Source: HLTV
Source: HLTV

Highs and lows – CS2 Copenhagen Major retrospective

Esports OlyBet 07.04.2024

The highly anticipated and long-awaited CS2 opening Major has passed, and without a shadow of a doubt, it was a real treat for Esports fans across the world. Many storylines were written, dreams accomplished and also crushed. Some enjoyed the sweet thrills of winning while others were left to ponder where things went wrong. PGL CS2 Copenhagen Major was a truly iconic tournament, so while the memories of it are fresh, let’s take a look at some of the most significant moments and storylines of the very first CS2 Major competition.

Kings of Copenhagen

Of course, it would only be fitting if we began with our newly crowned CS2 champions – Natus Vincere. Roughly 9 months ago NAVI surprised the world by announcing a complete overhaul of their roster. Since the beginning of their existence back in 2009, the Ukrainian organization has fielded mostly Ukrainian and Russian players, so it was a shock announcement that Justinas “jL” Lekavicius, Mihai “iM” Ivan and Aleksi “Aleksib” Virolainen from Lithuania, Romania and Finland respectively, have joined their ranks. Fans were very sceptical about the roster switching to English comms since the remaining players Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev and especially Valery “b1t” Vakhovskiy have always preferred Russian-speaking line-ups. As we know, in-game communication in Esports is extremely important.

The squad had some mixed results and in November 2023 their main superstar s1mple decided to bench himself, taking a break from competitive gaming. He was one of the main reasons why these players made the switch to this team. Things were starting to look a bit grim, but the NAVI Academy player Ihor “w0nderful” Zhdanov managed to fill these big shoes with flying colours. He was a crucial piece in NAVI’s success in this Major, providing strong and reliable output on the sniper role. Another player that massively stepped up was jL. The Lithuanian was aggressive and relentless, often being the leading player in terms of kills and impact, in the end claiming the MVP trophy of the tournament.

Perhaps the sweetest storyline in all this was Aleksib’s redemption arc. The Finnish IGL (in game leader) reached Major finals in 2019 with ENCE, finishing second. Shortly after he was cut from the team, moving on to OG. With no significant showings in OG, Aleksi made his big move to G2, but also this stint was trophyless. Next in line were NiP, but the same story persisted until NAVI gave him another shot. Being an IGL, Aleksib was often criticized as the main reason behind the team’s lack of results throughout all these years, but this victory in Copenhagen will shut down the haters and solidify his position as one of the best leaders of the current CS era.

Talents of the Future

Before the Copenhagen Major began, Team Spirit were the main favorites to win it all, considering the impressive form they had. With a convincing victory in IEM Katowice 2024, fans were sure that Danil “donk” Kryshkovets and the squad would once again crush the opposition, but in Esports the unexpected always happens. Spirit initially claimed victories against Imperial, Cloud9 and even NAVI, but they couldn’t overcome FaZe in the playoff quarterfinals. As always, donk was leading the way for this team in all 3 maps, but it wasn’t enough, as FaZe edged out Spirit in an overtime thriller. donk finished the tournament as one of the highest-rated players, once again proving to the world that he is here to stay and dominate for a long time to come.

But there was another young player, who this time slightly outshone his peer. Ilya “m0NESY” Osipov from G2 finished the tournament as the highest-rated player. By many, he is currently considered the best sniper role player (awper) in the world, while donk claimed the honours of best riffler. Although G2 played well, they met their kryptonite in the playoff semifinals. For 5 straight times, G2 have lost the head-to-head battle against NAVI and the loss in the semifinals has now moved that tally up to 6. Perhaps their former IGL Aleksib is a key figure in this rivalry.

Rise of Turkish CS

Counter-Strike is a global Esport, but there are some countries, that, of course, tend to be more dominant like Ukraine, Denmark, France, Russia, etc. Even though CS is beloved in Turkey, there haven’t been that many stories of success. Sure, players like XANTARES and Woxic have been around for a while and they carry the country’s name with pride, but only now, for the first time in CS history, we’ve had a fully Turkish team, that made it to a Major tournament. Even more so, the Eternal Fire team managed to secure their spot in playoffs. This is a huge accomplishment and Turkey can be very proud of their players. The young Ali “Wicadia” Haydar Yalçın certainly has been a defining factor, while also the veteran 1.6 player Engin “MAJ3R” Küpeli, has finally claimed some more notable recognition. Eternal Fire lost to Major Champions NAVI, but it was a close game, which could have gone either way.

Biggest Disappointments

You could say that not winning the Major trophy is a huge disappointment in itself, but we’ll be looking at some moments that, perhaps, stood out the most. The new ENCE line-up built up some hype after their playoff appearance in IEM Katowice 2024 and after qualifying for the Major through RMR, but their run in Copenhagen was cut short with 3 swift losses in the Opening Stage. Considering their #12 standing in the world rankings, surely more was expected from this lineup.

If we have a look at individuals, then some critique has been thrown over to NiKo and ZywOo. These were respectively #2 and #1 players in the 2023 season, yet they failed to make a significant impact in this Major. The absence of their dominance certainly contributes to the shortcomings that G2 and Vitality both suffered. Although the TOP 4 finish isn’t bad, these teams had all the necessary tools to lift the Major trophy. We’ve been proven before that ZywOo will bounce back, the question lies on NiKo though, who has seemingly lacked motivation and consistency since the transition to CS2.

Not to rub salt in the wounds, but unfortunately, we also have to point out the individual performance of Karrigan. The FaZe in-game leader dropped a 0.22 rating in the final map of the Major final, a performance that simply cannot stand. Sure, IGLs are usually given some slack when it comes to getting frags, as they are more focused on managing team strategies, but with a 13-3 loss in the final map, it seems even the strategic side was off by a mile. Karrigan, of course, is an Esports legend, so there is no disrespect thrown his way, yet Esports can be ruthless and FaZe never settle for anything less than number 1, so performances like these might negatively affect his chances of retaining his spot on the roster.


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