UNVEILING THE TEAMS HEADING TOWARDS THE GRAND FINALS - PART 22018.07.31 9:30 PM
The regional qualifiers are done, the invites are confirmed, and we are now less than one month away from our ZOTAC CUP MASTERS CS:GO Grand Finals.
Of the eight teams competing in Hong Kong, four of these teams were direct invites into our competition: Virtus.pro, the Russian veterans, mibr, the recently revamped Brazilian fan favorites, TyLoo, the team paving the way for CS:GO in China, and OpTic Gaming, the North American powerhouse.
These four teams will go up against qualifying teams Ghost Gaming, VG.FlashGaming, Team Kinguin, and MVP PK to prove they have what it takes to win the lion's share of a whopping $300,000 prize pool and the chance to snag the sweet ZOTAC CUP trophy.
Virtus.pro have seen their share of Counter Strike competitions. Their list of titles and winnings is lengthy; the team has been making a name for itself since 2004 when they first entered the scene, snagging first place in various majors and premiers. The development and growth of Counter Strike: Global Offensive was tandem the rise of Virtus.pro. Throughout 2013, the team consistently ranked in various majors and premiers and continued to rake in the prize money, showing no slow down from their Counter Strike days. It was at ESL Major Series One Katowice 2014 where the team managed to win their biggest prize pool yet, beating out Ninjas in Pyjamas for six figures and bragging rights. The team continued to dominate the CS:GO scene, placing first in notable competitions such as ELEAGUE Season 1, Adrenaline Cyber League 2017, and bringing home some humble second place winnings as well.
Despite their storied history, the team has found itself struggling to place recently after a series of lineup changes. Wiktor "TaZ" Wojtas was benched in February of 2018 and was eventually signed to ZOTAC CUP MASTERS rival team Team Kinguin. This move brought an end to the longest-standing roster in CS:GO, with continued shake ups throughout the year with the departure of Janusz "Snax" Pogorzelski in June. Snax and TaZ spent four years playing under the Virtus.pro name and now, TaZ must battle against his former team for a shot at the ZOTAC CUP Trophy.
Brazilian team mibr, short for Made In Brazil, have a unique journey in the Counter Strike scene. Formed in late 2003, the team was responsible for Brazil’s explosion into esports. They were the best in country, winning notable premiers like Dreamhack Winter and the Electronic World Cup over a decade ago. Players filtered in and out, tournaments won and lost, and despite their rabid popularity, in 2012 it was announced that mibr would no longer pursue a team in Counter Strike or any other games. The org went silent for four years.
Then in 2016, a Facebook cover photo changed. And fans went crazy
After two months of speculation about a potential comeback, the team confirmed their comeback and told fans to wait a month for an official announcement. But then there was silence. Rumors surfaced about selling the team to Immortals, which gained increased traction early 2018. Then finally, in June of the same year, mibr returned. Their lineup no longer consisted of only Brazlian players. The org brought in heavy-hitters Tarik "tarik" Celik and Jacky 'Jake' "Stewie2K" Yip after their phenomenal win at ELEAGUE Major: Boston 2018. Mibr sought to fuse the best talent North America had to offer with Brazil’s, signing on former SK Gaming legends Gabriel "FalleN" Toledo, Marcelo "coldzera" David, and Fernando "fer" Alvarenga. After a less than stellar performance at ESL One: Cologne 2018, the team stands to make the ZOTAC CUP MASTERS their first major win yet.
Counter Strike popularity in China was fairly low. A game that flourished in the European and Americas regions failed to gain much traction or form a serious, competitive scene throughout countries like China and Korea. Enter Tyloo. The team was formed in 2007 as a CS 1.6 team and switched over to CS:GO like many teams deeply invested in the scene. The team has gone through numerous roster changes over the years, some of them results of suspensions and cuts due to breaches of contracts.
Now, the team is hungry for a win. After recently falling short of second place at the CS:GO Asia Championships 2018 in June, a win at the ZOTAC CUP MASTERS GRAND FINALS stands to be their single, highest payout from a competition yet.
OpTic Gaming, the final invite, are a household name in North America esports. With a deep rooted backing in the Call of Duty scene, it was no surprise that they would support a CS:GO roster. Where their backstory differs from their competitors is the timeline: OpTic signed their first CS:GO roster in 2016, years after the game’s official release and professional scene’s formation. Their first roster consisted of Peter "stanislaw" Jarguz, Damian "daps" Steele, William "RUSH" Wierzba, Keith "NAF" Markovic, and Shazeeb "ShahZaM" Khan, a group of players that would go on to become some of North America’s greatest talents.
Now, the team’s newest 2018 roster has yet to place first in a major tournament, falling short of first place in DreamHack Open Summer 2018. The ZOTAC CUP could be this lineup’s biggest earnings yet.
More details on casters, schedule, and brackets will be announced soon. Get more information on the ZOTAC CUP MASTERS CS:GO 2018 Grand Finals and our booth activities at EMFHK by visiting the following links: