Fragadelphia 16 Preview: The Block Goes Global
In March of 2014 sixteen teams converged on Philadelphia to play for bragging rights in a LAN that only had players of two nationalities recorded, American and Canadian. Record keeping in the early days of competitive CS:GO was spotty at best, but it's safe to assume that Fragadelphia 16, just eight short years later, is among the most diverse grassroots LANs that the North American scene has ever seen.
This year's event will feature representation from every continent except Antarctica and Australia. We'll see the South African contingent from ATK unite with their European teammates on LAN for the first time and oNe will bring a little bit of Ginga to Philly for the first time since they attended Fragadelphia 12. Bad News Bears contribute an Asian CS:GO contingent with Pakistani players Khizar "MoMo" Rehman and Saad "Pluto" Siraj set to play this weekend, while Apeks Rebels have made the journey stateside to tear through the Last Chance Qualifier and make a bid for a spot at the main event as further European representatives. The latter are off to a hot start after allowing Mr. Steal Your Win just one round across two maps in a dominant sweep.
There are a number of teams that are all here to fight for the cash prize and Fragadelphia 16 title and we're here to break them all down for you.
Something To Prove (The Domestic Contenders)
A number of teams slated to participate in the main event have had their smaller LAN results leading up to the main event called into question, leaving them with the opportunity to silence their critics once they log into The Block's servers. InControl, who are currently 7-3 in ESEA Advanced, are the target of many of these questions, despite having emerged victorious at Fragadelphia LANs both in Philadelphia and in Chicago. Strife, who haven't played much in ESL Challenger League (ECL) so far this season, was also a recipient of travel aid based on their finish in the NSG Winter Champs Rankings, which affords their roster the opportunity to turn this event into a profitable venture. The ECL squad were the champions of Fragadelphia Denver earlier this year, while they also contributed Keller "SLIGHT" Nilan and Dylan "SATURN" Finch to the roster that became champions of the Fragadelphia St. Louis event, Attack of the Clones.
A Challenger Approaches (The Domestic Heavyweights)
A number of other ECL sides that have not yet been mentioned will be in attendance in the City of Brotherly Love, notably including Bad News Bears, Carpe Diem, and ChocoCheck. All three sides have a 50% win rate or better in ECL Season 40 thus far, most notably with Carpe Diem being a strong contender for the top postseason seed in Group A with a record of 4-1. With only matches against Bad News Bears and ATK remaining, Fragadelphia could set the stage for the remainder of the ECL season, while also sporting a prize for the winner that exceeds the cash prize of ECL Season 40 by $4,000.
Something To Lose (The International Travelers)
Let's face it, international travel isn't cheap, so the teams that are coming from abroad to compete are here for one reason and one reason only. To win. Apeks Rebels are looking fierce in their first maps, having allowed one round in their opening series, but their competition will only continue to get steeper as they progress further in the event. Can they keep their momentum as they climb the mountain to face North America's final bosses? Early results indicate that we're in for a hell of an event with this dark Norse in the mix.
Meanwhile ATK have been a problem for their opponents in ECL Season 40, having already claimed victory over Bad News Bears and Third Impact. Now the real test is whether they will be able to translate that online success to LAN. Erik "truth" Hansen Dyrnes will no doubt be looking to be as big of a thorn in the side as possible for his former team, Apeks, and the rest of the Fragadelphia hopefuls as he looks to build on a respectable 1.12 rating in ATK's ESEA Winter Cash Cup 5 victory.
And finally, oNe, the beloved Brazilian team that we all love to hate after they decimated the dreams of Extra Salt fans everywhere in the ESEA Premier Season 37 grand final. They're baaaaack, and this time with some new (and old) faces to replace the familiar foes that were poached by their countrymen on 00 Nation and GODSENT. Alencar "trk" Rossato has returned to his former side after spending some time with 00 Nation and newcomer Ruann "keiz" Rotondano has joined the South American side from DETONA. The latter in particular has struggled in his time with oNe so far, where he has averaged a 0.85 rating in ECL Season 40 and the second Mythic Winter Cup of 2022.
The prize pool for Fragadelphia 16 is:
The groups for the first group stage of the main event are:
LGG Prison Break
Old But Gold