When I first started writing about competitive gaming, x6tence were the hot up-and-coming talent. People were just starting to mention Musamban1 in the same breath as greats like Fisker or Fr0d. It seemed like just a matter of time before they would have their breakthrough win and step into the spotlight.
For various reasons – mostly based around Mussamban1 leaving the team – that breakthrough never occurred. The CS division of x6 faded into obscurity and now struggle to qualify for most international events. Their last major tournament saw them finish 18th out of 20 teams at ESWC Masters of Paris last year. The glory days of Spanish esports had seemingly been postponed indefinitely. The ecstasy of European football glory, it appeared, would not be mirrored in the world of Counter-strike.
But just two months later, as we began to watch Fernando Torrez and Xabi Alonso back in Liverpool red rather than Spanish, a little-known orc player by the name of Pedro Moreno Durán quietly took 3rd place at Blizzcon’s regional final. At the time, it was written off as a fluke – a mixture of good luck and out of shape opponents.
But the doubters were quietened, if not silenced, when Blizzcon itself rolled around. Beating SK’s own June 'Lyn' Park en route to a second place finished confirmed Durán’s status amongst the elite. Indeed, even the lost final was a close run thing, with the Korean narrowly winning 2-1.
The next big event in 2008 was WCG. Pedro 'LucifroN' Moreno Durán didn’t quite set the world on fire this time around, but finishing top of an orc-dominated group did signal one of the trends of the coming months. Time and again he would beat the best orcs in the world. In the run up to Christmas he beat ESWC champion Du Seop 'WhO' Chang in Fnatic’s King of Kings tournament on his way to another first place in an online tournament; WCG and KoK having both been surrounded by a pair of Zotac wins.
But it wasn’t until May that Lucifron could finally silence his critics. At ESWC Masters of Cheonan, the Spaniard went undefeated in orc mirrors, beating both Lyn and Weiliang 'Fly' Lu on the way to his first LAN victory. Revenge over Lyn must have been sweet, but so must victories over both Xiang 'TH000' Huang and Xiaofeng 'Sky' Li. Cheonan was an event with no easy games and to win it proved beyond doubt that Lucifron meant business. To win his first LAN against such an impressive field of players really made a statement of intent.
Equally impressive online performances have continued to come and nGize even topped WC3L’s online section with an undefeated run of 11 games. But the team collapsed at the finals and Lucifron had to wait till last weekend to show his LAN calibre again.
Given the opportunity at the Blizzcon regionals, Durán grasped it with both hands. Again he showed his superb form in orc mirror by beating Manuel 'Grubby' Schenkhuizen two times. Despite Grubby winning the first set of the final, Lucifron showed the resilience needed by a champion when he took the second set under immense pressure from the more experienced Dutchman. As if the tournament win doesn’t speak for itself, the three maps he dropped in the final were the only ones of his entire tournament. Every game leading up to that one has a tidy little 2-0 next to it.
At the same venue, the WoW qualifiers had five Spanish players out of the six finalists. The WoW division of x6tence added their own page in ‘el año del español.’ To some people it might seem ridiculous to put these accomplishments in the same light as Barcelona and the national team but the football accomplishments were less unexpected. Both Lucifron and x6 came from obscurity of different kinds to sit on top of the world in 2009 and Blizzcon could be the next step.
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