And so we enter the long night of Counter-Strike. With the Major over, the player break has begun, with the top teams stopping all competition until Dreamhack Malmö begins, August 30th. But while the games have been quiet, the swaps have begun to liven up, as teams and organizations restructure themselves for the future. Here are the details you might have missed.
Big Changes – NaVi & Immortals
All’s quiet on the competitive front, so this week we’re looking at two of the biggest roster announcements instead. With rumors and leaks abound, expect more news from other big names soon.
GuadiaN and Seized to leave NaVi
By far the biggest news since the Major, an inbound roster swap was no secret, but that didn’t lessen the impact. Ladislav ‘GuardiaN’ Kovac and Denis ‘seized’ Kostin have competed under the Natus Vincere logo as far back as 2013, and were both known to have close ties to the organization itself. Based on GuardiaN’s tweet before the announcement, his release seems to have come on his own terms. Both players have been placed on the transfer list, retaining their contract for the time being.
If ill do a change, it would be my own decision, not cut :p
— Ladislav Kovács (@guardiancsgo) July 27, 2017
kNg signs to Immortals
After their second place finish in the Major, it’s no surprise to see the brazilian Immortals have signed Vito ‘kNgV-’ Giuseppe who was previously playing on loan from Red Reserve. Alongside their primary AWPer, HEN1, kNg gave Immortals a terrifying CT-side to behold, locking down sites with lightning-fast dual-AWP setups. With this roster confirmed, Immortals are a team to be wary of in future. Following this news, Immortals are now open to offers for fnx, who remains inactive under the organization.
Winners & Losers
We’ve been waiting for some time to see an Asian side rival the best in Europe or America, and while Tyloo clearly have a long way to go, they haven’t given up yet, becoming the first team to qualify for ROG Masters, 2017. Defeating EHOME in definitive style before a 3-0 Grand Final against ViCi, Tyloo have one again reaffirmed their position at the top in China. With a good result at the region qualifier, Tyloo now need to step it up on the global stage.
Winner: The iBUYPOWER roster
All things must eventually come to an end, and after nearly three years under indefinite ban, ESL finally announced that it would allow the former IBP players, Sam ‘DaZeD’ Marine, Braxton “swag” Pierce, Keven “AZK” Larivière and Joshua “steel” Nissan to compete once more. ESL have now established a strict ruleset regarding match fixing and cheating, with a five year ban confirmed as punishment. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows for the players, however, as they remain banned from Valve-sponsored Majors, meaning that any new team of theirs can only go so far.
Winner: Fragadelphia 11
With no large-scale matches to speak of, this smaller NA tournament (sponsored by us!) has drawn attention for the inclusion of the IBP players following the news of their ESL ban lift. While far from phenomenal, it was filled with the bold plays you’d expect from the NA scene, as well as David ‘DAVEY’ Stafford’s usual entertaining hijinks. Plus, we got to watch former IBP players face off against amateur sides with names like Ben’s Anime Team (who finished at a respectable 9th-12th). You don’t get that at international CS.
Loser: MVP Project
MVP have announced that their Korean team, MVP Project is to be disbanded. Following several roster changes, the organization has stated “the team’s chemistry couldn’t align the way it needed to be”. This leaves the full, five-man roster without a team, while their coach, Ronald ‘Rambo’ Kim transfers to coach MVP PK. We love to see CS:GO succeed as a global Esport, so here’s hoping the Korean players can find new organizations to continue their careers.
Loser: ELEAGUE Premiere 2017 Groups
Perhaps loser is too harsh a term, but the ELEAGUE CS:GO Premier 2017 looks to have some of the toughest group pools yet, with Astralis and SK together in Pool D, while VP, C9 and NiP face off in C. Each group looks to be highly contentious, and far from a free ride for any involved, as Faze face G2 and NaVi, while Fnatic must outdo North and Mouz. Once again, this only serves to emphasise just how competitive the top level of CS:GO has become.
Loser: This guy
It’s bad enough to to fall off your chair backwards, but when you do it in the background of a live stream to CS fans? You just know some evil-hearted monster will post it on reddit. I mean, we’re not helping either here but hey, it’s been a slow news week.
Play of the Week
It may not have been in a professional match, but this clip was too good not to share. Player and streamer, Yacine ‘yzn’ Laghmari pulled off this ridiculous runboost maneuver when attacking Cobblestone’s B site. Launched over smoke by a teammate, he completely surprises the waiting CTs, and earns a neat 4k. Well that’s certainly one way to get into the sawed-off’s lethal range.
If you’re going to embarrass your opponent, why not make it happen during the Grand Finals? The infamous Braxton ‘swag’ Pierce, rumored to be leader of the criminal #FreeBrax movement, made fools of Rise Nation on Nuke. Hiding up in the A bombsite rafters after planting, he kills one player before running circles round the last CT from above. darting back and forth over the central walkway, he denies any vision to Rise Nation’s desperate Jonji-JLC before putting him out of his misery.
FalleN rejects LUCAS1 rumour
SK Gaming’s team captain, FalleN, has rejected suggestions that they may be looking to acquire Immortal’s LUCAS1. Speaking with ESPN, FalleN assures that since overcoming their initial troubles, the team roster is fixed, and felps is here to stay. Despite falling out early to Astralis in the PGL Major, SK have had an impressive performance throughout the year. If the team’s mentality is rock solid, you can expect them to bounce back easily.
Next Major in 2018
The next CS:GO Major will not be held until 2018 according to HLTV, meaning that the PGL Krakow Major marks the final Major from this year. ELEAGUE, ESL, Starladder, Dreamhack and PGL are expected to try their luck. With changes in the selected organisations this year, could 2018 be the first year we see Starladder try their hand? Valve also confirmed that first Major is likely to be held in late January or early February.
Launders asks Valve for a job
Caster, streamer and video maker, Mohan ‘launders’ Govindasamy has tweeted to the CS:GO dev account requesting to be hired as a community manager. It’s an unusual approach for certain, and for a role not listed on Valve’s website. Valve are known for their lack of communication, but launders thinks he’d make the right man for the job, stating “Valve need this job done well. They need a commenter who spent years in the trenches of /r/go who isn’t easily triggered by trolls.”
Hire me for community manager @csgo_dev
— launders (@launders) July 29, 2017