On January 22–26 a new series of Minors will take over Katowice. This time, teams from America and Asia will be competing for Major slots. And here’s why you shouldn’t miss any of the action.

Brazil conquers North America

Just a year ago, even sophisticated Counter-Strike fans could hardly have named at least two Brazilian teams besides SK Gaming or 100Thieves. Now local teams began to slowly move to North America and create real competition there.

The year 2018 has become a landmark for the Brazilian scene — it has begun to actively declare itself. It’s hard to say why this happened. But tracking key milestones is easy. First, the team 100 Thieves breaks up, and its players fly away to perform at home, Gabriel “FalleN” Toledo revives YeaH! Gaming and Immortals redeem the rights to the MIBR brand and seriously invest in Brazilian esports.

Apparently, infrastructure has finally begun to appear in the region, but there has always been a desire to express themselves among local players and teams. At the same time, organizations in the region are well aware that their players need to improve their level, and the United States for them is the best option for professional growth. FalleN proved it a long time ago.

Just think: only three teams from the USA will perform at Americas Minor Championship Katowice 2019, but four will represent Brazil! Moreover, they have real chances to get through to the Major — there are no obvious favorites, except NRG Esports, at the tournament. Moreover, the best-of-1 factor in opening matches cannot be ruled out — as is well known, it is always helpful for the underdogs.

Who can upset? The greatest chances of the two teams — INTZ eSports and Team One. The first moderately successfully plays in the ESL Pro League, and the second settled down in the division below — in the ESEA Premier. The teams gathered both experienced (ex-participants of 100 Thieves) and young players, and their desires are more than enough. Especially with Vito “kNgV-” Giuseppe , who seems to have finally taken hold of his mental state. Who knows, maybe his glorious history will begin from this Minor.

The question of life and death for Bravado

There is no doubt that the South African team of Bravado Gaming is now just praying for a minor. So far, the team has no means to settle in North America, and if they can’t collect the needed funds, the team will return home, where, for obvious reasons, it will not be able to develop.

To settle in the States at least temporarily, Bravado needs to raise $ 30,000 USD. Half of this amount is already there, but it’s impossible to get another $15,000 in the remaining five days, no matter how much pro players like apEX , tarik , FalleN and others want to help the South African team. The only chance is to get to the top 3 in this Minor. But this chance is not at all illusory.

In November, Bravado surprised everyone at DreamHack Winter 2018 : it’s no joke, the Africans left out of business OpTic Gaming, G2 Esports and Swedes from the x6tence Galaxy, only to lose against ENCE eSports in the final. The team has passed the test of battle, on the minor, the rivals will not be so serious, but the main thing is the moral component. Hopefully, the team will succeed. Would anyone refuse to see an African team on a major again?

What can karrigan show in Team Envy?

In June, Team Envy lost patience: after long torment of the French team, the organization closed the European CS:GO unit and temporarily left the discipline. After a couple of months of deliberation, the club decided to sign an American roster, which did not work right away. This is not surprising: the core of the team was the backbone of unsuccessful ex-Splyce and no less questions arose after signing Noa “Nifty” Francis and Josh “jdm64” Marzano — why did the team have two snipers?

Team Envy completely failed the ninth season of the ESL Pro League and ingloriously flew out of the DreamHack Open Atlanta 2018. At the same time, the question of the captain rose sharply: at the end of October, the main team left Corey “Semphis” Friesen. It seemed only a miracle could help the team. And apparently, it happened — on the eve of the New Year, the ex-leader of FaZe Clan Finn “karrigan” Andersen came to the team on loan.

Yes, Karrigan did not succeed in Astralis and FaZe, but these are top-level teams where they do not forgive mistakes. In Envy, everything should be simpler: the team has more modest goals, and there is no one to question the authority of Kerrigan in the composition.

The other day the Dane admitted: he did not want to stay at home and stream FPL, he felt that he wanted to lead the team. And Envy is perfect for him. He noted that the team has enough problems, but it is quite capable of winning the Major. But if Andersen had enough time to fix everything was a big question.

Does the drama at eUnited justify itself?

The second team from the USA — eUnited — is also very reeling. The history of this team over the past couple of months resembles an unfortunate tragicomedy.

In search of a better life, on November 1st, the club signed the captain of Swole Patrol of Austin “Cooper-” Abadir , who because of this even quarreled with his brother. The most ridiculous thing is that Cooper- did not come to replace someone: he became the sixth player of the team and did not play for it in tournaments — he waited for someone to leave. Here only eUnited could not decide who they should kick. A member of the team Caleb “moose” Jane told about this during Intel Extreme Masters XIII Chicago:

“I do not know who will leave. The only thing that is known for sure: Cooper- will play. All laid out at 110%, because no one wants to fly out of the team or become a substitute.”

At the end of November, it seemed clear: the team would leave Will “dazzLe” Lofman behind. But the story did not end there: in early January, the organization changed its mind, returned dazzLe, and transferred another player to the reserve — Skyler “Relyks” Weaver.

Cherry on the cake was a scandal with the coach of the team that erupted on Christmas Eve. EUnited terminated the contract with Jared “osorandom” Hartman, who sent the club designer some obscene photos. The girl announced it publicly six months later.

In what state eUnited will approach the tournament — is yet to be seen, but it is extremely interesting to watch them play, if only to understand whether the drama that has been accompanying the team lately brought any results.

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