Counter Logic Gaming disband male Counter Strike division
After signing North American side mouseSpaz on 16th January 2015 and enduring many roster changes, CLG have pulled the plug on their male CS:GO teams.
On the 30th November CLG announced that after nearly 3 years in the scene they would be withdrawing from CS:GO. The original CLG roster was made up of names familiar to anyone who has only recently started following the scene, including names like Tarik “tarik” Celik, Peter “ptr” Gurney and James “hazed” Cobb. Joined by Pujan “FNS” Mehta and Stephen “reltuC” Cutler, the 5 man lineup would attend MLG X-Games Aspen shortly after signing with CLG. In their first match they pulled off a famous 16-14 upset of LDLC.com on the back of a 32-18 performance from ptr, Unfortunately this upset would be one of relatively few highlights in CLG’s first year in CS.
Having settled into playing second fiddle to Team Liquid and Cloud9 domestically, they also struggled internationally to make an impact. Outside of an upset win over fnatic at ESL ESEA Pro League Season 1 Finals, CLG consistently placed 9-12th at majors and fell in groups against European opposition. Their only LAN title in 2015 came at Northern Arena, where their strongest opposition was compLexity Gaming.
CLG’s original roster in CS:GO
Moving forward into 2016 the team, now starring Josh “jdm64” Marzano and Jacob “FugLy” Medina over FNS and ptr, finally seemed to get their big break. At the first NA major in Columbus they achieved Legend status for what would be the first and last time for the organisation. They fell to Team Liquid in the quarter-finals, and unsurprisingly failed to retain their legend spot at ESL One: Cologne, crashing out in a 16-1 loss to Team Dignitas. Multiple roster changes throughout the rest of 2016 failed to bear any fruit, and it was the return of FNS to the roster and subsequent signing of Ricky “Rickeh” Mulholland in early 2017 that heralded in a new era of CLG. Joining Rickeh, FNS and reltuC was Ethan “nahtE” Arnold and Kenneth “koosta” Suen. CLG would ride out the rest of their time in CS with this roster. The American side took down Gambit and Fnatic, as well as stealing a map from SK Gaming at DreamHack Summer, but otherwise failed to upset either regionally or internationally. Promise was shown in online qualifiers, especially from Australian Rickeh and young talent nahtE, but ultimately the team couldn’t crack the top tier of Liquid and C9 in North America. In fact they were being challenged for the spot of 3rd best NA side by teams like Misfits and NRG Esports.
Ultimately this has led to the CLG organisation withdrawing support for the side, as well as their academy team. This is a large blow for the NA CS scene as Immortals lose their roster and OpTic move back to Europe. If Immortals cannot muster a roster, this leaves 3 vacant spots in the NA division of ESL Pro League to be filled. That said, the Immortals organisation has expressed their intent to remain in the scene and put together another lineup, so perhaps this is where the ex-CLG players end up. koosta, nahtE and reltuC were joined by Zack “XotiC” Elshani, formerly of CLG Academy and Ronnie “ryx” Bylicki to play in the CyberPowerPC Winter tournament. It is unknown why FNS and Rickeh didn’t join them. It is certainly not a stretch to suggest that the two players in question are the most desirable pickups for other teams.
With FNS, an experienced IGL on the market it doesn’t seem impossible a team like NRG would want to sign him as Damian “daps” Steele expresses his interest in moving to a coaching role. Another possible destination would be a side such as Rise Nation, who’ve shown promise but failed to deliver on the big stage. The experience and stabilising influence of a player like FNS may be what they need to take the next step up the food chain. Rickeh is another player who’ll be in high demand as a talented rifler and AWPer, having been designated the secondary role behind koosta in CLG. The remaining 3 players seem to be sticking together, playing under the “Unemployed For Christmas” tag for the time being. It is a shame to see the CLG organisation leave the scene, as prestigious and respected as they are, and hopefully it won’t slow the progression of a talented player such as nahtE, but equally it’s not hard to understand the reasoning behind the move.
Where do you see ex-CLG going? Comment your thoughts below!