Here’s Everything That Happened In CS:GO Since The Last LAN Event - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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Here’s Everything That Happened In CS:GO Since The Last LAN Event

CS:GO esports is now back on LAN at IEM Cologne after a pandemic-enforced absence that forced the top teams to compete online for an extended period, greatly scrambling the power rankings in the competitive scene. It was a head-spinning amount of time in an unprecedented environment – here’s what you may have missed out on in the meantime.

CS:GO’s player count broke records

Remember how Dota 2 had that awe-inspiring record number of players and how that was a big part of why it was seen as the bigger esport by many out of the two Valve juggernauts? Well, a combination of new game modes and the introduction of a free-to-play model meant that CS:GO comfortably surpassed those numbers in the middle of the pandemic era, hitting an incredible 1.3 million concurrent players on April 17, 2020.

Though it’s still a far cry from PUBG’s 3.2 million in 2018, CS still remains the undisputed king in terms of sustained player count.

Gambit conquered the world

The underrated CIS squad hit the summit of the HLTV rankings on April 12, 2021, decimating their opposition left and right with dominant displays based on extremely strong teamplay and a conservative economy management.

Esports betting site Rivalry’s, CS:GO betting experts, have pegged the rise of the CIS region a couple months earlier, but most in the world would have expected or Na’Vi to take the top spot instead of Hobbit and his merry men. Their playstyle and strategy had a great effect on the professional metagame and it seems like they will continue their great streak of playoff appearances on LAN as well.

Device became a Ninja

In what was the biggest transfer in the history of CS:GO, legendary Danish AWPer Nicolai “device” Reedtz shocked the gaming world by leaving Astralis, the team that dominated pro Counter-Strike for multiple years running with their incredibly strong tactical setup.

Even these legends were affected by the ring rust of online play, however, and a combination of issues at the Astralis organization, a downturn of results and device’s desire to reduce commute from his Swedish residence led to his spectacular move to Ninjas in Pyjamas, an org that was almost Astralis-like in stature back in 2013 but fell on hard times over the past couple of years, now looking for a resurgence with this legendary signing.

A massive coaching scandal has erupted

Last September saw the revelation of the biggest scandal in the competitive CS:GO scene: it turns out a bug allowed coaches of pro CS:GO players to spectate above the map and fix the camera in place, getting extra information they would not have been otherwise able to get about the state of play. This issue has gone on for years and remained unreported for a very long time.

Many teams and coaches were implicated, and 37 of the latter were hit by the banhammer by ESIC, the esports watchdog. Reports of the bug resurfaced this May but no further controversies have emerged since, and the expectation is that making use of such exploits is near-impossible in a LAN environment, even if it wasn’t sufficiently patched just yet.

Goodbye Train, hello Ancient

There’s also the fact that Valve continued their trend of replacing classic CS:GO maps with undercooked replacements in the map pool, following their decision to remove Cache in favor of Vertigo with the removal of Train and the introduction of Ancient, de_aztec_2 in all but name, a map with decidedly Valorant-esque design choices: square corners, donut rooms, oddly open bombsites.

It all makes for an interesting competitive experience but it will no doubt still take a lot of time for players and teams to warm up to the experience offered by the Incan vistas. So far, the top tier of players in the esports scene has warmed to it faster than they did to Vertigo, which is a big vote of confidence by itself.

What’s next for CS:GO?

Nobody knows for sure. The esports scene will no doubt become healthier once the competition returns to an offline environment, offering a better spectacle and higher levels of gameplay. Whether Valve will focus on returning the player count to its previous heights and to maintain a larger playerbase in North America remains to be seen. Roll on the next Major, or Source 2 – preferably both.

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