Outsiders’ Rio Major trophy is well-deserved, but too many upsets produced the easiest major championship in the history of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.
The Rio Major was a tournament of extremes. Only one South American team put up a deep run at the first-ever major in the continent. The most crowded matches provided the craziest atmosphere in all of CSGO while the non-Brazilian semifinal was a ghost town. And while there were dozens of amazing moments and upsets, the conclusion where Outsiders defeated Heroic 2-0 was arguably the most boring grand final in the esports’ history.
Throughout its entire run at the Rio Major, Outsiders defeated IHC, Vitality, Fnatic, Ninjas in Pyjamas, Team Spirit, MOUZ, and Heroic. Along the way, it dropped three total maps to MOUZ and Heroic. By most metrics, this was a dominant run at the biggest event in the world. However, by the most important metric of all, the tournament was less fireworks, more crackles and pops.
According to HLTV’s rankings before the event, Outsiders never faced a single higher-ranked team in a full series. It dodged FaZe Clan, Team Liquid, Natus Vincere, Cloud9, and G2 Esports on its way to winning $500,000. It was the favorite in every single matchup for the legends stage and playoffs. The squad’s most impressive victory was a best-of-one win on Overpass against Team Vitality in the challengers stage.
Looking at the numbers, it’s hard to call the victory anything less than free. The snoozefest grand final is only further proof, with Outsiders simply outclassing Heroic to win both maps in 51 rounds. Many fans have already began claiming that the Rio Major was the most forgettable major in CSGO history, but that problem wasn’t created by Outsiders. As many CSGO players love to claim, it was everyone’s fault but their own.
While Outsiders’ Rio Major championship was dominant, the real cause of the controversy is fans getting exactly what they wanted.
The Rio Major produced many of the most statistically absurd matches in CSGO history. A podium-bound Team Vitality got decked by MOUZ and ENCE to miss the playoffs entirely. The former’s 2-1 comeback over Cloud9 was a four-ranking jump in the quarterfinals. FURIA’s freak win over Natus Vincere will go down in history as the greatest crowd reaction in CSGO. The strangeness even extends back to the Regional Major Rankings events, where top dog G2 Esports tripped and fell out of contention to GamerLegion of all teams.
While fun to watch at the time, these events produced a final four without a single team in the top five. The biggest names in the game were completely absent from the grand finale, and the two teams that did make it aren’t exactly the most popular squads to cheer for. With only underdogs left, the Rio Major became a series of clean Counter-Strike matches instead of the climatic explosion it should have been.
There are plenty of lessons to learn from the Rio Major. Don’t hold a fan fest during the playoffs. Put Gaules in the stadium. Try not to smash hotel televisions. And when it comes to upsets on the world’s biggest stage, maybe CSGO fans will learn that there really can be too much of a good thing.