They want to be remembered forever but over the last eight months they have done nothing that would stay in people's minds for more than a week. This is hell for teams like SK Gaming, Fnatic and Meet Your Makers and they are tired of it.
This cup has the power to heal all wounds and give salvation from eight months of wretchedness. This Holy Grail means true greatness. And only five pairs of hands will touch it.
Let's take a look at those hands.
Around this time last year, those players were drinking nectar among gods. NEO and company were undeniably the world's best team after winning WCG 2006, Extreme Masters and ESWC 2007 in succession.
All they needed to be forever remembered as the greatest team of their time was to win the next major title, one that would ultimately prove that this team has what it takes to stay on the very top. But the gruelling twelve months that came afterwards brought nothing but defeats and disappointments.
One can only imagine how the MYM boys must feel when an entire year goes by and the only thing they have won is... DreamHack Summer. A silver medal at the Samsung Euro Championship a consolation but hardly what this team dreams of.
MYM's luck turned around when were allowed to enter the San Jose finals as the defending champions under the PGS-MYM tag.
A victory in San Jose will wipe clean everything that went wrong since the ESWC 2007 final. Not only that, but it will perpetuate their claim to being called the best team in history. No CS team has ever managed to defend the ESWC title before.
MYM would be the first. If they followed up with a victory at the WCG in Cologne, they would become the greatest ever.
2008 has not been what the Swedes have imagined and they have had some suffering of their own. Their last winning performance was at the Samsung Euro Championship in March, but even that was marred by a beating they took at the more important Extreme Masters II tournament (at the same weekend). Ever since then, it has been a struggle.
Sam Mathews' team seems more human and beatable than before. Also, they have a new nemesis that seems to have their number and that means trouble. Fnatic has never managed to find an answer to Ninjas in Pyjamas until NiP died of natural causes. Now the bad dream's name is mTw.AMD - hopefully for their fans it is not the same kind of block.
Fnatic beat mTw.AMD at Games Convention but the game did not have a lot of meaning. We will have to see at the ESWC.
Despite all this, Fnatic proved that they are a truly great team. No other team can play terribly and still grind out a finish on the podium.
But they cannot claim to be the best ever. Not without once winning the most prestigious event there is.
Right now, Fnatic are like a heavyweight champion that has never knocked anyone out. They need a major victory to go down in history as the greatest team. If they get as far as the final and not win again, they will be exactly where they were before the tournament started.
While a second place at the ESWC will allow Fnatic to say that 2008 was a good year, it gets them nowhere in the grand scheme of things. If they win, they are immortal. If they don't, it is as if they never showed up.
The Danish team is hands down the strongest one if you take into account the time between the 2007 ESWC and now. The only thing that is missing is a world championship title and that is what mTw.AMD is in San Jose for.
They want the title for the same reasons as Fnatic. With it, mTw.AMD's second places at ESWC and WCG 2007 and their victories at the Kode5 Global Final and ESWC Masters will mean so much more. Without it, those achievements could be forgotten. Without it, the Danes cannot put themselves above others.
The only question is how will they cope with being the number one favourite to win the ESWC? They have not been in this position before. Everyone's attention is on them, everyone expects them to win and this adds a ton of pressure. If things do not go smoothly, will they have the strength to handle it?
The cup that awaits the winner in San Jose is mTw.AMD's claim to greatness. And it is theirs to lose.
ESWC is the only Counter-Strike trophy that SK Gaming does not have in their cabinet. This one eluded SK for years and not even the legendary team of 2003 managed to win it. A victory in San Jose would mean a lot for the players but the world to the organisation.
SK would complete the collection of trophies others could dream of. And such a major victory after several painful years of failures and disappointments, with an odd title here and there, would mean that maybe a team was finally born that could be compared to HeatoN's generation.
After several years of searching for a lineup that would have the potential to bring home the greatest titles, SK does not have a team. It is rather a constellation of stars that has everything it needs in order to be the best.
So what is wrong? That is the problem. No one knows.
SK Gaming's players also have to be displeased with themselves, but the difference between them and their greatest rivals is that SK hasn't won anything major. In their case, no one is waiting for them to go back to their winning ways. In their case, there is no guarantee that they will win something.
In a way, this group of players may be playing for their lives. A year without a trophy in SK Gaming is unforgivable. Who knows if they will be given another chance should they fail.
All the other teams:
Although the ESWC is the trophy to win in Counter-Strike, it is not as meaningful for all the other teams as it is for the big four. There are many teams that are good enough to take the title but for them losing is not going to be a tragedy.
Not winning the tournament for one of the big four means that this year has been a disaster. The world's most fearsome Counter-Strike players have become the world's most fearful. And if they aren't, then they should be.
Whoever wins this one may become the best in history.
I am tired of everyone asking for the title of the song from the interviews. It was made by Christian Linke. Search in the damned file section.
I sometimes forget to respond to a PM or a guestbook message. I do apologise if I have ignored you at some point!
I am a bad person. Malicious, cynical, annoying, petty, rash and impatient. Good luck making friends with me.
* DO NOT BUDDY ME IF YOU DO NOT KNOW ME IN PERSON *
GGL Dec 2005-> Dec 2007
SK Gaming Jan 2008 -> Dec 2008
ESL Feb 2009 -> ...
Intel Extreme Masters VI Global Challenge New York
Intel Extreme Masters VI Global Challenge Guangzhou
Intel Extreme Masters VI Global Challenge Cologne
European Battle.net Invitational 2011
Intel Extreme Masters V World Championship, Hanover
Intel Extreme Masters V European Championship, Kiev
Intel Extreme Masters V American Championship, New York City
Intel Extreme Masters V Global Challenge Cologne
Intel Extreme Masters V Global Challenge Shanghai
2010 Blizzard Warcraft Invitational, Cologne
ESWC 2010 finals Paris
Intel Extreme Masters IV World Championship, Hanover
Intel Extreme Masters IV Asian Championship, Taipei
Intel Extreme Masters IV European Championship, Cologne
Intel Extreme Masters IV American Championship, Edmonton
Intel Extreme Masters IV Global Challenge Dubai
Intel Extreme Masters IV Global Challenge, Cologne
Intel Extreme Masters Europe, World finals, Hanover
EPS XIV IFNG Cologne
World Cyber Games finals, Cologne
Intel Extreme Masters III Global Challenge Dubai
ESWC Masters of Athens 2008
ESWC finals, San Jose
QuakeCon 2008, Dallas
Global FIFA 09 Community Event, Vancouver
ESWC Masters of Paris 2008
Blizzard Worldwide Invitational 2008, Paris
EPS Season XII Finals, Cologne
ESCONF 08, Cologne
Kode5 Global Final 2007, Moscow
2008 AFI Film Festival, Dallas
CyberAces Gala, Warsaw
WCG Samsung Euro Championship / Intel Extreme Masters II / CeBIT, Hanover
Championship Gaming Series World Championship, Los Angeles
DreamHack Winter, Jonkoping
i32 LAN, Newbury
Heyah Logitech Cybersport finals, Warsaw
Extreme Masters / E4All, Los Angeles
World Cyber Games finals, Seattle
Games Convention, Leipzig
ESWC finals, Paris
ESWC Qualifier Poland, Poznan
Crossfire Prizefight Challenge 2, Enschede
i30 LAN, Newbury
WCG Samsung Euro Championship / Extreme Masters / CeBIT, Hanover
World Series of Video Games finals, New York City
Poznan Game Arena / Creative Polish Invitational, Poznan
World Cyber Games finals, Monza
GGL DigitalLife Pro/Am Tournament, New York City
WCG USA, Las Vegas
Kode5 Quake 4 finals / Games Convention, Leipzig
ESWC 2006, Paris
ESWC Qualifier Poland, Poznan
Hip Hop Gaming League finals, Hollywood
GGL VSports AllStars / E3, Los Angeles
GGL TransAtlantic Showdown, New York City
WCG Samsung Euro Championship, Hanover
DreamHack Winter, Jonkoping
CPL World Tour Finals, New York City
EuroCup XI LAN, Almere
ESWC 2005, Paris
CPL World Tour Stop Spain, Barcelona
WCG Samsung Euro Championship, Hanover
SMAU ILP 2004, Milan
WCG 2004 Italy, Milan
ESWC 2004, Poitiers
ESWC 2003, Poitiers
WCG 2002 UK, London
WCG 2002 Italy / NGI LAN 2, Milan
XSUnreality (see below)
XSU:Gold (see below)
Mad Mint Julep (see below)
Firebreath (see below)
Conceived the Golden Llama movie awards.
UT for clan DFP: quite a few domestic titles. Currently semi-active and not planning a comeback.
Competitive judo, sports, movies, music. MY OWNAGE NIECE.
ESWC releases qualification information
1on1 with Alexei "Cypher" Yanushevsky
ESWC Comes Home
1on1 with Shane "SK.rapha" Hendrixson
Hot: "That's what I call good service"
THE NEW JERSEY