Despite an original delay to Labor Day weekend in September, the Texas Showdown team officially canceled TS 2020 today following the ongoing COVID-19 spike across the U.S.
Plans for 2021 are moving ahead, but 2020 was expected to be a huge year for the event since it would’ve been the 20th tournament in the series and a part of the Capcom Pro Tour as a Premier event.
Texas is one of the hotbeds for COVID-19 in the U.S. with more than 10,000 new cases recorded on July 7 alone and no sign in that number dropping significantly anytime soon. That paired with the “uncertainty and logistical problems with social distancing” has resulted in the tournament organizers canceling the event.
The TOs have already canceled all existing hotel reservations for players at the Hilton Post Oak, the tournament’s partner hotel. They’re also working to negotiate dates for the usual April or early May dates that TS usually runs on.
At time of writing, the TS TOs plan to roll over all tournament registrations to the 2021 event unless players decide to request a refund. Those who have already requested refunds will receive them but will need to be patient while everything processes.
For anyone who wants to support the tournament organizers following the cancelation, more details will be provided in the coming days.
erkaSt joins NG
NG continue to add to their international roster with the signing of another high-profile player in the Asian scene, Erdenetsogt “erkaSt” Gantulga, bringing the player count in the starting lineup up to four, each one of them from a different country.
Now a household name in Asia, erkaSt first made a name for himself in Oceania, where he was part of the Grayhound squad that played at IEM Sydney in 2018 and 2019, made two ESL Pro League Finals and competed at the IEM Katowice 2019 and StarLadder Berlin Major’s New Challengers Stages.
The Mongolian player then had to return to his home country after not being able to secure a work visa in Australia following the StarLadder Major, where he achieved moderate success with TIGER, winning the first Regional Major Ranking tournament, the Weibo Cup Asian Championship and making the final of the latest RMR tournament, Perfect World Asia League Fall.
Since returning to Mongolia erkaSt has accrued a 1.15 rating and has had strong performances at all of the RMR tournaments with a 1.20 rating at ESL One: Road to Rio Asia as well as 1.19 and 1.14 ratings at the PAL Summer and Fall events, respectively.
“For the past year since Grayhound, I’ve been playing with and giving my experiences to my fellow Mongolians and the community there as a player”, erkaSt says, “but from today onward, I’m very excited to call NG a new home and really looking forward to play with my new teammates and the journey ahead of us. Thank you for all your support and especially NG for giving me this opportunity!”
NG are now:
Video: TeSeS vs. Vitality
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Heroic up 6-5 (Mirage)
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First pistol round (Nuke)
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XTQZZZ on Vitality’s six-man roster: “We’re going to make substitutions mid-series depending on the map”
Vitality coach Rémy “XTQZZZ” Quoniam has revealed that Nabil “Nivera” Benrlitom will start practising with the team this week as part of a rotation system that will be employed moving forward. The 19-year-old is expected to make his debut in the BLAST Premier Final Series — the perfect proving ground for the former Heretics player as the team are already qualified for the BLAST Global Finals.
“The team will make substitutions mid-series depending on the map,” XTQZZZ wrote in a Twitlonger post. “It will allow some players to rest on training days (very few until the end of the year), to rotate, to be able to make decisions and to remain as competitive as possible.”
XTQZZZ gives three reasons for the expansion of Vitality‘s roster, starting with the congested fixture schedule in Counter-Strike. “We have had a much higher number of tournaments, matches and weeks over the years,” he said. “This is essentially related to business, where we’re looking for a profitability that does not currently exist.”
The second reason he gave is the team’s struggle to perform consistently in a packed schedule while facing constant pressure to obtain results. This, according to him, affects “preparation ahead of intense matches”.
The French coach also talked about mental health and burnout, a hot topic as several players have requested medical leaves this year due to the heavy workload. “These problems are essentially created by a loss of balance, a loss of fulfilment, a loss in the professional life and a loss of pleasure,” he explained. “We must pay attention to each one of our players.”
Regarding the addition of Nivera to the roster and the effect that it will have on the group, XTQZZZ insisted that the Belgian player will not be claiming anyone’s spot in the starting lineup. “Vitality’s objective is to continue training young talents while keeping the experience of our legends. Nabil doesn’t come to bench anyone.”
The French coach also shared his thoughts about jumping into uncharted territory, saying that Vitality will “give the project a certain amount of time to see if it can be effective, well-received and beneficial.”
“We will try to adapt to the system in the short/medium term,” he added. “In six months it may be different or perhaps even more complicated, but none of us can predict the future with the current situation.”
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