The Counter-Strike: Global Offensive qualifier at DreamHack Open Stockholm was pretty disappointing for Australians. Two of our teams made it all the way to the elimination set in their groups — Renegades and Team Immunity — but they both fell just short of the final prize.
It was a big tournament, so it's not surprising that the competition was stiff. But a huge amount of buzz is being generated about the most unlikely source — a player from Vietnam.
Vietnam doesn't have a particularly strong reputation or history in Counter-Strike. Within South East Asia, the region has typically fallen behind Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia in the pecking order, not to mention the one-sided contests with Australia whenever the countries have matched up in qualifiers or World Cyber Games groups.
But that could all be about to change off the back of some spectacular skill from Skyred's Cong "crazyguy" Anh Ngo. Ngo wasn't originally on the Vietnamese team's roster, with a family emergency preventing Skyred's main player from attending.
Skyred themselves weren't even supposed to attend. The spot at the qualifier was originally set aside for Chinese QeeYou, but visa issues (as always) meant the Eastern CS giants had to forfeit their position.
That didn't stop Ngo from tearing it up. Skyred only managed to play two best-of-threes at the qualifier, but Ngo put together plenty of highlights, which HLTV.org has compiled for all to see.
Ngo's AWPing is some of the cleanest I've seen, which is always a great sign (and it usually means their skill with pistols is rock solid too).
Skyred didn't make a dent on the results at the Stockholm event, but they did earn a lot of respect. Ngo also earnt a lot of fans — which is fantastic, because hopefully it will mean that Vietnam gets more attention, and hopefully invites, for events down the road. After all, it's not like the CS:GO scene is getting any smaller.