Bad News Eagles are proof that CS:GO is still open for new contenders
Bad News Eagles are the heroes of the PGL Major for their amazing storyline and “Cinderella story” run. The organizationless squad proves that the right amateur roster can achieve CS:GO greatness even in 2022.
Years later, when Bad News Eagles decide to make a timeline of their development as a CS: GO outfit, they would identify 2022 as a key year in their evolution, even if a closer look at the record may fail to quantify their results. The bland stats table may tell you they bowed out of PGL Major Antwerp 2022; what it won’t tell you is their dream run in between, where they made it through the open qualifiers and pushed some of the top-ranked teams right to the limit.
Dream run worthy of a saga
Months ago, Bad News Eagles were just another C-tier roster playing the ESEA Amateur leagues and the occasional Cash Cup. We have plenty of those in Eastern Europe, most of whom play around the circuit for a year or two and move on with their lives.
What set this Kosovar squad apart was the sheer determination to push on and develop into a top20 team without the backing of an organization and without any previous individual achievement to show.
After being dropped by Team BLINK, an Albanian/Kosovar organization with a monthly player turnover of 2, the squad stayed together and made a bid for the PGL Major through the open qualifier. Through the qualifier they earned a spot at the EU RMR qualifier event and bested Entropiq causing a massive stir in the Swiss Stage. They made it past a strong group that had the likes of G2 Esports and NiP, and held their own while doing so. Yet, they weren’t considered a big draw. That they were the only sponsor-less team at PGL Antwerp Major 2022 told you something.
During the Challenger Stage in Antwerp, all focus was on Imperial and the Last Dance, as BNE quietly kept the dream going besting Eternal Fire, Imperial and MIBR to make it into the next stage.
The series started with MIBR’s pick on Nuke, but an outstanding quad-kill from Rigon “rigoN” Gashi from ramp allowed Bad News Eagles to strike immediately. This helped them build momentum and consolidate on their early advantage as they managed to lock the Brazilian outfit from the nuclear plant for eight rounds in a row. From there on, MIBR were delaying the inevitable as they quickly slipped into a defensive mode. This was the ultimate validation of Bad News Eagles proficiency. This was another sign of how they weren’t only dependent on any single player to lead the way. Bad News Eagles closed the game on the offensive courtesy a 16-10 scoreline and took the game 2-1 to seal not just the entry into the Legends stage but prove the naysayers wrong.
At the Legends Stage, they were outfoxed in the second Swiss phase, with Copenhagen Flames and FaZe, easily two teams with more pedigree, sending them to an elimination bout. Once there, the end was nigh. But that shouldn’t take anything away from their campaign overall. In hindsight, FaZe were crowned champions and CPHF was a strong Legends team themselves.
An inspiration to all
BNE’s biggest contribution, beyond the traditional results, has been in the manner they have inspired Kosovo’s and Balkan esports circuits, as the next-generation of players can see how viable a career option it can be if they’re dedicated to the sport. It was no mean feat that they managed to elicit more than just a passing mention – in fact a full speech – from the country’s prime minister. It’s a remarkable rise too, from being virtual unknowns to qualifying to tier-1 of CS: GO’s Major is a journey aspirational outfits can take a leaf out of.
One key takeaway from their journey is that CS:GO is still open for success to amateurs with drive and dedication to make it into the scene. While big organizations take the spotlight in most cases, there is an avenue for up and coming roster to make their name and play their game.