How Do I Get On A Team?
by Bryan "DrDogg" Dawson
August 12, 2008
August 12, 2008
The annual combine and draft is the ultimate route to the CGS. That's where you can really show off your skills.
The Championship Gaming Series has just concluded its second season in the US and around the world. The league has been in the greater public eye for well over a year now, and with the increased exposure comes new fans that aren't quite sure how a player makes it into the league. There's a FAQ on the main site that explains everything, along with a plethora of forum posts that have posed some variation of the question at hand; all of which explain how you get into the league. Despite all of this, people still ask, so it is time to let everyone know exactly how to join the North American pros when the 2009 season rolls around. Teams outside of the US are selected under slightly different procedure, which will be announced in a future article.
Franchise ExplanationBefore we get into what it takes to become a professional gamer in the CGS, we must first look at the format of the league. The CGS is comprised of multiple teams, each representing a specific city. The teams are composed of 10 players across four games. There are five Counter-Strike: Source players, two Dead or Alive 4 players (one male and one female), one FIFA player, and two FORZA Motorsport 2 players. While the official games for next season have yet to be announced, it's safe to say the general team structure will remain the same.
Age RestrictionFirst and foremost, the CGS pays its cyberathletes an annual salary. This salary comes with specific contractual obligations. Based on the contract law to which CGS adheres, all players are required to be 18 years of age or older. Obviously, this means if you are under 18, you will not be permitted to enter the league. Players must submit a government-issued ID at the Combine. Rather than going through all the trouble of trying to fake your way to the event, use the extra years to hone your gaming skills, and turn everybody's head when you are eligible. It will be worth the wait.
QualifiersFor the 2008 season there were quite a few people that were displeased because the Combine seemed to spring up out of nowhere, giving most people less than two months warning and little time to prepare. For the 2009 season the CGS will hold various qualifiers that will allow players to participate in preparatory competition prior to the 2009 Combine. Full details on qualifiers for next season will be released soon.
Pro-AmIf you and your teammates meet the age requirements, the recently launched CGS Pro-Am division is one way to get your Counter-Strike: Source team noticed and into the 2009 Combine. The Pro-Am is an online competition featuring three games, one of which is Counter-Strike Source, though winning does not guarantee you or your team anything other than participation in the 2009 Combine (and applicable prizes). Think of it as an extended qualifier that provides GMs a chance to see what you can do before you even get to the Combine. The top teams coming out of the Pro-Am will duke it out in competition at the 2009 Combine, where the GMs will be looking at the team to see if there's any talent they can pull. Performing well in the Pro-Am is another chance to get your name recognized in the community and, more importantly, by the GMs.
CombineThe annual Combine is the final opportunity for hopeful gamers to display their talents to GMs. It's a live event, unlike Pro-Am, and the specifics will be announced at a later date.
For now, think of the Combine as both a tournament and a platform to prove your worth. During the event, participants will compete in a traditional tournament for their individual game. While it is unlikely that a Combine winner would not be drafted, winning your game at the Combine is not enough to guarantee you anything other than the attention of the GMs. There are no guarantees, just like winning a High School baseball tournament doesn't mean the Chicago Cubs will come knocking on your door.
In addition to the traditional tournament held at the Combine, there are also Challenge Matches. Competitors in these matches are hand-picked by the GMs to see how two specific players or teams compete against one another. If you're called up for a Challenge Match, that almost always means that a GM has their eye on you and wants to see what you can do under pressure.
DraftAs for the process of joining a team, you cannot sponsor your own CGS team and the only way to get on a CGS franchise is to be drafted by one of the GMs at the annual Combine event.
The CGS North America draft takes place at the Combine. This is where the GMs decide who will be added to their team and who will go home without a CGS contract. By the time the draft comes around, there isn't much more you can do to increase your chances of landing a spot on a CGS franchise. You've had the Pro-Am and/or qualifying events, the Combine, and possibly Challenge Matches. More importantly, you've likely had years of preparation. The draft is, hopefully, where all that hard work pays off in the form of a spot on one of the six North American Franchises. If your name is called, your dreams come true. If not, then it's back to the drawing board.
Being drafted is the only way to join one of the six North American CGS teams.
More than SkillOne thing to keep in mind is that the Championship Gaming Series is not just another gaming league. The GMs want the best players on their team, but it takes more than raw talent to be competitive in the CGS. When you get on a CGS team, you're no longer playing for yourself or for your Counter-Strike team. You become a part of a 10-player unit that must work together if it wants to succeed. That means a few things. As an example, you have to care about how well your FIFA player does just as much as you care about your own performance. If you'd prefer to chase girls (or guys) rather than practice during the season, it effects more than just you-and the same goes if you can't handle the pressures of performing to the best of your ability in front of a live audience on national television, with blazing hot lights and invasive cameras in your face. If you really want to be drafted, there's a lot more to it than just being good at the game you play.
Hopefully this has been an insightful read for those striving to get into the CGS in 2009 and beyond. At the very least this should cease the numerous forum posts that spring up on a near daily basis. The Pro-Am will be shifting into high gear very soon, with details to follow on the 2009 Qualifiers, Combine, and Draft.