Poor Richmen – a story about the success of players without an organization

Every major sports competition never goes without some miracles from the participants, and Counter-Strike is no exception. One can recall how the representatives from Kosovo played twice in the Legend stage of the Majors and will play again in a month.

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First Steps

In February 2022, the open qualifiers for the PGL Major 2022 held in Antwerp, Belgium, begin. Participating in the second qualifying tournament, BNE finishes in 3rd place, losing only to Endpoint, which allows them to advance to the RMR stage of the Major tournament. The seeding of the teams places them in Group B, where they advance to the Challenger stage with a 3-2 score, defeating teams like Entropiq, ASG, SINNERS, and losing only to Ninja in Pyjamas and G2. The mere fact that a team from Kosovo made it through became a celebration for the population, and they were personally congratulated by the Prime Minister himself.

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Unexpected Success

In the Challenger stage, Bad News Eagles played 5 matches. The opening match for the Kosovars was against the Turkish representatives, Eternal Fire. With a score of 16:14, the guys advanced to a 1-0 record, where they faced forZe, but suffered a defeat with a score of 7:16. The next encounter was against the Brazilian Imperial team, whom they defeated 16:12. BNE’s following match was against ENCE, but they suffered a loss in the best-of-3 series, which pushed them back to a 2-2 record. The final battle of the Challenger stage was played against another Brazilian team, MIBR. Victory over them provided a chance to participate in the Legend stage of the Major, which they managed to achieve by winning with a score of 2-1.

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In the Legend stage, Bad News Eagles were unable to make a bright showing and advance to the playoffs, getting eliminated with a 0-3 record (14:16 against Copenhagen Flames, 4:16 against FaZe, 0:2 against Imperial), which placed them in 15-16th position.

By reaching the Legend stage, Bad News Eagles secured their participation in the next Major, IEM Rio 2022, in the RMR stage in Group A.

Second Round of Success

Their group’s opening match started against the Turkish Eternal Fire, a tough victory with a score of 16:14 led them to face Ninjas in Pyjamas. However, after losing to them with a score of 7:16, the Kosovars took on the Danish Astralis, whom they sensationally defeated 16:3. Such results put them up against Team Spirit, and after conceding 1-2 in maps, Bad News Eagles defeated forZe and advanced to the Challenger stage of the tournament.

BNE opened the tournament with a match against 00NATION, whom they easily outplayed with a score of 16:3. The next match was against BIG, whom they also defeated 16:11. Their final battle for advancement was against GamerLegion. A 2-0 victory in maps secured their entry into the Legend stage. Bad News Eagles repeated their previous Major’s success.

The Legend stage began with the failure of their first two matches against Spirit and ENCE. They played their third match against FaZe, whom they surprisingly defeated with a 2-1 score in maps, to the astonishment of all fans. In their last match at the Major, BNE played against Na`Vi, but eventually lost with a score of 0-2 and were eliminated from the Major in 12-14th place.

See You in Paris!

Such a result guarantees their participation in the RMR stage of the next Major, which will take place in Paris, organized by Blast. Bad News Eagles start with a hiccup, losing their first match to 1WIN with a score of 9:16. However, they have no problem winning all subsequent matches against Viperio, Apeks, and FaZe. With a 3-1 record, the players face GamerLegion for the right to play in the Legend stage, which they successfully manage and fly to Paris.

This team without an organization has managed to repeat their success of reaching such a stage in the largest tournament three times. We will be watching their games at the Blast Paris Major 2023 to see if they can make it to the playoff stage of the tournament.

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Difficulties in Finding a Home

Despite such astonishing success, why can’t the players find a home? Since the Major in Antwerp, James Banks himself contacted the players and, after a conversation, decided to become their main manager to help with organizational matters. Banks also took responsibility for negotiations with major organizations to assist the players. The main issues with signing this roster are the bans on any form of betting in Albania and Kosovo, which complicates the ability of organizations with betting sponsors to finance the players. In the future, we will find out if the major players in esports can enter the market of such talented individuals.