Bravado Gaming has announced Project Destiny. Join me as I wax lyrical about their prospects and South Africa’s opportunity to make a mark on the international scene.
What does Destiny have to do with CS:GO?
If you’re thinking about the Activision grind-a-thon and its sequel, absolutely nothing. Wednesday night’s revelations from Bravado on what exactly Project Destiny is made it clear that it’s all about CS:GO. Bravado Gaming will be relocating their CS:GO roster to North America from February this year to play in the ESEA Season 27 Main Division online. It is, of course, a huge story for Bravado and South African esports in general.
If we hope to be able to compete against a high level of international opposition, we need to playing against them regularly and this is a great stride in that very direction. All the while a Bravado Academy team will be competing in local competitions, so the famous Bravado name will still be represented in SA competition. I’m sure you’ll join me and the rest of the SA esports community in wishing the boys in blue the absolute best of luck!
ESEA Main and BVD
I had a look at the level of competition that Bravado will be likely to face in ESEA Main. I have never heard of any of the opposing teams. This probably bodes well for Bravado’s prospects of promotion. They were relatively competitive against the next tier of opposition from the ESEA Mountain Dew League at the LAN Finals of Season 23 in Los Angeles January 2017. South Africa’s ESEA league at the time allowed teams to play at the MDL LAN but has since been reduced to the title of Open, which no longer qualifies SA teams for the LAN.
Bravado was able to beat a depleted Team Solomid in the group stages but was destroyed against eventual finalists LDLC and the overall champions Rogue. This experience should stand them in good stead against the somewhat lesser opposition in ESEA Main. I do however believe this lineup is more skilled and cohesive than the team from a year ago as well.
The hard road ahead for BVD
If they can earn promotion to Mountain Dew League, they will face the next tier of competition. Teams currently in the league like Rise Nation have shown some good ability on the international stage, while former iBuyPower prodigy Braxton “Swag” Pierce’s GX would also pose a challenge. Of course, that could all change before they gain promotion. The point is, it will be a good test of their progress since early 2017 when they struggled at this level against the best teams in the division.
The next step up from MDL is ESL Pro League which is the highest level of competition in the world in terms of online leagues. While the American division is slightly less stacked in terms of tier one teams as compared to Europe, it is still packed with incredible teams. The world’s current number one roster, SK Gaming, are among them. Cloud 9, Team Liquid, and Renegades are all incredibly scary opposition. If Bravado makes it here, they will have truly proven themselves on the international stage. It will indeed be an incredibly hard road to travel, but one that will ultimately make or break the South Africans.
They will, of course, be looking to qualify for other competitions like the various Dreamhack Open LANs, iBuyPower Masters, ECS Development League and Northern Arena to name a few.
Africans play CS:GO… LUL
Until a South African team actually succeeds at an international tournament or league in more than a single match, our country’s’ efforts in CS:GO will continue to be overlooked and ignored by the international community. ESEA Main is online and is a lower level competition. Until we reach the top leagues, the international audience won’t care. The usual tired old comments like, “LUL, Africa CS” and, “At least they have good terrorist sides” will always show up on Twitch chat until we make the international scene take notice by attaining notable victories.
By notable victories, I specifically mean beating teams in the tail end of the HLTV Top 30 Team Ranking on more than one occasion throughout a tournament. Preferably without suffering humiliating blowout losses as has so often happened on overseas excursions for SA teams in recent years.
Notice me Senpai
Brazilian team Kabum (the team that became current SK) put themselves on the map by convincingly beating fan favourites Cloud 9 at MLG Aspen in 2015. Prior to that, they’d never won a map against a high tier opponent. This was only their second international event after tanking at ESWC 2014. That one victory had a major impact on them. It inspired a crowdfunding campaign that got them to the Katowice Major qualifier that year. They qualified for the Major and the rest, as they say, is history. An illustrious history that includes two Major championship titles only a year later. Interestingly Energy eSports were at the same ESWC 2014 that Kabum were at. It only takes one incredible result to elevate the profile of the team and therefore the entire scene.
While a massive victory of that kind would be tremendous, it is a little unrealistic expecting something similar. In the upcoming World Electronics Sports Games (WESG) Finals, depending on who qualifies, an SA team are not going to beat Cloud 9, fnatic or s1mple’s Team Ukraine. It’s not even a stretch. It’s lunacy to suggest. The level of opposition BVD will face in ESEA Main are not anywhere near the level of these teams.
For the first time since the previous WESG Shanghai 2017 which Bravado attended, an SA team has the chance to put SA CS:GO on the map at a LAN event. So how do they do it? The notable victories. Let’s look at a few good potential scalps for whoever makes it.
Bravado’s old nemesis Space Soldiers who just qualified for the New Legends Stage at the Eleague Major. That’s a good one. PGL Krakow Major quarter-finalists BIG would be a talking point. Or 2017 WESG Champions turned depleted husks of their former selves, EnvyUs. Those teams have storylines attached to them that would make people sit up and take notice of a team from little old South Africa. Beating teams like these and seeing off the lesser opponents in their group would make the world…well, they’d still say, “Africa CS, LUL”. Now, however, it would be a term mocking the teams that lost to us. Which means African CS wins in the end. When you’re in the collective consciousness of CS:GO fans, your chances of playing in international tournaments increase immeasurably.
The actual matchups in China are of course to be confirmed still. The object of this was more to give a better idea of the sorts of victories that would raise the profile of the SA team and the scene at large. WESG is a tremendous opportunity. I hope the South African team that wins will take it with both hands and get some results.
Time to succeed
South African CS:GO has two huge potential scene-defining wins on our hands with Bravado in the USA and the WESG World Finals. I know our boys will do their best not to waste it.