June 18, 2024

In this column, the author will talk about the state of the Mindanao region from time to time. The topic will be within the context of Mindanao’s impact in Philippine CS, as well as a context that focuses on the events that happen within the region.

So, the first major Mindanao tournament (read: tournaments with P30,000 and above) has been concluded a couple of hours ago, with Zamboanga’s Metronoia CS:GO getting the title over erstwhile rivals DakingZ, 3-1.

It has been a great tournament, with many of the “Mindanao-listed” teams attending…and displaying amazing battles of skill and strategy yesterday.

Once again, the Davao-based teams, as well as the eastern-based sides did not attend the tournament even though only DakingZ and Metronoia were the “upper-tier” teams that appeared in the Level 21 CS:GO tournament. It could be explained by the fact that the “tournament” was far away for them to be able to make an appearance, though it is just conjecture on the part of the author at this point.

Regardless, this tournament has been a good barometer to measure how Mindanao teams measure up against each other. Here are the highlights:

Metronoia Holding On

The Metronoia team. Oops, someone’s head was cut off.

Metronoia didn’t play with the lineup that won top eight during the first season of Extremesland Southeast Asia B5 Elite Cup. Instead, they played with two different members and the team was visibly shaky before this tournament.

However, they proved everyone in Mindanao wrong by winning the bloody tournament in style, only losing to Zamboanga City’s other powerhouse (ZCORE) in a 9-16 loss on Overpass and the second map of the grand finals to DakingZ, 8-16 on Inferno.

Yet, there’s more to this.

Usually, Mirage is known as a notorious pocket pick for Metronoia, even among teams who play from Luzon or Visayas – thus, they pretty much decide to avoid it in the second pick phase if the Zamboanga team didn’t get it first. For those who don’t know, the Zamboanga team prefers to ban Nuke and Cobblestone, though they’ve shown that they can play these maps decently in the past.

But then, DakingZ held strong, giving Metronoia the full 30-round treatment before losing their last chance in a post-plant situation on the A site.

Meanwhile, Overpass and Inferno used to be strong second-phase picks for Metronoia, regardless of whoever picks those maps in the region. The Zamboanga-based team lost their matches only against proper Overpass (Luzon-based teams, for example) or Inferno teams (pretty much every team with a better map pool/who plays at the higher levels).

But this is not the case now, as Metronoia kept on relying on their bread-and-butter picks, namely Cache and Train, throughout the course of the tournament.

Metronoia has to get back their mastery of the map pool, as well as to refine their coordination in a better way – Inferno against DakingZ has shown that there are some things that need to be fixed in this department.

DakingZ to the Top

They are indeed among the kings.

Winning Nuke against ZCORE? Winning 2-0 against ZCORE?

Not many teams in Mindanao can claim that. DakingZ have shown their class yesterday, despite their loss to Metronoia twice (once in Cache during their upper bracket series) and of course, in the grand finals.

Teams should watch how they dismantled Zamboanga’s “Good Old Team” on Inferno…as well as their survival on Nuke.

Despite their disqualification from the TESL Grand Finals, DakingZ have proven that they are still one of the strongest teams around in the region.

In addition, DakingZ have finally found a home map in the form of Inferno, winning their matches on it against both Zamboanga teams.

Now, if only DakingZ can expand it to something like Mirage (which will happen soon, considering that they gave Mindanao’s ‘Mirage Specialists’ a run for their money) and a map like Train or Dust 2, they will be harder to beat.

Give them time to develop their map pool and strategies and they would be a scarier team in the future. They already know how to run very good setups on Inferno – and it’s not that easy to read them at all.

Once they have three home maps and add something like Overpass as their pocket pick, things would indeed change a lot in Mindanao.

ZCORE is Back

They are back.

Apart from their defeat in the lower bracket finals against DakingZ, ZCORE have more than proven that they are back in the scene for good.

They posted convincing wins against G7-Freedom Fighters and Bismod from Iligan before losing to DakingZ. That’s some respectable games out there.

Now, if only they start joining tournaments like B5, Mogul Arena and (the Havoc Minor)…that should serve as good practice for the upcoming big-ticket tournaments later this year.

What is Next?

If Mindanao teams can solve their roster problems…

Here are the tournaments that are available for Mindanao-based teams at the moment:

  • Mogul Arena (Needs VPN though, servers are laggy)
  • B5 CSGO CUP (Many teams, good luck winning here)
  • Havoc Minor (Just go to their FB page and join)
  • ESEA (If you can afford the premium fees, best way to win and get experience)
  • G7 Cup (Still in the works at the moment, not sure if this is going to happen)

WASD and Esports Arena are also reported to create tournaments exclusively for Mindanao teams, though the strict rulings enacted by these organizations ensure that the barrier for entry is extremely high (read: stricter than those implemented by ESL, DreamHack and ESEA). However, if the teams would be able to address these requirements, then they would be able to find something that is worth it (read: high prize pools, decent tournaments at their worst and good opportunities for career advancement).

In addition, Esports Arena is planning to conduct open tournaments for local teams, though the rules aren’t yet certain at the moment.

Finally, to end the year, Metronoia Cyber Cafe (the parent company of Metronoia CS:GO) will conduct their Pro CS Cup (at this point, they are the company that did the highest prize pool and tournament reach in Western Mindanao).

So…that’s at least eight slated tournaments for Mindanao teams, not to mention the various ones that come up every now and then!

This sounds like a very good year for Mindanao CS:GO…even though the region still needs to improve a lot. But at least, the number of tournaments and opportunities (read: sponsorships, grants, exposure, money, etc.) allow teams to advance faster through the ranks.

Until next time!

The author is currently the media coordinator of WASD Philippines, as well as its Editor-at-Large. He also writes for CSGO2ASIA, which serves as one of the centers for CS:GO in the Asia-Pacific region.

He is also currently a consultant for Metronoia Cyber Cafe, as well as a teacher, creative writer and tons of other stuff.

Links to his current writeups can be found in the “Other Works” section of this page.

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