Next week, one of the biggest nations in the world will be making a big splash on one of the biggest eSports scenes in the world. Valve Software’s highly competitive First Person Shooter, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (often abbreviated to CS:GO) has become quite the behemoth for high level play within the genre since it launched back in 2012. This should come as no surprise if one observes the lineage of the franchise. CS has been the premier FPS series for players looking to partake in a game that rewards skilful play, tactical teamwork, patience and strategy.
Sure enough, the gaming world has become enamoured by this latest outing, particularly in Europe, where CS:GO tournaments are held fairly often. Now though, the United States wants a piece of the bomb pie. As such, we are getting the induction of a brand new event dubbed the iBUYPOWER Cup, hosted in partnership by gaming PC specialist retailer iBUYPOWER and the Electronic Sports League (ESL). This tournament will see 8 of North America’s top teams’ battle it out in a quarter-final knock out style bracket, although there will be some foreign talent present, including the all Australian roster of Renegades (the team is still under ownership of an American, however), the Brazilian line-up of Luminosity, and player Xp3 giving some French spice to the Winterfox crew.
For those unfamiliar with how a CS:GO tournament works, 2 teams will face off against each other, usually in a Best of 3 match-up. Teams consist of 5 players each and can be accompanied by a coach, who is not allowed to play but may give their team members advice. The teams must then choose which maps in the selection pool they want to ban, usually preventing their opponents from getting a playground that they excel at. Afterwards, a map order is chosen, including which side the map choosers get to start on. This can be vital in gathering momentum in the first half of a match. Matches consist of a Best of 15 round format, with the half-time side switch occurring before the 16th round begins. In the event of a tie after the normal 30 round duration, a tie breaker is performed with each team given 3 rounds per side.
Although the organizers have chosen a relatively small play field, this could help propagate the CS tournament scene in the States, since the sport has been dominating many areas of Europe, including Eastern European and Nordic territories. With such a brief period of time and fewer matches, the stakes are already high going into the debut battles. Since the audience is more niche considering the region the event is housed in, a quick start can aid the audience’s interest in the spectacle. If the tournament draws in large crowds, iBUYPOWER could consider opening up the brackets if they attempt this event next year.