2012 - An interesting year saw ESL’s members grow to over 4,000,000 and we even had a drunk burglar break into our office where he tried to break open a fridge, he must’ve assumed it was a safe.
StarCraft II received its first event in Brazil, Sao Paulo where South Korean star viOLet won the $21,000 prize pool. However, it was Counter-Strike which glistened as the most revered title at the time, holding five total IEM tournaments across both CS 1.6 and CSS during 2012. A timeless all-Ukranian Natus Vincere lineup containing legends such as Zeus, markeloff and Edward conquered SK Gaming, an all Swedish lineup consisting of GeT_RiGhT and f0rest. The Ukranians stunned the Swedes in brutal fashion defeating SK in the Grand Final 16:3 and 16:5 taking home the lionshare of $40,000.
Poised and carrying momentum from their victory in Kiev, Natus Vincere were expected to win the IEM VI World Championship, yet the soon to be known ‘Polish Plow’ had different ideas. Although not under the banner of Virtus Pro, TaZ, NEO and Pasha defeated Natus Vincere 16:14 and 16:11 in the Grand Final and stopped the Ukranians from achieving their back-to-back IEM titles.
With both the Intel Extreme Masters and ESL Pro Series at the helm of Counter-Strike and StarCraft II, both ESL and esports continued to carry healthy momentum leading into 2013!