Ushering in a New Era: Brazilian Counter-Strike

This blog post was written by Jon “JLB” Barak and originally published by UNIKRN.

Brazilian Counter-Strike went back into obscurity when cogu left the game in 2009. Cogu was arguably the greatest AWPer in the original Counter-Strike and the man who truly put Brazilian CS on the map for the first time. In 2009, however, he had to leave gaming behind because of law school, and the Counter-Strike world hardly heard of in Brazil since.

Until January 2015…

Brazilian Counter-Strike at MLG X Games Aspen


MLG X Games Aspen was a memorable event for a plethora of reasons. It was the first time that MLG hosted a CS:GO event. The next one that they hosted was MLG: Columbus, which will go down as one of the most important Majors in Global Offensive. It was also the first time that the then-relatively-unknown KaBuM.TD beat a highly rated team on LAN.

It was the second match of the day, and the crowd was still calming down from an overtime match between Ninjas in Pyjamas and Team Dignitas, who were two of the best teams in the world at the time. The crowd was ready to watch another great match on Mirage between a Cloud9 who just picked up ShahZam and… some Brazilian team? Sure, they have FalleN, whose name was known, but the biggest victory on LAN they ever had, was against one of the lesser French teams at ESWC 2014. Perhaps the crowd was thinking, “This’ll be a quick, boring game. Maybe shroud will get some Reddit-worthy frags.”

Cloud9 won the pistol round, but the Brazilians got a string of five round wins to answer. Cloud9 scrapped three more rounds before KaBuM.TD finished the half with eleven points, and one of the best terrorist performances, at that point on that version of Mirage. They also won the first five rounds of the second half, meaning that they beat Cloud9 in a blowout score of 16-4.

That team, throughout all future lineup iterations, would be famous for their Mirage play, even over a year later as this article is being written. KaBuM.TD didn’t win any more maps in the group, but the match against the North American team was a warning to the world of what was to come.

Brazilian Counter-Strike at ESL One: Katowice 2015


The Brazilian boys managed to win their way into the LAN qualifier for 2015’s first Major. They had to crowdfund their trip to Poland due to their new sponsors, Keyd Stars, being unable to pay their fare, but struck gold when Flusha of Fnatic decided to donate a decent chunk of money towards their cause. The money collected, about $1,400 from Flusha alone, would not go to waste as the team of FalleN, fer, Boltz, steel and zqk would dominate Team Dignitas and qualify for the Major, being the first South American team in the history of Counter-Strike to do achieve this feat.

The Keyd Stars lost their first game against the Ninjas in Pyjamas, but that didn’t discourage them, they went on to upset the Eastern European team, HellRaisers, on Inferno, giving them one last shot at the playoffs. They were matched up against Counter Logic Gaming, a rising North American team who got into the Major with a thrilling victory over the French team, Titan. This match, on the other hand, was not so close or intense. Keyd Stars won thirteen terrorist rounds in the first half of Dust 2, and won three more rounds in the second half to secure a spot in the playoffs, and in the next Major.

Unfortunately for Keyd Stars, they were paired up with Virtus.Pro in the quarterfinals. They managed to take a map off of the Polish powerhouse in the best-of-three series, but only got a five points in the other two maps combined.

This event was a success. FalleN’s team went further than anyone expected them to, and getting Legendary status set them up for the success that they would achieve throughout the rest of the year.

Brazilian Counter-Strike at EEPL Season 1

This wasn’t nearly as exciting or explosive a feat as Keyd Stars’ previous tournament appearances, but getting second place in a top-level league, even a top-level North American league, revealed a lot. It showed consistency. In the twenty-one matches the Brazilian team played, they lost four times. Once to Cloud9, once to a pre-Hiko Team Liquid, once to Nihilum and once to Method Gaming. If they beat Cloud9, they would have come in first place.

Before, Keyd Stars was a fun and flashy team that could get an upset win at events. Now, it was clear that they could compete consistently at a high level. All they had left to do was win a best-of-three against a top team.

At the Season Finals, the Brazilians didn’t get past the Round of 6, but they did score a victory in the Group Stage over the Danish Team SoloMid, which they were able to add to their list of map upsets. Map upsets don’t win tournaments, and so far, Keyd Stars hadn’t beaten a top team in a best-of-three.

Brazilian Counter-Strike at ESL One: Cologne 2015 and DreamHack Open Cluj-Napoca


While nothing incredibly pivotal happened at these two events, it’s important to note that the team, now known as Luminosity Gaming, made it to the playoffs of both the Majors that were left in 2015 after ESL One: Katowice. At Cologne, they beat Kinguin and lost to Team EnVyUs on Day 1. On Day 2, they beat Flipsid3 Tactics to get to the quarterfinals, where they were crushed by Fnatic on Train and then narrowly beaten on Mirage.

At the Romanian Major, the Brazilians got their revenge as they beat the Swedes in the Winners Match of their group. They lost in the quarterfinals to a rapidly improving Natus Vincere, continuing the team’s streak of performing well in best-of-ones and then failing in best-of-threes.

Brazilian Counter-Strike at FACEIT 2015 Stage 3 Finals at DreamHack Open Winter 2015

November 27th, 2015 was a defining date in the history of Luminosity Gaming. The day before, on November 26th, it was announced that two of Luminosity’s players, Boltz and steel, were removed from the team. The two players that replaced the duo were TACO, an unproven talent who many fans believed didn’t deserve his spot on the team, and fnx, a veteran who played at the top of the world with cogu for a short while around 2006. The new iteration of the team was to play Fnatic, the best team in the world, later that day. A Fnatic win was expected, but very few people were prepared for Fnatic to win with an infamous 16-0 scoreline. It looked like Luminosity were going to completely bomb out of the tournament.

Then came November 27th…

If the Brazilian boys wanted to get out of the group they would have to win not one, but two best-of-threes against top teams. Remember, they hadn’t won a single best-of-three against a high-tier European team yet.

Luminosity beats both Team EnVyUs and the Ninjas in Pyjamas in the best-of-three series. They beat Team SoloMid the next day, and nearly beat Fnatic, the team that shut them out just two days prior, in the Grand Finals. It was the first Grand Finals of that magnitude the Brazilians had ever played in, and they nearly won it. Losing 16-0, to almost winning a best-of-three is the difference that two days can make.

Since that event, Luminosity has been on an upward trajectory, and even won the most recent Major, MLG: Columbus 2016. A second Brazilian team, Games Academy, who were sponsored by FalleN, came to the United States as well and signed a contract with Tempo Storm. They quickly overtook all of North America in weeks, similarly to their predecessors who did the same thing less than a year before. Two more Brazilian teams are moving to the United States, and are expected to be as good as Tempo Storm.

From this current trend, it looks like the past year of difficulty and adversity that KaBuM, then Keyd Stars, now Luminosity Gaming, had to go through, was just the birth of a new era in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. An era where Europe has a worthy opponent and rival. An era where the west side of the Atlantic can be proud. An era where NA and EU can no longer be complacent, because there is a new powerhouse in town, and Brazilian teams are here to stay.

What do you think? Is this a new era of Counter-Strike?