With the recent announcement that Nikola “NiKo” Kovač would be leaving mousesports to join FaZe Clan, CS:GO might be entering the era of the superteam. In 2016, we saw multiple roster moves take place that were designed to stack certain teams with talented players. We are only into the second month of 2017, but it’s clear that this was the start of a larger trend: teams are trying to fill their rosters with as much “superstar” talent as possible.
Moves from Last Year
The era of the superteam was arguably started in 2016 when Natus Vincere picked up Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev. s1mple was coming off of two deep Major runs with Team Liquid but ultimately left to join Na’ vi. He joined a lineup that already contained the likes of Ladislav “GuardiaN” Kovács and Egor “flamie” Vasilyev. When this iteration of Na’Vi formed, they were easily the most talented squad in the entirety of CS:GO. There’s no denying the sheer solidity of the Na’Vi roster.
Astralis have always looked like a super team, having some of the premier Danish talent all on one squad. The acquisition of Lukas “gla1ve” Rossander as in-game leader was the final piece to the puzzle, pushing Astralis past their history of semifinal chokes to victory at the ELEAGUE Major. With superstar Nicolai “dev1ce” Reedtz, arguably the best support player in the world in Andreas “Xyp9x” Højsleth, and fragging Danish wunderkind Markus “Kjaerbye” Kjærbye, Astralis are a domestic superteam.
A Couple More Shuffles
With the third French shuffle, the two best French CSGO players of all time are finally on the same team. Richard “shox” Papillon and Kenny “kennyS” Schrub have joined forces on G2 Esports, playing alongside explosive entry fragger Dan “apEX” Madesclaire. shox also has the great French support, Nathan “NBK-” Schmitt, back on his side.
Fnatic took part in another shuffle to undo the original shuffle from last year. Jesper “JW” Wecksell and Robin “flusha” Rönnquist made their return to the old Fnatic lineup to compete with longtime former teammates Olof “olofmeister” Kajbjer Gustafsson, Dennis “dennis” Edman, and Freddy “KRiMZ” Johansson. (In case you forgot, this is the Fnatic that won six straight LAN events between the end of 2015 and early 2016.)
Some Recent Moves
SK Gaming won both Majors in 2016 and made the semis at the first major of 2017 with a stand-in. Despite the Brazilian team’s success, they’re still tinkering with the formula for success. Most recently, SK Gaming added João “felps” Vasconcellos to their lineup, probably the best Brazilian player who wasn’t already on the roster. felps is joining HLTV’s top two players from 2016, Marcelo “coldzera” David and Gabriel “FalleN” Toledo.
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FaZe Clan have come through with the blockbuster acquisition of NiKo who had a rumored buyout price around $1 million. The talent of NiKo is unquestioned, as he solo-carried mousesports for a long time and was considered the best player in the world for parts of 2016. On Mouz, NiKo was forced to hard-carry and in-game lead. Pairing him with the tactics of Finn “karrigan” Andersen and the calculated brilliance of Norwegian fragger Håvard “rain” Nygaard should make for some very interesting games. The addition of karrigan made FaZe more competitive than they had been throughout all of 2016. There is no telling what he can do with a weapon like NiKo.
Potentially Dangerous Lineups
The lineup of North surpassed Astralis for part of 2016 as the best Danish team. The addition of Emil “Magisk” Reif gave them some star power and unlocked the potential of Kristian “k0nfig” Wienecke. They have now added Philip “aizy” Aistrup as another talented rifler. aizy was a member of this lineup when they were still Team Dignitas but left because he was a stranded superstar at the time. He has since fallen from his superstar status but perhaps he can regain that on North.
Team Liquid have been one of the most talented lineups in NA for a long time. Their problems have always been cohesion and leadership. Acquiring Peter “stanislaw” Jarguz as their in-game leader may be just the remedy they need. Hopefully he can get players like Jonathan “EliGE” Jablonowski and Nicholas “nitr0” Cannella in order and set up Josh “jdm64” Marzano to succeed.
Virtus.pro’s lineup has been together for years and have always been competitive. They have always been the best Polish lineup that could probably be assembled. Their problem has always been consistency. When they find their groove they can beat any team in the world, especially with Janusz “Snax” Pogorzelski back in superstar form.