Today I want to talk about the difference between a tournament and a tournament.
Some of you might think “what the heck is he talking abuut?” and I don’t blame you, when I
came up with the idea of this subject I thought the same.

If we use car brands as a metaphor to explain the difference between tournaments, you would
go with something like a Kia to Rolls Royce. It might put things in a different perspective but I
want to describe exactly what I mean, from my point of view

When it comes to tournaments I am putting them into three types of categories:
Some of them I used to think as practice, some of them as prestige, and some of them as dreams .
The practice tournaments are for example, Dreamhack Open and smaller ones like WePlay Forge. These types of tournaments are something like a Kia. They are making you gain experience and are good for getting used to the LAN environment itself.

As a player in the lower tier tournaments, you don’t feel the same pressure you would feel on the bigger stages and it’s pretty weird why. At the beginning of my career I saw every single tournament as something huge, a chance to prove myself to the community. Pretty quickly after attending those tournaments I started to evolve and get the confidence needed tobecome the player I wanted to be.

However in the beginning when you are taking those slow steps towards the higher tier, you are quickly realizing that it isn’t that different from what you are used to, playing from home.
Have you ever felt that when you are inside a game, playing to win you just forget about everything around you? That’s the feeling you will get as soon as you have played a couple of LAN tournaments.

When you are starting to play the bigger tournament you feel something different. You feel that you have accomplished something that you don’t think is reality. It all starts when you are travelling from home because that’s when you start check all the information about the tournament since you have so much time.
Back in the days we never had practice rooms even at the bigger tournaments so instead of practicing whilst away, you just had to hang out with your team and do stuff together.
I kinda loved this because you could build a relationship in the team and increase the spirit and moral.
I remember at FACEIT League Season 2 Valencia with Kinguin our team went to the beach, we went to restaurants and we just had a blast.
Today you are more focused on practicing, which is good don’t get me wrong, but it also destroys a little bit since you never really get the break needed to being able to refocus.

As soon as you meet up with your team at a bigger tournament the feeling is absolutely amazing, you feel that something is about to happen and you start fully focusing. You just want to get on the server to play the tournament, win games and play well.

But then we have the ultimate tournament, the tournament every single CS player wants to attend, your biggest dream, the major tournaments.
It’s really hard to put any words on how amazing majors are, the Rolls Royce of tournaments and it’s simply an extraordinary feeling to attend.

My first major tournament back in 2013 didn’t have this feeling, everyone knew that the tournament was special, something bigger than the rest of them but still didn’t have the feeling I would later get.

My first major – Dreamhack Winter 2013
The first major ever, a decent event.

We played all our matches in one day, which was pretty bad since we started quite early in the morning around 10:00 CET and we played our quarter finals around 23:00 CET. When we played our first game they had left the doors open and it was winter outside, it was so freaking cold and we had to play with jackets on.
Nevertheless, we were all pretty new to this environment and managed to get a map win against NiP. At the time, they were the best team in the world.

My second major – Dreamhack Winter 2014
My all time favorite tournaments I have ever attended.

I have just replaced their long lived legendary player Fifflaren. This was my first tournament as a NiP player and there was so much pressure on me, but this didn’t stop me to perform. In the grand final I probably had my best game ever. In the first map, Dust 2, my settings were off.
Our coach noticed after the game was over, told me about it, and also changed my settings.
After getting 6 kills in the first map, I ended the series with 58 kills and in the last map, dropped a 30 bomb.
In the last map, Overpass, we had an 11-4 lead and everything felt so good but we ended up losing in OT.
Overpass was a rather strange map back then, with only one entrance to the A site which you could smoke off.
I will try to explain the feeling from this event: Imagine hundreds, maybe even thousands of people, cheering you on, we had homesoil and everybody was a NiP fan. The crowd was screaming after every single frag we got and you felt the intense energy going on in the arena. The crowd was so close to us and I remember Heaton was sitting right infront of me.
After every round was done, I looked up and saw him, screaming
his lungs out, shouting and cheering. It was hard for me to comprehend.
I’m playing the biggest tournament to date, in the grand final, and the entire arena is cheering me on.
Heaton, one of the most legendary players we have in CS, was screaming his lungs out of the joy of seeing me
and the team play.
Greatest atmosphere I have ever felt in my career of playing.

My third major – ESL One Cologne 2015
This is probably the one I’m most proud of

After successfully creating the first international team in CSGO with players from all around the world, we managed to go from open qualifiers to the major itself.
We didn’t stop there, we managed to secure top 8, the first goal for every single team that plays the majors since you will automatically play the next major.
In our decider game we had to play Cloud 9 and they were really good at the time. We managed to win in a nailbiting series and it was simply amazing and by winning this game, we would then play in the Lanxess arena.
When they introduced our team, we walked through the arena filled with 10-15,000 people. Everyone was screaming, cheering and I heard people shouting “lele”-clap clap clap.
One of the most unforgettable moments in my career.

This video will describe our win against C9:

My fourth major – Dreamhack Cluj-Napoca 2015
The major that has been haunting me ever since.

It took me nearly 1 year to re-watch our game against Envy in the semi final.
The tournament was great, we played some insane CS and the team spirit we had was absolutely amazing. We were super great friends and we had so much fun together outside the server.
We had our bootcamp in Berlin prior to the tournament and it was just a blast. We did pretty much everything together and I genuinely loved the team. We flew over to Romania together as a team, with a dream to win the major. We all knew we could do it.
We started off pretty well against Mouz, beating them pretty comfortably. After this we lost to our nemesis TSM and had to play Mouz again in the decider.
The first map of the series was basically the decider map. I think I clutched 8 or 9 times to keep us in the game and we eventually won it. We lost the 2nd map and won the third, which meant we managed to secure playoffs.
In the quarterfinals we played Virtus pro, a team we had a lot of confidence against, coming in to the game after we 16-0’d them in FACEIT League Valencia, we felt we had it.
Our win against VP was making us truly believe we could win the major, especially after TSM got knocked out.
Our semifinal was against Envy and, even today, is still a nightmare to me. It’s like I lost so much confidence after this game. Even though I’ve been having a better shot of winning a major, I still felt this one hit me even harder when we lost.
I remember a 2-on-2 situation on the last map, we needed one round to beat them and go to the grand final.
I was hiding at 3rd box on Inferno and they molotoved me, as soon as I strafe out, I get blind.
I’m counting in my head to when the Molotov will fade and I will fall back to 3rd box again, making it impossible for them to know where I am. I did so, but the only problem was that they had threw another Molotov, burning me from 100 to 0. We lost the round and eventually the map.
I just couldn’t get this single round out of my mind. I was terrified to watch the game and I was so disappointed in myself to lose yet another major.
I knew that getting a shot to win like this would probably never come again and oh man, I was right.

My fifth and last major – MLG Major Championship: Colombus 2016
The eventual end of my era

After getting bought from G2 by FaZe for approx 700,000 Euros, we lost our backbone player, Dennis.
This was followed by recruiting the wrong player, and having a new owner that created ghosts between players by lying.
This major was a major I felt I never wanted to play.
For the first time in my career, I didn’t reach playoffs in a major tournament. I had my worst rating ever, and the team was misleaded.
I sometimes wish that I never fought so hard to go to FaZe, and instead stayed with G2. I was blind, I thought the grass would be greener on the other side but I was so wrong.
I don’t want to take anything away from the FaZe guys, except a guy called seb . They were really great guys and wanted the best for us.
Seb was just an idiot. After we got knocked out, he took me in to a room and asked me “Maikel, it’s either going to be you or Fox that has to leave the
team”. I told him “None of us should leave the team, there is someone else that has to go” but he refused and really wanted me to tell him who.
I’ve learned throughout my career to defend myself, so I said “if you need an answer I would say fox, but it’s still not even him that has to go”.
He then went to Fox and told him I wanted kick him. Me and Fox were really great friends, from the beginning but this made him lose trust in me.
I was so heartbroken and felt so mistreated, so after this I told the guys I would leave the team.

The original question was what the difference between a tournament and a tournament is.

My answer to that is:
Some tournaments can help you to create your career but the other ones can destroy it in an instant.


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