Top-tier Counter-Strike has seen a lot of love in recent times with a plethora of high-profile, big-money tournaments popping up all over the place, but what about the little guys? The teams outside the top six to eight teams in the country? Well, that’s where the Mettlestate Matrix Maverick Challenge comes in. Or as it’s going to be more affectionately known by us, the MMM Challenge.
Backed up by the stunning alliteration in the name, we were genuinely intrigued by the idea when we heard about it a couple of weeks ago.
The main aim of the latest offering from Barry ‘Anthrax’ Louzada and his team is to introduce new faces and up-and-coming teams to what it’s like to play in a top tier event. From the pressure of having your games streamed live, to the pleasures of being looked after as an invitee to said event, to the amazing reality of being able to win money playing video games.
“Sometimes you just need a chance and someone to believe in you.”
We couldn’t have said it any better ourselves, Barry.
Now, there is something that needs to be addressed straight off the bat, as it has been causing a bit of angst on social media over the last couple of days.
According to the event’s press release, the teams to be invited were to be ‘eight up-and-coming CS teams’ with the purpose of preparing ‘young gamers for the bigger tournaments; to give them a proper foundation to build upon; and to create that sense of pride and belonging when they get to the bigger tournaments hosted within the industry.’
Sounds fantastic, and it is, but problems arose when the teams were announced because one of the sides included was none other than Pulse Gaming, who are one of the VS Gaming Masters sides.
People were angry and confused about how the eight teams were selected, so we found out more from Anthrax.
“We took the bottom eight teams in our tournament (the inaugural Samsung Galaxy CS:GO Championship) as that is what our seeding is based on, and reached out to them to see if they would be interested in being a part of an amateur cup we were arranging.
Pulse currently is comprised of the old WRG Aspire team, a team that came last in the Samsung Galaxy CSGO Championship. They were the lowest seeded team as per Mettlestate seedings. As a new organisation in the industry we are creating our own seedings and another organisation’s ranking system does not dictate how Mettlestate ranks their teams.
At the moment there is a very fine line between professional and amateur. This year with there being more than one event organiser and each of them with their own ideas, it is a fresh canvas from Mettlestate’s perspective.”
Hopefully that clears it up for you guys as much as it did for us. Yes, it might seem strange to have a Masters team in an amateur cup but, if we really think about it, it would be equally, if not more strange for Mettlestate to base their decision off of another organisations rankings when they are trying to forge (GLHF: This pun is probably going to be used in every article we do about Mettlestate. You’ve been warned.) their own path.
And let’s be honest, VS Gaming’s ranking system is by no means perfect. Getting a group of well-known MGOs to sign a deal to be the top MGOs in the country for a year does not make them the top MGOs in the country for a year. There needs to be more fluidity.
With that out of the way, let’s move on to the tournament itself. The qualifying round will be a round robin, and at the end the top two teams will be flown up to Johannesburg for the LAN finals, where they will be treated to all the bells and whistles you’d expect from an elite event.
The idea behind this, Anthrax tells us, is to give everyone the best opportunity possible of reaching the final and making sure the best two sides get there. However, after the round robin the magnanimity ends, as the prize of R50 000 hardware vouchers from Matrix Warehouse, a spot at the next Mettlestate CS:GO event and a full social and branding make-over are all going to the winner.
That’s right, second place gets nothing other than a free holiday to Joburg, but let’s be honest, who would go to Johannesburg on holiday unless it was free. Cape Town on the other hand… that’s a entirely different discussion.
As it is an amateur cup, Anthrax promised us some new faces in the commentary booth, but also said we’d see familiar ones to help steer the ship. Unfortunately, none the entrants to their CASTAR competition will be in the lineup as it will not have been completed by the start of the event. However, Anthrax did give us some insight into the entrants they’ve had so far.
“There have been a few entries, and they all have talent. I take my hat off to them for putting themselves out there and trying, as it is not something that is easy to do. Keep them coming!”
It kind of sucks that the announcement of the teams for this event was marred by drama and controversy, but hopefully we’ve managed to clear some of that up. If you have any other questions you would like to raise with them you can drop them a line at firstname.lastname@example.org for a full breakdown of their selection criteria. While you’re at it, maybe try get some info about Mettlestate’s next major event because they wouldn’t tell us anything.
The idea behind the tournament and giving new teams and faces a shot at the big time is awesome. We’re looking forward to seeing this fresh blood testing their mettle and thoroughly hope this is the start of a new stream of grassroots events to challenge the likes of the ACGL, who’ve been holding the torch in that department on their own for far too long.