Counter Strike is Back – EU Minor Day 1 Recap


Counter Strike is finally back. After a long player’s break, the CS scene is rolling again, starting with the IEM Katowice EU Minor. This tournament has some serious threats in it, and some very good teams are likely not going to make it through. Let’s recap the day’s action, and then talk about what’s coming tomorrow.


Vitality vs. OpTic

This match played out about how you would expect. ZywOo had some crazy highlights, OpTic played not all that great, OpTic looked listless, Vitality looked solid. The one unexpected thing, which looks good for Vitality, is how well RPK played. They’re going to need him to play at an all-star level if they want to make it deep into the Major, and that doesn’t look impossible right now.

This could very well be ZywOo’s break out tournament, not that he hasn’t been looking great already. He seems like the kind of player that will be able to keep Vitality in any game, which is what you need if you want to make a deep run at a tournament this stacked. I’m going to keep a close eye on him as Vitality progresses, as I’m sure he will continue to be a treat to watch.

Mousesports vs. Valiance

This was a disappointing showing by Mouz, although not a surprising one. They haven’t played an official since early December, and I would bet they didn’t prepare all that well for this matchup. They looked rusty, and Valiance took full advantage. huNter certainly proved all the hype for him was well deserved, putting up 26 frags on 86 ADR.

I’m not worried about Mousesports, at least not yet. This loss puts them in the decider game, which means they now need to win two best-of-threes if they want to make it to the Major, but that’s certainly doable. They need to beat OpTic, which they shouldn’t be worried about, and then

Ex-Space Soldiers vs. ENCE

Believe it or not, ENCE beat ex-Space Soldiers. It’s almost as if removing a team’s best player will make them play worse. Unfortunately, there isn’t much to learn from a game like this besides the fact that ENCE is good. Allu looks like prime allu, sergej has incredible aim (although he’s clearly young and inexperienced, and has made a fair number of mistakes), Aerial is doing everything you need from a star player.

North vs. Windigo

I am not a fan of this North lineup. Having cadiaN IGL and AWP, keeping aizy on the roster, it just doesn’t make any sense, and isn’t likely to start working anytime soon. Their fraggers aren’t consistent, their calling is poor. I can’t imagine they win the elimination match tomorrow, which means they’ll be headed home. Hopefully they have more success in the Karrigan sweepstakes.

ENCE vs. Windigo

Yet another stomp for ENCE. Allu went 46-19 over the two maps, out fragging Windigo’s two bottom fraggers put together. Aerial and sergej both went 42-28, and sergej especially had a good game. This team is firing on all cylinders, and I love it. They’re a lot of fun to watch, I’m pulling for them to make it to the Major (I want those stickers).

As far as Windigo goes, I was really impressed by poizon. He was a lot of fun to watch and had real impact in a lot of important rounds for his team. I assume that Windigo is the best Bulgarian team, so I don’t know what opportunities he has besides going international, but I was a fan.

Vitality vs. Valiance

This was the game of the day. Vitality and Valiance looked to be evenly matched, trading rounds all throughout the series. Vitality had the best player on the server in ZywOo, but nexa and EspiranTo weren’t far off. Mirage was contentious, before Vitality swept in the overtime, and Vitality’s collapse on CT side let Valiance walk away with the game. Unfortunately for the (mostly) Serbians, Vitality put the clamps on them CT side of Dust 2, and closed out the best-of-three with little trouble.

The biggest takeaways from this series are that ZywOo is a bona fide star, RPK is slowly playing his way into for, and that Valiance is not to be underestimated. Nexa and EspiranTo looked great this series and were fully capable of going toe to toe with anyone on Vitality. If I were Mouz, I would be worried about the decider match tomorrow.


OpTic (+175) vs. Mousesports (-250)

This should be an easy game for Mouz. OpTic did not impress against Vitality today, and they won’t impress against Mouz I’m sure.

Mousesports did not look good today, as I mentioned. They need suNny, and especially ropz, to take a step up before tomorrow’s games. Hopefully this is just them shaking the rust off, and they’ll come back in force tomorrow, because it would be a shame to see them go out in last at the Minor. They certainly have the talent to beat OpTic and Valiance, but whether they can get on the server and execute is another question entirely, especially after a lengthy player break.

Ex-Space Soldiers (+235) vs. North (-358)

This game is a tossup I think. Obviously ex-SS doesn’t look very good, especially without xanatres, but I really don’t like North either. I think I must give the edge to the Danes, just for the fact that they are playing with an actual roster, one which has been together for more than a month.

That being said, with the odds looking the way they do, I like a bet on Space Soldiers. I don’t know how North is a -258 favorite, but I do know I want to put money against that.

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