Steven R. March 15, 2019
China just doesn’t seem to agree with the MiBR crew.
For the second consecutive year, Brazil’s top Counter-Strike: Global Offensive team has suffered a surprise defeat at the World Electronic Sports Games in China. Despite entering the event as the favorite to win, MiBR was eliminated in the quarterfinals of the playoffs by Windigo Gaming.
MiBR’s run in the tournament was a short one. Despite being initially booked into a tricky group, the team was handed a free pass to the playoffs when Kazakhstan’s K23 and Argentina’s Isurus Gaming both pulled out of the event. This left just MiBR and Poland’s AGO Esports standing, with MiBR taking the top seed after taking both halves of a two-game series.
The team was tossed a softball matchup in the first round of the playoffs. Taking on Africa qualifiers winner Viva Algeria, MiBR stomped its overmatched foes with 16-5 and 16-1 wins. That set it up with its quarterfinal match opposite Windigo.
Windigo set the tone on Dust 2. Despite a back-and-forth first half of the game, the Bulgarian team manufactured a number of clutch round wins after halftime. A pistol round comeback by Valentin "poizon" was followed by an ace by Viktor "v1c7oR" Dyankov, which flowed into Georgi "SHiPZ" Grigorov saving a round with a multi-kill at one hit point. Windigo found ways to win time and again, which allowed them to take nine consecutive rounds and a 16-8 win.
MiBR seemed to return to form in the second game by answering with a 16-8 win of its own on Train. But the final showdown on Overpass would prove a rough one.
Windigo rebounded with a massive 12-3 first half. Though MiBR pulled off some clutches of its own to draw the game out, Windigo’s lead was just too much to overcome. The Bulgarians took home a 16-13 win to lock up the series 2-1.
Fans critisized MiBR's map selection after the match. The Brazilian team chose to ban Inferno, Windigo's weakest map, letting through Overpass, Windigo's strongest.
Though MiBR is coming off a strong top-eight showing at the 2019 Katowice Major, precedent suggests that this is a bad thing for Fernando "fer" Alvarenga and company.
Competing last year at the WESG 2017 World Finals, MiBR suffered a similar loss under the SK Gaming umbrella. Despite entering the event as the favorites, the team failed to clear the group stage after taking losses from Team Russia and BIG. The loss marked the end of SK’s days as a CS:GO dynasty, leading to to Epitácio "TACO" de Melo’s departure for Team Liquid.
While the team reunited in December and found success, it's easy to wonder if WESG could once again cause turmoil.
This could also mark the beginning of a new era for Windigo. Though they are often forgotten, the Bulgarians have looked formidable in recent months and have proven themselves capable of taking on major competition like Avangar and Winstrike Team.
With a high-profile win over MiBR now on its resume, Windigo could start working its way into bigger events going forward. But first, it needs to keep the ball rolling in China as it takes on G2 Esports in the semifinals.