Fortunately for CS:GO fans, our esports scene is full of events, no matter which tier you’re looking for. Indeed, it’s hard to open HLTV and not see a match from any level being played.
However, it’s clear that those minor events don’t receive the same attention that the premier LANs do. There are not as many viewers or investment from the organizers, but StarSeries has shown that events with less popular teams matter when done right.
What made StarSeries S6 different?
The StarSeries brand is already pretty known by Counter-Strike viewers. Having a history with the franchise since 1.6, StarLadder is now hosting their main events in CS:GO every trimester or so.
With a prize pool rivalry the top events of ESL and DreamHack, we usually expect to see the best teams there. Yet, the sixth edition of the StarSeries was quite different in that regard, as the 16-team event only featured three teams from the top 10.
That can be explained by various reasons. Na’Vi, the home team have never skipped any StarSeries before Season 6 due to scheduling conflicts. Astralis, FaZe, Liquid and MiBR decided to refuse the invite since their players would be too burned from other events, like the FACEIT Major.
In the end, what we had with StarSeries Season 6 was an offline event with high-end production, top tier prize pool and mixed level of competition. However, we also saw that those kinds of events might be important to showcase teams under the spotlight.
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The Second Tier of Professional CS:GO Can Still Provide High Level Matches
Although StarSeries S6 ended not breaking any viewership records, it was still highly enjoyable event. There, we saw the new lineups of Renegades and North for the first time and Mouz last straw with Snax.
Moreover, Vega and ENCE had the run of their careers, beating the likes of OpTic and NRG to reach grand-finals. And what great grand-final we had!
Overall, StarSeries Season 6 was a nice, underrated event. The viewership numbers didn’t impress but there was some entertainment value.
Most importantly though, those teams were also given the chance to shine in a high-level production atmosphere. NRG, ENCE, Fragsters and VEGA usually don’t have the chance to join the tournaments that features such production values. When they do though, is usually through regional qualifiers, that end taking chances from other teams or they suffer an upset.
Unappreciated, but still needed
So far, there’s easily more than 50 salaried CS:GO teams playing for a living and this number is prone to go higher. However, tournament organizers don’t have enough funds to book tournaments with the same level production for the various tiers.
This means that many teams that can’t get invites have to try their luck in online regional qualifiers. StarSeries Season 6 however, had those squads that often dominate the regional qualifiers as the featured teams. Consequently, more space was open for teams below them in the rankings.
And this is great for our esports community! Opening more space in events with a bigger reach means that less developed regions get more opportunities to compete. Instead of sending traditional teams like TyLoo and Renegades that control the qualifiers for those regions, we can watch the likes of CyberZen and ORDER.
For us viewers, there’s a mixed sentiment over those events. On one side, fans of teams from less developed regions can watch their favorite players in the big stage. These teams also bring new styles that spicy matches up or unknown players to be followed (and hopefully, players that doesn’t need to hook up ‘Word’ in their PCs). For people used to only watch top tier events, it means that is one less event to follow though.
Although not common, StarSeries Season 6 wasn’t the only event of its kind as we described above. Only this year we also had IEM Shanghai 2018, V4 Future Sports and Zotac Cup Masters.
This means that there’s interest to bring events with high funding to less popular teams. Maybe it’s not viable as technically StarSeries Season VI wasn’t supposed to be in this category, but it’s great to see more investment in the second-tier scene.
It’s also important to send regards to DreamHack. The Sweden-based company has been hosting minor events, known as DreamHack Open for years now. Featuring a $100.000 prize pool and less investment talent-wise, those LANs have brought us a fair share of interesting games and storylines over the years. Seeing other organizers taking the DreamHack Open idea and increasing the investment is surely commendable to both parties.
One last topic to go through is the negative sentiment over those tournaments. Some may classify DreamHack Opens and consequently, StarSeries S6 for their lack of top teams as filler events. Meaning that those are non-important events for the professional scene.
Indeed, viewers usually tune in to watch those tournaments when there’s nothing bigger to watch. However, they aren’t by no means unimportant. ENCE, winners of StarSeries Season VI certainly appreciated the chance given to then by StarLadder.
In the other hand, we could have a completely different development in the Brazilian scene if not by DreamHack Open Montreal 2017. Going further back, we saw G2 and more recently North, trying to get their groove back through those minor events as already discussed here.
This all means that even if you don’t have the big names of Astralis and Liquid in an event, there still can be very interesting developments and consequences from those events. And definitively, there’s some great matches hidden in their VODs.
There’s only a few high-tier LANs set to start in 2018. However, you can book you calendar to watch some other LANs that follow what was discussed here. For starters, cs_summit3 will be starting in November and features the likes of Kinguin, Heroic, compLexity and Ghost.
Toyota Masters Bangkok will be starting in late November and features AGO, Renegades, pro100, ViCi and TeamOne. At the end of November, there’s SuperNova CS:GO featuring NRG, Kinguin, HellRaisers and Gambit.
PLG Grand Slam is set to start in December with its regional qualifiers currently ongoing. Also, we are also set to have two DreamHack Opens and one DreamHack Invitational. Definitively, there’s no shortage of LANs to watch.
So, what events are you looking forward too? Tell us!