Say what you will about Flashpoint’s conduct as a tournament organizer – and the fact that they are 0 for 3 in the “running an event without controversy” bracket would suggest they shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near the RMR circuit in the near future – their monumental fuckup with NiP’s match at least gave us a top tier team to hate-watch, which we’ve been missing for a very long time.

Flash in the pan

Who was there to dislike for the neutral in the CS scene, a team you love to hate and want to actively root against? Astralis were so good the only thing you could bring up against them was that they bored you to tears with their excellence – or if you were so inclined, maybe complain about their org.

FalleN’s MIBR with their many antics? They were already halfway down the slide by the time they truly ratcheted up the annoying behavior. ENCE and allu’s Among Us simulation? Again, it’s tough to truly hate a side that is toothless at the tail end of top-tier competition. You’d have to go as far back as 2015 to find the olof-infused Fnatic as a genuinely frustrating champion with in-your-face antics both in- and outside the servers.

To some extent, NiP reclaimed this mantle for the Swedes as their contentious match with Anonymo cast them as the big bad bullies aiming to stamp out their minnow opposition with tools outside the server once those inside failed to deliver. Now, I’m firmly in the #nipdidnothingwrong camp for this particular story. Though every party involved could clearly use a PR and social media course and the whole story would have been a lot clearer had everyone decided to hold their fire on Twitter rather than chirping back and forth, the tournament organizers are the only ones here who clearly and consistently fucked up with their decision-making. Bardolph had it right:

From a baseline realist perspective, both teams are expected and understood to do whatever they can to secure an important victory, and even if you were to look part this axiom, you’d find that the players in the servers were a lot more reasonable about potential solutions than their handlers and the Flashpoint folks were. The game never would have gone to a rematch had they agreed on the mutually agreeable solution that was already present from the beginning, especially for event with a schedule as lax as this one. Propose a reschedule for the third map with the caveat that if the issue was actually on NiP’s end, they take a penalty, maybe even the full map loss. The end result would have essentially been the same, without all the drama.

It’s just one of the many avenues the TO could have taken to sort this matter out in a meaningful fashion. Inconsistent, opaque and slow when discussing the problem and the solution alike, the people behind Flashpoint have clearly established that they lack the clout needed to host the biggest of CS:GO events. (Think back to their previous two events and their myriad of problems plus, to some extent, the FACEIT London Major for further citations on this one.) It’s just a bit of added joke at this stage that they couldn’t even get Valve’s overtime rules right.

Remember the lofty promises of this project upon its inception? Turns out the Colossus was nowhere near the biggest mess C9 found themselves involved with in the Counter-Strike scene.

Love to hate you

I suppose there’s at least the fact that the new-look NiP squad is now seen as a villain by so many, adding a bit of extra spice to their matches for the foreseeable future. It’s easy to imagine some die-hard Astralis fans looking for this project to fail to begin with, and now a whole bunch of neutrals have joined this camp, fueled by a quite frankly irresponsible spree of premature reactions from so many of CS:GO’s supposedly elite tastemakers and commentariat.

That’s not to say NiP handled themselves entirely with grace throughout this affair (and Lord knows device would certainly benefit from a social media handler over at NiP as well), but the idea that the big bad ninjas strongarmed an ineffectual TO (who, lest we forget, were unwilling to even believe their packet loss issues in the first place) to take out their poor little anonymous opponents is just stupid. Again, returning to the realist perspective: Anonymo’s CEO, as is rational in a situation like this, pushed hard for a free DQ win against a prestigious opponent.

Still, the memes and the death threats are in – only one of those are acceptable and I think you can figure out which one that is –, and there can be no doubt that NiP are the new Colossus: a team built around a big-money move marred by controversial events and social media bullshit who many will try to tear down at any possible opportunity. Whether they’re better prepared for this (and can prove their worth in the servers) remains to be seen.

Still, it could be worse. At least they aren’t shat on the way HYENAS were – who, by the way, only followed in the footsteps of Cloud9 and others with this play for the RMR spot. The issue is the same in both controversies: when the rules are poor (or are poorly enforced), it’s not the cheeky pug team you should be aiming your ire at. Again, Bardolph had it right: it’s a clusterfuck.