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Counter Strike: Global Offensive

How dexter overcame adversity to win Flashpoint 3 with mousesports

mousesports found themselves in a rebuilding period at the start of 2021. The team’s then in-game leader, Finn “⁠karrigan⁠” Andersen, decided against renewing his contract with the team and returned to FaZe, while Chris “⁠chrisJ⁠” de Jong was — once again — benched to make room for an up-and-coming AWPer, Frederik “⁠acoR⁠” Gyldstrand, signed from MAD Lions.

mousesports continued their audacious signing strategy with dexter (Photo: mousesports / Tobias Augustin)

To pull together an out-of-sorts team, mousesports signed Christopher “⁠dexter⁠” Nong, an exciting, yet risky shotcaller hailing from Australia. While his teams had shown promise internationally, upsetting the likes of SK in 2018 and Liquid and Evil Geniuses in 2019, the addition was a speculative one, especially considering that the pandemic had isolated him from top-tier competition for a year.

dexter was thrown straight in at the deep end following his arrival in Europe, in February. Despite common sense, as well as dexter himself implying that it would take time for the team to gel, last-place finishes at the highly-competitive IEM Katowice and ESL Pro League S13 — during which the new IGL averaged a 0.92 rating —, were enough for him to be under fire as an unworthy replacement for karrigan, one of the most revered in-game leaders in the game.

If the difficulties with the team and on the server weren’t enough, dexter was also facing an adaptation period outside of Counter-Strike. He left Australia, a country fairly unaffected by the COVID-19 pandemic, to live on his own in Germany, where the outbreak was far from under control.

“Honestly, I did feel quite a lot of homesickness, I definitely underestimated the impact that traveling from a relaxed country such as Australia to a COVID hotspot would be like,” dexter tells HLTV.org. “The three months of negative feedback and homesickness, all while being alone during this period, were easily one of the hardest parts of my life mentally.

“I wasn’t depressed, but I always felt there was a huge weight on my shoulders that I couldn’t quite shake — and it was only up to me to shake. So it took a long time for me to be even close to adapting and I’m not even sure how I am now. Better at the very least.”

“Criticism happens a lot, but I think it was mostly my own self-criticism that took a toll on me,” dexter adds, explaining how he quickly got into a negative spiral. “I wanted to try harder, therefore I had less rest, and was close to being burnt out so early into my tenure over in Europe.” With a massive workload ahead of him, having to not only get the team back in form but also individually adapt to playing new spots on all maps, he stuck to it. “No matter what, I tried to improve my new positions and learning at the very least.”

As an in-game leader with limited experience at the top level, having only briefly been inside the top 20 with Grayhound in 2019, dexter admits that he questioned whether his approach was suited for mousesports — a team featuring one of the world’s best players in Robin “⁠ropz⁠” Kool that aims to challenge for titles. “I think I doubted myself [at the start], but I have also learned a lot along the way.”

“The boys had a culture of having an amazing IGL in karrigan who knew what to do immediately: regardless if it was the right or wrong decision, it was a decision made,” he explains. “Meanwhile, my playstyle and leadership skills rely on trusting a lot in my teammates’ abilities and reading of their positions — what the CTs are doing and how they are placed —, and having an appropriate reaction. It is far more relaxed. So at the start, I definitely doubted myself because I didn’t know if it was right to be calling like this.”

Evidence that mousesports were on the right track came in Snow Sweet Snow 3 at the start of April, when the team claimed the title after beating fnatic and ex-Winstrike (now Entropiq), but the defining period of the team came at the end of that month. Because of the overlapping schedule of three tournaments (IEM Summer closed qualifier, Flashpoint 3 closed qualifier, DreamHack Masters Spring), they had to play 14 series over just five days, recording as many as four BO3s in a single day.

Under massive pressure and stretched to their limits, mousesports thrived.

“The atmosphere was good, everyone wanted to win but also understood how bullshit of a situation it was,” dexter remembers. “You can only prepare so much for back-to-back series, mentally, physically, and in-game. We did our best all the time, but it wasn’t easy to perform the best, especially as an IGL by your fourth BO3 of the day.”

Looking at the results on their own, qualifying for Flashpoint while failing to make it to IEM Summer and finishing 9-12th in DreamHack doesn’t seem like much, but the fact that their eliminating losses came against top contenders such as G2 and Natus Vincere puts mousesports in a much better light. Additionally, dexter stepped up individually, ending his streak of five events “in the red” to post 1.06 ratings in both closed qualifiers.

“I felt a sense of growth with everyone after that, something just changed for the better; we understood each other a little bit more,” the in-game leader explains, admitting that the improvement wasn’t indicative of the success that would follow. “It was a mini online bootcamp in some ways. But I never would have expected the results we had in Flashpoint 3.”

dexter found his form during an action-packed period for mousesports (Photo: mousesports / Tobias Augustin)

The relationship between an in-game leader’s individual performance and his calling in a match is a topic often speculated about during broadcasts of the biggest tournaments. In dexter‘s case, there is a strong correlation between his fragging output and his tactical impact.

“Being able to play well as an IGL is important in my opinion, you get more involved with the game and the way you want the team to work,” he explains. “You don’t feel like you’re some sh*t outsider who goes 0-7 every game and instead of thinking about the game, you are thinking about why you can’t frag and contribute on basic levels of CS. Just that confidence was so huge for me personally.”

Flipping the switch and going from a bottom fragger to someone who posted a 1.23 rating against NIP in the grand final of a top-tier event came after a decision that dexter admits was weird — changing his peripherals.

“Being smarter with my gear choice helped a lot,” he says. “I had some pain in both hands and I didn’t know why. It affected my DM sessions and my confidence in my aim. It made me lazy, to say the least, regarding in-game performance. To find a solution, I talked to mousesports and decided to test some different Razer products that they provided me with to try to find the best ones, and the gigantic shift in shape and feel really helped my hand. After that, I was able to trust myself again.”

mousesports had 11 days without officials after the “mini bootcamp” to prepare for the start of Flashpoint 3, the first Regional Major Ranking tournament in 2021. “Flashpoint was important because it had all the major EU teams. Being able to perform here would justify that our work hadn’t been a waste of time and had actually been productive for our future as a team. A morale booster, to say the least.”

With mousesports entering the tournament as the No.8 seed in the 16-team competition, not many predicted a deep run for them. But inside the team, expectations were high.

“We set our goals with our sports psychologist – everyone said different ones, but the most basic being that we wanted at least top 5,” dexter says. “I do remember that Bymas and I said that the goal was to win (laughs). But realistically, top 5 would be satisfying in a way.”

Fast forward three weeks, and mousesports managed a shocking run, dropping just one map on their way to the title. ropz and David “⁠frozen⁠” Čerňanský were both stellar, with the latter picking up his first MVP award, while dexter averaged an impressive 1.18 rating across 11 maps played — reminding everyone of the high-fragging in-game leader he was in previous teams.

When asked about the wins that the team recorded in Flashpoint, dexter highlighted what pleased him regarding beating each of Astralis, G2, and NIP.

“Astralis was a huge win for me personally, a lot of my understanding and experience in how CS should be played stems from watching them and gla1ve,” dexter says. “So being able to beat them as a person who only watched their demos for two years really made me happy and proud of the team and myself.

“G2 was another titan to overcome. They had been beating us by small and large margins for weeks, so being able to lift that curse and beat them in a convincing manner was so important for us.

“NIP was a game of pressure on ourselves I believe, we had two players who were very sick on the day, so it was a final test of teamwork, in the light that we support and bring each other up as much as possible. Therefore I’m just glad we were able to finish the run by coming first, in such a big test of ourselves.”

Just minutes after mousesports secured the title, dexter started his post-match interview by saying that “there is still so much to do, so much to learn”, displaying his unquenchable thirst for development. While the team didn’t go straight back to practice, instead taking some well-deserved time off, which the Australian spent in the mountains of Bavaria, he doubles down on his need to expand his knowledge.

“No matter what, I need to learn more and adapt to how other teams will adapt,” he says, aware of the pace at which teams find new tendencies and exploit gaps at the top level of Counter-Strike. “I need to learn more about myself as an IGL and how to improve in different aspects, all while maintaining my own identity as a player.”

Having failed to qualify for IEM Summer, mousesports are now shifting their attention towards IEM Cologne, which could be their last tournament of the season. Their focus ahead of the event is on mastering Ancient and sticking to a seven-map pool — one of the priorities for the team.

During an era of uncertainty and frequent changes, dexter‘s team rose to sixth place in the world, mousesports‘ highest ranking in almost a year. However, the Australian stresses that they have more to prove before they can be accurately ranked.

“I wouldn’t know where to rate us myself, I think we need to play more of the other regional teams from CIS and NA, and play Heroic to see how we stack up officially,” he says. The team’s long-term goals are simple, though — becoming a top 5 team by PGL Stockholm Major in November. “I want to be top 5 consistently at least, of course any better is awesome. But getting to this level requires consistency in ourselves, and that will be the major test for us.”

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Counter Strike: Global Offensive

mousesports defeat NIP to claim Flashpoint 3 title

Massive underdogs heading into the tournament, being just the eight-highest-ranked team at Flashpoint 3, mousesports completed their miracle run to take the trophy over NIP in the grand final on Sunday.

Christopher “⁠dexter⁠” Nong‘s men opened the series with a 16-13 loss on Overpass — the only map they dropped in the event —, before going on to take convincing victories on Nuke (16-6) and Inferno (16-9). “There is still so much to do, so much to learn,” were the Australian’s first words after the victory few could predict three weeks ago.

“We were coming from a dark area, we achieved our goals step by step,” dexter said in the post match interview. “First top 5, then top 3, now we won it – it is pretty f*cking crazy.”

The 27-year-old’s early woes with the European team seem to be behind him now, as he averaged a 1.18 rating in Flashpoint 3, but David “⁠frozen⁠” Čerňanský and Robin “⁠ropz⁠” Kool outshone the caller by a significant margin. The former was handed his first MVP award for the immense contributions to mousesports‘ first tournament win since ICE Challenge at the start of 2020.

MVP frozen posted his best event rating since joining mouz (1.35)

Despite the grand final loss, NIP managed a respectable second place finish in their debut event with Nicolai “⁠device⁠” Reedtz, which kicked off with a controversial game against Anonymo. Following the rematch win, the Swedes were knocked to the lower bracket by G2, but ran the gauntlet to place ahead of Nikola “⁠NiKo⁠” Kovač‘s team, as well as the likes of Astralis and Heroic.

Claiming the CT pistol got mousesports the lead at the start of the series, going 4-0 on Overpass before an eco B push allowed NIP to get into the drivers’ seat. The Swedish-Danish team went on a run as mousesports double AWP setup failed to find success, seeing NIP finish the half with an impressive 10-5 lead. Similarly to the first half, mousesports claimed the pistol and the followups, but NIP did well in the rifle rounds to go 14-8 ahead. While ropz pushed his team to fight back, NIP ultimately closed out the map 16-13.

NIP struggled to bring the same level of performance on Nuke, where dexter‘s team continued their flawless pistol round record in the series. The Australian in-game leader secured two clutches and five multikills as mousesports found themselves 12-6 up after switching to the CT side, sitting in a prime position to claim the map. The defensive side ended up being flawless from mousesports, who staggered NIP‘s pushes and took Nuke 16-6.

The Swedish team’s maiden pistol round of the grand final didn’t amount to much as it was instantly countered by mousesports‘ force buy, setting them up for the lead. frozen and ropz were thorns in NIP‘s side as mousesports reached a 10-5 halftime score, but a second-round force buy after the switch gave Hampus “⁠hampus⁠” Poser and co. gave a lifeline. All hope was lost after NIP fumbled an anti-eco round, seeing their opponents lock in the victory, 16-9.

Europe

Sweden

Final standings for Flashpoint 3:

1. Europe mousesports – 1600 RMR Points + $17,000
2. Sweden NIP – 1500 RMR Points + $10,000
3. Europe G2 – 1400 RMR Points + $7,000
4. Denmark Heroic – 1300 RMR Points + $5,000
5. Germany BIG – 1200 RMR Points + $4,000
6. Denmark Astralis – 1100 RMR Points + $3,000
7. France Vitality – 1000 RMR Points + $2,000
8. France DBL PONEY – 900 RMR Points + $2,000
9. Europe FunPlus Phoenix – 800 RMR Points
10. Europe Complexity – 700 RMR Points
11. Germany Sprout – 600 RMR Points
12. Poland Anonymo – 500 RMR Points
13-16. Denmark HYENAS – 250 RMR Points
13-16. Europe FaZe – 250 RMR Points
13-16. Sweden fnatic – 250 RMR Points
13-16. Europe OG – 250 RMR Points

mousesports‘ top finish sees them jump up to the fourth place in the European Regional Major Rankings standings, sitting behind G2, Heroic, and NIP who were handed points based on their RMR results in 2020. In the top-eight are also teams such as Vitality and Astralis, while OG, fnatic, and FaZe will need to show better results to ensure a spot at the PGL Stockholm Major in October.

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Counter Strike: Global Offensive

NIP exact revenge on G2 to set up Flashpoint 3 grand final against mousesports

NIP have bested G2 in the last Flashpoint 3 playoff match before the Regional Major Ranking tournament’s grand final. The squad led by Nemanja “⁠nexa⁠” Isaković had knocked Hampus “⁠hampus⁠” Poser and company down to the lower bracket in a barn burner earlier in the tournament, but are now out in third place after getting reverse swept in the consolidation final by the Swedes on Mirage (12-16), Inferno (16-9) and Dust2 (16-14).

G2 had been looking like strong contenders to make the final with victories over FaZe, Heroic and NIP in the upper bracket before a loss to mousesports, but the Swedes’ revenge on their upper bracket executioners means they will now be the ones to face the red-hot mouz on Sunday. The team led by Christopher “⁠dexter⁠” Nong will be a hefty opponent for the ninjas, as they have not dropped a single map in the tournament with 2-0 victories against fnatic, BIG, Astralis and the aforementioned G2.

device made the difference for NIP in the consolidation final

The consolidation final started on NIP’s pick, Mirage, a map the Swedes just amply defeated Heroic on in the lower bracket semi-final. It was G2 who got out ahead, however, as nexa downed four players with his USP in the pistol round. It wasn’t until a 1vs3 clutch by Nicolai “⁠device⁠” Reedtz in the sixth round that NIP were able to get on the board in a half that went in the favor of the CTs, 9-6. Audric “⁠JaCkz⁠” Jug nailed a 1vs2 afterplant clutch on B in the second pistol round to keep his team cruising ahead to 12-6. Slowly but surely the Swedes started mounting a comeback, including a ninja defuse to get within two, 12-14, but G2 shut it down in the following two rounds.

Roles reversed on Inferno and it was NIP, on the CT side, who took the early lead, but the map was even by the tenth round as G2 put more and more pressure, but with Fredrik “⁠REZ⁠” Sterner, device and Nicolas “⁠Plopski⁠” Gonzalez Zamora firing on all cylinders NIP were able to link five rounds in a row and hit double digits before the switch. NiKo and nexa cleaned house to win the second pistol round, but a successful forcebuy by the Swedes put them on the road to victory, which culminated with a 1vs3 by hampus on an A afterplant to make it 16-9.

A 3-3 start on Dust2 with G2 on the defense and NIP on the attack set the scene in the decider map as the two teams fought back-and-forth in the early rounds, although it was the team led by hampus who were able to get ahead and take a 9-6 lead at the half with device downing 19 players before switching sides. The Swedes put up a strong defense on the B site in the second pistol round to hit double digits and started to make their way to the finish line, although a six-round streak by G2 made coming back a real possibility. In the do or die round G2 were unable to push the series to overtime, however, as NIP secured a spot in the grand final with one final B retake, 16-14.

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Sweden

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NIP knock out Heroic from Flashpoint 3

NIP came back from a map down to defeat Heroic 2-1 and book a spot in Flashpoint 3’s consolidation final against G2. After surviving three elimination series, the Danish side — the highest-ranked team in attendance — seemed primed for an easy passage through to the next round as they won Nuke in convincing fashion, but NIP hit back on Overpass after fending off two match points before running riot on Mirage, where Fredrik “⁠REZ⁠” Sterner produced a scintillating display.

This victory means that the Ninjas will have a shot at revenge against G2 after losing against the international team in the upper bracket semi-finals, on Sunday. “I think we are going to go back and watch the demos of those maps,” Nicolas “⁠Plopski⁠” Gonzalez Zamora said when asked about the team’s preparation for the next match. “It was really close last time, the games came down to the wire and could have gone either way.”

NIP have guaranteed a top-three finish in the RMR tournament

Heroic set the tone for the match as they romped to a 6-2 lead on the T side of Nuke, with NIP struggling to get into their rhythm during the early stages. The Ninjas then put some rounds together and brought the deficit to a minimum before Heroic re-established control to end the half on double-digit territory.

NIP came out of the break a more resolute side and quickly knotted the score, but one slip-up proved catastrophic for them. The tide turned dramatically after Heroic won an eco round following a ramp rush, with the Danish team seizing control of the game thereafter.

The Danish team kept the momentum going and hopped out to a 6-1 lead on Overpass. Just like on Nuke, NIP amped up the pressure on their opponents in an effort to stop the bleeding, but the half ended with a 9-6 lead for Heroic despite valiant efforts by Nicolai “⁠device⁠” Reedtz, who sat at the top of the scoreboard with 17 frags, nine more than any of his teammates.

Now playing on the CT side, NIP drew level off the back of a flawless pistol, with the game then turning into a tit-for-tat affair as neither side seemed able to take control of proceedings. Heroic eventually reached series point at 15-13 following a stunning 1v3 clutch by Martin “⁠stavn⁠” Lund, just one round after Casper “⁠cadiaN⁠” Møller had almost managed to turn a 1v4 scenario around. With NIP strapped for cash, the game seemed to be as good as over, but the Swedish side rallied back and went on to win the map in double overtime.

The cat-and-mouse nature continued on Mirage, the decider map, where only one round separated the two teams at the break after a hotly-contested first half. However, the second half brought a change in the pace of the game: A 1v2 clutch by Plopski kick-started a NIP onslaught as the Swedes ran amok and tore Heroic‘s defence apart.

“We want to get as far as possible because it’s the road to the Stockholm Major,” Plopski said in the post-match interview. “I think everyone wants to play there, especially us because we’re Swedish.

“Individually, I’m playing more CS than I’ve ever played before. We’re really happy with top three, but we don’t want to stop here. We want to go all the way.”

Denmark

Sweden

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mousesports to Flashpoint 3 grand final over G2

mousesports have secured a spot in the Flashpoint 3 grand final following a 2-0 victory over G2 in the upper bracket final. Nemanja “⁠nexa⁠” Isaković‘s squad will have another chance to reach the title decider as they have dropped to the consolidation final, in which they will face off against the winner of Heroic and NIP on Friday.

With their fourth consecutive victory, the Christopher “⁠dexter⁠” Nong-led side has continued a stunning run through the first Regional Major Ranking tournament of the year after having previously defeated fnatic, BIG, and Astralis without losing a single map in the process.

The European side are now eyeing up their first big-event victory in the online era and their first with the current iteration of the lineup after undergoing an overhaul earlier this year with the additions of dexter and Frederik “⁠acoR⁠” Gyldstrand.

frozen is the highest-rated player of the tournament so far (1.34)

A forcebuy back-and-forth opened up the action on Inferno, with mousesports finding the edge on the back of Aurimas “⁠Bymas⁠” Pipiras‘s 1v3 despite conceding the initial pistol round. G2 struggled to find gaps in the defense, but they ended up just one round behind after all when they closed out the half with a four-round run. Another strong start from dexter‘s men in the second half saw mouz reach double digits first, and a second 1v3 clutch — this time courtesy of ropz — helped them claim a series lead just a few rounds later.

G2 looked to muster a forceful reply on their opponents’ pick, Nuke, getting off on the right foot once the forcebuy battles went their way for a change and paving the way for a dominant performance in the first half. The tide changed at 10-2 when mousesports finally found some footing with the last three rounds of the half as well as a pistol round victory, in which David “⁠frozen⁠” Čerňanský stepped up to the plate with a quad-kill, spelling all kinds of trouble for the French-Balkan side.

mouz were suddenly not only back in contention but in the lead of the map, and although G2 showed signs of life again with a successful upper execute and a halfbuy win the dexter-led squad completed the comeback and locked their spot in the grand final at 16-13, 2-0.

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Europe

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Heroic through to Flashpoint 3 lower bracket final over Astralis

Heroic came out on top in a two map derby against Astralis and have secured a spot in the Flashpoint 3 lower bracket final, where they will face the winner of the second lower bracket semi-final pitting NIP and BIG.

“I always thought I would make it to the top at some point, my goal has always been to dethrone Astralis on another team and that I have accomplished, so this is really nice,” René “⁠TeSeS⁠” Madsen said in the post-match interview moments after defeating his countrymen for the second time this month.

Astralis’ will not be able to proceed further in the tournament, as this is their second loss after falling to mousesports in the upper bracket, but they nonetheless have one more match lying ahead, the fifth place decider on Sunday, to try and accrue as many Regional Major Ranking points as possible.

Heroic have won their three lower bracket matches 2-0

Astralis won the first pistol round on Nuke starting on the CT side, but Heroic struck right back in the forcebuy to take a 3-1 lead. After that, both teams tussled back-and-forth in a very fought out half that Lukas “⁠gla1ve⁠” Rossander’s men were able to take 9-6. Roles reversed in the first rounds of the second half, as Heroic won the pistol round but lost against the second round forcebuy. Despite the momentary setback, the team led by cadiaN quickly settled on the defense and took their map pick 16-12.

Astralis’ pistol win on the attacking side was once again countered by a forcebuy in the second round. This timem Emil “⁠Magisk⁠” Reif and company weren’t able to regain their footing early on, however, and Heroic started to run away on the scoreboard, 7-1, before Peter “⁠dupreeh⁠” Rasmussen won a 1vs1 clutch to tally a second round for his side. The two teams then split the difference to end up 10-5 at the half. Astralis’ second pistol victory was again countered by a forcebuy the following round, after which a brawl ensued in a half that went to the wire, ending with the bomb going off in the thirtieth round and Heroic securing a spot in the next round of play.

Denmark

Denmark

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Heroic, BIG advance to Flashpoint 3 lower bracket semi-finals

Heroic and BIG have survived the third round of the Flashpoint 3 lower bracket with victories over Vitality and DBL PONEY, respectively. The French teams, who played each other in the first round of the tournament in a match that ended with the team led by Alexandre “⁠bodyy⁠” Pianaro coming out on top, will now play each other again in the seventh-place decider.

The first series of the day, which pitted Heroic and Vitality was a rather straightforward affair, with René “⁠TeSeS⁠” Madsen and Casper “⁠cadiaN⁠” Møller both hitting over 20 kills in a 16-11 victory on their map pick, Nuke. Vitality then got off to a slow start on the attacking side of Overpass, only able to tally five rounds before switching sides, and the Danes took no prisoners after the switch as TeSeS once again topped the scoreboard in the 16-9 map that gave his team the 2-0 victory.

Heroic continue their Flashpoint 3 LB run after defeating Vitality

BIG and DBL PONEY kicked off proceedings in their series on Vertigo, the German team’s pick, and while the French squad were able to put up a semblance of opposition on the CT side by tallying six rounds, BIG took control in the second half to win the map with an ample scoreline, 16-9. DBL PONEY changed the tides of the series on Nuke, their pick, with a convincing T-side followed by a solid CT showing to take the map 16-8 and force a third. The Dust2 decider promised a fiery ending to the series, but it was BIG who dominated on the attack, gaining enough of a margin to carry them to victory in the second half, 16-12, to bag the series.

Following their victory against Vitality, Heroic will now fight their local rivals Astralis in an exciting Danish derby in the lower bracket semi-finals. The other lower bracket semi-final will feature the winner of today’s second match, BIG, who will go up against NIP in yet another a do-or-die match to remain alive in the Regional Major Ranking event.

France

Denmark

Germany

France

The next set of Flashpoint 3 matches, scheduled to be played on Wednesday, are:

18:00