With most of the roster shuffles being completed in North America, I figured now would be a good time to give a brief look at some of the top squads.
While some teams are still fresh, it’s not hard to get an idea of what they could bring to the table given their composition, previous results, etc.
The currently undisputed best North American team. Liquid has all the pieces in terms of roles and performing players and now they’ve become comfortable. Jake “stewie2k” Yip is the newest member but has been with the squad for several months and events at this point and things are certainly running smoother. I’ve gone on record saying it before, but Liquid will be better with Jake “stewie2k” Yip against the best opponents in the long run. He gives the team that added spark I think they need. They’re a safe bet in most North American matchups but some other teams like NRG are certainly capable of grabbing a map on a good day.
Currently ranked by most as the second best team in North America, NRG made a change to bring in Tarik “tarik” Celik in place of Jacob “FugLy” Medina following their poor performance at the IEM Katowice Major. The team felt it could gain a better mentality and more experience with this addition and so far it hasn’t seemed to change much. While it’s still relatively early, NRG has been riding the same sort of wave at events. I do believe they gained consistent firepower in with tarik’s addition, however, they need to find a way for him to be impactful without taking anything away from Vincent “Brehze” Cayonte and Ethan “Ethan” Arnold. Tarik’s play style in the past hasn’t exactly lent itself to being the third most important.
Surprise but things are still very up in the air for the North American & European mix. Maikil “Golden” Selim has returned which is great, however, now he’s dealing with new players from different countries and different experience levels. Cloud9 has a decent upside when you look at their pieces. Golden is a solid in-game leader, Daniel “vice” Kim was looking good in his latter days with Rogue, René “cajunb” Borg is a veteran of top tier Counter-Strike, and Will “RUSH” Wierzba pairs well with Timothy “autimatic” Ta as we’ve seen in the past. I’d say check back in on this squad in two or three months.
The veteran organization has been trying to piece together a top squad for awhile now and may have finally taken a step forward. Peter “stanislaw” Jarguz is at the helm as a proven IGL and skilled player and he has some solid players to work with. Shahzeeb “ShahZaM” Khan has a high ceiling with the AWP, Ricky “Rickeh” Mulholland should be expected to rise up the scoreboard once his position & role are set, Hunter “SicK” Mims adds youth and moldable talent, and Rory “dephh” Jackson has been showing increased performance as of late. I believe that this will be the best iteration we’ve seen of compLexity since they made their return to CS:GO.
A team I think some people are still doubting – FURIA
Considered a team to keep your eyes on just months ago, Ghost has fallen off recently. From making decent noise taking down the likes of Natus Vincere to losing to just about everyone, Ghost’s rise seems to have vanished. The squad added Ryan “freakazoid” Abadir and hasn’t performed quite at the expected level since. While it’s hard to say the problem is directly tied to any one player, things certainly changed. Matthew “Wardell” Yu seems to be the only player still holding their own as of late with Jason “neptune” Tran having a signifact fall off. An eye test points to a drop in indivudual player performance as neptune has gone positive in only six of the teams last 26 outtings. That is with winning over half of those matches and playing several teams not even in the Pro League. Ghost need to find a way to bring neptune up or find a replacement.
The new roster from eUnited is running at a similar level to the previous. The team still struggles to consistently pick up wins against low-middle of the pack teams. FURIA has shown to be the kryptonite of the team, picking up all five maps they’ve played in the last three months. The team has looked better in the first week of the ESL Pro League where they managed to take down Renegades and INTZ. It’s important to note, however, that Renegades were playing with stand-ins during their ESL Pro League matchup. eUnited has a lot to prove and plenty of room to improve if they want to start battling with the likes of Liquid, NRG, Cloud9, FURIA, and others.
Similarly to Cloud9 but with much less experience, this is a roster we have very little to go off of. We know that the core of the roster has potential, but we don’t know if they can achieve it, especially when surrounded by newer or less experienced players. On paper, the team should be able to hang with the middle of the pack North American teams, but unless Sam “s0m” Oh turns into the prodigy some believe he is in conjunction with Josh “jdm64” Marzano and Noah “Nifty” Francis hitting their peak performance, they won’t get much higher. jdm64 fell off during the end of his time with Liquid, Bradley “ANDROID” Fodor hasn’t shown he’s more than a middle of the pack player, and Jacob “FugLy” Medina still has room to improve.