Flashpoint’s first season hasn’t exactly gone to plan. That said, despite several teams dropping out from the young Counter-Strike: Global Offensive league, Flashpoint has delivered on what it promised: good fun, good banter, and good Counter-Strike. Now, it’s left to the final two teams to deliver.
The veteran MIBR under the leadership of the ageless Gabriel “FalleN” Toldeo will take on young upstarts MAD Lions for $500,000 and the the title of Flashpoint inaugural champion. Despite MIBR’s recent struggles against top-tier competition and MAD Lion’s relative inexperience, this match could inform viewers of CSGO’s status quo moving forward.
If MAD Lions can walk away with a win against MIBR, fans can finally admit that the team is for real. On the other hand, it will also mean that it’s finally time to discuss whether or not FalleN is capable of leading MIBR any longer.
If MIBR take it home, however, fans will see a team that has so much potential relegated to a top-20 ranking at best. We’ve picked against MIBR several times over the course of Flashpoint’s first season, but for good reason. For almost two years, the Brazilian team that ran the table for a time in 2016 and 2017 has looked disorganized at best. Wins against lesser ranked teams have propped up the former contender and given FalleN another moment, even if potentially brief, in the spotlight.
For MAD Lions, the grand final functions as a right of passage. The former Tricked roster has exploded onto Counter-Strike’s tier-two scene and solidfied a place at the cusp of tier one. In spite of MIBR’s disfunction, its majority-Brazilian roster is full of top talent. If the Lions can overcome any comeback attempts that MIBR try to squeeze into this matchup, they’ll be the real deal.
After MAD Lion’s benched captain and in-game leader Nicolai “Hunden” Petersen a week before Flashpoint’s start date, many wondered what was happening. His replacement, Asger “AcilioN” Larsen, didn’t kick off Flashpoint’s inaugural season with much confidence. In an odd mirror to the end of the season, MAD Lions’ first matchup was against HAVU, another tier two team looking to break out.
The match wasn’t a blowout, but a solid 2-1 outplay by HAVU, seemingly confirming concerns that Hunden was benched other than the stated reason of burning. Many point at AcilioN as the culprit. He showed them better, however.
After the loss to HAVU, AcilioN and company went on a eight-match run starting with a 2-1 win against Copenhagen Flames followed by seven straight 2-0 matches against the rest of Flashpoint’s member teams. They wouldnt lose again until an April 14’s upper bracket final against none other than MIBR. Lions’ loss to MIBR wasn’t ugly by any means, until the decider.
After a serious effort on Train resulting in a 16-13 loss, MADL would bounce back with what was a more solid performance that MIBR’s on the series’ first map. MADL would win Mirage 16-11 before MIBR gave them an absolute thrashing on the Dust 2 decider.
MAD Lions only had to win one best-of-three to secure a rematch against MIBR and complete the circle they started at the beginning of Flashpoint’s season: a best-of-three series against HAVU. Lions pulled off a concerning 16-14 win on Dust 2 before taking the series in two maps with a fully formed, fundamental game of Counter-Strike on Mirage 16-5.
AcilioN went nuclear against the Finnish roster, going 44-22 over both maps, but doesn’t tell the whole story of why MAD Lion’s not only has a gliimer of hope against MIBR in Flashpoint’s grand final, but a legitimate chance to upset. Here’s why.
Through all of MADL’s Flashpoint matches, each member of the roster has made a significant impact on the outcome of a match at least once. The lowest contributing memeber is AcilioN, but even he put up a monster +22 performance against HAVU in the squad’s lower bracket win.
Number of maps with highest team impact
So rarely do we see such an even distribution of carry performances like this in professional play. What these numbers say is that MAD Lions doesn’t just rely on Bubzkji’s explosiveness for wins. sjuush is a lowkey standout player from Flashpoint’s first season, and acoR, Roej, and AcillioN all play their roles and excel when a particular situation calls for it. Teams cannot be taught this kind of parity between its individual players; it’s a natural process that a team either has or it doesn’t. Given the right set of maps, we’d set this matchup at a push.
MAD Lions’ Best Maps, 2020, minimum 5 maps:
Flashpoint’s grand final matchup is literally stacked in MIBR’s favor. They have the momentum, recent win history, the legacy, a legendary AWPer, a fresh, young talent, and years of FalleN’s structure honed to perfection. But that doesn’t mean anything when the team environment isn’t a happy place, and it doesn’t mean anything when the passage of times knocking. Fans only need to look as far at the formerly great Virtus.pro roster to see what can happen next.
As sad as it is to say, FalleN’s time may be over. At 28, he’s at the tail end of the average career length for a Counter-Strike pro, and Marcelo “coldzera” David’s departure to FaZe Clan hinted at problems within MIBR’s team environment.
Add the historic control FalleN exerts on his team, including the firing of coach and longtime friend Wilton “zews” Prado earlier in April, to the team’s recent results, fans should seriously start considering the possibility that MIBR owners Immortals Gaming Club might be just as tired of losing as they are. In every sport, there are players that try sticking it out too long.
The past months haven’t haven’t been kind to Brazil’s defacto Counter-Strike team, either. In the upper bracket final against MAD Lions, MIBR narrowly defeated the Danes on Train and and struggled on Mirage. The team’s trouble on two execute heavy maps, followed by its success on an individual skill-based map shows that the team is still failing to click in-game. The loss of zews might not show against some of the teams MIBR have beaten up on in Flashpoint this season, but you can be sure AcilioN will be ready for them.
MIBR’s Best Maps, 2020:
As for the veto, the only way it can play out is how it did in the upper bracket final. MIBR will remove MAD Lions’ best maps in Nuke and Overpass, while MAD Lions removes their permaban Vertigo and target MIBR with either an Inferno or Dust 2 ban. MIBR’s picks with focus on the Lion’s weakpoints while MADL should target MIBR’s strengths
Unfortunately, MAD Lions’ chances are smaller than we’d like here. If their map pool was just one map bigger, we’d take them to win the series. That said, it’s not. WINNERS.bet has set the decimal odds for the match at MIBR 1.95 to MAD Lions’ 1.87 to win. A line favoring MAD Lions is aggressive, but mirrored by other bookmakers active in the esports markets. Flashpoint’s grand final rests at a similar lean in the Lions’ favor, but we’d edge towards a close MIBR win in the final match of Flashpoint’s first season.