The French Shuffle
Ever since Team Envyus and G2 esports started to disappoint on an international level, there has been intense talks of a “French shuffle.” After Team Envyus won WESG and had a narrow shot to qualify for top 8 at the Eleague Major I thought Team Envyus would sign the prospective French “super team,” but this Friday G2 Esports announced they had acquired the team.
— G2 Esports (@G2esports)
This will mark the first time that Kenny ‘kennyS’ Schrub and Richard ‘shox’ Papillon will team and will be joined by Alexandre ‘bodyy’ Pianaro, Dan ‘apEX’ Madesclaire, and Nathan ‘NBK’ Schmitt. While some argue that apEX might be past his prime, this is a very strong French roster that has been signed to, “long term contracts” with G2 esports which could go a long way to improving French Counter-Strike. The CEO of G2 commented on the situation saying, “
The CS:GO community has been very kind and supportive to G2 Esports and we feel grateful that many of you have chosen us as your flagship team. In light of your support and the continued growth of CS:GO as an esports game we decided to increase our commitment in our CS:GO roster significantly with the signing of this superteam.”
While G2 might have come on the “plus side” of the French shuffle, there are still other high value Frenchies out in the wild. Longtime Team Envyus player Vincent ‘Happy’ Schopenhauer has built a team consisting of ex nV and G2 players Cedric ‘RpK’ Guipouy, Christophe ‘SIXER’ Xia, and two others yet to be decided. The other G2 player left out of their current roster Adil ‘screaM’ Benrlitom recently tweeted out that he would be “standing in for Team Envyus” which implies that they have acquired Happy’s pickup team with scream and a fifth for the IEM Katowice qualifiers. A lot of people do not have this new version of Envyus being very successful as Happy has been on a decline recently, but I will wait to reserve judgment. Many counted out North when they formed their current roster, but look at their recent results. Anything can happen.
The North American Situation
After being favorites for securing a Legend spot in the Eleague Major, OpTic Gaming heavily disappointed with a 1-3 record albeit two of the three losses were to teams that would make the Grand Finals of the Major. That type of disappointment was a bit too much for OpTic Gaming’s in game leader Peter ‘stannislaw’ Jarguz who left the team for Team Liquid.
— Team Liquid (@TeamLiquid)
The OpTic roster was looking very good despite the Major results due to a strong end to their 2016 campaign with a Eleague Season 2 victory over Astralis and a second place finish at ECS Season 2 finals, but all that momentum seems to be gone after losing one of the best IGLs in North America. It’s not officially confirmed but all signs point to Spencer ‘Hiko’ Martin to replace stannislaw on OpTic Gaming.
Can both rosters benefit from this change? Depends. Apparently stannislaw had an issue with the way OpTic Gaming supported their CS:GO team which he said in his statement to Team Liquid.
“However, comparing with Liquid, it's night and day. I have a lot of personal things going on in my life right now and things are very difficult, so when contacted by Liquid I felt truly humbled by their desire for me and the structure of the organization really appealed to me. Liquid has the resources and tools to allow the CS team to focus solely on the game itself, and I believe that is what it will take to become a consistent world contender. Aside from difficulties with the OpTic organization itself, I also had some concerns with the underlying problems we've had for the entire duration of the team, such as practice regime and attitudes.”
Reading between the lines it seems that stannis objected to the “entertainment” oriented outlook of OpTic Gaming, where the organization tends to put a focus on content creation for the fans in terms of YouTube videos, Twitch streams, and sponsor content. In any event, Team Liquid has desperately been in search of a good in game leader with two OverTime losses in the Major which could have let them retain their Major legend spot. Hiko going to OpTic Gaming might be the spark for the old timer to play in vintage form which would be exactly what the OpTic roster needs.
CS:GO Dust up
For me, the peak of competitive Counter-Strike is Dust II. One of the most iconic maps in the franchise has been taken out of the active duty map pool in favor of a new version of the iconic Inferno. Inferno was originally taken out of the map pool because the devs felt it was played much too often (which is mostly true) and was originally replaced with modern day Nuke.
Going forward will we ever see Dust II return in a modified form? Or while Inferno be the new go to map for teams to play once more? The biggest part of this shift is the meta of picks/bans because Dust II has been a favorable map for some teams and an extremely unfavorable one for others. Inferno being in the rotation should cause a bit of havoc for pro teams in future tournaments which is always fun to watch.
There has been a lot of unconfirmed movements in pro CS:GO, but a big one was North American Echo Fox unable to field a lineup for the ESL Pro League Season 5 forfeiting their spot. After losing their spot smaller North American orgs Selfless and Splyce faced off for the spot in a Best of 3 which Selfless took 2-1.
After Ricardo ‘fox’ Pacheco stood in for SK Gaming at their previous LAN events, all signs points to Immortals star player Joao ‘felps’ Vasconcellos being the next member of SK Gaming as he was seen with the team during the Eleague Major. Adding the strong performer to the team could reap big benefits and return a Major to Brazil.
There have been a lot of rumors regarding FaZe aizy replacing RUBINO on North and screaM replacing aizy after “standing in for Envyus” which all seems extremely bizarre. The dust should settle in the next week or two as IEM Katowice and DreamHack Masters Las Vegas loom large on the schedule.
Are you looking forward to the new rosters? Comment below what you want to see!