WePlay Esports’s $100,000 Academy League for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive begins its first regular season.
WePlay Esports Academy League
In partnership with eight top esports organizations from Europe and South America, WePlay Esports announced the formation of the Academy League. The competition will only feature teams with at least four players between the ages of 16-20.
Festivities kick off with an online round-robin group stage on July 19 that lasts until August 8, from which the top three teams will advance directly to the double-elimination playoffs. The final slot will be settled in the play-in stage after the regular season.
The eight teams invited to the league will battle it out for the lion’s share of the $100,000 prize pool. The academy rosters of European giants Astralis, Na’Vi, BIG, Ninjas in Pyjamas, mousesports, and Virtus.pro will participate in the league. Fnatic has kept hush-hush about their players in their academy roster. The final spot on the eight-team league has gone to Brazillian org FURIA’s academy team.
The final stage of the WePlay Esports Academy League will be a LAN tournament held at the WePlay Esports Arena in Kyiv between August 27-29. Na’Vi COO Aleksey Kucherov stated that fans and players expect the whole nine yards of any significant esports event. “There will be media days and interviews,” he said.
What you should know about the teams
Astralis Talent has their work cut out for them coming into the league. So far, the Danish giant’s academy roster has failed to impress with bottom-place finishes in the last two A-Tier tournaments they’ve joined, and a 7th-place finish in Denmark’s very own Dust2.dk Ligaen Season 17. They currently stand at 14 maps won out of 54 played.
Germany’s BIG.OMEN Academy has been inconsistent at best. They secured a berth into ESEA Season 38’s Main division but fell dead-last in their local 99Liga S17 Div. 1, dropping down to Division 2. In response, BIG.OMEN Academy picked up two new team members in Nico “Aqua” Kembitzkyf and Alexander “glaVed” Pletz from Epic Dudes and Sissi State Punks, respectively—teams that placed higher than them in 99Liga S17 Div 1.
FNATIC will have their newly unveiled academy team, FNATIC Rising, participate in the league.
Brazil’s FURIA Academy will inject some South American-style CS:GO into the Academy League with their impressive roster. Guilherme “piriaz1n” Barbosa, the team’s newest member, is one to look out for. Since joining the roster, he’s already helped FURIA Academy win the RedZone Pro League, where they didn’t drop a single map during the playoffs.
mousesports’ academy roster is one of the newest ones to be assembled. They officially completed their roster on June 18th, after poaching up-and-coming players from prolific B-Tier and C-Tier teams like Kamil “siuhy” Szkaradek, Hubert “szejn” Światły from Poland’s Izako Boars and Ádám “torzsi” Torzsás from Hungary’s Budapest Five. Mouz NXT is made up of arguably the most experienced and accomplished players in the newly-formed league.
Natus Vincere Junior
Another academy team aiming to give glory worthy of their organization’s name is Natus Vincere Junior. So far this year, the roster has struggled with only a 5th-8th place finish in January as their only note-worthy finish. Regardless, be on the lookout for Ilya “m0nesy” Osipov and his impressive 1.28 rating to be a dominant force throughout the league.
Young Ninjas have been in form all year long. The team has finished in the top 5 of eight B-Tier and C-Tier, including winning the Atlantic Esportal Invitational and the Elisa Nordic Championship 2021 – Sweden. Erik “ztr” Gustafsson is on his second month back as the team’s in-game leader after standing in for the senior roster for a couple of months. Finally, Kalle “Ro1f Johansson, who was recently called up from the youth squad, is looking to solidify his place on the roster.
Since announcing an entirely new roster in March, VP.Prodigy has had a lackluster list of performances spanning only eight maps. It looks as if the team has been in the training room all this time and is gearing to show the league what they’ve been working on behind closed doors.