2018 has barely started and already competitive South African Counter-Strike: Global Offensive players are right back in the fray. The African Qualifiers for WESG Season Two are upon us!

Why is this WESG Qualifier important?

The team that wins the South African leg of the qualifier will be booking their place at the World Electronics Sports Games (WESG) World Finals. With that comes the chance to compete for the rather massive prize pool of $1.5 million. The WESG World Finals are due to take place in March in Haikou, Hainan, China. Our North African brethren will be competing in their own version of the Qualifiers from the eighth of February, meaning a team from South Africa and a team from North Africa will be representing the continent in China.

The most important part of the Qualifier is definitely not the money on offer at the Finals. Far from it. It is that a top South African team gets another opportunity to attend an overseas event again to prove themselves against more fancied opponents on LAN. With the Bravado Project Destiny announcement and their imminent move to the USA, it means that they could potentially get an additional opportunity themselves before they leave. Or it means another team, like rivals and African Champions Energy eSports, could snatch it away for themselves. Either way, it’s a potential win for South African CS:GO. We have another huge chance to put South African CS:GO on the map.

The WESG Grand Finals stage in 2017. Photo courtesy of Mettlestate.

North African Hopes

If a North African team achieves anything significant on the international stage, it would benefit the profile of SA in turn. If SA does well, we help the North Africans. Lucky for us foreigners think Africa is a lot smaller than it is. 🙂

Limitless.gg’s French team have qualified for the Finals, so I think that if their North African lineup makes it though it would be rather fitting. Realistically, I do think they are far and away the best team in their region so it is likely they will make it to China.

Where can l watch the WESG Qualifier?

It is starting on Thursday the 18th and will culminate in the first Semi Final broadcast on Saturday the 20th at 2pm by the fine folks from Mettlestate over at www.twitch.tv/mettlestate

The second Semi Final will be on Sunday at noon, with the BO5 Grand Final starting at 6:30pm.

George “Geemax” Smith and I will be the industriously wordsy commentary team for all three matches. The panel will be ably hosted by Sam “Tech Girl” Wright with Shaun “Profeci” Murell and Sean “Snare” Rihlamvu as analysts.

Who will win?

Bravado Gaming and Energy eSports are the two best teams in South Africa and are a tier above the rest of the field. One of them should win the title and the trip to China. Due to the random seedings from WESG, it has placed Bravado and Energy in the same side of the bracket. This means they will likely face each other in the second Semi Final if Energy can overcome Big 5 Esports in their first match.

The full CS:GO Bracket, courtesy of Mettlestate.

That first match against Big 5 is a big potential banana peel for Energy, but I think they will be highly motivated to crush the team that knocked them out of ESEA Season 26 Playoffs when they were down a Flexi. Big 5 have just replaced young gun Mark “Spazz” Jebens with the talented Josh “Blaze” Saunder, formerly of Exdee Gaming. Whether that galvanizes the team or means they will take a while to settle is unclear at this stage. After that another skilled team in Skeletons Again is Energy’s likely matchup before the Semi Final. The path to the Semi Final for Bravado includes tough matchups against xTc Esports in round one and a likely Goliath Gaming match in round two.

On the other side of the bracket, Damage Control should have no trouble reaching the Semi Finals. I think the team that will probably be waiting for them in that match is the star-laden but unproven LeetPro e-Sports. Whoever wins it will then have to face the full might of Bravado or Energy in the final.

For the South African Qualifier, teams will be competing not only for the spot in the finals, but a $2,000 prize pool. Call it a little bit of extra motivation. Or pocket money for the trip if you will. 😉 I can’t wait for it to get started!