What We Learned From Fragadelphia
Fragadelphia 16 has just concluded, and with the $60,000 prize pool everyone came to play their best. With competition at such a high level throughout the whole event the story lines were crazy, and the Counter Strike was exciting.
NA Defend Their Territory
Coming into playoffs only five of the eight total teams still left in the event were from North America, which for such a homegrown event, and community is pretty alarming. The likes of Team One, ATK, and even the Norwegian team Apeks Rebels all flew out to American soil to try and compete with NA’s best and brightest, and they did more than just compete, for the most part they dominated. In the first round Team One dispatched Bad News Bears in a quick 2-0 series where the American roster was competitive in map one barely falling 19-17, but looked rather sluggish in a 16-8 loss on map two.
Strife faced off against Carpe Diem in an exhilarating three map series which saw Strife take it in the third overtime (25-23). Touch point was easily beaten by the European squad Apeks Rebels 2-0 in two 16-3 maps. ATK fought through Gaimin Gladiators in two close maps, eventually taking the series 2-0 as well with a 16-14 win on map one, and 16-11 victory on map 2.
Now in the semi finals Strife was NA’s last chance at defending home soil against the foreign threats of Team One, ATK, and Apeks Rebels. Strife played Team One in their semi final berth and looked out of it in map one being badly beaten 16-2, however the American squad wasn’t out of it yet. Quickly, they bounced back on map two winning 16-9 forcing a map three against the tournament favorites. Map three was competitive, but Strife eventually took the map and the series, winning 16-10.
On the opposite side of the bracket the South African org ATK faced off against Apeks Rebels. The Rebels were given their first dose of competition in the playoffs, but regardless of both teams playing great, Apeks took the series 2-0 winning 16-11, and 16-10, in maps one and two respectively.
The finals were ready and underway, with the North Americans facing off against the Nordic "invaders". Strife were in no way favorites to win this matchup, and fans were in fear of a non NA team taking home a domestic title, however Strife showed conviction in the finals. Strife took map one convincingly 16-9, and in a back and forth affair on map two Strife knocked out Apeks 16-12. In a series that could have gone either way, the homegrown CS:GO team Strife, saw themselves win the event, against all odds.
Strife The Underdogs
Strife came in with no expectations of winning the event, Strifes AWPer Keller “SLIGHT” Nilan stated in a post event interview that “Our goal was to win Frag, but I didn’t think it was in the realm of possibility.” Strife came into this event as a top team that was expected to make playoffs, but was seen as one of the more beatable tier two teams compared to the others.
With some controversy surrounding the team as of recently regarding the departure of Dylan “SATRUN” Finch, and the acquisition of Paul “aris” Wilson, they were far from favorites of the tournament. In spite of the odds being stacked against them, in regards to the fans, and the competition they took it all, and in patriotic fashion too. In an event that means so much to North American fans, seeing devoted and hardworking players take the win over outside teams is surely an inspiration. Strife is now ranked 49th in the world rankings (HLTV.org) and will surely be a team to watch in the future.
NA With No Dominant Tier Two Team
With Strife winning Fragadelphia 16 the question is: “Are they the best team in the region?” The answer is inconclusive as many teams in the region hold better records than them in the NA ESL Challenger League, which shows how tight, and competitive the region is. Although the likes of Party Astronauts were absent from the event, with the way Strife played they could have beaten any team there, which exhibits a high level of play from even the lower level teams in NA.
Would Party Astronauts attendance have made a difference, whos to say, but as shown in ESL Challenger League they’re the team to beat. NA CS is more exciting than ever with such high levels of play, and with many new rosters being built good things are sure to come soon for the region.
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