With this year’s Counter-Strike: Global Offensive season now well underway, DreamHack Open January was an excellent opportunity for fans to check out some of the game’s lesser-known teams. Team Spirit is a regular competitor in the CIS region and rarely seen in international competition, but the team impressed in its 3-0 win. FunPlus Phoenix also stepped back into the spotlight at DreamHack thanks to its recent signing of GODSENT’s core four and showed it can be a factor in CSGO competitions moving forward.
The first map of the grand finals started close wtih Team Spirit holding a 9-6 lead heading into halftime, but the round score only tells part of Dust 2’s story. In reality, FunPlus Phoenix was lucky to have nabbed six rounds. Martin “Styko” Styk was a bright spot in a disappointing Dust 2, recording two huge clutches in the first half to help FPX post what rounds they did.
After halftime, Team Spirit dominated FPX in a showcase of the roster’s capabilities. Viktor “sdy” Orudzhev ended the attacking side with an average damage per round of 151.5 and a 2.30 rating. The rest of the roster backed him up as Abdulkhalik “degster” Gasanov, Boris “magixx” Vorobiev, and Nikolay “mir” Bityukov all recorded T-side kill participation ratings of 100% by the time the map ended 16-7.
Unfortunately for FunPlus Phoenix, Nuke was more of the same. degster and company systematically dismantled FunPlus Phoenix on their way to a 16-6 map win that looked like it was over by the end of the first half. Team Spirit’s rock-solid defensive effort in a 10-5 half stymied FunPlus Phoenix, only allowing Jesse “zehN” Linjala to finish with a positive rating. Another runaway second half was in store for fans, but this time it was 17-year-old magixx to finish out the map with a one-on-two, post-plant clutch.
Once again, the third and final map of the series looked similar to the first two. FunPlus Phoenix simply couldn’t stop Team Spirit’s offensive tactics, and they certainly could stop a red-hot mir on Mirage. The veteran player took complete control of the map on both the CT and T sides, recording the most kills, most damage, most opening kills, most assists, and the best rating over the course of the map.
But it was magixx, not mir, who tallied the best play as Team Spirit’s made its way to a DreamHack Open January win. In a two-versus-four, magixx made a play by jumping the A site boxes to avoid Asger “Farlig” Jensen’s catwalk AWP. To complete the move, he crushed two more members of FunPlus Phoenix for the round win.
Despite the disappointing finish, FunPlus Phoenix played well in its first tournament, making the grand finals run by beating two superior teams in Evil Geniuses and Gambit Esports late in the event. The team doesn’t have another match on the schedule just yet, but it was an impressive first outing for the organization’s new CSGO roster. As for Team Spirit, the CIS staple showed a level of teamwork and coordination that should make any team nervous to face them as competitive CSGO heads into Valve’s 2021 Regional Major Tournaments.