The Australian invasion of North American Counter-Strike has taken a step further, with organisation Winterfox announcing the recruitment of an Australian team. And their new Australian players won't just be representing North America — they'll be moving to the region, too.
The announcement was preemptively revealed by multinational tournament organisers ESL, when they updated rosters for their in-built fantasy league. The move also unveiled roster changes by CLG, but Winterfox's move to uproot five Australians — Ryan "zewsy" Palmer, Chris "ofnu" Hanley, Chris "emagine" Rowlands, Christopher "dexter" Nong and Mike "Moku" Aliferis — is by far the more interesting.
Winterfox's Australian roster has a nice mix of veterans and fresh blood: Palmer, Rowlands and Nong have all forged their reputations in the era of CS:GO, while Hanley first came to prominence locally as one of the sharpest snipers in Call of Duty 4. Aliferis is also one of the oldest and most successful players in Australian Counter-Strike history, winning more national championships than most players have ever attended.
Because Winterfox's new lineup will be based in the US — as is the case with Renegades, the first international organisation to pick up five Aussies — the move means another Australian team will have the opportunity to rise through the ranks at local tournaments.
One of those might not even be Australian. On the weekend, Cybergamer's Oceania Esports Masters Finals saw the first New Zealand organisation win a Counter-Strike national on Australian soil since, well, ever. Parallax, one of the longest serving representatives for New Zealand, took down Athletico Brotherhood (Athletico BH) at the Australian Technology Park in Redfern, Sydney.
It was a fairly tight affair until the third map, which saw Parallax wipe the floor with their opponents 16-2. And if the scoreline wasn't an indication of how one-sided the final map was, this brutal highlight from the opening round of the second half does:
Parallax will be in action tomorrow for the second season of the ESL Australia & NZ Championships. As for the Australians representing Winterfox, they'll be taking part in the ESL Pro League from midday Thursday and Friday against Selfless Gaming and Team Liquid respectively.