HellRaisers won back-to-back 16-14 upsets in FACEIT League Stage 3 today against goliaths Team EnvyUs and Fnatic after losing two players halfway through the season.
This result comes a few days after the departure of Kazakhs Dauren “AdreN“Kystaubayev and Rustem “mou” Tlepov from the roster and the acquisition of Czech AWPer Tomáš “oskar” Šťastný and Slovakian rifler Martin “STYKO” Styk who beat NiP 16-2 in their first match last week.
It should also be noted that Alexander “s1mple” Kostylev has been an active stand-in for the roster since mid-September.
HellRaisers have been a second tier European team for a while, doing well in online cups but unable to consistently take games off of top teams. Early last month the team, with AdreN and mou still on the lineup, were able to take down Na’VI to qualify for FACEIT 2015 Stage 3 – Europe. Three days later they qualified for DreamHack Stockholm.
Their failure to get out of groups at DreamHack Stockholm was the wall that killed their momentum. As of October 6, AdreN and mou are off of the roster.
Today’s matches were a great showing considering only two days ago Hellraiser’s coach Sergey “Imbt” Bezhanov wrote in a blog post about the difficulties of having foreigners oskar and STYKO communicate in Russian with their Ukrainian teammates. “At this moment, although the individual shape of players are very good, their teamwork is not even 50% of their potential strength.” He goes on to ask the fans for continued support, “We have a lot of things to work on. I want to ask all you, dear fans, to arm yourself with patience”
s1mple is already considered a strong competitor with consistent performances. He has no fear in taking a knife to a gunfight or taking on several enemies on his own. While still technically contracted by Flipsid3 Tactics, he is competing with HellRaisers as an active stand-in. I would not be surprised to see him stay with the team.
Oskar is a veteran of competitive Counter-Strike and has been competing for the last 11 years. Joining HellRaisers may finally give him the opportunity to show that he’s not just a strong player online but on LAN as well.
STYKO may not have as long of a resume as his teammates, but he is showing that he can hold his own in high pressure situations.
While their communication gets better, we should expect them to perform at this level more consistently. it is also possible, however, that they go the way of Cloud 9: competing at the highest level for a small period before other teams figure them out. I look forward to seeing how far they’ll go this season.