CPH Flames: a key to the Danish CS:GO success
The importance of that team can not be understated.
There is a lot of history to go through, when you learn about the competitive Counter-Strike. The sheer dominance of the Swedish and American teams in the beginning, plucky underdog runs by the likes of MIBR, WeMadeFox and TYLOO, the Polish “Golden Five”, the genius of “f0rest” and “GeT_RiGhT”, the absurd of a run by Natus Vincere, when they won 4 Major championships in a row, a “87-0” Ninjas in Pyjamas lineup going against a VeryGames roster which was the king of CS:Source - nearly everything was shattered by the sheer force of Astralis, who captured the entire world of Counter-Strike for years, not letting it go until the time caught up to them.
Noone wants to remember the time when the Danish Counter-Strike was considered a meme at best. The time, when those NoA/mTw squads led by “zonic” challenged for the championships were long gone, all those countless losses in the key moments to either Poles, Swedes or Na’Vi - nothing worked in CS:GO. Even the heralded Dignitas/Team SoloMid core with talents like “device” and “dupreeh” led by “karrigan” crashed and burned at every Major despite coming in as a favourite time and time again.
A decade later the Danish Counter-Strike is widely considered as one of the best in the world. The empire of Astralis might not be peaking anytime soon, but a young and hungry Heroic core is threatening to run the table at every event they play in. And while the rich upstarts like North have imploded and seized their operations, Denmark will have the third team at PGL Major Stockholm 2021 - the one, which might be the key for the next generation of the CS:GO in that Scandinavian country.
Copenhagen Flames is, essentially, a developmental organization. There are no big sponsors chasing them, no fancy stuff, no big results at the major events - even less than a year ago, when “Acilion” returned to the team as an in-game leader, the goal was to simply become a top-30 ranked team. Once the captain left again before this summer, the team rebuilt the lineup once more, honed its skills in the online tournaments and then qualified for the Major, for the first time in the history of the event. It is inevitable that CPHF are going to sell the roster to another organization, be it as a combined unit or players will simply get bigger contracts as separate entities, but it is the entire goal of Copenhagen Flames.
Give players a chance, watch them grow, give them another chance to succeed more. Rinse and repeat.
The key to Danish CS:GO success lies in their scene. There is “cajunb”, leading youngsters in AGF, there is Tricked, there is a rising Lyngby Vikings squad, all the Academy teams like Astralis Talent, many Danish players are in the international mixes. And yet, Copenhagen Flames is the best at being the bridge between being a mere top-50/100 team and a global success.
“roeJ” has already left the team to join MAD Lions, but came back to reboot his career. “TeSeS” came to the mix after a disastrous stint with OpTic Gaming, joined the unit which qualified for Flashpoint and left for Heroic, where he became a star. "Farlig", another cornerstone of that team, joined FunPlus Phoenix to become one of the best in Europe. “TMB” is now in-game leading the new MAD Lions unit, “mertz” put himself back on track, “Zyphon” joined from Astralis Talent and qualified for the Major, "refrezh" finally became one of the best riflers on the planet, and you can go on for a long time.
One would ask, why Copenhagen Flames do not try and get investors, keep the players, become one of the best teams in the world if they are so good with scouting and refining the players. But it is a completely different landscape, which requires a different approach. Focusing on drafting players and developing them is built on patience, trust and using your ideas and skills, becoming a global player is more about getting those chances, being a partnership organization and having connections with the biggest tournament organizers.
Copenhagen Flames are getting that chance now in being on the biggest stage in CS:GO.
“roeJ” and “HooXi” could not keep in the t1 scene last year with the MAD Lions squad which was falling apart, but now they are back to the top, scratching the top-10 ranking once again. “jabbi”, who stuck to Copenhagen Flames for more than a year while getting other options, is now probably considered as the hottest commodity in Danish CS:GO. “Zyphon” was almost kicked from Astralis Talent for not fitting into the culture, got to the Major less than half a year after joining a team. “nicoodoz”, the pug sniper in Team Singularity, turned into one of the most feared AWP players in the European online events in Copenhagen Flames.
Now all of them are preparing for the biggest test of their careers - an opening match at PGL Major Stockholm 2021 against Astralis.
The team, which does not seek the glory and trophies, will start the event against the best team to ever grace a Counter-Strike world.
The best chance for those players to show that they are more than deserving of an opportunity to hang with the best in the world, hoist the cups and lead the rankings.
The master class of how to build an organization. Noone has ever said a bad word about Copenhagen Flames and now they are here, at the apex of the mountain, after a stellar run at the IEM Fall Europe, the event where they were predicted to finish near the bottom.
Copenhagen Flames might be feeding the best Danish teams with talent, but for a while they will get an opportunity to show that their banner can perform among the best.
And this is the best part about Counter-Strike - it gives a chance, even if you need to wait for a decade. Now, when Denmark is expected to win every event it attends, sometimes it needs more than a couple of good teams. It needs to show that there is a depth in the region, which is unheard of for nearly everyone else.