2015 has been a bad year for North America in Counter-Strike
For a long time now, North American Counter-Strike has been of a noticeably lower standard to its European counterpart. One reason a lot of people will cite, as to why North American teams don’t do as well, is the sheer skill level of players. And it is true in one sense that North America has a thirst for talent at the moment. However, following the trend of Pyth and Devilwalk crossing the pond to play in Winterfox, the opportunity is now open for North American teams to pick up players from Europe. Indeed CLG have already appointed Pita, former coach of Ninjas in Pyjamas and professional player, to coach their side. Here are three recently-freed European pros that could really make a splash in the North American scene.
The Finnish AWPer, who recently left Ninjas in Pyjamas to pursue other opportunities, is a star player who is capable of fitting into any team in North America as a primary AWP player. Indeed, he is currently trying out for Team Liquid as of the publishing of this article, replacing Fugly in the lineup. Allu is a skilled player who is capable of using the AWP with devastating efficiency, either as an aggressive player on the T side or holding down an angle on the CT side. On NiP he had several great performances, including an average 1.15 HLTV rating at Fragbite Masters S5 Finals, and a 1.13 average rating at ESL One Cologne 2015. Allu is also quite capable with rifles and pistols for a dedicated AWPer, and his skill level as a player is high enough that North American orgs should be dying to pick him up.
In terms of teams, as I mentioned Allu would fit right in to any North American team, as his quality is most definitely high enough. The problem with him joining Team Liquid is that in the short term the team may do better, but in the long run there is no real need for AdreN in the team, since Allu is a miles better AWPer, and his in game leading is not the best either. This is why for TL it might be a good option to move AdreN to coach, where he has a chance to apply his clearly extensive game knowledge and experience, and find a better in game leader so the team has a decent tactical base to work from. CLG could also replace jdm64 with the Finn, as although jdm has had a hot streak these past few months, Allu is better with the rifles and has a higher level with the AWP than the North American player. He might have some trouble fitting into Cloud 9 as Skadoodle is a very good AWPer in his own right, and I can’t really see how having two dedicated AWP players in a single team in such a manner would make sense, practically, but he could definitely fit into CLG or TL, and given some other roster changes take place, these teams would then be able to compete more closely for international events.
The three-times Major Championship holder, and experienced in-game leader was recently cut from his longtime side Fnatic, to make room for Dennis and a fundamental stylistic change towards a faster, more skill-based approach. However, Pronax’s quality as an in-game leader is second to none. His forte is his mid round calls; the ability to react to what the enemy team is doing in the middle of a round and adjust his team accordingly. During their legendary run spanning much of 2014 and some of 2015, Fnatic under Pronax were masters of CT side play at a time where the meta was very much shifted in favour of the defensive side. Making risky gamble rotates based on information and reading of the game was par for the course in Pronax’s Fnatic, as was playing a hybrid style between loose pick-based T sides and then tightening up for mass site executes based on, again, mid round calls and game reading. Pronax is genuinely one of the best in-game leaders going and, assuming communication in English wouldn’t be a problem, he can excellently apply his in-game leadership and understanding to a North American team.
I mentioned previously that, were Team Liquid to replace Fugly with a star player, they’d soon need to replace AdreN with a better leader. Well, Pronax would fit in well here. He would also be a perfect fit for Cloud 9, as they have just cut their in-game leader, seanGares, too. Even CLG could benefit from new leadership following FNS’ departure, allowing their more skilled players to be allocated into a better strategical system. As such, Pronax would fit perfectly into a North American scene that is so lacking in leadership these days.
Another in-game leader, Gob B was recently cut from Mousesports following a decision from his teammates. Gob B was a legendary in-game leader for Mousesports going back to Counter-Strike 1.6, and although his record with the team in Global Offensive hasn’t been great, the team have had some decent finishes(making runner-up at CEVO Pro Season 8 Finals stands out), and Gob B’s tactical ability hasn’t fallen off all that much. He plays a very set tactical style, similar to teams like Na’Vi and Titan, utilising anti-stratting and research to counter enemy teams’ tactics and come up with his own.
Stylistically, fitting into a North American team would be slightly tricky for Gob B however, as his set style means that he is less likely to mesh well with teams and players that are notorious for having hectic communication and individualistic, intuitive mindsets. However, he could potentially play for a Team Liquid or CLG side and have some success. Alternatively he could move into a coaching role for Cloud 9 or potentially TSM’s new roster and make some ground there, also addressing his lack of individual skill within the game itself but retaining his tactical benefit and insight.
To conclude, were any North American org to pick up any of these three players, you could be almost certain to see in improvement in results at the highest level, barring any issues with personality clashes or personal issues, which are impossible to account for as an analyst. An excuse that has long been given as to North American teams’ poor performance at international events has either been “not hitting shots” and being out-aimed, or not having a good enough tactical approach from which to
play the game, but as we can clearly see neither of these are valid excuses when there are good in-game leaders and star players roaming around in Europe. There are even many more players who were potential pickups a while ago but whose window of opportunity has now passed, like the Danes Pimp or Aizy. However, whether the North American orgs decide to pickup these players is another matter.
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