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South Asia’s leading gaming and esports media company, NODWIN Gaming, in partnership with global esports entertainment company, BLAST celebrates the successful culmination of the region’s first legends-led  Counter-Strike tournament, ‘The Draft’. After an electrifying Super Six LAN final phase and a riveting BO5 grand final encounter against KennyS’ True Rippers Esports, Marcos Gaming, under the leadership of Counter-Strike icon Richard ‘shox’ Papillon, clinched a heart-stopping 3-2 victory, securing their place as the inaugural champions of ‘The Draft’.

Held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and powered by energy drink partners Red Bull, the Super Six LAN final phase of ‘The Draft’ featured 6 of the best Counter-Strike teams from India and Pakistan, with  India’s True Rippers Esports and Marcos Gaming emerging as the grand finalists. Richard ‘shox’ Papillon of team Liquid, G2, Team Vitality fame, boasting a remarkable career tally of over a dozen global CS tournaments including 1 Major led Marcos Gaming across the finish line. Shox was also named the tournament MVP with 302 kills, 187 deaths, and an impressive ADR of 103 across 5 Super Six LAN phase matches.

Speaking on the recently concluded tournament, Gautam Virk Co-Founder and CEO of NODWIN Gaming said, “We’re thrilled by the overwhelming success of ‘The Draft’ and the extraordinary display of Counter-Strike talent witnessed throughout the event. It’s been an exhilarating journey, witnessing the unwavering passion and dedication of gamers from the region. ‘The Draft’ embodies our unwavering commitment to not only elevate the esports ecosystem but also to nurture talent and cultivate a dynamic gaming community. The collaboration between NODWIN Gaming and BLAST has been a beacon of opportunity, providing emerging CS stars from the region with a platform to shine. Our heartiest congratulations to Marcos Gaming for their historic triumph as the inaugural champions of ‘The Draft’.

We extend our deepest gratitude to our esteemed partners at BLAST, the participating teams, esteemed legends, and everyone who contributed to making this event a resounding success. Additionally, our heartfelt appreciation goes out to our passionate community whose steadfast support fuels our drive for excellence. As we conclude this remarkable chapter, we look forward to continuing our mission of pushing the boundaries of esports and creating more platforms for players to realize their full potential.”

Faye Marlborough, Director of Brand at BLAST, said: “The inaugural ‘The Draft’ has been a huge success and just goes to show the ever-growing passion and talent currently available in the South East Asia esports region. The event highlights the need for more opportunities for these underserved gaming regions and ‘The Draft’ provided exactly that with Counter-Strike legends joining them on a global platform where we saw the very best from each region – the skill, passion and dedication on display was incredible.”

Speaking on ‘The Draft’, Counter Strike legend and MVP of the tournament, Richard ‘shox’ Papillon said, “CS isn’t as well known in this region as it is in Europe or North America but being here to lend a hand feels really good. Sharing the passion for the game is key because, without that spotlight, it’s tough for players to progress. I’m just glad to be part of that journey. Every kid deserves a shot at making their dreams come true, no matter where they’re from. And I’m looking forward to meeting some fans, I hope there are some fans in the teams here that we can meet and interact with. It’s not often they get the chance to meet us, so being in this smaller intimate setting gives us a chance to connect – different people, different cultures, and different countries. It’s what makes this whole experience so special.”

The tournament started with 64 teams each from India and Pakistan vying for a spot in the group stages to join the 4 invited teams in the India group stage and 1 invited team in the Pakistan group stage. From the group stages  True Rippers Esports, Marcos Gaming, and Gods Reign represented India at the Super Six LAN phase while Pakistan was represented by Pak Boyz, Team Wah Wah, and Com Mid. Counter-Strike legends Adam ‘friberg’ Friberg, Ladislav ‘GuardiaN’ Kovacs, Richard ‘shox’ Papillon, Olof ‘olofmeister’ Gustafsson, Christopher ‘GeT_RiGhT’ Alesund, and Kenny ‘kennyS’ Schrub were drafted in to lead and mentor the teams, further elevating the tournament’s intensity and prestige.

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‘The Draft’ stands as a testament to the joint commitment of NODWIN Gaming and BLAST to enable the Counter-Strike ecosystem in the region and provide a platform for emerging CS talents to showcase their esports prowess on the world stage while playing alongside some of the brightest and legendary names to have ever played the game.

The collaboration between South Asia’s leading esports and gaming media company NODWIN Gaming and global esports giant BLAST underscores a collective initiative to enhance and elevate the overall esports landscape within South Asia.

 

About BLAST

We’re on a mission to take esports to the next level of global entertainment. We excite and invite billions of fans to join the esports revolution. We create live and digital experiences – from tournaments that pack out major arenas around the world to great content that’s guaranteed to blow your socks off.

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We work with some of the world’s best game publishers and brands to elevate their properties into amazing esports experiences – having delivered tournaments, content and shows in a variety of games, including: Counter-Strike, Rainbow Six Siege, DOTA 2, VALORANT, Apex Legends, FIFA 2022 and Fortnite.

BLAST Premier is a worldwide Counter-Strike tournament series where the best teams and biggest superstars fight it out for glory and a multi-million dollar prize pool. Famous for its unparalleled production quality and game changing fan-first moments. Attracting tens-of-thousands of fans to our crazy-big-adrenaline-pumped live events in big arenas from London and Copenhagen to Miami and Sao Paulo, with millions more watching at home on our broadcast tuning in from more than 154 territories and in 25 different languages.

 

About NODWIN Gaming

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NODWIN Gaming, a material and independent subsidiary of Nazara Technologies Ltd. (BSE: NAZARA), holds a significant position in the global gaming and esports industry as a leader in emerging markets. NODWIN Gaming is valued at $349 million as of 2023. Since its inception in 2014 by Akshat Rathee and Gautam Virk, NODWIN has established a global presence in regions such as South Asia, Singapore, the Middle East, and Turkey. The company’s business centers around building and monetising gaming and esports IPs such as Leagues, Tournaments, Reality shows. It engages with professional esports athletes, teams and content creators. Notable investors include Nazara, KRAFTON Inc, Sony Group Corporation and JetSynthesys

A key focus for NODWIN Gaming is the expertise in the mobile gaming and esports sector, where it has established a dominant position worldwide. By catering to the youth demographic, NODWIN is expanding its Total Addressable Market (TAM) by becoming increasingly relevant in the rapidly evolving digital entertainment landscape. Their diverse range of intellectual properties that engages the youth spans esports, gaming, pop culture, music, and comedy. This strategic expansion and cultivation of new intellectual properties are crucial to NODWIN’s aim of maintaining a significant role in the global gaming esports arena.

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