Counter-Strike is not exactly a sport where North American teams dominate. North American Counter-Strike is something of a joke in the CSGO community, known more for drama and sloppy team play than stunning site takes or bodacious bomb defusals. But that might be changing. In a stunning upset against the best CSGO team on this, our humble planet Earth, Team Liquid became the first North American team to make the playoffs of a Major since 2014. And not just any Major; MLG Columbus is one of the biggest CSGO tournaments of all time, with $US1 million on the line.
Fnatic, who's become known for producing "made-to-order miracles" to snatch victory from the glossy terrorist gloves of defeat, was expected to trounce Liquid. Some oddsmakers set Liquid's chances of triumph as low as one per cent.
And yet, after dropping the match's opening rounds, Liquid rallied in a massive way. They pushed their lead all the way out to 10-5, then stormed into a preposterously tense second half in which the two teams traded rounds back-and-forth. Ultimately, the game went into double-overtime, with Spencer "Hiko" Martin, Eric "adreN" Hoag and really the whole team bringing their A-game and then some, with a tiny bomb shaped like a cherry on top.
Given what Liquid's members have gone through to make it this far — Hiko's rising star got volleyball spiked back down to Earth after members of then-team iBUYPOWER were implicated in a huge match-fixing scandal, and adreN is only acting as a stand-in for Liquid at MLG Columbus, having recently been replaced — it's a huge feather in their cap. Can they keep this up with tension and uncertainty bubbling beneath the surface? Tough to say. But moments of glory are precious, something to be savoured regardless of what lies ahead.
Hours after the fact, the whole CSGO community was still losing its entire shit all over the goddamn place. We've got an interesting Major ahead of us, that's for sure.