Aleksi “Alexip” Virolainen, 27, made history by winning his Counter-Strike tournament.

Counter-Strike's most prestigious major, the two-week major in Copenhagen, concluded on Sunday. The tournament, which Finns liken the World Cup to as a shooting game, will go down in history as it is the first time a Finnish player has won the majors.

Ukrainian outfit Natus Winser defeated Fass Clan 2–1 (13–9, 2–13, 13–3) with map wins. Danish CS legend who captained FaZe Find “Carrigan” Anderson Couldn't pilot his team to a decisive victory, but Natus Vincere, aka NAVI, beat FaZe on the last map. Perhaps the most famous sports leader of all time, ie Sports leader Anderson only picked up one kill on the final map.

Almost two million viewers

Natus acts as the in-house manager of Vincere's team Alexi “Alexip” Virolainen The honor of lifting the game's most coveted trophy in front of a 16,000-strong Danish crowd.

There was a sense of a great sports festival in the air. There was an audience via the network A record number of over 1.8 million, and more than 20,000 viewers followed the Finnish-language stream alone. Copenhagen's Royal Arena roared with screams as the last FaZe player fell.

This achievement bodes well for Finnish e-sports.

What is a counter strike?

Counter Strike is one of the most popular shooting games in the world. The game was originally released in 2000, and several updated versions have been released since then. Released in 2023, Counter-Strike 2 replaced its predecessor, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and the major tournament just organized is the first of the updated game.

The idea behind Counter Strike is simple. Two five-man teams of terrorists and police face each other. In a two-minute round, the task of the terrorists is to plant a bomb at a specific location, and the task of the police is to stop it. Sides switch in the middle of the map, and the first team to win 13 rounds wins the map.

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Counter-Strike was previously considered a dying game by critics, but the number of players remains high, helped by the transition to the new version. The game is maintained by developer Valve Service According to Counter-Strike 2, there are more than one and a half million players in the last month.

An entertaining game to watch and play

Counter Strike is a very entertaining game to watch. It's fast, it provides action all the time, it's easy to understand, and what's best – it's easy to understand yourself. The game mechanics are simple, but at the same time reflexes, lightning fast reactions and hand-eye coordination enable situations that make a big difference.

On the other hand, maps cannot be won unless teamwork and constant communication are in order. This is the biggest salt of the game and makes it fun and competitive. As seen in Sunday's final, winning as a team creates a strong emotional outburst for players.

The best players need a complete professional commitment to a mechanically demanding game. Organizations spend huge sums on players and training, and this can be seen on the server in both incredible individual performance and highly polished tactics.

Natus Vincere's captain Aleksi Virolainen is particularly known for his tactical intelligence. Virolainen, like many players, has received criticism and is considered overrated, his and the team's coach Andriy “B1ad3” Ghorodensjkyjin The tactical display of the final made it clear that Virolainen is one of the greatest game managers of all time.

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rocky road

As with the Finnish counter-strike in general, the Estonian did not have an easy path to this position.

Finnish Counter-Strike fans were last able to enjoy comparable success, at the 2019 Katowice Major, where the legendary Finnish team of Finnish organization ENCE defied all expectations and advanced to the finals. Defending champions, Danish Astralis.

ENCE's player lineup was added at that time Alexi “Allu” Jalli, Johnny “Ariel” Jusila, Jere “Sergej” Salo, Sami “xseveN” Lausanen and Alexi “Alexip” Virolainen.

In the same year the Estonian was benched from the team, and ENCE did not rise to its previous level, but later moved to the international line-up. No Finnish organization or player has been able to achieve similar results since then.

Success written in the stars

On the other hand, Alexi Virolainen went to several international organizations, for example, the German organization G2 Esports benched the man after less than a year of suspension. Many began to question Virolainen's ability to lead teams, but in 2023 Ukrainian outfit Natus Winser, or NAVI, unexpectedly announced the purchase of Virolainen as part of their new international lineup.

In addition to the manager and coach, the team includes Mihai “IM” Ivan, Valery “P1D” Wakovsky, Justin “JL” Lekavicius And Ihor “Wonderful” Zhdanov.

NAVI's matches weren't straightforward or easy, and the team wasn't one of the early favorites. However, NAVI struggled from one tight match to the next, which is apt to create a similar Cinderella story as ENCE wrote in 2019, with only one match remaining.

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The Estonian now gets back what he didn't get at the time. The situation seemed to be written in the stars: Finnish rap duo The Verkaars released the Counter-Strike theme song God Mode during the competition, featuring Aleksi Virolainen on vocals. Saturday's semi-final victory and a place in the final, on the other hand, came as a birthday present for the 27-year-old captain – and against a G2 team that benched him.

“This is how it should go,” the Estonian said in his X release after the final.

Will the Suomi-CS make a comeback?

Apart from NAVI, German outfit MOUZ also played a good match, although they were eliminated in the quarterfinals. 17-year-old Promise plays at MOUZ Jimi “Zimbot” SaloHe has become a very good player even at his young age.

The update to the new version of Counter-Strike and the recent big hit has brought more players from Finland to the servers. Among them will be new players who will raise the Finnish flag in the prestigious tournaments of the king of shooting games in the future.

When the Estonian team lifted the coveted trophy, it didn't take long for him to run into the crowd to hug his family. After the Estonian returned to the stage, he answered the interviewer's questions with obvious sensitivity.

After this, Virolainen took the microphone in his hand and shouted loudly to the whole arena in Finnish: “We will meet you in the square!”

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