This year, Smilegate decided to give two slots to the Philippines for this year’s CrossFire Stars (CFS) finals, which is the premier season-ending tournament for international CrossFire.
The closest analogy that could be placed is that it is similar to the last CS:GO Major of a competitive year, with the CrossFire Global Invitational (CFGI) serving as a mid-seasonal Major.
During the local finals, Execration swept TNC, 3-0, all across Ankara, Black Widow and Sub Base. Mexico and Port were not played that day – yet, the scorelines (all maps ended at 10-8) were very revealing in terms of how close the matches were.
As a result, both teams are set to go to China at the end of this year.
Historically, the Philippines always reached the quarterfinals of every single CrossFire Stars final. As a matter of fact, the country placed within the top eight for most of the time.
TNC and Execration’s first order of business is to make sure that they go to the quarterfinals. As long as they are not placed in the same group, they have a high chance of making it to the playoffs stage.
Once they reach that point, they need to win best-of-three matches against many top teams in CrossFire; that team can come from Russia, China, Europe (they count the region as one country for the sake of this tournament), North America (same case with Europe) and Brazil.
TNC runs on the back of a combination of familiar names and fresh talent. Meanwhile, Execration can rely on their stars and cheeky strategies to win games.
In any manner, these two teams are extremely strong locally (they both beat Pacific.Macta along the way) and as such, they should have the skills and potential to be able to represent the country
Going into the map pool, Ankara used to be the weak link in the Philippine CFS map repertoire. With local teams stepping up their plays on that map, it is now clear that the country is more than ready to take on the international stage – given that both teams can play tuneups against teams from other regions before CFS happens at the end of the year.
Besides, if Pacific.Macta already did it once during the CrossFire Global Invitational (CFGI) during the middle of the 2018 international season, why can’t they do it too?
The only hindrance that Filipino teams may encounter is the fact that international teams play CrossFire in a different way. It takes experience and tons of trial-and-error in order to be able to properly read enemy strategies – and with both teams having players who played in different international CF tournaments, they are extremely familiar with that fact.
The Philippines is not just anymore among the strongest “non-Chinese” CrossFire regions in CFS. It has already gotten a championship – which means that every single team in the tournament would look forward to meet them in battle. This also means that there is no room for complacency or half-baked preparations this year.
This is a challenge for Philippine CrossFire. At the same time, it represents a big opportunity – who doesn’t want to see an all-Filipino final in CFS? That would be a big dream, but all dreams come with that starting step, right?
It can be safely said that the Philippines would have another semifinalist at the very least – and if the Philippine delegation steps up and plays to its maximum potential, we might see another team from the country take the podium and defy the odds to end the year with the country on top.
Interesting times incoming…