In an odd mirror of last year’s EPICENTER, a top team has withdrawn from the tournament at the last minute.
“Sadly, we today announce that we won’t be attending @epicentergg 2019 this December. We hope you understand why we’ve reevaluated the remainder of our 2019 schedule. We thank Epicenter again for their initial invitation and wish the competing teams good luck. #AlwaysFnatic,” Fnatic said.
This isn’t the first time this has happened to an EPICENTER event at the end of the year. In October 2018, mousesports withdrew from EPICENTER 2018. EPICENTER replaced mousesports with HellRaisers for that tournament.
In a strange twist of fate, it is mousesports that EPICENTER has now called on to fill in for Fnatic at EPICENTER Moscow. Mousesports is coming off a strong win under Finn “karrigan” Andersen at the 2019 CSGO Asia Championships in late November.
“Due to the @fnatic decision to give their CS:GO roster an extended break, they won’t participate at the EPICENTER. The finalist of the EU Qualifiers, @mousesports, will replace @fnatic at the EPICENTER Main Event,” Epicenter said.
EPICENTER Moscow is the latest casualty in the a CSGO tournament circuit that is filled to the brim with events. In October, Team Liquid pulled out of IEM Beijing. TL player Jonathan “EliGE” Jablonowski said that the team was mentally and physically exhausted from the CSGO tournament schedule.
“Like even though we were just on a break, we get back into it and we’re just like right into like the mayhem of all the scheduling problems that we have in the scene,” EliGE said in regards to 2019’s CSGO schedule.
Burnout has always been an issue in CSGO’s unmoderated tournament circuit. It wasn’t until 2017 that players told tournament organizers that they would collectively take the month of August as their own offseason.
Still, problems remain.
Controversy erupted earlier this year when Valve revealed that the StarLadder Berlin Major would start immediately after the player break. Players and analysts in the scene slammed both Valve and StarLadder, arguing that scheduling one of the two most important tournaments of the year immediately after the player break was a poor decision.
While both Valve and StarLadder eventually caved and moved the date to better accommodate players, the incident speaks to how far apart tournament organizers and teams still are in terms of finding a realistic tournament schedule.