CS:GO News LIST

News, Updates, Releases & Announcements

News

Stay updated and find the latest news about CS:GO.


A Day at the Office

{STEAM_CLAN_LOC_IMAGE}/3381077/a2d9d274394f3e924827c0eae2db9155e1ffbc3b.png No reports will be filed, collated, copied or stapled this week. Six more Shattered Web missions unlock today and the office is definitely getting wrecked.

New Shattered Web Missions Unlocked

{STEAM_CLAN_IMAGE}/3381077/72d491220202e13d701c16c0ac1dd18054007d6e.png This week's collection of missions, Secret Agent Man, unlocks today! Grab your MP5-SD and quietly make your mark on Nuke. Earn more stars in a variety of game modes to advance your Shattered Web Operation Coin and reap the rewards!

Operation Shattered Web

Introducing Operation Shattered Web. For the first time in CS:GO, bring your favorite character into battle with all-new equippable agents. Earn rewards featuring the new agents, all-new weapon collections, stickers, graffiti, and more through a new battle pass format. Complete weekly Operation Missions in various game modes including Co-op Guardian and a new Co-op Strike Mission! See the rewards and learn more at the Operation Shattered Web page. Purchase the Operation Pass and start earning rewards today! Complete missions to earn stars and unlock up to 41 separate rewards. Haven't purchased a pass? All users can still play missions, participate in all game modes, and purchase a pass at any time to receive all rewards associated with your progress. {STEAM_CLAN_IMAGE}/3381077/d81306d2d9581df32202e9dcc2c8451797af091a.png Operation Rewards Characters For the first time in CS:GO, unlock all-new T and CT-sided characters equippable on any map. All-new CT Operators and T Agents are available as mission progress rewards. Complete missions and earn Stars to unlock them and equip them for deployment. Or equip the default Local Agent or Operator to use the pre-existing map-based characters. New Collections Earn rewards from the all-new Norse, St. Marc, Canals, and Shattered Web weapon collections. {STEAM_CLAN_IMAGE}/3381077/3ffc2128a483c8421020e052cbb646312522b8ea.png Shattered Web Knives Introducing four new knives in original finishes. Open a Shattered Web Case for a chance at one of four new knives, the Paracord handled field knife, the Survival, the Nomad, and the Skeleton knife. {STEAM_CLAN_IMAGE}/3381077/17d01b484bde64b5f848eb95172a6e79e036dc5e.png Shattered Web Sticker Collection Collect all-new Shattered Web stickers, featuring designs by daniDem, available only as rewards during Operation Shattered Web. {STEAM_CLAN_IMAGE}/3381077/1b3247fc87d38d7e98d02102d6e3c5bddca27059.png Missions Receive new missions each week. Complete missions to earn stars, unlock rewards, bonus XP and Operation Coin upgrades. Learn more at the Operation Shattered Web page. https://store.steampowered.com/app/730

Esports pros face same stress levels as football and rugby stars, new study states

Stress levels faced by top-level esports players are equal to those experienced by professional athletes. That's according to a new study from the University of Chichester, which looked at the psychological impact of major esports contests on those taking part. The study, titled Identifying Stressors and Coping Strategies of Elite Esports Competitors, will be published in the International Journal of Gaming and Computer-Mediated Simulations. Read more

Counter-Strike has characters now

For 20 years, Counter-Strike players have worn generic character skins into their minutes-long matches. In-game terrorist factions like the "Phoenix Connexion" or "Elite Crew" have fought spec-ops groups like GSG-9 and the SAS. Through the immeasurable repetition of CS, these drab default outfits embedded themselves in the identity of the game. With Operation Shattered Web, that's changing. "For the first time in CS:GO, unlock all-new T and CT-sided characters equippable on any map," writes Valve on a microsite announcing the update. "All-new CT Operators and T Agents are available as mission progress rewards. Complete missions and earn Stars to unlock them and equip them for deployment. Or equip the default Local Agent or Operator to use the pre-existing map-based characters." The new characters are unlockable, equippable skins, essentially. There are 22 of them, and Valve uses rarity-like descriptors like "Superior Agent" and "Exceptional Agent" to distinguish them. The highest tier are "Master Agents," like Lt. Commander Ricksaw or Special Agent Ava of the FBI. These four characters come with special voice lines and animations (presumably third-person, end-of-match celebrations, not first-person animations).  Shattered Web, CS:GO's first operation in two years, is $15. That's a bump from the $6 that operations like Hydra (2017) and Wildfire (2016) were priced at. These earlier operations mostly introduced new maps and modes to CS:GO, which Shattered Web also includes: Studio, Lunacy, and Jungle, each available in different modes of play. A package of new skins, stickers, and cosmetic graffiti are also available.

Workshop Update: Mac-10

{STEAM_CLAN_IMAGE}/3381077/d51fb263e01741a378f4d361e0ba107d3004d349.png The Mac-10 had some quality of life improvements made to the UV and cavity maps in the recent game update. These changes were made to correct the inconsistent wear patterns, fix factory new finishes with noticeable wear, and to make the projected texture easier to work with. These updates are now reflected in the Workshop Resources. If you have a Custom Paint Job, Gunsmith, or Patina Mac-10 finish posted to your workshop, we recommend that you update these finishes using the new resources. We also welcome contributors that have already had their Mac-10 submissions included in the game to update the submission if they notice any discrepancies after this update.

CS:GO container keys can no longer be resold because they were being used for money laundering

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive container keys, which are purchased with real money and used to unlock the game's equivalent of loot boxes, can no longer be resold. In other words, the keys will not be able to leave the purchasing account, thus making it impossible to sell them on the Steam Community Market. The reason? Valve has learned that they're being used to launder money. "In the past, most key trades we observed were between legitimate customers," the company wrote on the Counter-Strike website.  "However, worldwide fraud networks have recently shifted to using CS:GO keys to liquidate their gains. At this point, nearly all key purchases that end up being traded or sold on the marketplace are believed to be fraud-sourced. As a result we have decided that newly purchased keys will not be tradeable or marketable." The statement adds that while some (but clearly not many) legitimate users may be affected, "combating fraud is something we continue to prioritize across Steam and our products". Valve also notes in its statement that "pre-existing CS:GO container keys are unaffected–those keys can still be sold on the Steam Community Market and traded." It's a big deal to have Valve directly acknowledge that keys are being used for money laundering, and of course, it's not the first time CS:GO's reward systems have been used in shady ways. CS:GO skin gambling came under the spotlight in 2016 when two prominent YouTubers were found to be heavily promoting without disclosure their own skin lottery website. Valve gave chase, issuing more than 20 cease-and-desist orders against similar sites, but that didn't stop the Washington State Gambling Commission from getting involved. In response to looming regulation in France, last month a CS:GO update introduced a new X-ray Scanner for that country, which basically allows users to check the content of containers before they're unlocked. 

20,000 toxic CS:GO players banned in six weeks by FACEIT and Google's new chat AI

A new AI built to combat toxicity in online gaming has banned 20,000 Counter-Strike: Global Offensive players within its first six weeks, solely by analyzing messages in the game's text chat. The AI is called Minerva, and it's built by a team at online gaming platform FACEIT—which organised 2018's CS:GO London Major—in collaboration with Google Cloud and Jigsaw, a Google tech incubator. Minerva started examining CS:GO chat messages in late August, and in the first month-and-a-half marked 7,000,000 messages as toxic, issued 90,000 warnings, and banned 20,000 players.  The AI, trained through machine learning, first issued a warning for verbal abuse if it perceived a toxic message, while also flagging spam messages. Within a few seconds of a match finishing, Minerva sent notifications of either a warning or a ban to the offending player, and punishments grew harsher for repeat offenders. The number of toxic messages reduced from by 20% between August and September while the AI was in use, and the number of unique players sending toxic messages dropped by 8%.  The trial started after "months" of eliminating false positives, and it's only the first step in rolling out Minerva to online games. "In-game chat detection is only the first and most simplistic of the applications of Minerva and more of a case study that serves as a first step toward our vision for this AI," FACEIT said in a blog post. "We’re really excited about this foundation as it represents a strong base that will allow us to improve Minerva until we finally detect and address all kinds of abusive behaviors in real-time." "In the coming weeks we will announce new systems that will support Minerva in her training." Thanks, PCGamesN.

Counter-Strike and Overwatch esports teams under investigation by Australian police

Earlier this year, the first major investigation into corruption in Australian esports revealed allegations of professional Counter-Strike: Global Offensive players rigging matches. Last month, Kotaku Australia reported six Australians had been arrested in connection with the investigation, but were later released "pending further inquiries". Now, an ABC News report has revealed an Australian Overwatch Contenders team has found itself under fire also. Read more

CS20 Submission Deadline Extended

{STEAM_CLAN_IMAGE}/3381077/2a5730d07afb554db3469647374b2db0684ee9db.png The response to the CS20 event has been phenomenal! Although we're excited to sort through all of the great content that has been submitted, we realize some of you might still be putting the finishing touches on your submissions. So we're extending the deadline for submissions to October 7th. There won't be any more extensions, so make sure all of your content and changes are submitted by this date to be eligible for the event weapon case or sticker capsule. GLHF!

Watch the Berlin Major Championship

The final eight teams are ready for the Champions stage of the StarLadder Berlin Major at the Mercedes-Benz Arena! After a hotly contested Legends stage, ENCE and NRG finished 3-0, Vitality, Astralis, and AVANGAR finished at 3-1 while Na’Vi, Liquid, and Renegades made the cut with a 3-2 record. Watch live coverage beginning Thursday 6:00 pm (GMT+2) on Steam.tv, on the official Twitch stream, and in-game on GOTV to see which team will become the next CS:GO Major Champions.

Six CS:GO players arrested for alleged match-fixing in Australia

Australian police have arrested six Counter-Strike: Global Offensive players during an investigation into suspicious betting activity in an esports league. It's alleged that the six men, all between 19 and 22 years old, arranged to lose matches in advance and then placed bets on those matches.  At least five matches were affected during an unnamed CS:GO tournament, and more than 20 bets were placed on those matches by Australian punters. The six men, four from Melbourne suburbs and two from Mount Eliza, Victoria, face up to ten years in prison. They have been released pending further inquiries.  The investigation began in March after a tip-off from a betting company, and detectives continue to work with a number of betting companies, including Sportsbet, in relation to the case. Assistant Commissioner Neil Paterson said: "Esports is really an emerging sporting industry and with that will come the demand for betting availability on the outcomes of tournaments and matches. "These warrants also highlight that police will take any reports of suspicious or criminal activity within esports seriously, and we encourage anyone with information to come forward." Thanks, Kotaku.

Valve talks Steam China, curation and exclusivity

Valve, alongside its business partner in China, Perfect World, has given us an update on the progress of Steam China today, after both companies had been silent on the topic for over a year. Eurogamer attended the brief presentation, given by Perfect World CEO Dr. Robert H. Xiao in Shanghai, where a small number of local and international press were told the companies were "one more step closer" to launching Steam China, which will be separate from the international version of Steam. A handful of launch games were revealed, including Dota 2 and Dota Underlords. There were no actual launch dates or broader windows mentioned for Steam China itself, mind, nor a look at how that storefront may shape up or any details on its features, barring the fact it'll support VR, multiplayer games, interesting games with "innovative, creative ideas," and "single-player games with abundant storylines". As far as we could tell, none of the non-Chinese launch games had official approval just yet, either. In Xiao's words, "the Steam China project is undergoing solidly and smoothly" - but what is it, exactly? As it stands, Steam is actually widely available for Chinese players already. As of right now we've tested and confirmed it's possible to buy, download and play games through the Steam store in China as usual, with no issues - and no need for a VPN. Community features, such as discussion forums, are unavailable, but otherwise the platform as it stands still acts as a huge loophole in the Chinese government's strict regulation of games. Where it might take many months of admin and applications for a game to get through the approval process - if it gets through at all - or many revisions to a game's content to ensure it meets the various Chinese standards, that same game can already be bought and played in China, unfiltered, unregistered and unchanged, on regular old Steam. Read more

CS:GO map Workout removed from official matchmaking, two new maps added

The latest update for CS:GO is a significant one. Two maps have been added to the Defusal Group Sigma competitive pool, one of which is the popular Seaside map and the other a new one called Breach. Breach is, according to the CS:GO blog, "a defusal map set in a spacious corporate building". If you want to try the new maps they're in Deathmatch and Casual, and are also available as Scrimmage maps under the Competitive tab.  Scrimmage is a five-on-five mode which doesn't affect your Skill Group. As Valve explain it: "When you play a Scrimmage map all of the competitive rules are the same, but there are no restrictions on players in your party, and your Skill Group will not be adjusted or displayed after your match." On the way out is the Workout map, which will no longer pop up in official matchmaking. The Vertigo map has also been modified in some pretty significant ways including new approach to site B. For the full list of changes, check out the patch notes.

From Counter-Strike 1.6 pro to DreamHack COO, the rise of Anna Nordlander

Anna Nordlander started competing in Counter-Strike in 2003. Sixteen years later, she's the chief operating officer at DreamHack, the international esports company that started the event that changed her life. You slept on the floor and the prize pool was next to nothing. Anna Nordlander A lot has changed in the years since Nordlander's first tournament. Instead of Counter-Strike 1.6, esports teams are playing Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. Okay, that's not actually a big change—but with massive games like Fortnite and League of Legends and Dota 2 pushing esports forward, players are now competing for millions of dollars on massive stages, streamed to fans all over the world. And that is a different world than the one Anna Nordlander stepped into in 2002.  Back then, Nordlander spent all her free-time on Battle.net, struggling to keep her 36K modem signed onto the internet, battling off phone calls from unaware friends and family. "After living my days on Battle.net—chatting and playing with new people—there was no turning back. When I was 13 my brother introduced me to Counter-Strike and this was different and addictive in another way," she says. She joined her classmates playing Counter-Strike—mostly teenage boys—before they started organizing LAN events and competing as a team. "Being a girl was not a problem when I played with my classmates or other people I already knew, but online it was a different story," Nordlander says. Esports wasn’t as professional or mainstream back in the early 2000s. Tournaments weren’t being played in large arenas. There was little money involved. "You would often pay the travel yourself, or force your parents to drive you to a LAN in a small town somewhere far away. You slept on the floor and the prize pool was next to nothing." But there was DreamHack. DreamHack has been running for 25 years; it started in a Swedish school cafeteria in 1994. It operated first as a LAN party and grew from there, with tournaments and partnerships. More than anything else, it was a way for players spread across the country—and later, the world—to get together. Especially as a woman playing competitively, that was a big deal. "I was there for joining an all-female clan and in 2002, we attended our first DreamHack," she says. "DreamHack was like nothing I ever experienced before. It really was the promised land, and meeting everyone I had been playing with for so long is something that was really special.” Despite the lack of mainstream support for esports back then, the little communities built around these events were intimate, personal. Social media wasn’t a huge part of our lives. We didn’t livestream. Making connections was different, and finally meeting face-to-face was, too. "I’ll always cherish the golden age of World of Warcraft, Nordlander says. "When we did shoutouts at BlizzCon 2008, people could challenge us in WoW Arena, a lot of people would be very confident coming up to us, telling us ‘I’m from BG9, watch out.’ We didn’t drop a single game over two days and in the end, we had to give away all the prizes that people were supposed to win." (Back in the day, battlegrounds in WoW Arena were sectioned off into battle groups so that different realms could battle each other—BG9, also called US-Bloodlust, was considered one of the most competitive of the time.) Nordlander said the industry has grown dramatically since then, but the past five years have shown the most drastic changes. "Fortnite has been going more mainstream. I’ve seen grandmas flossing, and Drake, Zlatan and other more traditional celebrities playing and praising the game. From CS:GO to COO I m not afraid of going after something I want even though everyone tells you it can t be done. Anna Nordlander Now, retired from the competitive life, Nordlander has her hands in everything esports. As the COO of DreamHack, she's always on the move. It feels like there’s a new DreamHack event every week: DreamHack Summer 2019 was in June, then Valencia in July, Montreal in September. From there, it’s onto Rotterdam, Atlanta, Jönköping, and Sevilla. Sometimes she’s rolling cables to support the massive technical infrastructure necessarily in putting on events of this size. Other times she’s grabbing coffee to keep members of the team running. A lot of the time, she’s meeting with various industry people at events, and just keeping a general eye on things. "I really like to be hands-on and to learn new things," Nordlander told me shortly after DreamHack Dallas in early June. "It’s exciting to see how many interesting people are coming out to our events." The role of the COO is, naturally, in operations—coordinating departments, managing staff, and setting processes. Nordlander says the way she played games competitively helped prepare her for the job. "I think that optimizing workflows and processes to make them more efficient is something I’ve always enjoyed, but maybe in different forms. Already in the early Super Mario days, I used to play the same level over and over to perfect it." Nordlander began working with DreamHack unofficially in 2008 and 2009, organizing World of Warcraft events and covering the event for a Swedish national television channel called SVT, both behind and in front of the camera. At the same time she was working on three degrees at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm: a Bachelor of Science in interactive media, a Master of Science in human-computer interaction, and a Master of Engineering in media technology. After graduating college in 2013, she began working for a Swedish media company's esports division. In 2015, that company acquired DreamHack, as well as a large part of esports tournament organizer Turtle Entertainment, which operates ESL. Within two and a half years, she made her way from DreamHack product manager to marketing, where she built the festival series’ marketing department from scratch, to the job of COO. "I have honestly loved every minute of it, especially building my own team," Nordlander says. "I sometimes can’t believe I get to work with something I’m so passionate about, and, on top of that, at the company who opened my eyes to a whole new world back in 2002." An award ceremony at DreamHack Showdown Valencia 2019 Though DreamHack is an international event, it was born in Sweden. It’s where Nordlander was introduced to competitive esports. Sweden has a rich history in Counter-Strike; at the time of writing, Swedish players are ranked number two in the world for earnings in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, second only to Denmark. (Sweden is ranked at number one in Counter-Strike.) This is, of course, thanks in part to the country-wide infrastructure built up by DreamHack. Even at the start of esports integration in the country—when players were sleeping on the floor and winning little-to-no money—there were still compelling events that encouraged fans to compete. Nordlander says one of her favorite moments with DreamHack was a culmination of those things—her Swedish nationality and work in the esports industry. Her first project with DreamHack was DreamHack Masters Malmö 2016, and the first DreamHack event as part of the DreamHack Masters, a new series. The event was a culmination of months of qualifications, not the mention the work before that behind the scenes. Sixteen teams made it to the live event at the Malmö Arena in Sweden, among them the best of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive: Natus Vincere, EnVyUs, GODSENT, Dignitas, Virtus.pro, and Ninjas in Pyjamas. For the two fully-Swedish teams, Ninjas in Pyjamas and GODSENT, home soil was an advantage—until they had to play each other in the semi-finals. Ninjas in Pyjamas prevailed with a 2-1 score, but then they had to face the Russia/Ukranian team Natus Vincere. When it came down to it, Ninjas in Pyjamas won. "Having a Swedish team winning on home soil just made everything so complete, Nordlander says. "I actually shed some tears when the Ninjas entered the stage to a roaring Swedish crowd. It was just so beautiful. We worked so hard to pull off the event, and we couldn’t have wished for a better end." From here, the rest of Nordlander’s year is busy. Again: Sweden, Spain, Canada, Canada again, Sweden, Netherlands, Georgia, Sweden, and back around to Spain. All of these events are just this year, a schedule that easily demonstrates just how much DreamHack—with the help of Nordlander and the rest of the team—has grown from a school basement in a small Swedish town. "Being a girl playing games has also taught me to handle the kind of tough environment that can occur in this male-dominated industry, Nordlander says. "I’m not afraid of going after something I want—even though everyone tells you it can’t be done."

20th Anniversary Workshop Event

{STEAM_CLAN_IMAGE}/3381077/dabbbd7868082ec3bd39770af8bda5fe4191d39a.png To celebrate the 20th Anniversary of Counter-Strike, we would like to invite workshop contributors to create content for a themed Weapon Case and Sticker Capsule. The theme will be “Counter-Strike” itself, including all things CS-related, from the original Counter-Strike mod to Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. The weapon finish and sticker designs may be created in any style. We will need weapons for all tiers to complete the case, from Mil-Spec to Covert; consider this when designing your weapon finishes. All designs must be original with the exception of Counter-Strike logos or icons. To help sort these themed submissions, please tag them with "CS20" in the title of your submission to the workshop (e.g. CS20 | Finish Name). All previous submissions are eligible for the event. Just make sure to tag them so we can find them more easily. All submissions for this event must be completed and submitted to the workshop by September 19th 2019. The Weapon Case and Sticker Capsule will be released at a later date, after we have chosen which submissions will be included. All items submitted for this event will still be eligible for future releases. We have also released a new style guide to help with weapon finish creation, and hopefully answer any questions you may have about the process. The guide can be found here.

CS:GO's battle royale mode now has respawns and a ping system too

It's another day of innovation in the games industry, as the latest CS:GO update introduces respawns and a ping system to the game's battle royale mode. Update Sirocco brings some major changes to servers, and along with introducing a new desert-themed map (of the same name) it's adding a few mechanics which are becoming rather common in the battle royale genre. The new respawn system will allow players to resurrect "anywhere in the map" providing their squad survives. Players will have the option to either resurrect where they died or pick a new starting spot. To be fair to CS:GO, this respawn system seems a little different to the one used by Apex Legends - and then Fortnite - which requires squadmates to pick up their teammates' banner and carry it to a respawn beacon. If anything this sounds more like Call of Duty's Down But Not Out mode for Blackout, which similarly just requires squadmates to remain alive before allowing respawns (albeit with each new circle). Read more

The Native American Quinault Nation has filed a lawsuit against Valve over gambling

The Native American Quinault Nation in the state of Washington has filed a lawsuit against Valve, stating that it "does not have a license to operate, facilitate or otherwise engage in any form of gambling." While the Quinault Nation operates its own casino in Washington which is subject to heavy regulations from state and local government, its lawsuit alleges that Valve, which is also Washington-based, has an unfair advantage. The focus of the lawsuit appears to be CS:GO skins, which led to the Washington State Gambling Commission ordering Valve to halt the 'gambling' of skins through Steam, back in 2016. At the time, a Valve spokesperson made it clear that using Steam to run a gambling business "is not allowed by our API nor our user agreements," and that it had sent cease and desist letters to over 40 websites. Another lawsuit against Valve over gambling was rejected back in October 2016. This lawsuit, stamped April 3rd, alleges that Valve is "well aware of the skins gambling that goes on, is well aware that skins have real world cash value, which has increased their popularity and value, and actively encourages and facilitates skins gambling." The lawsuit is more than 20 pages long. You can read the details here on Scribd (via Geekwire.com). Under the section marked 'Declaratory Relief', the lawsuit says the following. "Quinault therefore seeks immediate injunctive and equitable relief to force Valve to stop offering the crate opening online slot machine game, to stop offering the crate opening online slot machine game until the Washington Gaming Commission can examine it to determine if it requires a license, to suspend and/or eliminate one-way trades to take Skins gambling websites' main source of Skins transfers from occurring, and to take other steps as ordered by this Court to prevent ongoing hard to Quinault and the citizens of Washington from illegal online gambling." The section marked 'Prayer for relief' then mentions "restitution to Plaintiff of all monies wrongfully obtained by Defendant". We've reached out to Valve for comment and will update if we get a response.

Update to Workshop Submission Process

With today’s Steam update, we’re making a change to the Workshop submission process to address fake item scams. First-time submissions to the CS:GO workshop will now require email verification before the item can be listed publicly. For those of you that have previously submitted Workshop items, you shouldn't see any change in functionality. Background What do we mean by fake item scams? If you browse the Workshop enough, you may have come across an item with an image of a rare skin, promising giveaways or free content. These items often contain phishing links that are used to compromise Steam accounts. Update to Workshop Submission Process In the past, our moderation team would review Workshop items reported by players. Fake item scams would then be deleted and our team would reach out to the owner of the account and let them know that their account is likely compromised. The problem with this approach was that some items went unreported for quite a while, allowing them to appear to players and get in the way of real submissions. New Process With today's update, Steam will send an email to the account owner when a new item is posted for the first time, asking them to review and confirm the item they just posted. If an item was posted without their knowledge, this email provides an easy path to recover the account and change their password. Our aim with this change is to reduce the potential for scams on the Steam platform, without creating unnecessary hassle for frequent Workshop creators. Let us know if you have feedback.

How Brazil fell in love with Counter-Strike

MIBR in a group huddle. Photo by Bart Oerbekke MIBR were dressed in their electric yellow synthetic jerseys every time I saw them at IEM Katowice. Even if this was your first Counter-Strike tournament, even if you were walking into an esports hall completely blind to the culture, the national allegiance of the six young men on stage was aggressively clear. On the Brazilian flag, that yellow symbolizes wealth; it lit up the uniforms the Brazilian soccer team wore during each of their five World Cup titles, too. Last year, when this team switched parent companies from SK Gaming to Immortals, they resurrected a familiar name: MIBR, Made in Brazil, sheathed in the same colors that have delivered glory to their countrymen so many times before. We want to represent our country, we want to make our country proud of us. Marcelo David According to Marcelo "Coldzera" David, a player who at times has been the best Counter-Strike marksman in the world, that christening was a no brainer. "We create a brand for Brazil. That's why we brought back MIBR, we want to represent our country, we want to make our country proud of us," he says. "To create a legacy. A Brazilian legacy." The first teams fielded under the MIBR name date all the way back to 2003, during the Counter Strike 1.6 days, a time when esports was still largely underground and punk rock. As a nation, Brazil was in the halcyon stages of an economic boom, and its citizenry was falling in love with first-person shooters. "Since I was young Counter-Strike was always in the LAN houses. It was a game that didn't require an extremely good computer at the time," says Augusto César, a fan swaddled in a Brazilian flag, in the IEM Katowice food court. "For us it was a very simple game to play." Two decades later, the country fields one of the best CS:GO squads in the world. The modern incarnation of MIBR captured a major title last year at the ZOTAC Cup, and five premieres and an additional major in 2017, under the SK banner. They represent a glacial power shift in the fabric of esports. Scroll through the attending teams at Katowice, and you'll see that between the Americans, the Ukrainians, and the French, MIBR is the only organization representing South America.  Coldzera playing at IEM Katowice. Photo by Jennika Ojala. You could feel it in the air. MIBR's success is an exception to the global rule. The fans know it, the scene knows it, and it summons up a one-of-a-kind passion. Katowice is a dinky Polish mining town at the southern end of the country, and the Spodek Arena is a communist-era UFO-like relic built in 1971 that serves hockey games and B-list festivals. Still, miraculously, the Brazilians showed up in droves for the boys. They dotted the seats and the outer hallways, and most, like César, brought with them their national colors. That makes sense; if MIBR is going to wear a patriotic yellow, then it behooves their supporters to follow suit. But their loyalty took on a different texture than any of the other esports organizations at IEM. Sure, the Danes root for the Danish wunderkinds in Astralis, and it was genuinely heartwarming to see the underdog Finns in ENCE make a deliriously joyful run to the finals, but MIBR are the only ones to literally emblazon what they're fighting for in their name. Brazilians hear that call no matter where they are. "I didn't play Counter-Strike for a while, I wasn't interested in it until Brazil started to get big. Like, 'Oh, Brazilians are really nice at this game, I need to play it too,'" continues César. "It's what got me into esports. Brazilian teams succeeding. I think most Brazilians are like that." One of the things I love most about sports—the local, tribal pride, and its corresponding politics—has always been de-emphasized in competitive gaming. The Overwatch League's home cities may be slowly changing that. Generally, teams take their identity from an overarching brand or sponsor—we pull for our favorites the way 14-year olds pull for LeBron, regardless of what team he's currently playing for. But MIBR is a different beast. The kinship is closer because of the sheer rarity of other Brazilian role-models in pop culture. Since 2016 the majority of the headlines coming out of the country have focused on either a beleaguered Olympics bid, a troubling presidential election, or mounting corruption scandals, but when Neymar Jr. joins Coldzera on Dust II, all of that fades away. Photo by Bart Oerbekke. We're always named as a third-world country, that we don't have any potential, so anyone who can change that misconception, in any sport, it's very important to us. Rodrigo Guerra "Brazilians like to cheer for Brazilians that could win. It happens in soccer and basketball, when we have a chance to win a trophy, Brazilian blood heats up. One thing we miss in Brazil is someone who can represent us and show our good side," explains Rodrigo Guerra, a journalist who covers MIBR for ESPN Brazil. "A few decades back we had a famous driver, Ayrton Senna, and everyone woke up at four in the morning to cheer him. Because he's carrying our flag, he's showing how we can be one of the best. We're always named as a third-world country, that we don't have any potential, so anyone who can change that misconception, in any sport, it's very important to us." I was left with one lingering question at Katowice: Why Counter-Strike? What is it about this game in particular that's found such a home in Brazil? Sure, you can catch a few stray Brazilian squads in DOTA, and fighting games represent one of the true international scenes on the planet, but when you look at League, or Overwatch, or StarCraft, you rarely find much star power outside of the European and East Asian strongholds. I'm not the only one who's noticed that, either. "Since the beginning of esports in Brazil, everyone was playing Counter-Strike," says Guerra. "StarCraft, or League of Legends, it's not natural to us." Everyone I posed that question to returned to the same core point. Counter-Strike was, and is, a fixture of the LAN cafe scene in Brazil, and its resonance in the games culture grew out from there. It just stuck. It's an answer that's about as arcane as anything else in the esports industry. I mean, why do South Koreans excel at StarCraft? A variety of historical accidents, that eventually coalesced into a national heritage and sense of ownership. This isn't an exact science. Coldzera, at least, is able to take a unique perspective, since he admits to me that he does keep a League of Legends habit during off-hours. "League and Dota are amazing games, but the difference between our sport and them is that they're more mechanical," he says. "In Counter-Strike, you have to factor in the randomness. You can kill someone blind, you can spray and kill one more. That's why the game is so great. Things can be going really good, and it can be destroyed in one round. It gives you adrenaline. That's why I think Counter-Strike is the best game ever."  Coldzera tells me he hears a lot of the same stories from people like César; Brazilians who loved video games, and loved their country, and were brought into the fold by the team's collective excellence. Coldzera himself has a great respect for the first incarnation of MIBR. Today, casters have even coined a term for the team's deliberate, slow-paced gameplay. "The Brazilian Style." You know you've made it when you're part of an institution. MIBR lost in the semi-finals to Astralis, the eventual champions. When you look over the roster, you begin to see the glimmer of change on the horizon. Coldzera is 24, and both team captain Gabriel "FalleN" Toledo and Fernando "fer" Alvarenga will be 28 at the end of the year. They are still young by every conceivable measure except for esports, and while Counter-Strike is generally more friendly to the stringent burnout problems compared to other games, eventually a new generation of Brazilians will need to take up the banner. It's a hope that MIBR welcomes with open arms. None of these players would ever give up their spot without a fight, but throughout the weekend, I noticed that they displayed a remarkable solidarity with FURIA, another Brazilian Counter-Strike team who made it into the qualifying Challengers bracket. ( #DiaDeFuria , they tweeted, just before Valentine's Day, during one of their first matches of the tournament.) Furia showed well, but didn't finish with enough wins to move on to the next level where they may have had a date with MIBR.  "They just need more experience. They have a long road, but they're on the right road," says Coldzera. "It's nice to see a new face for Brazil. … It's crazy to see how they every tournament." Given that MIBR is the effective stand-in for Brazil's national team, I asked Coldzera what it'd be like to someday go against a Brazilian team in a major tournament—to have the throne challenged by someone in their backyard. As much as he cares for the future of his country's Counter-Strike scene, would it feel any different when he was staring that future in its eyes? "That's gonna be nice," he laughs. "Brazil wins, no matter who wins."

The unlikely origin of Counter-Strike surfing

In my younger and more vulnerable years, I spent a lot of time getting shot in the head in Counter-Strike: Source. While there were many factors working against me - my age, my characteristic lack of dexterity, my (for the time) toaster-level PC, and my bargain-bin 200 DPI Dell laser mouse - I never let these disadvantages stop me from padding some lucky player's K/D ratio with my ill-fated MAC-10 rushes. When I would search through the list of servers for players of a similar skill level, I would come across a panoply of fan-made mods and maps intended to offer a respite from the endless dual grind of de_dust and cs_office, and I would occasionally take the plunge and sully my dad's hard-drive with these bizarre creations. Of these offerings, the most consistently-populated servers were always devoted to the act of "surfing," a fact that boggled my pre-teen mind. When I would connect, I would see long, sloped ramps to nowhere, curling and twisting through empty space towards an unknown destination. While my opponents seemed to slide across the slope with ease, I would hurtle into the abyss every single time. No matter how loudly I pleaded with my fellow surfers to explain the trick, they would hurl obscenities at me and tell me to use F10 to deploy parachute - a button which would, in fact, abort the game. (To be fair, it was pretty funny the first time.) Later in life, I eventually figured out that holding a movement key against the slope allowed you to stick to the path, and I embraced surfing and other such "trickjumping" as a fun palate-cleanser at the end of a long night of gaming. Charlie "Mariowned" Joyce is the apparent inventor of the first surf map for Counter-Strike 1.6. Joyce confided this in AskReddit thread where people revealed their "greatest accomplishment" that they can't bring up in normal conversation, and he was immediately mobbed by fans of his work, and surfing in general. "It was pretty overwhelming," he tells me. "I thought I'd just get a couple of people saying, 'hey, I remember surfing, that's cool.' Or maybe, best-case scenario, reconnecting with an old buddy. But it was way, way more than that." Read more

Valve doled out nearly six months' worth of bans after CS:GO went free to play

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive had one of its best ever months after going free to play, and a record number of VAC bans were doled out on Steam as a consequence. Over 600,000 accounts received VAC bans in December, with the first wave of bans happening days after CS:GO shed its price.  Spotted by Nors3 on Twitter, five waves crushed naughty players throughout the month. Hundreds of games use Valve’s anti-cheat system, which ostensibly (if not always in reality) detects cheats and automatically bans the account in question from playing on VAC protected servers, but after CS:GO went free to play, the number of bans sky-rocketed.  In November, only 103,743 accounts were banned, according to SteamDB. That’s around six times fewer than December, and it was a pretty standard month. The number of bans in a month has never broken 200,000 in 15 years, so it’s a significant leap to get past 600,000. The move to free to play and the addition of a battle royale mode drew the ire of some existing players, who then review-bombed the game. Things have settled down since the initial reaction, however, with recent positive reviews outweighing the negative ones.  Cheers, PCGamesN.

Cookies - This site using cookies to optimize the content. Clicking on the page, you agree to our use of cookies. Read more