The Most Important Roster Moves of the CS:GO Player Break

CS:GO

The Most Important Roster Moves of the CS:GO Player Break

Almost every top tier Counter-Strike team has seen at least some changes to their lineups in the player break following the BLAST.tv Paris Major 2023. These roster moves have had an impact on the best teams in the world and the up-and-coming organisations in tier two competition who saw success at the Major. Entire regions have seen the identity of their most notable representatives changed overnight. These roster moves are the most talked-about and the most likely to be remembered well into CS2.

NAVI go international (+ jL, + iM, + Aleksib | – electroNic, – Perfecto, -npl)

Having fielded almost exclusively Ukranian and Russian players throughout its history in CS:GO (with the exception of Slovak super sniper Ladislav “GuardiaN” Kovács), the signing of Lithuanian, Romanian and Finnish players all at the same time is Natus Vincere’s biggest ever shift in direction.

Justinas “jL” Lekavicius had a quiet BLAST.tv Paris Major with only a 0.94 HLTV rating at the end of the event, but the Lithuanian has been a standout star for Apeks in the rest of 2023 with high impact and high ADR across multiple tournaments. While he has had limited opportunities to show what he can do against top teams, jL has flown under the radar of many despite impressive showings on Apeks and MAD Lions previously.

Ivan “iM” Mihai was the standout star of the Major, surpassed only by Mathieu “ZywOo” Herbaut following the grand final, but still ending the event with a rating of 1.35 across 12 maps played. With an overperformance of this magnitude, all eyes will be on iM to see exactly what level he will settle at now under the yellow and black NAVI banners.

Switching from Russian to English for communication in-game is something that has impacted multiple teams over the years, but will only be a change for Valerij “b1t” Vakhovsjkyj as Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyljev previously spoke English while playing for Team Liquid in 2016 and frequently streams to an international audience while playing FPL (FACEIT Pro League) where callouts are given primarily in English.

Liquid gains unexpected EU core (+ Patsi, + Rainwaker | – EliGE, – nitr0)

Fans of Team Liquid were already bracing for the loss of Nicholas “nitr0” Cannella following news the American captain would retire following IEM Dallas, but none expected a pivot from North America to a European core that leaves only two players representing the shrinking region.

With Mareks “YEKINDAR” Gaļinskis already an established part of Liquid, he now carries the mantle of in-game leader for the squad. While not the first name many would consider among top IGLs, YEKINDAR has experience from leading in his former team of Virtus.pro which saw the title passed around the entire roster until settling on Jame.

Having shed the NA spirit that has defined them for their entire time in CS:GO, the new direction for Team Liquid will see them have to not only continue to face the best in the world, but battle through the next Major cycle within Europe in the most stacked region in the world.

Outside of the new signings, a consistent showing for American AWPer Joshua “oSee” Ohm will be crucial to see. While in North America, no obvious alternatives for oSee were ever really on the horizon, but there are numerous snipers within EU and CIS circles who would leap at the chance if he is unable to keep up with the pace of the region.

Cloud9 seek new heights (+ electroNic, + Perfecto | – buster, – nafany) – unconfirmed

With Cloud9 not attending BLAST Premier Fall Groups, the roster lock for that event did not force the team to show their hand but the signing of the two NAVI players looks set to go forward even if their former organisation was pushing for different homes for at least one party involved.

Despite taking on leadership duties out of necessity, Denis “electroNic” Sharipov will lead the established trio that had been under Vladislav “nafany” Gorshkov since September 2020 on Gambit Youngsters. After a drought of success for a team touted as potential Major champions in recent years, a shift in leadership and roster could be exactly what is needed to re-elevate C9 as contenders.

Star of Cloud9 Dmitriy “sh1ro” Sokolov was the fourth best player of 2021 and third best in 2022 in HLTV’s Top 20 player list and currently sits as the highest ranked player in the world so far this year with a rating of 1.26 and +736 K-D difference across 104 maps. electroNic will likely feel very at-home with a player more than able to go toe-to-toe with his former teammate Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyljev.

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