North is going south: how to chart a different course
With news of MSL and aizy’s departure shortly after North’s CEO opted to step down, it is clearly the end of a chapter for Denmark’s eternal underachievers. Though neither the backing nor the names ever amounted to much for the side, it’s worth revisiting their one glorious exception in Stockholm in September 2018 as they shocked the world en route to their only S-Tier LAN victory to date, if only to wonder what could have been.
It’s tough to pinpoint exactly when and how North turned into a punchline in the CS:GO community but it’s safe to say that they are one of the highest-profile losers in the game. Unlike an org like Titan which crashed and burned or Luminosity who cashed out on their one good team only to fade back into irrelevance, North kept at it for years, wasting money and stacking Danish talent every which way, never to find the right combination. They completely failed to made an impact on the big leagues, let alone challenge Astralis for domestic and global dominance.
It seems patience has run out in more ways than one and a new approach is in order. Most CS fans will focus on the roster changes, with MSL and aizy reaching a mutual agreement to get the hell out dodge, but from a birds-eye business perspective, CEO Christopher Håkonsson’s decision to step down and leave after just a year in charge should be the bigger warning sign. The interim replacement, Alexander Pedersen, was responsible for the org’s much-ridiculed rebrand as marketing and brand vice president in his previous role. He’s gone on record stating that the organization is looking for additional investment – a sign of how much esports have changed in recent years. At its founding in January 2017, North as the joint venture of FC Copenhagen and Nordisk film promised to be one of the financial juggernauts in the scene. It wasn’t supposed to go like this – but for one glorious week in Sweden, it seemed like North might finally live up to its promise.
Remember when DreamHack events still had a bit of luster? The Masters ones, that is, often featuring notable enough lineups to match of even surpass some of their ESL One-branded counterparts. Stockholm 2018 was certainly such a tournament, featuring Astralis, pre-freefall versions of FaZe Clan and MIBR alongside Na’Vi and mousesports with other top ten teams also in attendance.
North were the eighth team confirmed for the tournament, fresh off of their top four finishes at DreamHack Open Summer and StarSeries i-League Season 5, results which propelled them to a top ten spot for the first time since they introduced Kjaerbye and mertz to their roster. For this event, they’ve agreed to a swap loan deal with Heroic, which meant that their lineup featured niko and valde alongside MSL, aizy and Kjaerbye.
A decent team on paper, one with a nice string of recent results behind them, but not one you would expect to go all the way at such a top tier tournament.
Getting out of group A seemed like a straightforward enough proposition, even with Astralis present, but taking the top seed was not part of the script. A comfortable 16-7 win on Inferno over BnTeT and co. set up the big encounter as gla1ve’s men took down Grayhound Gaming in dominant fashion.
By this point, Astralis were already looking unstoppable, with wins of DreamHack Masters Marseille, ESL Pro League Season 7, the ECS Season 5 Finals and ELEAGUE Premier in dominant fashion a harbinger of things to come, and yet they became unstuck by their domestic rivals in a three-map series in the winners’ bracket, who managed to come back from a heavy defeat on Nuke thanks to a comfortable 16-10 victory on Inferno and an overtime squeaker on Mirage.
Their reward for a job well done was a meeting with Na’Vi in the quarterfinals as the CIS side unexpectedly lost their opening game to steel’s Ghost Gaming side and the top seed with it. Perhaps that defeat was a sign that s1mple and co. weren’t firing on all cylinders, but it’s safe to say no one predicted the massacre to come: 16-3 on Train off the back of a dominant CT side and a 16-9 win on Inferno, despite Na’Vi racing to a 6-2 lead early on. Not even s1mple could end such a series with a positive K/D on the losing side.
If it was the firepower that impressed against Na’Vi, it was the resilience that showed against mousesports. Coming back from an 0-16 loss on Dust 2 takes toughness, especially on LAN amidst the crowd’s jeers. Once again, it was their pristine Inferno play that led to the series victory, taking a 4-0 lead on the CT side and racing to a 9-1 scoreline. Though mouz rallied back to a 10-5 scoreline and almost managed to take the map to overtime, North closed it out in regulation 16-14. Mirage was the decider and also a fairly close affair, but after securing a crucial win at 12-12, forcing out a save with limited resources of their own, they took control of the game and punched their ticket to the finals with four straight rounds.
It was time to meet Astralis again, who immediately banned out Inferno for the series. After North’s Cache ban, they leapt on the opportunity to play Dust 2 against them. In one of the biggest surprises of an event full of shocks, MSL’s men secured a dominant victory on the map, winning 16-1 just a day after losing 16-0 in the semis. Though gla1ve and co. scored a comfortable win on Train to push the series to Overpass, and looked good value to win the series off the back of an 8-3 lead on the deciding map, North ended the half with six rounds and played a blinder on their own T side, winning the first six in a row and eventually winning 16-11 to secure the trophy off the back of a blistering B rush.
Beating Na’Vi and Astralis, the latter in two different best-of-three series, no less, plus a monster comeback against mousesports? Sounds like the perfect preparation for the FACEIT Major. Indeed, North were even considered dark horse candidates after this string of results.
Seven days later, they were eliminated in the first stage of the event by Vega Squadron. Two weeks later, the org benched MSL and he was picked up by Rogue late in October. He would return in January 2020 – but it looks like he’s ready to depart again. North have not made the final of an S-Tier event since.
Photo credit: HLTV
The Red Bull Gaming team grows further with a Fortnite World Cup Champion.
Professional Fortnite player Emil “Nyhrox” Bergquist Pedersen is joining Red Bull Gaming as an esports athlete, the Norweigan confirmed today on Twitter. He adds himself to an extensive list of influential competitive gamers throughout history who hold the distinct honor of calling themselves a Red Bull Athlete. Nyhrox is one of only three players to achieve Fortnite’s most significant accomplishment in its four-year history.
He and former duo partner David “aqua” Wang journeyed across the pond in July of 2019 to claim their first Fortnite World Cup Championship. The European pair outplayed 49 of the world’s best tandems to earn that accolade and a cool $3M USD to split. Nyhrox channeled his extensive accomplishment into a deal with a premier presence in esports.
Officially a Red Bull Athlete 🦅
— nyhrox (@nyhrox) April 14, 2021
The Norweigan joins all-around icon and former Fortnite superstar Tyler “Ninja” Blevins as a select few Red Bull-sponsored gaming athletes. “Officially a Red Bull Athlete,” wrote Nyhrox in a tweet earlier today. A picture included in the tweet shows Nyhrox in a Red Bull hat and several logos throughout his space.
The energy drink company has not acknowledged the signing on Twitter or their official website. This signing is a significant accomplishment for Nyhrox, a current member of the Noway-based Nordavind DNB esports organization.
The team behind Red Bull involved themselves in esports very early in the going. Former professional Halo player David “Walsh” Walshy became the brand’s first ambassador and sponsored gaming athlete in 2006 while he and his team Final Boss dominated the Major League Gaming circuit. Walshy continued with the brand for an extended period throughout the remainder of his competitive gaming career.
Current 100 Thieves Owner and CEO – Matthew “Nadeshot” Haag – inked a deal with Red Bull Gaming during the height of his professional Call of Duty career in 2013 and reconnected in 2019 after 100 Thieves’ creation. Many other esports athletes have filtered in and out of Red Bull Gaming since 2006.
The addition of Nyhrox makes him the first full-fledged Fortnite professional to possess a solo sponsorship with the energy drink brand. While the deal’s exact ramifications are not clear at this point, we can expect a lot of content and perhaps an official statement regarding Nyhrox and Red Bull.
When it comes to secondary weapons in Call of Duty: Warzone, the Origin 12 shotgun has been a mainstay. Not many players pay much attention to the secondary slot on their load out, but having a powerful backup weapon can make all the difference between a win and loss.
In recent seasons, weapons like the dual Diamatti pistols have dominated the secondary slot. However, before that it was the Origin 12 shotgun, which featured an overpowered loadout. Though it’s been nerfed since, it still features a great loadout in Season 2 that will help tremendously with close-range gunfights.
Seeing that a shotgun’s biggest asset is its close-range damage, that is what the Origin 12’s recommended loadout focuses on. While players can increase the overall range of the weapon, close-range damage is what the primary weapon is for. With a shotgun, the focus should be on how to eliminate enemies who are 10 or so meters away.
To help with this, the Origin 12’s loadout features damage-boosting attachments. Also in use are attachments that allow the damage to be delivered as quickly and accurately as possible.
The Choke and Forge TAC Impaler on the Origin 12 are the damage-boosting attachments. Both the Choke and Impaler increase damage range; with the former also tightening the pellet spread and the latter increasing muzzle velocity. Both attachments will help eliminate enemies in as efficient a manner as possible.
Furthering that cause is the 5mW Laser, which allows players to hip fire the Origin 12 instead of aiming down sights. However, if aiming down sights is needed, the No Stock attachment greatly increases the sprint-to-fire time for any close-range gunfights.
Finally, the 12 Round Mags simply allow players to take down more than one enemy without having to reload.
Call of Duty (COD): Mobile World Championship returns with more ways to qualify globally and a two-million-dollar prize pool.
Activision is bringing back the worldwide championship for COD Mobile after the scene exploded in popularity last year. Beginning June 3, players from across the globe will have the chance to play for the ultimate prize. There are currently five levels to qualify before you can participate on the big stage, and it all starts with individual play.
“Picking up from last year’s competition, we’ve increased the prize money up for grabs and number of teams that can qualify,” said Matt Lewis, vice president of mobile at Activision, “So there are even more reasons for fans to prove they’ve got what it takes to be the best.”
The first stage is through the competitive queue already factored into the game. From there, individual players will slowly begin to form teams with friends or those at their skill level. Once teams are formed, those teams will qualify for the next stage. Teams that qualify at a regional level will compete online to move on to the next stage of the competition. Each region will have a group stage with qualified teams to play for prize money. Each major region, (Europe, North America, Japan, etc.) will have a crowned champion team.
Activision will be adding more regions based on the level of engagement they saw last season. These regions include South Asia and most of the Middle East, which has seen a spike in mobile gaming. They did not have the ability to broadcast to those regions despite the viewership numbers and are actively looking to expand.
🌸 Tokyo Escape!
🆕 The new season is approaching and will be loaded with new weapons, operators, and more!
💥 Hidora Kai – The Boss
👩 Zero – Escape
💨 Spectre – Ninja
⚔ Takeo – Sensei
— Call of Duty: Mobile (@PlayCODMobile) April 13, 2021
The expansion into other regions also means new in-game platform outlets for those regions. When COD: Mobile goes live, you will see a watch feed directly linked in the app. From there you will be able to watch the action without having to search on Twitch or another platform. There are currently four supported languages for the embedded streams which you can choose based on your native language. Activision will continue to expand these languages to accommodate most of their major targeted regions.
Activision had the dreams of a global knockout tournament last year, but due to COVID-19, those plans were put on hold. This year Activision hopes to have a clear and concise path to success that anyone can achieve by playing. Watch out for when the latest season ofCOD: Mobile releases on June 3rd.
The M4A1 in Call of Duty: Warzone has been a consistent option for players since the battle royale launched last year. While it’s certainly dropped off since then, and especially now in Season 2, it’s still a viable option for players looking to get away from the current meta. Of course, the current meta is really just the FFAR, AUG and CR-56 AMAX.
In Season 2 of Warzone, the meta has become too much for some players to bear. As such, they want to simply use a different weapon for a change of scenery. Well, there are few better options than the M4A1 and its balanced stats.
In order to compete with some of the top dogs in Warzone, the M4A1 needs some serious buffs in its loadout. For starters, the damage of the assault rifle needs a bump, as does the accuracy. While it shoots straight enough, players need as little recoil as possible when they’re going up against an AUG at range.
For these reasons, the recommended M4A1 loadout boosts these areas, as well as maintains some of its base strengths.
This loadout does two things: increase damage and increase accuracy. With the Monolithic Suppressor and Stock M16 Grenadier, damage range is buffed tremendously. This should help players compete with the FFAR and CR-56 AMAX.
Further down the loadout, the Commando Foregrip and VLK 3.0x Optic are in use. The Commando Foregrip stabilizes the M4A1’s recoil, which is also helped by the VLK 3.0x Optic. This sight is a great middle ground in the various zooms that optics offer. However, if players want something a little less zoomed in, they can opt for the Corp Combat Holographic sight.
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