This weekend saw the MLG Americas Minor being held, the last of a total of four regional Minor championships that would determine which teams get to go to the qualifier event for the ESL One Cologne Major Championship.
There were two key takeaways from the tournament. First of all, OpTic Gaming won and Tempo Storm grabbed the second Qualifier spot, but we'll get to that. Second, but at least as important, is how the event made clear that the Nuke map has glaring flaws in its current version and is probably not suited for tournament play as is.
Nuke, in case you don't know, is one of the all-time classic maps of Counter-Strike. It's been a stable of the game since the early beta days of 1999. Valve took out the map from the competitive map pool last year to make room for the remade Train map and give Nuke a graphical overhaul. The overhauled version was launched earlier this year, and put into the map rotation after the MLG Columbus Major championship in April.
As most leagues and events chose to stick to the map pool that was current when the leagues began or qualifiers were held, the Minor Championships heading into Cologne have been the first tournaments where the new Nuke has seen play at the highest level.
The new Nuke got a lot of flak from pros when it was first introduced, but the MLG Minor revealed even more issues. The biggest one is that Terrorist teams are able to plant the bomb on top of the silo at B bombsite. It's a spot that's very difficult for the Counter-Terrorist team to reach, essentially forcing them to circle the entire area if they're coming through one of the lower entrancens. This clip from the OpTic Gaming vs Tempo Storm match shows the issue clearly.
Other parts of the map still suffers from the framerate issues that have been mentioned earlier, and in a game where pro players prefer framerates over 300, that's an issue.
Despite the issues with Nuke, OpTic Gaming went on to defeat the Brazilian shooting stars from Tempo Storm in the finals at the MLG Minor. It's the first really noteworthy result for the team. Given the caliber of teams that made out the rest of the field, their win might not say much about the relative power levels of the NA scene - but it does place them firmly in the category of North American teams to keep an eye on.
With OpTic and Tempo Storm grabbing the top 2 placements, they'll be heading to the qualifier event for the ESL One Cologne Major. They'll be joined by the top 2 teams from each of the Europe, Asia and CIS minors, as well as the bottom 8 teams from the previous Major, MLG Columbus.
Thus the team list for the ESL One Cologne qualifier is as follows:
Columbus bottom 8 teams
Minor top 2 finishers