The biggest tournament of 2017 has come and gone, but CS:GO’s most high profile storylines continue to rumble on. Teams and players have taken full advantage of a relatively long break from Premier-level tournaments by shuffling their rosters, cementing their positions and preparing for a busy end to the year. But the relentless Counter-Strike events schedule isn’t letting up for long - there’s five top-level tournaments coming up in the next six weeks, as well as the return of regular online ladders. As the insane pace of normal service resumes, we’ve rounded up the rumours and digested the news to get you tournament-ready.
Ex-iBUYPOWER left in limbo
After an indefinite ban from competitive CS:GO for match fixing, the ex-iBUYPOWER roster has been allowed to compete again. The Esports Integrity Coalition (ESIC) laid out new rules for match-fixing and doping, which led to ESL lifting their ban on well-loved players such as steel, DaZeD, and swag. But it’s not all good news. A number of tournament organisers have elected not to comment on the ruling, effectively upholding their ban and stopping them from being picked up by an established org. And most importantly, Valve has declined to formally lift the ban. The ex-iBP roster will be hoping that clarity from the organisations individually, or help from an independent body such as WESA will help them continue to pursue their careers at the very top level.
FaZe shuffle their pack
FaZe’s poor showing at the PGL Major didn’t go unnoticed. Surprise defeats to BIG and FlipSid3 left them languishing in the bottom spot at the tournament, and allu was the one to pay the price. Croatian AWPer GuardiaN - fresh from Na’Vi’s CIS shuffle - came in to replace him. Allu’s unfortunate history as a scapegoat for an underperforming team continues, after being dropped by NiP in similar circumstances. FaZe will be looking to debut their new roster at DreamHack Masters Malmö on August 30th.
HObbit rules out an unexpected journey
Gambit have been busy cementing their roster after a surprising Major victory in Krakow. HObbit’s temporary contract was made permanent for a CIS record $100,000 fee paid to former team Tengri. The Kazakh individualist provided some of the best moments from the PGL Major, and has averaged a 1.17 rating under Zeus’s careful IGLing.
It’s always suNny in mousesports
Another underperformer at the PGL Major, mousesports have made their move in replacing promising Spanish youngster loWel with Finnish 22-year old suNny. loWel has showed flashes of his promise in recent months, but consistency has been an issue. Mousesports will be hoping the more established suNny can be a solid foil for the likes of oskar and ropz. suNny has been a solid performer for PENTA, with an average rating of 1.19. PENTA’s 3rd-place performance at the PGL Major showed some of the Finn’s better moments. He’s another alongside GuardiaN who’ll be making his competitive bow at DreamHack Masters in Malmö at the end of August.
ANGE1 offers Na’Vi redemption
Na’Vi’s decline over the past few tournaments has been both stark and sustained. Since May, the CIS giants have plummeted from 6th ranked in the world, to an all-time low of 16th. Despite the heroics of S1mple - one of the world’s best on his day - the team has fallen apart tactically, and failed to make the best of their players’ talents. If the rumours are to be believed, HellRaisers’ ANGE1 will be the one to replace GuardiaN. He would bring his solid tactical nous and natural leadership to a squad lacking in direction but full of potential. If he hits the ground running at Na’Vi, they could be one to watch in the final few months of the year.
In a move that surprises few, friberg has been officially released from NiP. As part of the Ninjas’ core roster since their inception, it’s a big moment for the Swedish team. He’d previously been benched to make way for young rifler REZ, and had done analysis work alongside Machine and SPUNJ. Friberg has made it clear he’s open to playing again, but is currently considering his options. Wherever he ends up, he’d take with him a wealth of experience at the top level, and a fresh environment could be the catalyst to reinvigorate his career.