The Iberian debutants: Movistar Riders

Get to know the teams at the Major.

While G2 Esports are technically a Spanish organisation and “mixwell” was one of the best snipers in CS:GO few years ago, nothing really compares with Movistar Riders qualifying for the biggest event of the season. Especially, doing it all with a full Spanish lineup, half of which played under a “Iberian Family” tag a few months ago, being stuck outside of the top-50 in the world rankings.

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Qualifying for IEM Fall Europe was one thing but to make it to Sweden, Movistar Riders had to finish in points despite being a massive underdog in nearly all of their games in the group stage. Team started with two losses in a row to the Danes from Astralis and Heroic, but managed to scrap two “16-14” wins against Complexity Gaming and Sinners Esports before beating Endpoint CeX with a stand-in. In the tiebreakers it was all about the Spanish team, as they swept Sinners and nearly did the same to Heroic, advancing to the quarterfinals against all odds. A close loss to the eventual winners from Ninjas in Pyjamas did not stop the Spanish train either, as Movistar Riders won against both Copenhagen Flames and G2 Esports, completing the historic achievement and qualifying for the Major championship.

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The strength of the Movistar Riders’s map pool lies in two maps - Vertigo and Nuke, with former being the priority, but the latter being a bit more successful for them in recent months. Eliminating the puggy maps like Dust2 and Mirage will help them in best of ones and having those technical options adds up to their ability of playing every map in the pool.

The player to watch is, of course, “SunPayus”. The Spanish sniper was long rumoured to join Movistar Riders even years ago, but something came up every time, be it a lack of maturity, his desire to play with another team or the Spanish organization opting to use “smooya” as a main AWP instead. Now a centerpiece of Movistar Riders success, “SunPayus” will get his shot at PGL Major Stockholm 2021 to go against all the best.

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Opening against Renegades, one of the teams which are very well-prepared to their opponents, will allow Movistar Riders to not only have a winnable matchup to start their campaign, but get a taste of the Major for the first time for each of the players. As a 41:1 long shot to win the title, nearly nobody is expecting the Spanish unit to make a deep run in the tournament, but given that they were an underdog in all their games at IEM Fall Europe, the story might repeat itself again.