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July 17, 2023

The final roster moves for this season are in (we think). It includes a big, but expected move in CIS and a positive surprise in NA.

CIS on Cloud Nine

Cloud9 finally confirmed the the signing of electroNic and Perfecto as well as who they’re replacing. And we gotta say, this might be the greatest roster change of the season.

It didn’t always look like that though – originally rumours had HObbit and buster on the chopping block. But in the end C9 made the (wise) decision to move nafany and buster to the transfer-list and keep the Kazak on the starting five with his new ex-NAVI colleagues.

The end of nafany’s reign felt inevitable as more and more pressure started mounting against him, especially amongst the very important armchair analysts on Twitter. But despite what anyone might think of him today, you’ve got to give nafany credit for his leadership of the core team back to 2019 when they were fighting under the Gambit Youngsters banner. Sometimes a change of scenery is needed, and since he’s only 22 years old we don’t think we’ve seen the last of him.

As for buster, his time felt doomed from the start. The way he joined the team never felt permanent and his performances didn’t convince anyone either. It doesn't help that his replacement is Perfecto, a perfect role swap and a significant increase in mechanical skill. There’ll be little mourning for the loss of buster, right or wrong, but you gotta admit it’s a pretty sick upgrade.

Cloud9’s final five have possibly the highest skill ceiling of any team in the world, and the stats back it up. Even without the stats, just eye-test the roster: How are these guys allowed on the same team? The only way this cannot work is if electroNic is a tragically bad IGL or Ax1Le and sh1ro have no bottle. If it's the latter, at least HObbit now has Perfecto and electroNic to help out.

For you skimmers, here’s Cloud9’s final five:

🇰🇿 HObbit
🇷🇺 electroNic (IGL)
🇷🇺 Ax1Le
🇷🇺 sh1ro
🇷🇺 Percecto

They’re not the only CIS team making changes though. On slightly less exciting note, makes yet another change.

This time Qikert gets the short end of the stick, and it’s unsurprising. Mir was given a long-term contract despite the fact n0rb3r7 was only out temporarily. At that point, it was painfully obvious someone was going to get thrown out.

It wasn’t going to be Jame and nor was it going to be Fame which really just left Qikert unless they lied about n0rb3r7. Which they didn’t. new’ roster:

🇷🇺 FL1T
🇷🇺 Jame (IGL)
🇷🇺 n0rb3r7
🇷🇺 fame
🇷🇺 mir

So, C9 looks insane, VP does what VP does and CIS looks better for it. Who needs NAVI when you have the strongest roster ever assembled, and Jame? Did that sound convincing?


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The saviours of NA?

North America, rise up once more. Death no longer will hold you back. From the ashes, rises a phoenix.

Alright, that’s perhaps a tad grandiose.

We mentioned in passing last time out that M80 were looking to enter CSGO, and enter CSGO they have. Headline pick-ups of newsletter-favourite malbsMd and NA’s newest star Swisher make this team look already like it might be the best team in NA.

You might scoff at that, but… we’ve watched Complexity and Evil Geniuses play already. The bar is so low you can’t even do limbo with it.

reck, maNkz and WolfY make up the other three, who can all go under the radar but are all very solid players. maNkz was the leader of a consistently overperforming ECSTATIC team, WolfY was hardened in the fires of fnatic Rising and reck looked very good in a brief spell with ATK.

The two stars, though, are what push this team into top tier. In NA. That’s an important caveat.

Swisher had been talked up as a potential replacement for ELiGE or FaNg due to his consistent dominance in regional match-ups, while malbsMd is an explosive-if-quicksilver rifler with expert first bullet accuracy.

Will this team take over the world? Almost certainly not.

Will it save NA? Absolutely. This might be the best NA team ever. Probably. Alright, maybe not. But we do hope it can bring a little bit of joy to a region in desperate need of it.

M80 consists of:

🇺🇸 Swisher
🇺🇸 reck
🇺🇸 WolfY
🇩🇰 maNkz (IGL)
🇦🇷 malbsMd
🇬🇧 dephh (coach)


New Liquid and NAVI: Royal flush or straight bust?

Illustration by NovaH. Source : NAVI (jL and iM)

Sometimes you gotta work with the cards you’ve been dealt. Sometimes, however, you get to shuffle the deck before you pick up your hand.

How has the last shuffle worked out for the teams that got dealt a new hand? It’s a bit early to know for sure, but we like to do some pseudo-science (in CS, that is).

Let’s start with NAVI shall we?

The Ukrainian org broke tradition for the first time in their history by going international and acquiring Aleksib, jL, and iM. iM and s1mple on the same roster? Yes please.

Their first real match was against the equally revamped Astralis for BLAST Premier Fall Groups. Three maps is what it took for the new NAVI roster to beat the Danes, admittedly not bad for a fresh roster.

NAVI then fell to Heroic in a 2-0 loss, which is… Well, y’know fair, given it’s Heroic. Those guys are just really good. What worries us more is that Aleksib is managing good stats, and iM isn’t. Again, it is only five maps we’re basing this on, but while watching the games you cannot help but notice Aleksib is flashing iM in, instead of being his bait. Let’s hope Aleksi and b1ad3 fix that.

Next we go across the pond to Liquid - who actually aren’t across the pond anymore. Having set up shop in their Utrecht HQ in the Netherlands, the team is now officially majority EU with Rainwaker and Patsi joining YEKINDAR’s squad.

For Liquid there’s even less to look at, as they only played the illustrious yet trophy-less G2. NiKo and m0nesy weren’t strong enough as Liquid took them down 2-1, although the last two maps had a score margin smaller than 3 rounds. Talk about close.

Things look pretty good for the new mix, with everyone managing good ratings so far. Only Rainwaker is falling behind, but that might just be his role as support player.

Either way, we’re hoping to see exciting CS from these teams. Both teams are sure to get their chance to show it as well, as they have plenty matches lined up during the BLAST Premier Fall Groups this week.

We’re also going to keep an eye on other roster refreshes like OG and Astralis.

But, just remember, in the end the house always wins.


Sorry, Americans, it’s just too easy

Alright, that M80 prophecy better come true.

NA is in dire straits at BLAST Fall. What started out well for ELiGE at Complexity quickly collapsed, as the euphoria of a game one win faded faster than ELiGE’s hair this summer.

Was that mean? Perhaps. We think he looks quite dashing bald, though.

What was definitely mean was what Vitality did to Complexity. The best team in the world obliterated the Americans and dropped just seven rounds over two maps - including just one on Inferno.

Ruh roh, Scoob. That’s not good.

Still, at least NA fans can hang their hats on Evil Geniuses. Ryan tweeted during their map one win over NIP that he was awaiting the ‘NIP are just bad’ tweets, to show just how much people hate NA unfairly.

One problem.

They didn’t win map one. Or map two.

Evil Geniuses were in the driving seat and dominating a lacklustre NIP, but as EG have done consistently for about three years now, they fell apart, choked map one in double overtime and lost map two.

Great work, EG. No notes.

Maybe we’re overreacting. Maybe Vitality are genuinely the best team of all time, and NIP are actually quite good and it’s impressive that the two plucky NA teams even came close to challenging them.

Maybe. We doubt it, though.


They bought a used Nissan

🌎🇺🇸🇨🇦 NA masterclass

  • This does indeed bring a smile to our face. The best steel is back ladies and gents.
  • Those Liquid players sure did acquire them NA passports quick, didn’t they Ryan? We suspect Joe Biden.
  • Yeah guys, listen to HexT’s mom. Like common, give EG some slack

🤓📝 Take notes kids

  • You ever wake up in a cold sweat at night and think “god I wish I knew those 22 tips and tricks”? Yeah, us neither. Bad title, good content.
  • Apparently Magisk has a 2.37 rating on Overpass B. Probably means there’s a thing or two to pick up in his playstyle there, just saying.

👑 IGL troubles

  • We think you do deserve the move to NAVI, Aleksi. Your go A (then go B) stratbook just doesn’t.
  • Forgive them father for BIG have s1nned. As in, s1n’s now their IGL, kinda.

… and Brock Hofer is back. Hyper Beast USP-S for Counter-Strike 2 🤩


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