Nel corso degli ultimi anni ci siamo abituati sempre di più ad una lenta ma inesorabile transizione che ha portato i Lineup dei team più forti Italiani ad una dimensione Europea. L'ultima edizione di ESL Vodafone Championship è la dimostrazione di questa evoluzione.
Molti storceranno il naso perchè tutto sommato i dominatori degli ultimi due anni, i Forge, hanno un Lineup composta da soli giocatori Italiani, ma questa è l'eccezione che conferma la regola. Se qualcuno si fosse però dimenticato, il core dei 4G quando ancora avevano tag TeS cominciarono il loro fortunato percorso con Valentin "SEMINTE" Bodea.
In tempi più recenti suscitò scalpore l'ingresso di Patrick "bodito" Boda nei WaterDogs e di Stefan "1mpala" Ailazyan negli Outplayed, con quest'ultimo che contribuì in maniera considerevole alla riuscita del progetto durante EIC Winter 2017.
Dopo di loro c'è stato un boom in termini di acquisti europei, con "una corsa all'EU" data dalla consapevolezza delle potenzialità in termini di skill individuale e supporto alla manovra di gioco che questi innesti riescono a dare.
Con l'ultima ESL Vodafone Championship, la Winter 2018, siamo ormai allo "stadio finale" di questa evoluzione e gli strabilianti risultati sono sotto agli occhi di tutti.
Se le statistiche della fase a gironi sono viziate dalle presenze saltuarie, in vetta troviamo comunque Juho "juho" Lampinen (GameZone) e Aurimas "bymas" Pipiras (LeveL One); come non ricordare poi l'importanza di Alex "Palm1" Palm (Outplayed) e Rasmus "Kreaz" Johansson (Rising Note) entrambi ormai veterani in suolo italiano.
Anche i playoff sono stati a marchio EU con i Rising Note che hanno chiamato, ed è stata una scelta fondamentale, anche Saif "Sayf" Jibraeel.
Usando la lente di ingrandimento non è stato tutto rose e fiori e a volte ci sono state diverse criticità a gestire il connubio giocatore eu in squadra italiana, ma il risultato finale è oltre le aspettative.
Finale come quella del Vodafone Theatre in cui è stato nuovamente ribadito quanto detto fin qua; nel podio dei migliori giocatori abbiamo Vladyslav "arch" Svistov (GameZone, che si è poi meritatamente guadagnato il titolo di MVP), Juho e Kreaz che hanno giocato due mappe ad un livello stratosferico.
Ed è proprio con i tre finalisti che abbiamo avuto modo di scambiare due parole in più:
Hi! Nice to have you here with us... First of all, can you please introduce yourself to the Italian audience?arch: Hello! :) My name is Vladyslav "arch" Svistov, i am 22, i live in Kyiv, Ukraine. In one week i will get my masters degree in Management and Marketing in Sports. I like to play CS, spend time with my family and friends, going out and listening to some good quality music.kreaz: My name is Rasmus "kreaz" Johansson and I'm from Sweden.juho: Hey, im Juho and i used to play for teams like Roccat, ENCE, IGame and Havu.You have played a lot of LANs, what is the best and worst thing that impressed you during the Esl Vodafone Championship?arch: the best thing was that staff of the tournament was really really kind to me and us, they helped in everything we needed before we get into the tournament and during it, so i was really impressed by it. Also, the venue was really good, Vodafone Theatre is a really nice place and the hotel was good. kreaz: the setting with the stage and the crowd is really nice, aswell as how professional the staff handles everything. Worst experience was the screens this time around.juho: I think it was pretty good lan overall but if i would have to choose something bad from it i guess it would be the monitors but that didn't matter too much for me anyways.How about the crowd? Did they make you feel comfortable?arch: yes, when i had sick kills they cheered a lot and i even heard that through the headset (even tho it was closed), so i really liked that crowd.kreaz: the crowd was really cool even though there are not a lot of people watching you still get a nice lan feeling.juho: to be honest i was so focused on the game i didn't even notice the crowd.What is the best thing that you will remember during your trip to Milan?arch: I will remember it because even tho I played many LAN tournaments it's the first time I actually got 1st place, and kept the trophy in my arms. Also i will remember it because it was my first time in Italy and because my teammates were really fun.kreaz: that the hotel was so close to the arena and how professional the admins were.juho: I guess winning the event!Time to talk about the Final itself! Did you expect a different game?arch: Actually, to be honest, I didn't even think about if we were going to win or lose before the game. We lost to them during the Regular Season and even tho I had many frags in that game I wasn't focused because i had the Minor Qualifier that day which I won. This time i was focused and did my best to win. I knew that the game probably would be close because they had some skilled players in their Lineup, but this time we were better.kreaz: didn't really have any expectations.juho: actually no, after the map veto I knew we were in good position to win if we just played with confidence.Who impressed you more?arch: well, juho had a really sick rounds. And as expected kreaz played really good but the Italian guys were pretty decent as well. kreaz: noone specific.juho: kreaz had many good rounds on both maps.What about the Org and your teammates?arch: our Org supported us during the tournament, I would like to thank them for this opportunity. Well, i really liked every person in that lineup. Simoz is a smart and really funny guy, he impressed me with his game-understanding, i am sure he is the best IGL in Italy. Morphiw0w and Fusion are both young and promising players, i think if they keep playing they can go far. And obviously Juho is a really skilled, experienced and good player, I really enjoy playing with him.kreaz: they're cool guys.juho: I think everyone in our team had their moments in the game and the Org was okay.What is your final opinion on the Italian CS:GO scene with your experience after a long season?arch: Italy got some promising players, the problem is their characters. For example even tho Forge didn't qualify for the finals i respect them because they are trying to keep same lineup for a long time. And thanks to such events the Italian CS:GO scene can become a big thing.kreaz: I'm not quite sure, I see that there are some talent in the scene that could grow out into international scenes hopefully. I think the people need to have a bit more "spark" for the game if they really want to succeed. juho: I think it's quite toxic actually, every team wants others not to succeed.Thank you very much for your precious time, now you can say whatever you want!arch: I would like thank Juho, Simo, Enrico and Alex for this nice trip, the organization GameZone, ESL Italy for this high-quality tournament, people that support me and of course you for this interview. Arrivederci!kreaz: thank you ESL & Vodafone for how well they organize and prepare for the event. It's really professional and we don't have anything such as this in Sweden. juho: I'm feeling thank you.Now a question just for Arch as he's the winner of the MVP award. Did you expect it?arch: Actually not, i didn't think about it and I expected Juho to get it :D But i had many good rounds during that game so i wasn't surprised when i got it.
Rinnoviamo ancora una volta i nostri complimenti ai GameZone per la vittoria della Grand-Final di ESL Vodafone Championship e ringraziamo Juho "juho" Lampinen, Vladyslav "arch" Svistov e Rasmus "Kreaz" Johansson per il tempo che ci hanno concesso e per lo spettacolo che ci hanno regalato nel corso di questi tre lunghi mesi di Stagione 👊