After months of preparation, Flashpoint Season 2 is going to kick off this Tuesday. Working with a more simplified format and promising a higher level of competition than the one seen in the previous season, the one million dollar league is going to be a very important event for both its organisers and for the twelve teams it involves.
With ESL running IEM Beijing-Haidian under a similar schedule, Christopher ‘MonteCristo’ Mykles, commissioner for Flashpoint, has deflected comparisons with other tournaments.
According to him, the tournament will be deeply focused on its storylines with a clear investment on content production, having sent film crews all over the world to record videos similar to mini-documentaries about the various players in anticipation for the event.
The Mistakes of Flashpoint 1
The previous season had come under heavy criticism for featuring a much lower level of competition than one of its parallels, its confusing format, and its very clumsy transition to online play once the pandemic took over the United States.
It also involved its fair share of Twitter drama when Duncan ‘Thorin’ Shields, the league’s Creative Director, attacked the CEO of Astralis, Nikolaj Nyholm, claiming that the Danish organisation went back on their word and betrayed Flashpoint by joining their rivals at ESL Pro League.
This time, the organisers have been staying away from any social media wars, letting the storylines brew most of the hype for the event. But what are the storylines of each group?
Group A: New faces
Fnatic are not only the clear cut favourites to win the group but also the only team on Group A that hasn’t recently gone through roster changes. Dignitas, MAD Lions and C0ntact have all changed two players in their squads, with Flashpoint being the first big challenge for some of these line-ups.
Dignitas has gambled into two new Nordic prospects to replace their veteran duo of Christopher ‘GeT_RiGhT’ Alesund and Richard ‘Xizt’ Landström. MAD Lions has added a new In-Game Leader on Rasmus ‘hooxi’ Nielson and cemented their Danish firepower with Ismail ‘refrezh’ Ali.
Bearing almost no resemblance to the team with which they entered the Counter-Strike scene earlier this year, C0ntact is bound to either go big or go home, as the team has become a revolving door for talent, boasting little to no results up to this point.
Group B: Nothing to lose
Having peaked in the rankings earlier on July, the German side of BIG has every reason to top this group. But while the squad has an unmatched tactical edge compared to its peers, it should also have the most pressure to perform.
After a series of lukewarm regional results, the Russians of ForZe can still be a force to be reckoned with and will most likely be a sizeable obstacle for the likes of MIBR and Envy.
Envy will debut its most recent European roster, with most of its players being inactive since June. Having struggled to match the heights of their 2015 French roster, the most recent reincarnation of the North American organisation, headlined by Buğra ‘calyx’ Arkın and Thomas ‘Thomas’ Utting, has a solid chance to prove that the organisation still has a place in the Counter-Strike scene.
Same can be said for MIBR which, despite featuring three stand-ins, is relying on the momentum of an explosive BLAST Premier Fall performance where they managed to upset teams like FURIA and put a convincing effort against the likes of G2 and Astralis.
Group C: “Group of Death”
Group C is arguably the strongest group in Flashpoint Season 2, being packed to the brim with teams that could potentially make it to the grand finals. Virtus.Pro has been on a tear as of recently, with a flawless run at IEM New York CIS. OG could be seen as one of the top dogs in Europe, recently coming to form with online play, gathering some great results at IEM New York Europe and BLAST Premier Fall.
Featuring two last-minute stand-ins from Sweden, Gen.G is bound to be the least interesting prospect of the group. The North-American roster has been in shambles after part of their squad switched over to VALORANT, fielding a strictly temporary team with Richard ‘xizt’ Landström and Rasmus ‘kreaz’ Johansson.
Last but definitely not the least, Cloud9 will finally debut its ‘Colossus’, a six million dollar squad with clear intentions of securing the entire event, with their General Manager, Henry ‘HenryG’ Greer, defending that there will be “no excuses” for failure.