Nick J. February 17, 2020
The ESL One Rio open qualifiers are finally finished after half a month of streams, matches, technical pauses, and timeouts. Thankfully, today was the final day.
CSGO fans finally know which teams will compete for the limited slots available for Rio's upcoming minors. The Americas have a grand total of eight slots allocated to the region, with six going to North American teams and two reserved for South America. The teams who place well in the upcoming Minor closed qualifiers will take those slots for the chance to travel to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for the first Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Major of 2020.
Cloud9 and Gen.G top ESL Ranking Invitees
Cloud9's acquisition of ATK has made owner Jack Ettinne look like a genius as "summer" seems like its coming way earlier than normal.
Long gone are Jordan "n0thing" Gilbert and Michael "shroud" Grzesiek, but a whole new C9 has taken up the mantle. Led by Johnny "JT" Theodosiou, this likable group has crushed everyone in their path on their way to ESL One Rio.
Despite being what most believe is the fourth-best team in North America, eUnited is at risk of falling down the ladder after its 0-2 loss to Chaos Esports Club at the Flashpoint closed qualifiers on February 16. It wasn't particularly close, either. If Ryan "freakazoid" Abadir and friends don't tighten it up, this North American side might miss out on the Minor altogether.
FURIA is a scary opponent, capable of standing toe to toe against some of the best teams in the world on any day. There are times, however, when the Brazillian team looks more like a pick-up team team than Brazil's number two. If FURIA shows up to the closed qualifiers, one of the Americas slots is as good as gone.
With the arrival of Hansel "BnTeT" Ferdinand, Gen.G is finally at full strength. While Timothy "autimatic" Ta did his best without his new start player, BnTeT's arrival coincided with Gen.G's sudden explosion of firepower, and that was with little practice under the team's belt.
Now, with over a month since the team has played an official match, fans should watch Gen.G closely at this weekend's DreamHack Anaheim for both their tactical progression and how well the roster plays off one another. Anyone who's planning on betting smartly during ESL One Rio has to know how this team looks heading into the closed qualifier because with BnTeT, there's no reason they can't make the Legends stage.
Secondary Invites showcase NA talent Chaos EC and ex-Riot Squad
Bad News Bears
The ex-Riot Squad roster was unceremoniously dumped by their organization earlier this week, but that hasn't stopped its former members from competing. Bad News Bears returned with Michael "Grim" Wince in place of Pujan "FNS" Mehta and took first place in Flashpoint's first open qualifier and first in North America's open qualifier number four.
Chaos Esports Club
Chaos has become a force in North America's CSGO scene, even taking a map off of Gen.G earlier in the year.
It's a shame that in-game leader Joshua "steel" Nissan is still serving out his indefinite suspension from Valve-sponsored events handed down by the developer after the iBuyPower match-fixing scandal. While Jacob "fugly" Medina will stand in for steel, it's unlikely he'll be able to fully fill his shoes.
The revamped Swole Patrol roster is a mystery right now, especially with roster member Braxton "swag" Pierce under the same restrictions as Chaos' steel. Formed after Swole and former Team Singularity members Skyler "Relyks" Weaver and Sebastian "seb" Bucki merged, Identity looks underpowered.
Not even a year old, Triumph has quite the resume for such a young organization. Unfortunately, early February saw the departure of Jack "xCeed" Holiman and Michael "Grim" Wince. This leaves Triumph two short of a five-man roster. Their coach Matthew "mCe" Elmore also departed to join Grim on Chaos EC
Orgless and Mythic are among Rio's best stories
Among the remainder of the teams scheduled to compete in the ESL One Rio Minor closed qualifiers, Orgless and Mythic are two of the fan favorites.
Orgless is comprised of some well-known players like Pujan "FNS" Muheta and Yassine 'Subroza" Taoufik, both of whom were explosive in the final round of qualifiers. In fact, it wasn't swag that propelled Swole Patrol to success late in 2019, it was Subroza.
Mythic, a Counter-Strike team most known for streaming its matches on Twitch, have some firepower as well. Erik "fl0m" Flom is the team's resident leader and part-owner, and is known for his AWPing abilities. His supporting cast isn't bad either, with Adam "Polen" Polen, Kaitlin "Keita" Boop, and David "DAVEY" Stafford.
Team Envy is a name fallen from the high times of several years ago as both its players and the organization seem to have their priorities elsewhere. Team infighting came to light earlier this year as fugly, formerly a member of Envy, revealed that the organization did little to control the situation.
In addition to the above teams, LiVid Gaming, Ze Pug Godz, Team Divine, and YeaH Gaming also made it out of the open qualifiers. They will join the rest of the teams at the closed Minor qualifiers that will start on March 6 and run for two days to March 8. The top six finishers from the qualifiers will make it to the Americas Minor on their next stop towards ESL One Rio and the first Counter-Strike Major of 2020.