At the dawn of the development of Esports, it already had several competitive disciplines, but among them, one stood out especially - Counter-Strike 1.6. In this article, we will tell you how the Moscow Five got the strongest roster in Russia and what it was worth to maintain and repeatedly confirm this status.
The origins of Moscow Five.
As historians like to say, the “first mention” of the Moscow Five appeared back in 2001. Then esports as a phenomenon was only in its infancy, and there were only a few organizations as we present them. Most of the teams were just compositions that performed under some permanent tag. Over time, some of them became more and more recognizable, maintained traditions and grew. One of these tags was m5team, the Counter-Strike lineup manager was Dmitry ddd1ms Smilyanets. In parallel, he worked as a programmer and assistant operator at Ostankino TV Center. Esports in such positions could hardly be called a job, then it was more like a hobby. They really started talking about m5team after winning the CPL Belgrade 2004, but that did not change much with regards to the short term future. At that time, esports projects were closing and opening with enviable frequency, and the M5 also suffered a similar fate - in 2005 the project was frozen, and Dmitry started a family, business and focused on real life. In 2011, when the esports industry entered an active stage of development and formation, ddd1ms has decided to return. The truly Russian tag Moscow Five was supposed to be represented only by the Russian players. It existed then, only it was not a club from the CIS, but the German organization Meet Your Makers. The revival of m5team was soon announced under the Moscow Five brand, which would soon become one of the most legendary and recognizable not only in Russia but throughout the world.
The announcement of the signing the former Meet Your Makers (Mikhail Dosia Stolyarov, Eduard ed1k Ivanov, Roman ROMJkE Makarov, Alexander xek Zobkov, Sergey Fox Stolyarov) was released on February 18, 2011, and a week later the team went to Kyiv to participate at ASUS Open Winter 2011.
Frankly, Moscow Five did not have worthy opponents there. While being under the MyM tag, the Russian team performed well on the world stage - its last result in the German organization was 5-6 place in the European final of Intel Extreme Masters, where the team fought with the most experienced and stellar teams of that time. Among them were Natus Vincere, who won the three largest championships in 2010, the Swedish rosters SK Gaming with f0rest and GeT_RiGhT and Fnatic, the Poles Frag eXecutors with NEO and TAZ, as well as the Danish team mTw, led by current Astralis coach Danny zonic Sorensen. Therefore, at ASUS Open Winter 2011, in addition to winning from the M5, they did not expect anything, and all opponents on the grid were defeated with a score of 2: 0. In the final, the Moscow Five broke up with Iron Will, which was then headed by the icon of the Russian Counter-Strike Alexei LeX Kolesnikov.
From that moment it became clear that Moscow Five simply had no competitors in Russia, and in the CIS the only opponent of the Moscow Five was Natus Vincere, a world-class team that had already won several world championships at that time. The original goal to get the strongest Russian team was met, but for great victories on the world stage, the M5 had to do a lot of work. And Dmitry's role for the entire Moscow Five organization was to provide players with some of the best conditions in the world. And apparently he succeeded with that.
But the path to the top on the competitive stage was too complicated and thorny. Even then, the competition in Counter-Strike was simply prohibitive, and just collecting strong players in one squad was not enough to achieve the highest goals. The first real test of strength for Moscow Five was the world finals of the fifth season of Intel Extreme Masters, which had brought together the strongest players on the planet. M5 did not have enough victories to leave the group. M5 defeated those whom the team was obliged to beat, but in the matches with Frag eXecutors, mTw and the Brazilian compLexity Gaming with Gabriel FalleN, Toledo could not be underestimated. However, it was a valuable experience that was useful to players in further tournaments.
Further, the results of the M5 only improved noticeably. At Copenhagen Games 2011 - a real survival competition with two group stages and 43 participants - Moscow Five entered the playoffs, wherein the first match M5 got SK Gaming. The Russian team, despite the fact that it was an obvious outsider, was able to give the fight to the higher-class Swedish roster at that time. First, the M5 lost de_dust2 with a score of 13:16, and on the second map de_nuke, the audience watched several series of additional rounds in a row, while the Swedes still could not get a victory with a score of 25:21. Four days after Copenhagen Games 2011, the team went to Spain for GameGune 2011. There, the task of advancing the group was again completed, but the lack of training between the tournaments affected the playoffs. In the upper bracket, Moscow Five again lost to SK Gaming, and in the lower bracket lost to e-Sahara.
The major confrontation in the history of Russian Esports
Although Moscow Five has not yet managed to prove itself on the world stage, it still had a large fan base in Russia, because in fact the country then had no other teams that defended its honor on the world stage. But everything changed in April 2011, when the efforts of Anton sneg Cherepennikov returned to the scene Virtus.pro.
Even though the VP line-up for Counter-Strike was just getting together and had not yet managed to prove itself in business, there was a lot of excitement around this team, and the old fans, of whom there were quite a lot, returned to their favorite team. For M5, this was a real challenge, because, in the media plan in the vastness of Russia, there was a competitor. Moscow Five needed to do everything to keep Virtus.pro out of the game and retain leadership not only in the number of medals and victories, but also to convince Counter-Strike fans from Russia that past achievements mean nothing, but in the present M5 stronger than anyone else.
The first meeting of principled opponents took place at the eSport Universe Moscow LAN tournament. Everyone expected a confrontation between M5 and VP in the final, but unlike the Moscow Five, hooch, evil, h4cker, mice, and kibaken made a mistake in the group stage, losing to Denis's seized Kostin mix called fbgaming and left the group only from second place. However, the hooch team, as it turned out, prepared very carefully for Moscow Five, and it was VP who caused the most M5 problems in this tournament. In the semifinals, applicants for the top 1 of Russia staged a real battle, especially on the first de_inferno map. But Virtus.pro was only enough to transfer the match to overtime, where Moscow Five squeezed the opponent with a score of 22:19. On the next map, de_tuscan M5 confidently finished with the opponent and reached the final, where Dmitry OverDrive Biryukov team Burn did not offer M5 any decent resistance.
Despite the victory of Moscow Five, the passions between M5 and Virtus.pro, as well as their fans on the Internet, flared up even more. Everyone was looking forward to the next team battle at the Intel Challenge Super Cup Season 8 in Kyiv, where both teams from Russia were in the same group and they had to play two matches. Both times, Moscow Five failed the first half (the score was 13: 2 in favor of the opponent) and tried to come back, but Virtus.pro managed to score the required three rounds, despite the good series for M5. The defeat from the principal adversary hit Dmitry Smilyanets very strongly. He tried to contact the players, but they had gone asleep by then. The heated leader of Moscow Five left a comment on the team site, where he stated that after such an annoying defeat he will "deprive players of all financial benefits."
His message was read by Vitaliy v1lat Volochay, who at that time was already a famous commentator. He noted that depriving players of salaries for one defeat is a terrible decision. After that, a skirmish began between ddd1ms and v1lat, in which the Moscow Five leader advised the commentator not to get into the team’s internal affairs and reminded him of several grave sins in the past.
At this time, the team was focused on returning to the game after losing to Virtus.pro. Indeed, despite the defeat from VP, M5 still had enough points to leave the group. Having dealt with Kerch.net in the opening playoff match, Moscow Five again hit Virtus.pro, but this time the success was for M5. In the final, M5 again lost to SK Gaming, only with the score 2:1. Despite this, the fans were pleased with the results of the tournament in Kyiv - worthy resistance to one of the strongest teams on the planet, as well as a victory over a principled opponent in an important match, inspired them greatly. As for the deprivation of “financial benefits”, it later turned out that ddd1ms was talking about a bonus. Given that Virtus.pro was ultimately defeated, the players received their bonuses, and the words of their leader after losing to VP in the group essentially became something of a motivation.
After ICSC 8, Dmitry has organized an unusual team building for the squad - climbing to the top of the Achishkho ridge in the Kavkaz Mountains. For sports tourists, such an event is not particularly difficult, but for untrained cyber-sportsmen, this was a real test. After the trip on the M5 channel, an interview with the players was released, in which the essence of this trip became clear. The fact is that after the Intel Challenge Super Cup 8, players complained about Counter-Strike fatigue, which caused dissatisfaction among fans. Like, you are sitting at computers and just playing, at the same time complaining, as if two shifts were plowed in a day at the mine. Of course, it was a matter of moral fatigue, not physical fatigue. And such a trip away from the computer, Counter-Strike, and the esports info the field helped players unload psychologically through the physical difficulties they encountered for the first time in a long time.
Judging by further results, the campaign for Achishkho was good for the players. After that, Moscow Five reached the final point in the confrontation with Virtus.pro - this happened at the Russian qualifiers for World Cyber Games 2011 in September. It was expected that both teams skated on all opponents and met in the final. At that duel at the Sokolniki Exhibition Center in Moscow came the whole army of VP fans who were ready to mentally destroy the M5, cheering for their idols from the audience. But this did not stop Moscow Five from snatching a 2-1 victory and finally securing leadership in Russia. After that, VP began a long series of setbacks, while Moscow Five continued on its way to the top and regularly participated in championships with the strongest representatives of the competitive world in Counter-Strike.
After winning the Russian qualifiers, a good performance at the World Cyber Games 2011 World Finals became one of the priorities for Moscow Five. However, before that, M5 had to play in four major LAN-tournaments - Samsung European Championship 2011 in Poland, Electronic Sports World Cup 2011 in France, MSI Beat IT Russia 2011 in Kyiv and DreamHack Winter 2011 in Sweden. They went for M5 with varying success - at SEC and ESWC the team advanced the groups, but twice lost in the playoffs to strong opponents - Frag eXecutors and Natus Vincere.
But it was possible to really please the fans at MSI Beat IT Russia 2011. Having lost to Fnatic in the group stage and reached the playoffs from second place, Moscow Five showed the real nature of the champion. First, M5 went through WinFakt and DTS Gaming in the quarter-finals and semifinals, and in the decisive match, M5 got back to Fnatic, which in the previous match left NAVI out of work. For the Swedish team, the gaming level of Moscow Five turned out to be a surprise - M5 won with a score of 2:0, although few people bet on it before the match. This title was the first for Moscow Five at international tournaments, and now the team could be safely ranked among the elite of the Counter-Strike competitive world.
At DreamHack Winter, which took place four days after MSI Beat IT, Moscow FIve did not leave the group, losing to NAVI and Fnatic. But this had little effect on the mood of the fans because everyone was waiting for World Cyber Games 2011, which was no less prestigious to win than any other top-level tournament. From the group stage to the semi-finals, the M5 went without a single defeat until it met SK Gaming. And again, the confrontation with eminent Swedes ended in defeat for the Russian team.
However, there was no time to lose heart, because ahead of Moscow Five was waiting for the match for bronze against NEXT.kz with AdreN and mou. The team from Kazakhstan was simply destroyed on the first map with a score of 16:1, on the second map was able to translate the match into overtime. But there M5 did not take a single round and lost 19:15. Even though the M5 was one of the contenders for the top 1, everyone was very happy even for the third place, because this is the first success of the Russian team at the WCG in nine years - the last was in 2002 when the M19 took the trophy.
The only replacement and Indian adventure
After returning from World Cyber Games 2011, Moscow Five was noted for several more successes. First, the team without any defeat on at least one map won ASUS Final Battle of the Year 2011, and after the new year won the Intel Extreme Masters Season VI Global Challenge Kyiv bronze medals. There, the offender for M5 in the semifinals again became SK Gaming, and in the match for third place the Russian team left Fnatic out of work.
In March, the M5 was to perform at the IEM Season VI World Finals. After leaving the group from second place followed by a defeat from ESC Gaming - the former Frag eXecutors. Then the team went to the TECHLABS Cup 2012 Moscow, where he again left the group from the second line, however, in the playoffs he lost to Natus Vincere. After two 5-6 consecutive places in the team, a breakdown began. At first, ROMJkE wanted to leave the team, but in the end, they changed xek. They decided to take Roman hacker Abramov in his place - at that time he was a Virtus.pro player. The rivalry between M5 and VP has quieted down a long time ago because in the competition plan Virtus.pro has not been a competitor to M5 for a long time. But after this transfer, the confrontation between the teams in the information field flared up again.
After the announcement of the transition of hacker to VP, Anton sneg1 Cherepennikov accused Dmitry ddd1ms Smilyanets of luring players, despite the mutual agreement between the clubs not to do this. In response to this, Bold stated that there were no written conditions, let alone a contract, between hacker and Virtus.pro, so formally the player was a free agent. At the same time, the leader of M5 noted that he would personally return Abramov’s salary to Cherepennikov in two months - that is how much hacker spent in VP before moving to Moscow Five.
They decided to check the new roster in the case at India Gaming Carnival. Initially, the Counter-Strike community of fans ambiguously accepted this tournament, but given that the leading teams of the world were not going to go to India, for the updated M5 roster this trip should have been a good training and a way to get used to each other before the next important starts. Many expected that the teams would not receive their prize money and that there would be constant problems on the streams, but in the end, everything turned out to be much sadder.
The worst fears were already confirmed when the players saw the venue - a ragged barn with wooden tables and benches. But this did not stop anyone - all the participants sat down and began to play, despite the first shocking impression. As expected, the M5 easily crushed all of their opponents in the India Gaming Carnival, leaving them no chance. However, the finals were not destined to play - in its midst at the venue, the power was turned off, and the organizers, instead of solving the problem and orienting the players about further actions, simply removed all the computers.
The last trophy
In June 2012, the M5 leader was forced to leave the organization. However, before Dmitry Smilyanets has left, the team managed to please him with a victory at the show match against Natus Vincere as part of TECHLABS Cup BY 2012. The format of the match was different from what was used in other tournaments - the teams played two cards of 30 rounds, and for each victory, the team was supposed to receive $ 50. The first de_dust2 card ended in favor of the Russian team with a score of 20:10, and on de_tuscan NAVI they already resisted much more fiercely, but their efforts were not enough for more than a defeat with a score of 14:16. Total, Moscow Five scored not only more rounds than the opponent in the sum of two cards, but also won on each of them. At the same time, Dmitry was the most ardent fan of the team in the entire Minsk shopping center "Capital". The TECHLABS Cup was the last trophy of the Counter-Strike 1.6 squad held by the M5 leader.
The last tournament for Dosia, ROMjKE, hacker, fox, and ed1k as part of Moscow Five was DreamHack Summer 2012. There the team did not advance the group, losing to Fnatic and Natus Vincere, and took 5-6 place. A month later, due to financial difficulties, the management of M5 decided to abandon the Counter-Strike line-up. To some extent, this was a real blow to the Russian CS scene. But thanks to the work of M5 over the past year and a half, the level of the local scene has grown many times over, the conditions for the players have finally allowed them to fully concentrate on the game, and many novice e-sportsmen have the motivation to continue to improve, rather than quit and do something more familiar. And two M5 players - Dosia and fox - will end up in Virtus.pro in October, with which for the first time in CS:GO’s history they will defeat Ninjas in Pajamas at the LAN tournament and interrupt their series of 87 victories.
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