member Nick “hate” Young, Triumph was already in a precarious situation. Unfortunately, he said, the team was using a stand-in (Wesley “viz” Harris) for Brendon “Bwills” Williams. Bwills was moving, and while he thought he could still play, extenuating circumstances surrounding his move made competing impossible. At the time of xCeeD’s no-show, Triumph had no substitutions available and could not compensate for another missing player.

The odds were stacked in Triumph’s favor

According to hate, Triumph were devastated in handing the forfeit win to EG because of how well they’d been expected to perform.

“We were extremely confident going in,” hate said. “Nuke is our best map, and EG’s worst, so we thought it would be relatively easy. Especially with stanislaw just coming back from a player break.”

Triumph’s confidence was for a good reason, too. They performed significantly better than EG on Nuke, who have a 0% win rate on HLTV.

A win versus EG would have propelled Triumph well on their way to accruing enough RMR points to qualify for the major. However, the mortifying forfeit left Triumph with dwindling morale. Furthermore, their chances of qualifying for the major were held up by a thread.

Not all hope is lost

While the EG match burned fresh heartache into Triumph, they still had one more opportunity to turn their situation around. The team was scheduled to play 00Nation on Inferno; their last chance grasping for a major spot. With xCeeD woken from his slumber, the team mentally prepared themselves for the battle ahead.

“We collected ourselves before the 00Nation match because we still had a slight chance of making [the major],” hate said.

He also commented on xCeeD’s resilience before going into the 00Nation match. “His morale was down because he felt bad, but he made sure it didn’t affect our match,” hate said.

After being flooded with loads of disappointing remarks, mocking memes and doubt, Triumph stepped into the server with one goal in mind: to win.

Twenty-seven hard fought rounds later, Triumph left 00Nation in shambles. The team pulled out a 16-11 win over their opponents, earning a 2-2 record at IEM Fall.

Major hopes are on the horizon

With Triumph’s win over 00Nation, the team is still in the running for a major spot. The journey to victory would be difficult but not impossible. To qualify for the PGL Major, teams need a total of 1,300 RMR points. As Triumph entered IEM Fall with zero points (because they hadn’t participated in any other RMR event), this leaves a long stretch to a PGL Major spot.

Theoretically, if Triumph finishes IEM Fall in fifth place, they will earn 1,875 RMR points. However, ESL rules state that, due to the fact that they used a substitute during the EG match, they are penalized 36% of their RMR points. For this reason, Triumph need to not only finish high in the group stage but require a third-place finish overall to qualify for the PGL Major.

Next up on Triumph’s plate is their match against one of NA’s top teams GODSENT. The Brazilian roster has shown strong performances recently, winning NA’s IEM Winter closed qualifier. Heading into the GODSENT match, hate says the team feels happy with their performance against 00Nation and the they are prepared to match up against GODSENT.

“We have no plans to change anything big against Godsent. [We will] just play our normal game,” hate said.

The upcoming GODSENT match will decide whether or not Triumph have a chance to qualify for the PGL Major. Statistically, GODSENT have a nearly 70-90% win rate on every map in their pool. While the GODSENT match will be an uphill battle for Triumph, if the team prepares effectively and performs their best, NA CS:GO fans are in for an exciting game.

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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