Last Sunday, British CSGO player Owen "smooya" Butterfield and his German team Berlin International Gaming (BiG) shook the Counter-Strike scene by finishing second at ESL One Cologne.
Jamie Wootton looks back on smooya's performance.
Dubbed 'the Cathedral of Counter-Strike', every year ESL One Cologne hosts the world’s best teams and, as they are the best German team, BiG received a direct invite to the tournament.
However, the announcement was not received well by some within the community, as they believed BiG would have otherwise failed to make the cut if forced to qualify like the vast majority of other professional teams. Despite the criticism, BiG turned up to the LAN and put on an absolute show for the native German crowd.
This major LAN event is hailed by many such as Britain's own Duncan "Thorin" Shields to be one of the most prestigious events of year. It was one of smooya's first few LAN events of this scale, and some some believed that the 18-year-old Brit - who joined BiG earlier this year - would struggle to perform on the big stage.
Yet this turned out not to be the case. When it came to the games, smooya turned up massively and, although he didn’t post up huge numbers across the board, his AWPing prowess lead to him clutching out many 1vX situations and having an immense impact.
When you win a 1v2 vs people you’ve been fans of for years on the biggest stage of your life 😭😭🇬🇧 pic.twitter.com/CQMlJFG0do
— Owen Butterfield (@smooyacs) July 7, 2018
In fact, on HLTV’s Player of the Week tab, smooya can be found leading with the most AWP kills, clutches won and opening kills in the global professional scene.
Although BiG benefitted from the support of the home crowd, it cannot be disputed that smooya’s quality AWPing contributed massively to their success at the premier tournament.
— Declan (@EsportsMurphy) July 8, 2018
Whilst the German team were the crowd favourites all along, their odds to progress deep into the tournament were not favoured.
BiG, previously ranked 25th in the world prior to ESL One Cologne, were pitted against a barrage of tough teams in their opening games and had to face the likes of Team Liquid, MIBr and FaZe, just to name a few, before reaching their final match-up with the God-like Natus Vincere.
Seeing just how masterful smooya can be with the legendary AWP and to what extent he is loved by the fans – so much so that they were even chanting his name after the British player's side lost the final in disappointing fashion – I believe it’s likely we’ll now be seeing a lot more of smooya.
In recent years it seemed that finding UK talent that could play at the highest level in CSGO was near impossible, and so I, along with many others, find it extremely refreshing to be watching some good old fashioned UKCS. GGWP smooya.
— ESL Counter-Strike (@ESLCS) July 8, 2018
Image source: Nathan "Lexo" Cooper/ESL