The idea of a national super-team in Counter-Strike isn’t new by any means, but it’s an almost unused concept by this point. After all, we are seeing more and more roster going international, and there’s definitely a lot of arguments you could make to support such a decision.
However, at the end of the day, there’s something special about these super-teams based on a single country or region. These teams bring their national community together, and if they find success in the big stages, it definitely boosts the game popularity in their own country and helps their scene grow in the long-term.
The newest team that is hoping to do just that is coming from Turkey. Eternal Fire, a project created by its own players, has in its ranks the best Turkish CSGO names, and it hopes to go big in the coming months.
But who, exactly, are the players in Eternal Fire? What are their chances and what are the expectations for this team? Have they played already? That’s what we will get into today!
Ismailcan “XANTARES” Dörtkardeş is one of the names that fans immediately associate with Turkish CS. The 26-year-old player is most known for his time playing for BIG, but before that he was also one of the stars of SPACE SOLDIERS, a previous attempt at creating a Turkish superteam.
XANTARES kept making a reputation during his time in BIG. He was versatile, and his performances were key to take BIG to the top of the world rankings back in July last year. While BIG’s star in 2020 was their AWPer, Florian “syrsoN” Rische, XANTARES was a close second. It was also revealed that he almost made to the HLTV top players of the year ranking. During the last couple of years, XANTARES’ dedication to Counter-Strike and his mentality got acknowledged by various players too.
Now, XANTARES is taking on his next challenge, which promises to be one of the hardest the player has faced in his career. Not only XANTARES is one of the faces of the Eternal Fire project, he’ll be the head of this team. Taking the captain role won’t be easy by any means and it is making fans question the capacity of this team. Yet, XANTARES has the most experience against top-class teams out of the Eternal Fire roster, and he seems to be confident in taking the role.
Özgür “woxic” Eker is another name behind the Eternal Fire project. Originally announced by himself, Eternal Fire seems to be woxic’s personal dream coming true. It won’t be easy, though, as woxic will have plenty to prove, and this team depends on him to achieve success.
Woxic has been in the spotlights ever since his incredible performances in HellRaisers. During 2018, woxic impressed, and soon got a chance to step-up and go to Mousesports. The 22-year-old Turkish players helped Mouz win ESL Pro League Season 10 and at the end of the year, was named the 12th best player in CSGO of 2019.
2020, unfortunately, was a very different year for woxic though. After Mousesports failed to impress across the first half of that year, woxic was benched from the team. It’s rumored that the reasoning behind the move of benching woxic wasn’t related to his performances in-game but instead due to his behavior.
It didn’t take much before woxic returned to action, however. He was one of the fifth players of the first iteration of Cloud9 colossus until January this year, when he was removed due to his form, as well as difficulties regarding the overall logistics of the online-era esports saw caused by the pandemic.
Now, woxic is back in the game in a big way. He’s part of this Turkish dream team, and they are counting on him to deliver the AWPer he’s known to be. Explosive, quick and smart. It’s up to him to recover his old form and not leave his teammates disappointed.
Buğra “Calyx” Arkın is the third player in the Eternal Fire roster. The 23-year-old Turkish player has been around various teams in the past years. However, he never really found a place where he could build himself a career after leaving SPACE SOLDIERS.
More recently, Calyx was part of EnVy before the organization disbanded its CSGO division. There, he shined alongside MICHU, but the two highly talented players couldn’t turn the tides alone. Then, he joined Robin “flusha” Rönnquist project ‘GORILLAZ’ on trial, but after a week, he left that team.
Now, Calyx finally finds himself in a team where he could build a future with. This time around, he isn’t playing for an organization that doesn’t believe in its CSGO roster – the contrary, actually. Moreover, this time around he’s been picked as one of the best players from Turkey.
For Calyx, Eternal Fire is a major opportunity to prove himself as a player. He is now being given a proper chance to thrive, and these are the opportunities no one wants to waste.
The 21-year-old Ömer “imoRR” Karataş is the youngest player in Eternal Fire, and one many are excited about. He has spent most of his career inside the Turkish scene and rose to the spotlights last year when Sangal Esports signed him.
During his time with Sangal, imoRR had a golden opportunity to learn with two veteran players from Turkey. With the guidance of ‘MAJ3R’ and ‘paz’, imoRR clearly improved his game. While he closed 2020 with a 1.12 HLTV rating, in 2021 he is boasting a 1.17 rating.
Moreover, it’s obvious that his time with Sangal paved his way to Eternal Fire. He is a promising prospect that already has played with veterans that played on the old Space Soldiers line-up. Moving to Eternal Fire shouldn’t be an issue at all, making him an ideal choice for the team.
While Eternal Fire is a Turkish powerhouse, they aren’t a fully Turkish team. In an announcement that surprised many, the fifth player to round-up the roster wasn’t Ahmet “paz” Karahoca. Instead, the team announced Issa “ISSAA” Muradas their fifth.
The 24-year-old player from Jordan is known from his time in OG. However, he was a promising player ever since he joined HellRaisers in late 2017. In HR, ISSAA and woxic were seen as extremely promising players. In 2018, they helped HellRaisers reach the playoffs of FACEIT London Major. They also finished second in DreamHack Masters Tours and Moche XL, and won Bets.net Masters.
ISSAA’s time with OG wasn’t as fruitful, unfortunately. This is due to the pandemic-related restrictions, which affected him plenty as he played from Jordan. While OG initially was able to circumvent that, ISSAA’s struggles ended up being too much. In March, the team then parted ways with him.
Now he’s back in action with Eternal Fire. ISSAA is a capable player and he has shown to be very dedicated. OG having to drop him from their roster was definitely understandable, and perhaps inevitable, but nonetheless it was a big loss when it comes to potential. Now, he’s bringing that potential to Eternal Fire in hopes that he can also find a new home to compete among the best.
Considering all the players above, Eternal Fire has a very interesting set of players, but there’s some uncertain around them too. XANTARES is a dedicated and skilled player, but he’ll be taking on a whole new role in this team, and becoming an in-game leader takes an incredible toll in any player. Woxic rivaled some of the best AWPers in CSGO during his prime in Mousesports, but that was years ago. Can he reignite that fire?
Then we have ISSAA and the fact that the team is currently using English as their main language for him. The squad announced that ISSAA will be learning Turkish in the coming months. While he isn’t fluent, the team will use English, though. For XANTARES and woxic that might not be a big problem but ‘imoRR’ probably isn’t used to speaking English in-game. That can be a severe issue in the long-run, but hopefully the more experienced players as well as the team’s coach Timur ‘bishop’ Şengül help him to adjust himself.
Still, while there’s valid issues to be pointed, and various ‘ifs’ to consider, it’s hard not to be excited for Eternal Fire. The potential is here, and if this team is in for the long haul, then we surely will see them climbing the world rankings once they settle in. They have a difficult battle ahead of them, but Eternal Fire is the one team with hopes to surpass what Space Soldiers meant for the Turkish Counter-Strike scene years ago.
Fans didn’t have to wait a lot to see Eternal Fire in action. During the past week, the team took part in ESA Supremes Vestel Cup, an online tournament featuring eight teams from Turkey.
Spoiler alert: Eternal Fire absolutely demolished their competition. The team only dropped one map, to Sangal, after three BO3 matches and the BO5 grand-final.
Next in the circuit, Eternal Fire will be playing on TWR Eastern European Masters Fall 2021, which starts on September 10th. Winning there would get them a spot in BLAST Fall Showdown, and that is the golden ticket that EF needs.
After TWR EE Masters Fall, Eternal Fire already has another event booked. Starting September 20th, the team will be taking part of REPUBLEAGUE TIPOS Season 2. There, Eternal Fire will play against the likes of Sinners, forZe, Dignitas, ENCE and more. There, Eternal Fire will have the first contact with some of the best teams in Europe’s second tier of competition. This will be the first benchmark of EF against those teams, and it will be very interesting to watch them. However, it has to be pointed out that this is just their first tournament of hopefully many yet to come. We can’t judge them this early just yet.
If you want to make sure you won’t miss a beat regarding Eternal Fire and CSGO, then make sure you follow us here!