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CS:GO Arctic Invitational 2019 Preview

Zakaria Almughrabi

The Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Arctic Invitational is set to begin on September 14 at Hartwall Arena in Helsinki, Finland. The one-day tournament hosted by Starsquad and Elisa will be the biggest esports event ever held in Finland. With a whopping €100,000 prize pool, the four teams participating are eager to show their stuff.

Arctic Invitational

The Arctic Invitational stage under construction ahead of the one-day CS:GO event. (Image via Arctic Invitational)

The format is a single-elimination bracket with the matches being best-of-three. The semifinals matchups will be FURIA Esports versus Cloud9 and CR4ZY versus SJ Gaming. The losers will go home with €10,000 each while the winners advance to the final to play for the championship. First place gets €60,000 while second place gets €20,000.

While the Artic Invitational is certainly a lower-profile event, there are still multiple exciting and talented teams to track. The first team invited was NRG Esports who had to drop out due to scheduling. Their replacement is another North American team, Cloud9. Their international roster experiment being the bust that it was, C9 recently signed a full NA roster with the exception of Spaniard Óscar “mixwell” Cañellas. This will be the squad’s second tournament appearance together and should be a good benchmark of where they are at.

The second team announced for the event was FURIA. The Brazilian squad has been on a roll recently, placing well at many mid-tier events and qualifiers for larger ones. As recently as June, they placed second at the Esports Championship Series to the French powerhouse Vitality. FURIA hope to overcome the small slip they had at the Berlin Major last month, exiting the Challengers stage with only one win.

The next team is CR4ZY, an Eastern European squad on the rise. The team formerly known as Valiance showed great promise at the Berlin Major in making the New Legends Stage. Unfortunately for them, they came up one win short of advancing to top eight and gaining Legend status for the next Major. They even took maps off of Astralis and Natus Vincere, showing themselves to be a very interesting team to watch in the future.

The final team participating is SJ Gaming who qualified by winning eSM 2019, a mid-tier Finnish tournament which took place last month. They are the only team at the Arctic Invitational not ranked in HLTV’s top 30, making them massive underdogs. This is also the biggest event the team has ever played. If SJ manage to take even a map off of the 12th ranked CR4ZY, it will be a massive step forward for them.

The event will be streamed in English and Finnish, the former being available on Twitch. The first match starts at 5:00 a.m. EDT (12:00 p.m EEST). Overall, it should be an interesting event that could give a glimpse at some of the fringe teams heading towards the bigger CS:GO tournaments later this year.