For this iteration of “Buy and Sell,” let’s delve into the roster shuffle prompted by the PGL Krakow Major last month. In previous editions, I chose three teams whose stock you should buy and three teams you should sell. This time, I’m addressing roster changes. Already several teams have made monumental shakeups, resulting in legends and fan favorites booted into the cold. Which ones promise good tidings and which ones hint at a foreboding future?
Hear ye, hear ye, Zeus has finally returned to Na’Vi. For the first time since Valve’s ban negated Sergey “starix” Ischuk’s control, Na’Vi finally has a true in-game leader.
This move brings up some immediate upsides, the first of which is Zeus’ improved form. Before he left for Gambit, he looked absolutely terrible; with starix assuming his former duties and Zeus not cutting it individually, it was an easy choice for Na’Vi to release him. After he left, he found renewed vigor in the Gambit squad as he built that team from the bottom. He looks to do the same thing here. Another upside is s1mple gaining additional responsibilities that will employ his entire skillset. With GuardiaN gone, he will now take on main AWPing duties. S1mple is an incredibly aggressive AWPer who excels at taking opening battles, so they can recycle the old Zeus system that used to revolve around GuardiaN.
My only concerns are whether flamie and seized are salvageable. Flamie has become more and more inconsistent the further we got away from the starix era, while Seized has been mired in the worst form of his career ever since he was forced to be IGL. These are the two big question marks in the lineup, so we will have to see how Zeus decides to activate them.
Tyler “Skadoodle” Latham
Jake “Stewie2k” Yip
Timothy “autimatic” Ta
Several years and thousands of crying internet posts later, Cloud9 finally upgraded its roster. In lieu of popular yet frequently criticized members, the organization upgraded with two more skilled players in RUSH and tarik. This team still lacks a true in-game leader with a strong sense of how C9 wants to play the game. That remains a problem for the team as Stewie2k, autimatic and tarik (on OpTic) have all rotated IGL duties with varied results. Going into the future, I think tarik should do it as Stewie2k should focus more on his individual game instead of hindering himself with too many responsibilities. RUSH is also a doubtful pickup as his form dropped off a cliff after Peter “stanislaw” Jarguz left OpTic, but the latent potential is there and worth a short. The final question we have to ask is Skadoodle’s role within the lineup. Analysts and fellow players frequently cite his declined form and lack of impact as a matter of utility, not form. We don’t know whether this team can arrange a system where Skadoodle’s strengths will shine. Despite that, I think C9’s overall potential is much higher with tarik and RUSH joining.
Chris “chrisJ” de Jong
Tomas “oskar” Stastny
Robin “ropz” Kool
Much like Cloud9, Mouz finally ejected the weakest elements of the team. Mousesports disappointed at the end of 2016, but the key removal of Timo “Spiidi” Richter and the introduction of oskar helped immensely. This time, loWel and denis were the victims of the axe. Both were average players, but for the system that Mouz runs, the team desired skilled players across the board.
STYKO and suNny have proven their mettle in HellRaisers and Penta, respectively, and their addition should boost the squad’s ceiling. This change was critical as mouz lack a true in-game leader: chrisJ has taken up the role because no one else on the team can. So if you run a lineup like this, you need all the firepower that you can get, and these pickups provide just that.
Kirill “ANGE1” Karasiow
Patrik “Zero” Zudel
Bence “DeadFox” Borocz
There are a few reasons why we need to get a lifeboat off the HellRaisers ship. First, STYKO left for greener pastures. Second, bondik has gone inactive. Finally ANGE1, the best overall player and IGL, was on the verge of joining a dream team with Na’Vi when the negotiations fell through. At this point, his motivation is likely at an all-time low. I don’t see any upside to this team unless ISSAA and woxic turn out to be much better players than expected.
This team needed an upgrade in individual skill but instead chose to stick with the same lineup it had. Normally this isn’t enough for me to put any team on the sell list, but the problem is that the best player on the team is still electronic. Electronic, like ANGE1, was supposed to be part of the dream team on Na’Vi. I imagine his motivation has to be shot as well.
+ Joao “Horvy” Horvath
The Grim Reaper waits for no team, no matter how successful or apparently stable. Despite Immortals taking second at the Krakow Major, I thought this team needed a roster change. The Major run required a lot of bracket luck, as Immortals avoided all of the elite teams crammed into the upper bracket. As a team, Immortals had a style conducive for upsets based off of the skill of kNg and HEN1. The problem was that it depended too much on the star players (mercurial ones at that), and they found themselves in real trouble whenever they needed a tactic or an approach beyond out-fragging the other team.
Still, like Flipsid3, if the roster had stayed the same I wouldn’t have put them here. All of the rumors flying around Horvy suggest far more discord within the team than I anticipated. Horvy joining in itself means nothing — except the symbolic nature of it seems to have caused a riot within the team. At some point, three players were so aggrieved and fearful at the news they reportedly made a run at Jonathan “EliGE” Jablonowski. I thought the Krakow Major was already a fluke placing. At this point, the entire roster could blow up, especially considering there is so little time to find a new team.