For parts of 2015, Counter Logic Gaming was arguably the best team in NA. They had consistent role players around some potential stars, and got good results. Going into 2016, the team was not making much progress. Throughout 2016 due to several missteps, there was a steady decline–these days, the team is a mostly irrelevant part of the NA CS landscape.
In 2015, Tarik “tarik” Celik was touted as the next North American superstar. Everyone could see the potential, but it never manifested on CLG, especially at international events. Towards the end of his time on the team, tarik’s motivation seemed absent. Since joining OpTic, tarik has become the star player he was supposed to be on CLG, and with tarik playing his best CS, OpTic have been winning events.
After joining the CLG lineup in 2015, Josh “jdm64” Marzano became the best player on the team and the best AWPer in NA. For a time on CLG, jdm64 was the only legitimate threat. He was the only player putting up frags and the team could not win. Instead of making changes while he was hot, CLG stayed the course and jdm64’s play came back down to earth. In 2016, despite him still probably being the best AWPer in NA, CLG traded him to Team Liquid for Kenneth “koosta” Suen.
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Holding On Too Long
In 2015, Steve “reltuC” Cutler was a very solid player and, for a while, the best player on CLG. After the removal of Pujan “FNS” Mehta, reltuC took on in-game leadership responsibilities–it was a mature and difficult choice, but one that might not be the best fit, given that his play has suffered significantly since the change in roles. reltuC should have been removed a while ago, yet CLG has held on, presumably hoping he can return to form.
James “hazed” Cobb was never meant to be a star player for CLG, but in 2015 he was a solid role player. He had significant impact at times, but his true strength was his consistency. However, for almost all of 2016 hazed had little to no impact on CLG. This may be because he had no real stars to support, and simply isn’t the kind of player who puts the rest of the team in his backpack. Truthfully, his stats for the year were notably lackluster and he has since stepped down and been removed from the lineup.
When he first joined Team Liquid, koosta was considered an up-and-coming NA talent with star potential. That potential was never realized while he was on Liquid, but CLG still traded jdm64 for him. Although it was still early in his career, koosta had shown he was not on the level of jdm64. He still hasn’t developed into the star he was supposed to be.
Ethan “nahtE” Arnold and Yassine “Subroza“‘ Taoufik were added to the Counter Logic Gaming lineup in August of 2016. They are both very young NA players who CLG feel they can develop. Unfortunately, neither have shown any real potential or skill. Their stats have been awful since joining the team. Also, Subroza has drawn massive controversy due to a large number of suspicious clips. Despite the cheating allegations, he remains an underwhelming player.
Nothing to Look Forward To
After hazed stepped down, CLG announced FNS has rejoined the lineup. He was already removed back in 2015 for his subpar play and nothing has really changed since. He played for Team SoloMid for all of 2016 and never improved statistically. He was the in-game leader for TSM after Valve banned coaches from taking that position. However, he was already the in-game leader for CLG when he was removed and CLG appeared better off without him. At this point it’s unclear what FNS will bring to the lineup aside from being a fifth player.
CLG failed to qualify for the ELEAGUE Major, and with this lineup, they don’t have much to look forward to. For some of these players, their best days are behind them. The younger players haven’t shown enough to warrant keeping them, but they might be the most promising parts of the disappointing current roster. CLG would be better off starting from scratch.
Esports Edition had the opportunity to interview Counter Logic Gaming at Northern Arena Toronto, which you can check out here.