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By 27 November 2018 | Categories: news

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It was a long and brutal day of professional gaming, but at the end, South Africa’s Bravado reigned supreme at the Dreamhack North American Qualifiers. After besting numerous high-ranked professional teams, Bravado’s CS:GO squad are headed to Sweden for the international Dreamhack Winter Tournament with over $100 000 up for grabs.

“I would say it’s one of our biggest accomplishments, right up there with winning the ESEA Mountain Dew League,” said Tiaan Coertzen, the team’s coach. “It was important for us to qualify for the event because there is only one spot up for grabs per region in these qualifiers and you’re battling for it against more than 100 other teams who want it just as badly.”

Since moving to the United States earlier this year as part of its #projectdestiny strategy, the Bravado CS:GO team have been playing against some of the world’s best pro-gaming rivals. CS:GO or Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is a high-speed team-based action game where eliminating the other side and completing objectives is the order of the day. It requires not only tremendous skill and reflexes but a high level of cooperation and strategy. It is a highly competitive game, attracting the best in the world.

Best of the best

During the qualifier Bravado had to beat four top-ranked teams from the US and Brazil, including Luminosity and INTZ, but not before a fight to reach that tier:

“Before we played any of the four better-known teams, we almost fell short to a mixed team of semi-professional players in one of the first rounds of the qualifier. After going down 4-11 at halftime, we managed to make the comeback and secure the victory 16-12 against WABA. These qualifiers can be really draining. They run over three days and you end up playing a minimum of ten games over the three days if you make it all the way to the closed qualifiers. So it’s important to enter each game with the right mentality, while also preserving energy for the tougher opponents that you will only face later on in the qualifier,” continued Coertzen.

Bravado’s stateside CS:GO players have been honing their skills, helping them win tournaments and securing invitations to exclusive competitions. But qualifying for Dreamhack outright is clear proof that their strategy is working.

“A big part of it was adjusting to a busier schedule and working on our mindset for matches. In South Africa, we practised four or five hours a day, with very few official matches, while in the USA we’re trying to practise at least 8 hours a day and we have official matches almost every day. That’s a massive adjustment to make and it takes a while to build up the mental toughness to deal with such a busy schedule, but it’s also a testament to our hard work and perseverance throughout the year paying off,” he added.

Sweden in their sights

The team departed for Sweden on Saturday, where they will compete at the tournament in the city of Jonkoping from 30 November through to 3 December. Since Dreamhack is one of the oldest esports organisations in the world, established in 1994, the Dreamhack Winter Tournament stands among the biggest events on the pro-gaming calendar. It attracts thousands of competitors and e-sports fans from across the globe.

Even though this is only the team’s second major international tournament, they are going in with a take-no-prisoners attitude, said Coertzen. “I’m a firm believer that if you’re not going to believe that you can win, why are you even trying? At this level, all the teams are almost equally skilled and talented and the mental game is 80 percent of the battle. So I believe we can win the whole event. If we prepare well for all our games and continue putting in the hard work, anything is possible,” he enthused.

South Africa – a real contender

Bravado has been changing the pro-gaming landscape in South Africa. It already hosts several homegrown teams across numerous games including FIFA 18, Call of Duty and CS:GO, and is home to the all-female pro gaming team Bravado Finesse. The teams have attracted top-level sponsorship, including Dell EMC and Alienware, the globally renowned gaming lifestyle brand. #projectdestiny was launched to help Bravado engage more with the highly competitive US market. With the help of Alienware, Bravado’s leading CS:GO team relocated to Phoenix, Arizona at the start of 2018.

“If you want to be the best, you have to compete against the best,” said Andreas Hadjipaschali, CEO and Director of Bravado Gaming. “It is easier today to play against overseas gamers, but the differences in time zones still limit that. It’s also important to be known and seen - and being in the US makes that happen. It definitely works. The team is doing incredibly well and opening doors for South African e-sports players, not to mention Bravado’s other local teams,” he concluded.

Fans can follow Bravado’s progress through #bvdgaming, or on @bravadogaming and @bvdtc on Twitter for updates during the tournament. They can also follow @tiaanc_za on Instagram for highlights of the team’s trip.

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