Last weekend, November 8th 2015 saw CEVO LAN finals, an international tournament held in North America. Since their partnership with MLG, CEVO LAN finals has grown to the level of a legitimate international event. Their talent pool brought premier names in talent like Duncan ‘Thorin’ Shields, Richard Lewis, Henry G, and Scott ‘sirscoots’ Smith. The most notable teams in attendance were Na’vi and Virtus.Pro. On the North American side, CEVO lacked cloud9 and CLG, and in their place lie Team Liquid and Conquest. Conquest, a team with Shahzam, Daps, Rush, NAF-Fly, and Stanislaw, previously under the name Tempo Storm; Conquest was not seen to be on the same level of other top North American teams. At CEVO LAN finals, Conquest took down Team Liquid, who is currently ranked second in North America. Later in the semi finals, Conquest beat the Danish Dignitas in a best of three (1-2). That result for a team of Conquest’s calibre is excellent. Dignitas was previously ranked within the top 10, and have a far stronger LAN showing than Conquest. The other North American team in attendance, Team Liquid, performed poorly. They went 0-4 in maps against Conquest and Dignitas. Their hot streak from the Cluj Qualifier has settled, and one can now seriously question who reigns supreme in North America.
One may say that Cloud9 are the obvious choice of top team in North America; however, they have been highly inconsistent as of late; losing online matches to Enemy, 3sUp, CLG, Conquest, and Complexity. Taking consistent loses to lower ranked teams eventually eliminates the term ‘upset’ and simply shows the level that the team is currently at. For Cloud9, their next major tournament is the IBP CS:GO Invitational, a North American LAN taking place November 14th with a $100,000 prize pool. This event will put Cloud9 against other top North American teams, effectively deciding who currently has the form to succeed.
Later in November, Cloud9
will get a chance to compete against Europeans at IEM San Jose. Both IEM and IBP will show North America’s true colors in terms of domestic and international rankings. The instability of North American teams simply shows that the dust is not settled from the wake of the banning of former iBUYPOWER players which took place last year. Although unfortunate, it is reasonable to argue that if iBUYPOWER’s bans were lifted today, those players could easily regain their spot as a top two team in North America. North American team’s, although improved, still face many of the same struggles from the past. The scene as a whole has still failed to understand its full potential. There has still been no formation of a ‘super team’, no changed ideas about team meta, and little adaptation to European style. Perhaps there is hope for change in North America. Perhaps teams will form proper lineups to maintain results that are equivalent to their potential- but for now, North America continues to struggle to improve.