6. Max ‘ruuit’ Oskari Aspe (Finland)
ruuit is another player where the only thing holding it back from greatness is the mentality. He is already the largest Finnish player ever, and one of the best players in history SHC individual, but he was amazingly inefficient for a player with such talent. ruuit had a problem in that he did not believe the game safe at all, or really understand the risk and reward as it pertains to game theory
The same reckless impulse I told him to push up aggressively as CT and kill two boys first, then told him that he could even keep pushing and get the other three. When he arrived this meant he won the game single-handedly for his team. When he almost reached what he could have done great damage to the enemy, putting his team in a very solid advantage. the problem is all the cases in which he will get killed first easily for the skillset of it, and then give his life for sloppily and the score or put his team at a disadvantage, forced to rotate and cover his now vacant position.
Ruuit has been able to understand more aggression as a Neo, he would have been a completely unstoppable monster. This is a player whose confidence knew no bounds, so a little intelligence in his game could have made it an incredible asset, constantly keeping the enemy under pressure and on the wrong foot. This kind of player would dream of a leader in the game, instead ruuit was a chaotic force in the game that his leaders only had to turn loose and hope for the best with it. Skillwise he was something special, he just did not have the right mental game due to his skillset.
Fnatic Pause was a term coined by analysts to describe the devastating effects of a timeout in certain situations. Markus “pronax” Wallsten was able to make tense situations even more so for the other team while calming his team at the same time. Whether it be a streak of dominance, defeat or just a close situation, the Fnatic Pause had a way of giving Fnatic an edge.
Sadly, the Fnatic Pause has departed with pronax when he left the team approximately a year ago. Because pronax has not played on many big stages in the interim, the Fnatic Pause has all but died. This article will attempt to bring light to the extraordinary ability of these short breaks in action have. Also, the author will provide examples of where it has been useful in the past and where opportunities to use it have been missed.
The Fnatic Pause can be used in three ways. In fact, Fnatic Pauses can utilize multiple aspects at once. The first and most obvious reason for a pause is to change up the strategy and pace of the game. Maybe, the slow executes aren’t working out because the opponent is rushing positions and brutalizing the team in question. It is just as hard to identify when a pause is needed as it is to change up the strategy of the game on the fly. After a brief analysis of the team’s emotions and round score, an in-game leader should know that things aren’t working out. Through the pause, they can determine exactly what is going wrong and what can be done to fix it.
Exceptional teams will change up the pace entirely. If playing fast isn’t working out, they will play slower, and the opposite goes for teams playing slowly and not finding success. Often times, the opponent will get in a frame of mind that allows them to take advantage of the other team’s habits. Suddenly bringing that to a halt can lead to a shift in momentum and allow the team calling the pause to pick up some rounds for themselves. A change in pace could also indicate that the team calling the pause realized that they were playing into their weaknesses or their opponent’s strengths, not just a change of pace for the sake of change. Additionally, tactical pauses have been used, obviously, to discuss what tactics the team should run and how to modify the ones that they have been using. Tactics do not always work out the way that they were thought to in real games compared to how they did in practice sessions, hence the need to make a few adjustments during a break exceeding 15 seconds.
When people are getting heated or dejected, it’s time for a pause. Taking a step back for just a moment can help a person get into the right frame of mind in any sort of tense or uncomfortable situation. Pronax was the first, and really only, in-game leader to call a pause to calm his team down. In a team in which players have broken tables and keyboards, such a pause must have been responsible for winning many critical games. During the pronax era of Fnatic, the Swedish team had some ludicrously high percentage of game wins after taking a pause, which is yet another reason why teams should consider using pauses more often.
Whether Fnatic was up many rounds and wanted to secure victory or if they were down on the round count themselves, their pauses had a way of scaring opponents. Partially, it was the notoriety of the Fnatic Pause that scared teams, but knowing that a change of pace was coming scared teams as well. A change of pace scaring opposing teams is evident from other in-game leaders without the infamy of Fnatic seeing similar effects.
Very recently, at Dreamhack Bucharest in the semifinals between Cloud9 and EnVyUs, there were two pauses, both of which leading to game winning comebacks. On the second map, Mirage, nV was down seven to zero. They were attacking positions in ways that were not conducive to EnVyUs’ aim-oriented style. They could get some kills, but much of the team was getting caught out. After the pause, EnVyUs had revamped their play to something much faster and had used more smokes. After quickly putting utility down in key positions, they would take close range aim duels.
During the third map, Cloud9 was in the same position that EnVyUs was on Mirage. This time it was a little bit different because Cloud9 has a different set of players and therefore a different playstyle. Cloud9 was attacking positions in a disoriented, uncoordinated way. After the pause, they began to use intricate pincer maneuvers to overcome EnVyUs’ group of highly skilled players. Once surrounded, there is very little a player with good aim can do. Often times, it takes a pause for teams to realize and realign to counteract such things.
Neither EnVyUs nor Cloud9 are known for their pauses, but the effect of them was game changing. These successful pauses and adaptations prove that the Fnatic Pause wasn’t built on mumbo jumbo and still has a place in today’s meta.
The most glaring failure to use a pause as of late was in the ELEAGUE finals. There were so many points in that series where Fnatic could have taken a pause and changed the tide of the game, well at least pronax-era Fnatic could have. Perhaps, the reason why some of the Fnatic players went over to GODSENT was that they realized how valuable pronax is. Nevertheless, Fnatic started well on Cobblestone, but Virtus.Pro caught up. Eventually, Fnatic lost their lead and, with it, ten rounds in a row. They started with the very loose style that we associate with Fnatic, but after losing many rounds, they lost control of their economy and continued to buy without having a proper save. They did not stop to think about what was going wrong and repeated the same mistakes. By the time they took a pause, Virtus.Pro accelerated into Virtus Plow and there was nothing Fnatic could do about it.
Fnatic had two opportunities for pauses. They could have paused when they were up many rounds and forced Virtus.Pro to respect them. This would be a good plan against other, less resilient, teams, and Virtus.Pro is typically immune to that sort of thing. But it could have angered players on Virtus.Pro, like Wiktor “TaZ” Wojtas, causing them to play worse. Fnatic’s second and greatest opportunity pause would have been at the time when they started losing rounds. Fnatic waited too long and let Virtus.Pro get four rounds from game point before they finally won a single round.
The second map was a bit of a back-and-forth. Fnatic was playing mindlessly, and Virtus.Pro was playing like the unbreakable unit that they can be on good days. The team with the better tactics will always win in this situation. Naturally, any self-aware person would attempt to get things in order so that their team could play smarter. Fnatic called a pause, but it was not particularly productive. Virtus.Pro won the series, the first ELEAGUE season, and $390,000.
A pause in this situation should have been used to calm the team down and maybe to discuss how players should be playing their positions. If someone were too aggressive and was dying early, they would be told to hold back. Anxious players would be comforted and calmed down. Dejected players would be fired up. I can’t speak for the mental state of Fnatic after that pause, but they continued to play in the same manner in which they hit a roadblock earlier in the game.
In August of 2014, the North American CS:GO team iBUYPOWER lost badly in a CEVO match against NetcodeGuides.org, and viewers grew suspicious of the team’s surprisingly terrible performance. While allegations of throwing were initially dismissed, evidence later surfaced they had indeed thrown the match to win thousands of dollars of weapon skins, in-game items worth lots of money on the marketplace, by betting against themselves. Valve responded with an indefinite ban for most of the players, upgraded to lifetime bans after a year.
The following is a stylized re-telling of the iBUYPOWER betting scandal, told in the style of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire, now a highly acclaimed HBO series Game of Thrones.
The men of House iBUYPOWER departed the tournament ground quickly and quietly. Those in attendance sat in stunned silence, as did the victors in the Guides of Netcode. Standing by the exits, the men in loungewear counted their wagered coin, yet no spectators approached them to collect. The heavily favored champions of iBUYPOWER had lost, and had done so handedly.
Sitting atop the rows of commoners, Maester Richard Lewis was lost in thought. His comfort came from always knowing when and why things happened, and this rare feeling of unknown did not sit well with him. For a collection of men like the Netcode Guides to defeat the great iBUYPOWER was not unheard of, but to see IBP compete so abhorrent.
Strikes that should be sure were missed. The rotations were slow and uncoordinated, and throughout the whole match, it looked like they just didn’t care. All in all, the performance wasn’t just poor. It was suspiciously poor.
Indeed, the IBP men had traveled far prior to today’s tournament. Today’s tournament wasn’t the most important in the grand scheme of things. But that uneasy feeling couldn’t escape Maester Lewis, though he would have to keep his doubts to himself for the time being. He turned to his good friend Duncan Thorinshield, waiting for the never silent master of bantercraft to voice his concerns. But for once, the red-headed historian had nothing to say.
As the two of them went to depart, Maester Lewis took notice of a young man who hadn’t moved from his seat since the match began. Lewis recognized him as ShahZam, a young competitor who had drawn much attention from some of the Northern houses. As he met the gaze of the young man, Lewis could see it etched on his face:
He knew something that he wished he didn’t.
As Maester Lewis climbed the long steps of the tower that led to his study, he pondered whether or not the gods had been cruel this winter and added more steps. But the gods could add a thousand more staircases, and it wouldn’t keep him away from his study; the warmth and the wine that never left was reason enough for him to stay there all winter if he could, let alone to write in peace.
Lewis sat in his chair exhausted; he had spent many months watching leads evaporate after the iBUYPOWER loss. Nothing unsettled him more than letting questions go unanswered. The maester of the iBUYPOWER house sent correspondence that mimicked the sea of excuses that surrounded the outcome: extensive travel, tiredness, unfamiliarity with the tournament grounds.
Maybe they did lose fair and square.
Just as that thought had settled behind his brow, he felt the hairs on the back of his neck stand up straight, almost at attention. He spun around to see a woman standing in his doorway, hair as black as the cloak she used to cover most of her face. Lewis feigned not being caught off guard.
“Most people who sneak into rooms wearing all black are assassins,” he spoke. “Have you come to kill me?”
“No, Maester Lewis,” she replied, softly. “But once you breathe word of what you read here, some may try their hand,” she said, motioning to the stack of letters she carried.
“And what exactly will I read here, Lady..?”
“Lebeouf. Ashley Lebeouf. But many call me-”
“The Black Lotus,” Lewis said. “I know.”
“Of course, it’s your business to know things. For example, you should know that for a while, I was courted by a Derek Boorn, of House Torqued.” That last word rolled off her tongue as the bundle of scrolls rolled onto Lewis’s desk. “And he had much to share in the letters we exchanged.”
“Tell me why I should pour through love letters in what little time in the day I have to myself,” Lewis said.
“Because you may find the answer to that burning question.”
Confused but intrigued, Maester Lewis undid the binding that held the letters together, and thanked the gods this lady had the courtesy to keep them in chronological order. As he continued to read letter after letter, his hands began to tremble, and he felt a rush unlike any he had seen on the battlefield. There before him were the answers to this mystery; signed, sigiled, and sealed by one of the perpetrators.
“But why?” he asked aloud, only to realize that his study was empty, save himself. He just about knocked over anything not made of solid stone in the rush to get to his writing desk.
The sun crept into the throne room and glistened off the shining armor of the king’s steamguards. The black and white valve that was emblazoned on the armor’s chest looked stoic and majestic. King Gaben sat in the throne room with his council, and he couldn’t help but be pleased. The summer had produced a bountiful harvest of sales and made the capital rich, and the major tournaments that were held were drawing thousands of spectators.
For the kingdom that Gaben ruled, Counter-Strike had become more than just a game. To some, it was a way of living, with some ascending near to the standing of legendary. As it continued to grow, Gaben wished with his heart that maybe a Northern house would win one of his major tournaments. If only…
His thoughts were interrupted by the tardy arrival of one of his councilmen, but the unmistakable look of urgency plagued the man’s face.
“My liege, Maester Lewis has requested to speak with you. And he is joined by the master of the CEVO tournament grounds, and the leader of the loungemen that run the tournament wagers.”
An expert in whispers, an organizer of tournaments, and a master of gambling all seek an audience with the king. This will not bode well.
The summons was called almost instantaneously. Many lords and ladies crowded the throne room to hear the king’s decision. The tension in the room could be cut with an M9 bayonet. In front of the king stood seven men, four of which donned the red, white and black of iBUYPOWER.
The king stood.
“It has come to light that you seven who stand before me conspired to harm the integrity of our game of Counter-Strike, and reap the benefits for yourselves. Evidence has come forth to implicate the lot of you as traitors, as men who purposely lost to claim the rewards of bets placed against yourselves…”
As the king spoke, Maester Lewis took in the scene before him. Skadoodle still donned the IBP colors, but stood in the king’s court, not on trial. He refused any gold that came from that farce of a match. In the corner of the gallery, ShahZam looked nervous, darting his eyes back and forth between the king, those on trial, and Maester Lewis. The young Hiko, who was to be the newest up-and-coming fighter for iBUYPOWER, looked crushed.
Maester Lewis re-focused on the king when he raised his voice.
“Today, we construct two new pillars on which to continue building our way of life, and those pillars are integrity and fair play. And with that, I decree that the seven of you are banned indefinitely from the kingdom of Valve-halla, until a day that we may see fit to allow you to return.”
And the men of House iBUYPOWER departed quickly and quietly.
After a year’s banishment, many citizens called for an end to the uncertainty regarding the banishments. No one seemed to know what an indefinite ban meant. Surprisingly enough, it was Maester Lewis himself who spearheaded the movement for the king to make a decision. And make a decision, he did.
On the one year anniversary of the initial ban, King Gaben decreed that the seven who had been banished would remain as such, for life. Many of the banished sailed across the seas, seeking the riches of Twitch magic, and even continued to compete in tournaments outside of Valve-halla. Perhaps a day will come when the discussion will again be re-opened, but not for a while, I fear.
ShahZam, Skadoodle, and Hiko all found standing within great Northern houses, and continue to compete at a high level to this day.
But the North will never forget that day in August. They will never forget the Red Betting.