It’s been a while since we’ve seen something like the HTC 2v2 Invitational, although Beyond the Summit’s foray into Counter-Strike shares a bit of the spotlight as far as unique CS:GO events are concerned. The 2v2 format used at HTC Invitational, run by PGL’s production team, pitted pairs of players from pro teams against each other. All of the matches were best-of-three series played in retake scenarios, and aim maps were used as a third map decider if necessary.
Eight teams attended the HTC Invitational, and the event used a standard GSL format, with two groups feeding into a four team double elimination playoff bracket.
This was obviously not your typically CS:GO event. Professional Counter-Strike has always been played 5v5, and the results of a tournament with a gimmicky format can’t really be used to assess individual or team potential.
That being said, the HTC Invitational was a breath of fresh air, and it’s becoming clear that the CS:GO scene benefits from unusual events like this one.
Star Players Are The Stars of the Show
HTC’s 2v2 tournament gave pro players a chance to showcase their indvidual skills and personalities in a laid-back, low stakes setting. With an abundance of superstar talent in attendance, fans not only got to see the biggest names in Counter-Strike clash in-game, but they also met outside of the server, with excellent desk segments that featured banter between pros, analysts.
There were some interesting story lines that played out at the tournament. We got to see how the young Danish talent of Heroic, niko and JUGi, stacked up against the more experienced Danish stars, with cajunb and aizy representing North. In the matchup between G2 Esports and Team EnVyUs, we got to see former French teammates face off as shox and kennyS battled Happy and ScreaM. We even got to see juliano and zAAz, the female stars of Team Secret, square off against the Old Boys Club.
Novelty CS:GO Events
Occasionally, members of the CS:GO community complain about over-saturation. There are too many leagues, qualifiers, and LANs to keep track of. While events like HTC’s 2v2 Invitational do add yet another event to the already crammed calendars of professionals, the unusual tournament format makes it stand out from the crowd. Fans get a chance to appreciate the game in a new light, and given the hyper-serious nature of CS:GO’s competitive scene, I’m sure that players enjoy the change of pace.
Events like these can be compared to all-star games or skills competitions in traditional sports. In the NBA, MLB, and NHL, there’s an all-star weekend mid-season where the best players form temporary regional dream teams and face off against one another. The MLB fucked up by making the all-star game have an influence on the World Series. But the NBA has it down, hosting a skills competition, three point contest, dunk contest, rookie vs. sophomore game, and, of course, the all-star game.
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1v1 and 2v2 tournaments, caster matches, and all-star games have all been done in CS:GO, but hats off to the organizers of the HTC 2v2 Invitational. They nailed it. The players got to have a bit of relaxed on-screen chitchat, and the casting and analysis was loose. It was pure entertainment on all fronts.
Normal CS:GO tournaments with the elite teams are still the best representations of the game, and the reason why it retains such a massive viewerbase. But unique and weird events still have value and can help to build the scene. They just add something unique to keep the game fresh for the casual viewer.