Bravado Blazes New Trails
NEWS | Andreas Hadjipaschali | Counter-Strike | September 25, 2018
Since relocating to the US earlier this year, in order to align with the tournament schedules of the eSports world, Bravado’s Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) team has been drawing a lot of positive attention, winning tournaments and taking on the best in the sport. Most recently they participated in the Intel Extreme Masters (IEM) closed qualifier in Chicago after being invited to compete.
A group of South African gamers are showing the world what we are capable of, and opening new avenues for aspirant professional gamers to follow.
“This is a big deal,” said Tiaan Coertzen, the team’s coach.
We usually have to go through a strenuous open qualifier. Being invited means that we get to play one of the teams that had to fight their way through the open qualifier in the first round.
Alas, a conflict in schedules – the team was in South Africa on a break when they received the news – meant Bravado had to rush back to the US and compete the very next day on 23 August. Just as is often the case with other sports teams, the jet lag and shortage of time to prepare allowed the competing team to beat them. It didn’t help that they faced off against the highest-seeded team in the tournament.
Unfortunately we only had a day to prepare and fell short in the closed qualifier, losing out in the first round to the same opponents we bested in the MDL finals only a month prior to the qualifier. All the teams that stayed behind in North America made lineup changes and we’re practising hard during the player break, so we have some catching up to do now that everyone is back from South Africa
But it’s nonetheless a major achievement and demonstrates that the team’s star is rising in the eSports scene. Indeed, the invitation to the qualifier underscores this, Coertzen explained:
There is no application process to be invited. It’s all based off the teams ranking in comparison to the other teams in the region. We probably landed our invited by winning the latest season of the Mountain Dew League.
In July, Bravado’s CS:GO team won season 28 of the ESEA North America Mountain Dew League. They defeated US team Vision to stand tall among 24 competing teams and take home over $16,000 in prize money. Along the way, Bravado toppled the tournament favourite, Veritas, in the quarterfinals. The tournament victory boosted them up on the rankings, eventually drawing an invitation to the IEM qualifier.
Part of their success is due to Bravado’s determination and a winning attitude. The team practices every day as part of a gruelling schedule that also includes physical fitness and mental wellbeing. In the high-speed world of eSports gaming, even a millisecond can cause a game-changing mistake. This is why the team is based in the US, in order to compete against the best of the best at tournaments or in friendly matches called scrims. They take their careers seriously and bring that attitude to every event, even a last minute entry at IEM:
The goal is always to win and make it to the main event. Some unforeseen circumstances caused us to be ill-prepared this time around, but we will be back to our form soon enough and we hope to make it to a main event by the end of the year.
The IEM loss is not a blow for the team. If anything, it’s testament of the traction Bravado is gaining among eSports officials, competitors and fans. Locally the team regularly engages with fans and aspirant pro-gamers over social media. They keep an open door for anyone wanting to learn more about joining this fast-growing world.
In the meantime, they are preparing for more tournaments, including season 29 of the Mountain Dew League and qualifiers coming up in October for DreamHack open events. Making their country proud, Bravado continues to blaze new trails – be it overseas in the international arena or locally with numerous other teams, including the all-female Bravado Finesse. Supported by sponsors including Intel and Dell’s Alienware brand, these esports athletes are doing our nation proud.