By now, literally everyone has heard of Bravado Gaming’s Project Destiny, they even spoke to Rob Forbes about it on 5fm. It’s an exciting time for local esports, but we couldn’t help wondering about the deeper impact of their departure.
It would be bad journalism not to explain exactly what Project Destiny is, just in case there are readers out there who haven’t heard yet. But, honestly, if the majority of 5fm’s listenership knows more about this thing than you, there is some serious nerd introspection (GLHF: Nerdtrospection?) that needs to happen.
In a nutshell, Bravado Gaming have packed up their CS:GO side and support staff and sent them on a great e-trek to the United States of America. Not for an event, not for a month, but for an entire year. Well for six months, and then another six months (GLHF: We did the maths, that’s a year.).
The dream scenario
It really is an incredible step for the local scene, but that’s been covered all the way to America and back already, so we wanted to look at it a different way. What impact will their absence have on the local scene they’ve left behind? We enlisted the wisdom of Michael ‘axtremes’ Harmse to find out more. And not one hat joke was made the entire interview.
“If they are successful, the best outcome locally would be that South Africa becomes a region that is recognised as a legitimate power within the Counter-Strike world and esports as a whole.
Rather than the incredibly sporadic SA qualifiers that are held for the occasional world cup-style tournament, I’d like to see SA as a region that is included in qualifiers for high-level tournaments regularly.
That way more teams and players get the chance to attend such competitions, which would elevate the quality of our play overall. Even greater would be teams like BvD or Energy being invited to the big international competitions. Another knock-on effect would be players being able to further their careers as professionals in larger regions.”
This is the incredibly, fantastical best-case scenario we are talking here, but the good news is there are a couple of precedents. The core of SK Gaming stems from Luminosity, a Brazilian team that won a Major, but first moved to the US under the team name Kabum (GLHF: Thanks for the history lesson, ax.).
Not to mention Renegades, an Australian outfit that won Starladder Shanghai and are based in America, although only three of their current roster are from Down Under.
There’s a ton of hard work and more than a little luck needed to get to that stage. More so because the only thing celebrated at that level of esports is success.
“They absolutely need to win to have a positive effect. While South Africans on the whole are supportive of the team, America only notices success. It’s an unforgiving environment. Until Bravado (or another SA team) are able to compete regularly with tier two teams at the very least, SA CS:GO won’t be taken seriously by the international scene. No pressure then. ;)”
In the words of one of the most awful human beings ever to be made up, Cersei Lannister, ‘When you play the Game of Thrones, you win or you die.’ And that’s exactly what Bravado are fighting for, a throne to sit on, so they can create a better place for their people. That’s us. (GLHF: That reference played out excellently.) So, does that mean that it’s all or nothing? Win or fail?
“Not at all. It’s extremely valuable experience for that group of players that they can bring back to South Africa and hopefully improve the quality of the scene overall. The other aspect is that it would go a long way towards telling us what we’re doing wrong locally and how we can be better.
I doubt BvD see failure as an option however. This is a huge moment in history for them and I don’t think they’ll allow themselves to let it slip away.”
The pretenders to the throne
Now that they have slipped away from our shores, though, it has created a huge vacuum in the local CS:GO scene and someone is going to have to fill it.
“It makes more space for new players and new MGOs/lineups to rise to the top. When a gap is created, others need to take it and make it count for themselves. Newer teams like LeetPro e-Sports could very well find themselves mixing in with the likes of Energy, Goliath and Big 5 in tournament playoffs more regularly.
Energy eSports are still better in series play than the best of the rest. It could potentially set them up for a long reign at the top of SA CS:GO.
Goliath and Big 5 are closer now than they were last year though. They now have the chance to topple Energy without BvD being an impediment to that goal.”
And then ax casually dropped this on us:
“Of course there are also some rumours about Energy potentially making a similar move to BvD, which would change things even more. We’ll have to see how things pan out.”
Wow. Ok. Well, we’re not going to restart this whole thing taking into consideration that both BvD and Energy might be gone, so we’ll just soldier on.
“The overall quality of competition at the sharp end of the field in SA CS:GO is somewhat diminished without the presence of Bravado. BvD and Energy trading blows in Grand Finals was the story of 2017.
Without that, it’s possible finals will be more routinely one-sided than we’ve grown accustomed to. It’s sort of a return to 2016 and earlier years where previous BvD lineups were always favoured to win every tournament without too much trouble.
Energy have now inherited that mantle and it’s up to other teams to knock them off the perch.”
Obviously, if they’ve also flown the coop then someone else will be on the perch already (GLHF: That’s the end of the bird puns.).
Finding the answers
One of the most important, and potentially most controversial, questions their trip will answer once and for all is: Why have our teams struggled to make an impact overseas?
“While our players are very skilled individually, SA teams have always struggled on foreign soil. It’s a combination of a number of factors like travel fatigue, lack of experience at that level of play, tough group draws – all sorts of things.
I believe this current Bravado core are far better and are now more experienced than any that has gone before it. They will be better.”
Win, lose or draw, it’s going to be a watershed year for Bravado Gaming and South African esports. You can follow all their progress in the ESEA North America CS:GO Main ladder here or keep up to date with their goings on through their Twitter page. We certainly will be.