Another week, another big Counter-Strike event, right on the heels of the Major courtesy of ESL’s unquenchable thirst for calendar spot. Though Dallas had no chance to match the prestige of what we’ve just seen in Dallas, it still provided some good CS and many interesting storylines to dissect below.

NA CS is still in deep shit

Not only did both teams fail to make the playoffs on home soil, but they also failed to win a single map against European opposition. Liquid’s wins came over Imperial and MIBR before bowing out to Cloud9 while Complexity got absolutely trashed in their two series. Where are the inspiring players, the future potential? It’s a desert landscape, nothing more.

G2 are brittle. More at 11.

Just what else is left to say about this lineup? Their mental fragility is clear for everyone to see. Like late-stage Wenger’s Arsenal, any lead is assailable and they can be bullied off the map. Tilt and fear and a lack of cohesion led to a spectacular collapse against FURIA in the quarters, and you have to wonder just how much longer can this ultra-expensive squad last in the pressure cooker they’ve created for themselves.

FaZe suffer the same post-Major hangover as (almost) everyone else

Did you know that all but one of the Major-winning teams failed to win the subsequent event they’ve participated in? Perhaps let’s not ring the alarm bells yet because karrigan & co. fell short against a Cloud9 side that seemed to have a date with destiny.

Outstanding individual performances by the boys in the sky blue jerseys fueled their ascent to the top in Dallas, something that may be difficult to replicate. This is the first blip on FaZe’s radar since they’ve picked up ropz – it’s probably too early to draw conclusions from this.

ENCE and Snax, oh my!

Clearly the biggest storyline of the tournament, seeing Snax in elite CS:GO matches again was a treat even for the skeptics in the audience. The big man rolled back the years in a hodgepodge setup, both raising his own profile and showcasing the strength of ENCE’s setup. Even without the Cinderella ending, you could easily see a struggling team take a punt on him.

It’s all a matter of roles: replacing a support player with Snax completely destabilized a promising mousesports side, and he was clearly given a lot of room and deference during his stand-in session here. The same needs to be taken into account for any prospective team.

FURIA get further and further from fulfilling their destiny

Can this team ever win a big international title? Is the potential still there? Clearly the best South American team by a long shot, and one of the few that can reliably challenge the big European sides, it seems less and less likely that FURIA with their unique style and interesting players can make it all the way to lift a trophy. It is a real shame.

MOUZ and Vitality remain uninspiring

Both teams bigged themselves up at this event, only to faceplant at the earliest hurdles. At least Vitality has the raw talent to give fans hope, but what is there for MOUZ fans to look forward to? It’s no coincidence that many have called this the blandest and least inspiring squad in recent memory, despite the individual talent of the players promoted from their academy side. The competition’s only getting tougher as the year goes on and both of these teams have a ton of catching up to do.

NIP fans don’t deserve to be stuck in this limbo

Just announce something already! The deafening silence of the Ninjas makes the dev1ce debacle all the more horrible. It’s getting less likely with each passing day that we’ll see the devve-Brollan-REZ trio in action on the servers, but surely all this uncertainty is wreaking havoc on the team’s internal dynamics as well. Even if their losses came against the eventual semi-finalists, this result has to go down as yet another huge disappointment.

Speaking of which…

Astralis reshuffle on the horizon?

Maybe, just maybe, the prodigal son will return home. He’d be returning to a very different Astralis side, especially if valde’s rumored arrival also comes to fruition. The team still needs a more solid foundation (and perhaps a better AWPer) to challenge, but past examples in professional CS have shown that the old flames are almost impossible to rekindle after this kind of an extended absence.

Production woes continue as we slowly return to LAN

Geez, the sound mixing was rough in the first portion of the event. So much of it felt sloppy, from YNk’s audio nightmares to the quiet crowd in the early playoff days. Toss in the Hawka-Dinko pairing for the B streams, and you can see why the whole thing felt like the second string of talent on show. Same goes for the desk host: it’s probably just me, but stunna’s shtick of using non-sequiturs disguised as wordplay to switch subjects gets grating real fast.

BIG: perhaps the toughest team to pinpoint right now

Just what’s the ceiling of this squad? While we’re at it, the heck is their floor? Ranked between Imperial and Outsiders coming out of the Major, they beat FaZe at the RMR and failed to make the playoffs at the real deals. They got tonked at Pro League and now made the semis in Dallas. Anything is possible when you’re watching this team – great stuff if you’re a neutral, less so if you’re a fan.

Photo credit: HLTV (theMAKKU)