Peter “stanislaw“ Jarguz was merely a strong support player six months ago.
“Merely” is the operative word here; strong support players are historically undervalued and overlooked by the North American Counter-Strike scene. Nevertheless, the majority of CS:GO teams have a tendency to stack their rosters with star players without regard to balancing the roles. So when OpTic picked up Tarik “tarik“ Celik, it decided stanislaw was redundant and cut him to make room. The change didn’t last long. Some kind of internal conflict led to the team ousting Damian “daps” Steele and bring stanislaw back as the new in-game leader only a few weeks after the initial change.
It was a strange move. Stanislaw hadn’t done any substantial in-game leader duties, but now he was stuck with the role and while trying to grasp it on the fly, he had to simultaneously change the way OpTic worked in order to accommodate tarik’s presence. The transition wasn’t smooth in any sense of the word. There were bits of promise, notably at ESL One New York and Nothern Arena Montreal, followed by spectacularly bombing out of DreamHack Winter. OpTic finally struck gold by winning ELEAGUE Season 2 and subsequently taking second at ECS Season 2 Finals.
Although the majority of the credit should go to Keith “NAF“ Markovic and Will “RUSH“ Wierzba for significantly upping their game for those events, stanislaw’s impact should not be understated. Despite being new at the IGL role, he forged a team identity and system that worked for OpTic. He called fast, aggressive, swarming strategies on the T-side that bowled over the opposition; he was also fairly good at changing the pace of his T rounds and having good reads against his opponents. Most importantly, he didn’t sacrifice his own performance to establish cohesion and direction within the game. Stanislaw regularly had critical impact kills that swung games in his team’s favor.
In short, he fit OpTic well. That particular lineup was OpTic’s most successful iteration and won one of the biggest titles in 2016. Such success made it all the more surprising that stanislaw opted out of OpTic after the ELEAGUE Major. OpTic performed far below expectations but had a notable amount of bad luck. The group stage draw was far from helpful, as OpTic played Virtus.Pro in the first round, and Godsent’s upset of Astralis meant OpTic had to play the Danes in Round 2. This meant two of OpTic’s three lives were expended against the eventual finalists of the Major.
Despite the success, stanislaw decided to move on from OpTic. He cited that Liquid will let him focus only on the game, and that was one of the primary reasons for his move. Stanislaw will replace Spencer “Hiko” Martin on Liquid’s roster. In many ways Stanislaw is everything Liquid needed. Liquid was originally built around the idea that the coach could in-game lead from the back, but the Valve rule effectively undercut that plan and Liquid has suffered ever since. Stanislaw is an in-game leader who has shown he can compete at the top level; he is also a good support player and has noticeable individual impact in rounds. His fast-paced, aggressive calls should fit Liquid’s star player, Jonathan “EliGE“ Jablonowski.
The only problem is that this isn’t a plug-and-play scenario. The Liquid roster has a lot of talent, arguably equal to what OpTic possesses, but the similarities end there. Liquid’s problem has never been the parts of the roster, but making them more than the sum of their parts. Stanislaw will have to work with coach Wilton “zews“ Prado and the rest of the team to create a cohesive team identity, a challenge he never measured up to on OpTic. I don’t know if he or Liquid will succeed, but I can finally say that Liquid has a leader.
Cover photo courtesy of Turner Sports/ELEAGUE, illustration by Slingshot