The European RMR event will feature an upstart tournament organizer and some of the biggest teams in the world grappling with a whole new landscape off the back of massive player transfers.
Who are Flashpoint?
Flashpoint might have caused a bit of a stir in the esports world when it emerged as a challenger to ESL and the regular pro circuit in early 2020, however it has since gone onto become one of the most anticipated events in every fan’s calendar. Only two tournaments in the entire CS:GO calendar for 2020 had a prize pool higher than $500,000 – both of them Flashpoint’s.
More and more high-profile organizations have embraced Flashpoint as new kid on the block, and this rising stock has seen the upcoming third season of Flashpoint being named as one of the RMR (Regional Major Rankings) events that will shape the lineup of the Valve-sponsored PGL Stockholm Major Championship scheduled for November this year.
Astralis: life without device
Astralis are amongst esports’ biggest fairytale stories, establishing themselves as one of the first player-owned orgs following their founding in 2016. Since then, they revolutionized the industry with unmatched success in the server and continued innovations outside of it as well, thanks to the work the org has invested in understanding everything from player fatigue to the importance of regular and regimented practice.
Read more: device leaves Astralis, causing a seismic shift in CS:GO esports
However, 2021 has seen the cracks beginning to emerge for the four-time Major winners, which led to the shocking announcement that star AWPer Nicolai “device” Reedtz would be transferring to Ninjas In Pyjamas (NiP). The Danish AWPer has been named in the top five players in the world at HLTV every year since 2016, making him one of the most successful and consistent forces on the planet and, in turn, making the prospect of a world without him look pretty daunting for Astralis.
Though they will technically be beginning their next chapter without device at the DreamHack Spring Masters, it will be at Flashpoint Season 3, with qualification to their beloved Major Championship on the line, that we will really begin to see what life is like without him for Astralis.
NiP: life with device
On the other side of CS:GO’s biggest transfer, the expectation and spotlight now on NiP is going to be just as fascinating ahead of Flashpoint Season 3. It had looked like the Swedes were attempting to take the org down a different route, hoovering up some of the most promising young talents in the region, and their recent finish in 3rd-4th at ESL Pro League Season XIII suggested there was potentially more to come from the Ninjas.
Nevertheless, when a player of the quality of device comes along, it would be madness to turn him away.
There’s certainly no way of denying that a NiP with device in the active immediately looks like an org that can compete for trophies once again. On top of their new signing’s world-class AWPing, promising talents in the team such as Erik “ztr” Gustafsson or Nicolas “Plopski” Gonzalez Zamora will now be able to call upon the experience and pick the brains of a four-time Major winner.
The pressure is going to be immense for both Astralis and NiP in the fallout of this mind-blowing transfer, and the storylines of the two orgs at Flashpoint 3 will no doubt dominate all the headlines as the tournament progresses.
New-look FaZe and OG could excite
Flashpoint 3 also offers a chance for other high-profile esports orgs to thrust their revamped rosters into the spotlight. FaZe Clan have been in freefall ever since Nikola ‘NiKo’ Kovač left to join G2 in October 2020, but now look set to tackle the remainder of the year with a settled lineup that fans can get truly excited about.
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The acquisition of Russel “Twistzz” Van Dulken from Team Liquid brings an added amount of firepower as a rifler, and the return of Finn ‘karrigan’ Andersen from mousesports represents the return of an experienced IGL that the side have lacked since his first departure in 2018.
Flashpoint Season 3 will mark the first time the side have ever met up face-to-face with a practice bootcamp, so expect a much more improved performance from what was on show at IEM Katowice and ESL Pro League Season XIII earlier this year.
OG were arguably the feel-good story of the BLAST Premier: Spring Showdown, debuting their two new talents Nikolaj ‘niko’ Kristensen and Shahar ‘flameZ’ Shushan after benching Nathan ‘NBK-‘ Schmitt and Issa ‘ISSAA’ Murad earlier this year.
They undoubtedly benefited from their first bootcamp together for almost a year, the whole org looked so much happier and a lot more at ease with their chemistry, evident in their dismantling of Astralis in the very first fixture. The potential of the org with the added firepower from flameZ especially makes for an exciting prospect, so don’t be surprised to see OG secure a few more impressive scalps at Flashpoint 3.