Season 2 is about to get underway for the recently established ESEA League and this seasons Invite division will have some of the toughest competition for North American Counter-Strike. Each team was hand picked and selected to be a part of this prestigous league composed of old and new faces of professional CS 1.6. Shaping up to be a possible rival in the near future is compLexity and EG.USA. As everyone remembers the announcement back in December that the previous compLexity.cs team would be transfering over to the Evil Geniuses brand with the exception of former captain Ron “Rambo” Kim. Rambo would be ultimately replaced with current EG.USA player Jordan “n0thing” Gilbert. Below is the list of teams that were selected for Season 2 of ESEA-invite.
North Stars United
Paragon of Virtue
I was able to speak with ESEA Owner: Craig “Torbull” Levine and asked his thoughts on the upcoming season and the selection process that went down when choosing the teams for ESEA-i Season 2. “We selected teams based on proven recent accomplishments, expected potential, and history in ESEA League Season 1. We wanted to make sure we had the top talent in Season 2 invite and it was decided on by a group of people within ESEA, including our league commissioner, Lateralus, our passionate and plugged-in admins, lpkane, and myself. I still love tuning in to watch a good CS match and given the lineup of teams we have for invite, main, and open across 1.6, Source, and TF2 I am expecting a VERY exciting season. We came a very long way from Season 1 to Season 2 in a very short amount of time and we’re all planning on this being just the beginning of something great.”
ESEA-i Season 1 was filled with excitment throughout the entire competition and the finals were nothing short of breathtaking. The former JMC now compLexity.cs took on X3O in a grueling match that would capture the first ever season of ESEA-i. However, in the end X3O was able to upset the recently returned CGS allstars 16-3. Both organizations, as well as a 10 other clutchtastic teams have been invited to what promises to be one of the most exciting competitions that Counter-Strike 1.6 has seen in years. With over $7,000 in prizes for this season and over 60 professional 1.6 players it will not be something you want to miss.
Below you will find a break-down of a the top contendors that were chosen to partake in Season 2 of ESEA-I.
EG.USA – fRoD, Warden, Storm, n0thing, Hanes
What can you say about this roster that hasn’t already been said. EG.USA looks to have a dominant lineup on their hands with all-stars from the days of the CPL and the CGS, now making their comeback from CS:Source to 1.6 competition. They had a very impressive showing in their opening match against their organizations opposite Canadian team – EG.Canada. But fell short recently against X3O in the 2nd part of CEVO-P Week 1. In an interview with Warden, he admited that since coming to Team EG, the team’s practice hasn’t been exactly top notch. If you look at the teams they’ll be facing in the coming weeks it will definitly take more than just a half-ass approach if they want to maintain the hype and be champions this season.
compLexity – Volcano, zid, Sunman, Da Bears, method
With new faces, new owners and a new attitude – CompLexity is looking to break down the walls and come out fighting to show the haters and doubters that this organization is here to win. Forming under the JMC banner, the team has had a really rough start from the beginning. After a medicore showing in the CEVO Pro Placement Tournament the team is looking to re-establish itself in CEVO-Main as well as ESEA-I. As one of the only teams not in CEVO-P, compLexity is looked at as an underdog and has a lot to prove. With exceptional improvement since the Pro Placement event, everyone’s eyes are looking on to see weither compLexity will exceed to the top or fall to the bottom.
MoB Gaming – s0nny, StrikeR, Foogz, DAFF, Habibi
With a mix of Carolina Core and 2 Veterans we have the 2009 roster for MoB Gaming. In a recent interview with MoB Captain, Foogz mentioned that the team has been in intense practice since the demise of the CGS and is prepared to take top 3 in every competition. As with many of the teams in ESEA-I, MoB’s team makeup has been seen in the past and that will definitly play a factor to those with brand new rosters. MoB recently faced Frag Dominant and took a tough loss during the first week of CEVO-P action with a score 13-16. Only time will tell if this highly talented roster will be something to remember when its all over.
X3O – Ninespot, mehLer, savior, Hero, Irukandji
North American powerhouse X3O has been on a roll as of late. Winning the X3O Winterfest event at their own LAN center this past week with Gravitas Gaming in the finals and giving EG.USA its first official defeat in CEVO-P Week 1-2. Many considered X3O as Team USA of 1.6 when the CGS was active and they intend on keeping that title. X3O won a total 8 matches and 161 rounds during the Winterfest competition heading into ESEA-I as a Top 3 contendor. Will NickFitz’s boys withstand the pressure now that some of the old dogs are back?
eMazing Gaming – aZn, dEE, i0nz, m4gic, cbz
Previously playing for the zEx camp where some of best talent to ever grace the game of Counter-Strike has come from. Over the years, zEx has become a world-wide competitor and has the championship winnings to back it up. However, these 5 players have all seen top 5 placement at nearly every North American event that they’ve entered. The makeup of this team have been together nearly for 3 years so they’ve got plenty of experience playing with eachother. As the 8th team selected to take part in ESEA-I Season 2, they will definitly make it a goal to have everyone remember them as Number 1.
Gravitas Gaming – Goodfornothing, impulsive, thoMz, ben, Hostile
After a great 2nd place finishing to X3O at the recent X3O Winterfest, the team of Gravitas is looking to continue the punishment as they head into ESEA-i. In the first CEVO-P match of the season, Gravitas took on iDemise on de_inferno. After a hard fought battle that carried into overtime, Gravitas took the victory over iDemise 21-19. I got a chance to sit down with Ediz “goodfornothing” Basol to get his thoughts on the upcoming ESEA season. “It’s gonna be great to be in a league with all the teams coming back to cs 1.6. We’ll get to test ourselves against the best in the nation and I have great confidence that my team is gonna be at the top of this league.” He went on to add about playing the difference between playing in ESEA and playing in CEVO: “I think they’re both great leagues. The anti cheat systems have proven to work for both and I suppose since the prize money is pretty similar the biggest difference is simply the different maps we have to get prepared for in CEVO.”
In the end, all the participating teams have alot to prove. I truely believe this season of ESEA will be remembered as the comeback for professional Counter-Strike 1.6. Displaying the absolute best talent that North America has to offer. So get ready everyone… The excitment has only just begun!