The CS:GO roster shuffle has largely come to a close, and it surpassed any expectations Counter-Strike fans could have had when it started. The first part of the shuffle has already been covered, and more craziness has since transpired. Cloud9 got rid of two of its most popular members. Olof “Olofmeister” Kajbjer joined FaZeClan. OpTic Gaming is now a European team.
Yeah, plenty to discuss.
Slingshot’s CS:GO duo of Jarek “DeKay” Lewis and Stephen Chiu exchanged emails to analyze the shuffle, its winners and losers, and how this shapes the rest of the CS:GO year.
Stephen Chiu: We are gathered here today to say goodbye and mourn to the passing of dear friends of ours, shroud and n0thing. They had a fulfilling life of wearing tank tops, living in the summer and living the dream of being carried by two young Asians into finals. They will be missed in our hearts just as they were missed in the server. Just as OpTic will miss Tarik and RUSH. AMEN
Jarek Lewis: Do you just come up with that instinctively? Or had you been saving it for something special? Alright look, RUSH and Tarik are obvious upgrades over n0thing and shroud, but I don’t necessarily think this raises their ceiling as a team much. I foresee a role crisis as we round out the year with these guys. Outside of skadoodle, all of them can entry, most of them can secondary AWP, but who plays the bitch role? Which one will do the dirty work? Oh yeah and can everyone chill with the fucking tributes? N0thing didn’t die and shroud is happy now.
SC: They’re gone now, but at least to a better place. More than I can say for ANGE1 stuck on HellRaisers. At least Cloud9’s suffering is over, but his has just begun.
JL: It’s laughable that the organization acts as if he was free to leave at any time. I’m starting to think his buyout is higher than NiKo’s was on Mousesports. If teams like Na’Vi and OpTic can’t make it happen, then I’m afraid I have to agree, he is in a tough spot. He doesn’t have STYKO anymore, and bondik decided to peace out for some unknown reason. Good luck dude!
SC: Yeah, ANGE1’s got a problem with HellRaisers just like electronic has a problem with his team. The only team with a lack of problem is FaZe. And when I say problem, I really just mean KioShima. Because the super team just got more super.
JL: If you told someone this roster 6+ months ago, they’d have laughed and asked your drug of choice. In theory, the lineup is disgusting and I think Karrigan is just about the best guy for the (IGL) job. His leading style, especially on T-side, will suit them well. I am a bit worried, though, because getting Olof and Guardian wasn’t cheap. This is by far the most expensive roster in CS:GO history and I hope they don’t feel pressured because of that. If they can’t start beating Astralis and SK more often, this was just a fancy way of lighting money on fire.
SC: Yeah, the problem is they don’t have the problem. I can’t see any world in which olofmeister decides to take on the support role unless he and KRiMZ body-swapped without anyone knowing. On the other hand, it didn’t seem like they were going to beat SK soon, so I can see why they did it.
JL: I’ll give them before ESL New York before I make any significant judgement. That will be their third event with this lineup. Realistically they should be vying for a finals appearance there, which is an insane expectation in this day and age. I’m most curious how Na’Vi will look by then too. It’s almost a guarantee they’ll improve, and Zeus getting to direct s1mple around the server gives me goosebumps. Imagine a world in which they breach the top three of SK, Astralis and FaZe.
SC: I’m pretty certain Zeus will realize that s1mple is a nuke. Unlike old Na’Vi where they put s1mple in non-playmaking spots and roles, Zeus will be using him to blow open sites and then the rest will clean up. I think there is a real chance that Na’Vi will contend for titles in 3-5 months once he finishes building the map pool for the team. Na’Vi needed a dictator that will go unquestioned, and Zeus has come back at the right time. Also RIP Gambit. HObbit was supposed to throw the ring in the volcano, not Zeus and the coach.
JL: I couldn’t believe it honestly. All the word about ANGE1 going to Na’Vi only to hear it change to Zeus less than 24 hours before the official announcement, I was so confused. I feel horrible for HObbit and AdreN. HObbit especially, because he is so young and played on loan for so long to then lose Zeus right after officially signing. Legitimately heartbroken for the guy because he won’t be going anywhere. I’d love to think they’d get plucked away by a better team eventually, but I just don’t see that happening. The best chance for him is to one day replace someone like Flamie or Edward, if that opportunity ever presents itself.
SC: I don’t know if they realize what happened. I’d pay a homeless bum if that’s what it took to keep Zeus on Gambit. They still won’t qualify for anything from online, and as time goes on their habits, structure and calling will seep away. You can’t form Voltron without the head, if you get my meaning. It’s too bad since I think both of them are two of the best players in their respective roles and what they did for that team.
Speaking of Voltron, Sweden got a new head. From the ashes of Ikea, the part time employee has risen from the rubble to now lead the head store of Fnatic. You know anything about golden?
JL: I know he is an in-game leader. That’s it. He was never on my radar as an option, and I expected Fnatic to reach for freddieb like Godsent did, before they went this far. That said, the move does make sense because they got him for free. I think the loss of Dennis is being overlooked. He was better than Olofmeister before they split and his impact on pistol rounds is tremendous. This guy essentially gifts his teams five or six rounds on every map. Fnatic can improve with this new lineup, but we need to see pronax-era flusha for that to happen. He will need to dig deep and match the recent level of JW.
SC: I think it’s likely Flusha will have to take on more playmaker roles. I don’t think lekro is a good enough player to be the consistent second star on this team. Their only hope is that golden brings in some level of tactics. Speaking of tactics, I think OpTic should have went for snappi in their decision to bring EU to Mixwell instead of having Mixwell go back to EU.
JL: Ah yes, Snappi would have been a tremendous addition. This lineup will always be hindered by not having a true in-game leader directing players. Skill only goes so far. Unfortunately, the abrupt loss of Rush and Tarik left OpTic with few options if they wanted to remain in Pro League. RFRSH doesn’t just let players go that quickly, you know.
SC: I think that about wraps it up for this roster shuffle. Our thoughts and wishes go with n0thing and shroud, who will be missed more than they missed in the server. If you listen closely to the wailing whispering winds, you can almost hear them now.
Cover photo courtesy of Turner Sports/ELEAGUE