Steven R. March 31, 2019
The competitive debut of the new NRG Esports Counter-Strike: Global Offensive roster went exceptionally well.
The North American team competed in its first tournament since a flop at the 2019 Katowice Major by attending StarSeries & i-League CS:GO Season 7. Kicking off its time in Shanghai with a series against North, the new NRG looked rock solid against a formidable opponent.
NRG initially looked ready to to crush North as it opened first map Inferno strong. Multi-frag rounds from Vincent "Brehze" Cayonte and Tarik "tarik" Celik pushed the team into a 9-4 lead. Then Valdemar "valde" Bjørn Vangså came online. A triple-kill round helped save North’s first half, and a pair of clutches in the second allowed the Danes to take the lead. NRG battled back and nearly stole the game, but it wasn’t able to overcome Valde’s 35-14 map score as North won 16-14.
Cvetelin "CeRq" Dimitrov returned the favor for NRG on the second map, Dust 2. Despite posting a pedestrian 12-17 stat line on Inferno, the Bulgarian went wild in the second game. Much like the first, neither team had much breathing room with North and NRG trading the lead back and forth. CeRq’s AWP play helped NRG pull away late in spite of Nicklas "gade" Gade's best efforts and NRG closed it out 16-13.
Though North and NRG were separated by the thinnest of margins in the first two games, the final was as lopsided as a CS:GO game can be. Once again cruising thanks to a monster game from CeRq, NRG stomped North on Train 16-0.
NRG still has a lot of work ahead, but this game likely felt great after weeks of turmoil..
Despite being widely regarded as a top-five squad ahead of the 2019 Katowice Major, the North American team imploded at the event. After crushing the Challengers Stage with a 3-0 record, the team washed out immediately after with a 0-3 Legends Stage. It was a demoralizing turn of events for the team, and one that cost longtime NRG player Jacob "FugLy" Medina his job.
Its fresh start was meant to begin at StarSeries, but visa issues nearly forced CeRq to watch from home. He cleared those immigration hurdles just a day before the event and rebounded brilliantly. After a rocky opening to the series he rallied to post a 67-38 K/D and cemented NRG as one of the teams to beat at the event.
Though NRG is in a great spot, it needs two more series wins in order to advance to the playoffs. The team will take on Fnatic in round two of the group stage. Meanwhile, North will look to recover at the expense of Scandinavian rival Ninjas in Pyjamas.