Outsiders Win IEM Rio Major

Outsiders Win IEM Rio Major

Outsiders (former Virtus.pro) defeated Heroic 2-0 in the Intel Extreme Masters Rio Major finals on Sunday, November 13.

Outsiders (former Virtus.pro) defeated Heroic 2-0 in the Intel Extreme Masters Rio Major finals on Sunday, November 13. Outsiders claimed the organization’s first Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Major title and $1,200,000 in tournament winnings.

A Chaotic Season

Outsiders had quite a turbulent season in 2022, but the CIS squad have managed to jump through all the hoops the world threw at them to emerge as the world’s best CS:GO team.

For Outsiders, it all started in March 2022, when ESL announced that all Russian esports organizations that have ties with the government are indefinitely banned from competing in their events. This ultimately forced Virtus.pro to disband its CS:GO roster and leave the players to compete independently under a new team – which led to the creation of the Outsiders.

Features Aleksei “Qikert” Golubev, Dzhami “Jame” Ali, Evgeniy “FL1T” Lebedev, Timur “buster” Tulepov, and Mareks “YEKINDAR” Gaļinskis, the Outsiders had a rough start to their campaign. The CIS squad’s first tournament under the new banner – the ESL Pro League Season 15 – resulted in a disappointing 17th-20th place finish.

And unfortunately, things didn’t improve by much in the following months. In April, Outsiders made it through the PGL Major Antwerp European RMR A in eighth place, but they fell apart in Antwerp, where they placed 12th-14th.

The poor start to the season ushered in roster changes, which saw Outsiders place buster and YEKINDAR on the bench in favor of David “n0rb3r7” Daniyelyan and Pyotr “fame” Bolyshev, who joined form K23. And with a new-look roster, Outsiders finally found some traction, yet the team still failed to win any notable events.

They topped ESL Pro League Conference Season 16 and placed second at ESL Challenger at DreamHack Valencia 2022 but were fairly underwhelming in other competitions. Notably, Outsiders finished Roobet Cup and IEM Cologne in 13th-16, placed top-eight at ESL Pro League Season 16, and concluded the RMR in eighth place.

But it seems like Outsiders saved the best for last.

A Surge Of Form

Following underwhelming showings throughout the year, Outsiders found momentum in October, when they won ESL Challenger at DreamHack Rotterdam 2022 and proved to the world that they’re ready to compete at the Major. Yet no one expected them to do as well in Brazil as Outsiders did.

Having finished the European RMR in eighth place, Outsiders kicked off the Major in the Challengers Stage, where they had some shaky moments. Jame and his crew lost the opening round against MOUZ, but bounced back with three back-to-back wins against IHC, Team Vitality, and Fnatic to qualify for the Legends Stage.

In the Legends Stage, the Outsiders had a similar experience: they lost their opening match against Heroic but outclassed Ninjas in Pyjamas, Team Spirit, and MOUZ. With that, the Outsiders finished the stage with a 3-1 record and qualified for the playoffs.

Despite their 6-2 run through the Major, Outsiders entered the playoffs as one of the underdogs. But once more, the CIS squad proved everyone wrong, as they defeated Fnatic (2-0) and MOUZ (2-1) to reach the grand finals, where they reunited with Heroic, who bested them 16-8 less than a week prior.

Outsiders Win Major Trophy

The IEM Rio Major finals came down to Outsiders and Heroic, which was, in the eyes of many, an unfortunate situation – especially for the home fans, who saw FURIA kneed to Heroic in the semis. But even though Heroic and Outsiders proved to be the top teams of the tournaments, the latter were clearly the better of the two.

In what was expected to be a closely-fought series, Outsiders made sure it was anything but. They kicked off the finals with a 16-12 victory on Mirage and were just as impressive on Overpass, where they demolished the Danes, claiming a 12-3 lead before the halftime.

And even though Heroic had their chances to reduce the lead, they proved unable to compete with Jame and his team, who needed just six rounds to win the map (16-5) and close out the series at 2-0-
With a commanding 2-0 sweep, the Outsiders claimed the IEM Rio Major trophy and pocketed $1,200,000 in tournament winnings.