This month’s edition of three up, three down should come as no surprise to anyone. We take a look at the stellar performance of Team Liquid and star Oleksandr ‘s1mple’ Kostyliev, a second straight major victory and Valve leveling the banhammer on skins gambling. (Check out last month’s nominees here)
Oleksandr ‘s1mple’ Kostyliev
After an impressive run at ESL One Cologne, Team Liquid has parted ways with its star player s1mple in favor of ex-SK Gaming member Jacob “Pimp” Winneche. On social media last week, s1mple boasted having turned down multiple offers and already has another contract lined up. With the performance s1mple displayed at the major, he’ll have the ability to increase his asking price by a significant amount before signing on the dotted line. While nothing has been announced yet, many people have speculated about large roster shuffles coming at the end of ELEAGUE’s first season at the end of the month August.
Virtus.Pro has shown once again that even when its online play is suffering heavily, the team still can pull out exciting performances on LAN. ESL One Cologne went well for the Polish team, which managed to escape from the group stage unscathed. Although playing an Astralis roster that was wounded, VP fought valiantly and came out on top and gain a major semifinal berth for the first time since Cologne last year.
After an impressive week in Cologne and a 2-1 loss in the semifinals to eventual champions SK Gaming, Virtus.Pro flew immediately to Atlanta to participate in ELEAGUE’s Last Chance Qualifier. It managed to wind up in the easier bracket of the LCQ but still defeated Gambit Gaming and Renegades en route to qualifying for playoffs. VP then knocked off Ninjas in Pyjamas 2-0 Friday in the ELEAGUE quarterfinals to reach Friday’s semifinals.
Fallen and Company
SK Gaming wouldn’t let its removal from ELEAGUE dampen the mood, as the players secured their second straight major victory at ESL One Cologne. SK took out G2, FaZe Clan, Flipsid3 Tactics, Virtus.Pro and Liquid on the way to hoisting the trophy. Despite the behind-the-scenes mess between Luminosity, SK Gaming, ELEAGUE and several other problems, the players proved that the politics don’t matter. If you work hard enough, it doesn’t matter what team you play for. The team now has some downtime as they move into a new house and get prepared for the months ahead.
After a flurry of accusations, lawsuits, failed FTC disclosures and lots of other debauchery, Valve has looked to distance itself from all the illegal gambling sites that have sprung up in the last year. It sent cease and desist letters to more than 20 sites involved in skins gambling this past week. With the unregulated market said to be worth billions, it is no wonder it took Valve so long to get involved. Money talks, but so does the law. Valve indirectly profited from the sale and purchase of millions of skins presumably used on skin gambling sites.
In recent weeks, it has come to light that prominent members of the Counter-Strike community have suspicious ties many of the gambling sites included in the list. The owners of FaZe Clan (Rain and Banks), Tmartn, ProSyndicate, PhantomL0rd, and others have all been accused of owning skin gambling websites and creating promotional content showing them winning hundreds of thousands of dollars; all while failing to disclose any sponsorship or fact that they own the sites — a big mistake in the eyes of the law. It’s time to lawyer up and hope the tens of millions of dollars in profit that was made doesn’t disappear in FTC fines and class action lawsuits.
Counter Logic Gaming
The runt of the North American litter has fallen on tough times as of late. After losing out in a trade with Team Liquid in which it sent their star AWPer Joshua “jdm64” Marzano to Liquid in exchange for unproven talent Kenneth “koosta” Suen, CLG managed to lose its coach and another player. Tarik “tarik” Celik announced he would be stepping down from the active roster last week to become a streamer for the remainder of his contract under CLG. The team seems less motivated and may have been having internal issues that were reflected in results and an exodus of talent. With a small offseason, CLG needs to scrape together a couple of new players in hopes of getting out of the North American basement.
Photo by Adela Sznajder/DreamHack