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Photo: Adela Sznajder for DreamHack

In CS:GO, Finn “Karrigan” Andersen is the biggest free agent in the world. He is rightly considered among the best in-game leaders. His career has shown him adept at getting lineups started at speeds unmatched by any other in-game leader in history. Karrigan proved this again and again: with his time on Astralis and in later iterations of FaZe. His entrance into free agency has coincided with multiple teams that are in need of an in-game leader of his caliber. Whoever wins his services will likely see their team jump up in the global rankings. As that’s the case, many teams in the world should try to get Karrigan to join them and thus we have the Karrigan lottery.

 

Why Teams Need Karrigan

 

At the end of 2016, Karrigan saw himself benched from Astralis. He then went on to join FaZe, a team of international mercenaries less than the sum of its parts. Each player had some history of being good in the past and each had some level of individual skill, but nothing they did could get the disparate parts running. This resulted in the FaZe failing to make a single playoffs through 2016 until Karrigan joined.

 

It took Karrigan three days to get the roster their first playoff berth at ELeague Season 2. He then did it again in 2017 after Nikola “NiKo” Kovac joined the team on Feb. 19, 2017. Days later, he led the team to the finals of IEM Katowice where the team placed second to Astralis. Karrigan then did it a third time with FaZe after the team recruited Olof “olofmeister” Kajbjer and Ladislav “GuardiaN” Kovacs on August 2017. This time, it took a bit longer as Karrigan overextended himself with their map pool at DreamHack Malmo. He got it right in two weeks as FaZe stomped every team into the dirt at ESL New York 2017.

 

Finally, we come to 2018 where olofmeister took time off from the team. During this period, the team had two stand-ins: Richard “Xizt” Landstrom and Jorgen “cromen” Robertsen. In both cases, the team won tournaments and achieved top placings. With Xizt, they won IEM Sydney against Astralis. With cromen, they won ESL Belo Horizonte against Mouz. They also accrued top four placings at: EPL Season 7 Finals, ECS Season 5 Finals, and ESL One Cologne 2018.

 

The only downside was at the end of the roster’s tenure after the team had lost confidence in Karrigan’s leadership. It was a similar situation to Karrigan’s end at Astralis. Outside of those circumstances, Karrigan’s resume as a leader is outstanding. Throughout his career, he’s proved himself to be the best leader at leading international players to great success. He has worked with both tactical players and loose individual players. He can get a system up and running almost instantly. He understands how to enable players, what roles they can be used in, and creates a coherent system around that. For many of the teams in the world then, he is the leader that they need to go up the world rankings.

 

The Bidders

 

Karrigan has something to offer for nearly every team outside of Astralis at the current moment. The only teams that don’t need him right now are MIBR and Liquid. In the case of MIBR they’ve already tried an international roster to their detriment and have just got the gang back together. Liquid is arguable, but as they’ve just won IBP Masters, the chances of them trying to get Karrigan should be close to zero.

 

As for the rest, I’ll list them in descending order in terms of ranking.

 

Na`Vi

 

The Case for Karrigan

 

You might be wondering why I listed Na`Vi here as a potential choice. The reasoning is pretty basic. Look at the CIS scene and list the top in-game leaders they currently have. They have two: Danylo “Zeus” Teslenko and Kirill “ANGE1” Karasiow. Then consider that Zeus has already said that he plans to retire sometime this year. As that’s the case Na`Vi have two choices, they can either try to acquire ANGE1 or they can try to get Karrigan now. While I can see why they’d want to get ANGE1 given that they tried before, Karrigan offers a chance for the team to become an international squad. He’d also make great use of the stars on Na`Vi.

 

The Case Against Karrigan

 

Na`Vi have historically been a CIS based team. As that’s the case, I don’t think they will ever leave the region. The choice of picking up Karrigan only makes sense if they wanted to make the team an international one. Na`Vi will likely ride let Zeus play out whatever remains of his playing days on the org as well, so the timing doesn’t make sense from a PR standpoint either. I’d say the chances are close to nil for this move to happen, but it is one worth considering as Karrigan could potentially improve the team.

 

What’s in it for Karrigan

 

He’d get to play with Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev and be in one of the best teams in the world. That’s a big enough draw for almost any player at this point.

 

Mouz

 

The Case for Karrigan

 

Mouz has often been nicknamed the mini-FaZe, so it makes complete sense for them to pick up Karrigan. Karrigan’s proven he can use international players like the ones that Mouz has to great effect. He’s also helped players get out of slumps or reach even greater heights. He’s done it with players like Havard “rain” Nygaard, Fabien “kioShiMa” Fiey, and Aleksi “allu” Jalli.

 

Rain was considered a strong player within the world before Karrigan joined, and played even better after Karrigan figured out how to utilize him. KioShiMa’s career looked like it was about to sink in FaZe, but Karrigan found a way for kioShiMa to be reinvent himself and become a top tier player once again. After Allu departed from NiP to play for ENCE, he was unable to retain his from that that NiP lineup. Later on when he joined FaZe, he was a good player, but he once again became a top international player after being integrated into Karrigan’s FaZe.

 

An international team like Mouz could use Karrigan’s help now. Both Robin “ropz” Kool and Miikka “suNny” Kemppi have hit slumps. Karrigan could be the leader they need that can help reinvigorate their player as individuals. In terms of tactical style, he’d bring an explosive element that Mouz likely need as their style of play has become stale and formulaic as teams have figured them out.

 

The Case Against Karrigan

 

The biggest detriment I see to picking up Karrigan is that Mouz wouldn’t know who to remove from the squad as there is no obvious role fit. While Karrigan plays similar roles to Chris “chrisJ” de Jong, in terms of individual impact, chrisJ he isn’t close to his individual level. That could be a problem as he has that extra element of wild aggression that no other player seems to have in the team. This would sort itself out however as the move would be to get Karrigan and let Karrigan figure out the optimal five man roster, as he did early on in FaZe. Overall, I don’t see any true downsides for Mouz getting Karrigan.

 

What’s in it for Karrigan

 

He gets to be on the second best international squad filled with players that have proven themselves to be world class. He’d likely be the element they’ve been searching for to reach the absolute top in CS:GO. As a bonus, Karrigan gets the chance to set up a dramatic revenge story against his old team of FaZe by raising up a new international squad that could supercede them.

 

NiP

 

The Case for Karrigan

 

NiP have a good amount of talented players, but I’m uncertain that they are being used to their maximum potential. While Jonas “lekr0” Olofsson has done a good enough job leading for NiP, bringing on Karrigan could boost take them to the next level. I think the biggest benefactor to Karrigan coming into the team would be Dennis “dennis” Edman, who is far below what his potential could be, even given his more sacrificial roles on the squad. In addition to that, it opens a path up for the team to become an international squad.

 

The Case Against Karrigan

 

The team could lose out on the teamplay aspect, which has been a hallmark of what has made Swedish Counter-Strike so great. Like the Mouz situation, it’s hard to figure out which player you’d remove. Like the Mouz situation, Karrigan could figure it out after he was transferred into the team. Overall, while it’s a good move on paper, the Swedish side likely won’t go for it. Swedes like to play with Swedes, regardless of esports, and especially in Counter-Strike.

 

What’s in it for Karrigan

 

In the case that he joined NiP, he could conquer the Swedish scene by becoming the de-facto best leader in their scene and then become then pick up all of the best up-and-coming Swedish talent. The problem with this scenario is by joining NiP, he’d be unlikely to get the crown jewel of the Swedish scene, Freddy “KRIMZ” Johansson. While it’s a good choice, if Karrigan wanted to join a Swedish team, I think Fnatic makes more sense.

 

Fnatic

 

The Case for Karrigan

 

Between the two Swedish teams, Fnatic fits Karrigan better. Unlike the Mouz and NiP situation, where you’d have to figure out what player he’d replace, in the Fnatic situation the choice is clear cut. Karrigan is an upgrade over Richard “Xizt” Landstrom in terms of his resume as an in-game leader and his ability to make players excel under him.

 

The Case Against Karrigan

 

Like the NiP situation, they’d likely lose something in terms of the communication and potentially the teamplay. The social situation is something to consider as well. The Swedes like to play with Swedes and Fnatic have shown they have utmost confidence in Xizt throughout 2018. So while I think it’s an upgrade, I don’t think the Fnatic guys see it the same way. As that’s the case, this move seems unlikely to happen.

 

What’s in it for Karrigan

 

He’d get to play with one of the more talent filled rosters, which also includes KRIMZ, the best Swedish player in CS:GO for the last year. In terms of playstyle, Karrigan seems a perfect fit as they like to play a loose and explosive.

 

North

 

The Case for Karrigan

 

This is straightforward. Karrigan is a better in-game leader than cadiaN so it’s be an easy upgrade on paper. He still has the aura of legitimacy that comes with leading two historically great lineups: TSM/Astralis and FaZe. Finally, North have failed to make it out of the the Minor and at this point in their organization, they make be thinking of changing their approach. If that’s the case, then Karrigan is the best choice.

 

The Case Against Karrigan

 

While the move looks good on paper, there are multiple things at work that make me hesitant in thinking that North would pick Karrigan up. North is a team that is run by the organization more than it’s players. The org seems to have built the team akin to a sports franchise where the power resides in the GM and coach. As that’s the case, I’m uncertain how well Karrigan could work with the likes of Jonas “whimp” Svendsen and Alexander “ave” Holdt. So while Karrigan is a great in-game leader, I don’t know how well he’d work into the vision of what North is trying to build.

 

What’s in it for Karrigan

 

He’d join the second best Danish team in the world and play with the best Danish player outside of Astralis in Valdemar “valde” Bjorn. The problem though is that I’m unsure how well he’d work with ave as coach as Karrigan always struck me as a leader who wanted to be the central decision maker in the operation. If that could be resolved, it could be a great move for North.

 

OpTic

 

The Case for Karrigan

 

They needed him yesterday.

 

The Case Against Karrigan

 

No such case exists.

 

What’s in it for Karrigan

 

He’d get a talent filled with a bunch of good Danish players. The problem for Karrigan though is there are too many other options that are ostensibly on the table.

 

Cloud9

 

The Case for Karrigan

 

Cloud9 are in a similar state to what FaZe was like before Karrigan joined them in 2016. They are a team filled with a bunch of good, but disparate parts. While Cloud9 already have an in-game leader in Maikil “Golden” Selim, he is a lesser in-game leader in terms of resume and individual skill. On top of that, he’s had a bunch of health issues that have plagued him for a long period of time.

 

The Case Against Karrigan

 

Like OpTic, I don’t think the case exists. While I rate Golden as a good in-game leader, his individual play was never good. He has also had ongoing health issues which is a cause for concern. Both inside and outside the game circumstances point to Karrigan being a better choice for Cloud9.

 

What’s in it for Karrigan

 

Cloud9 is one of the richest orgs in the esports world, so he could get a good salary. As for in-game reasons, there are workable pieces here, most notably Timothy “autimatic” Ta and kioShiMa. The biggest downside though is that Cloud9 is no longer a destination that attracts top talent whether domestically or internationally, which could be a cause for concern.

 

G2 Esports

 

The Case for Karrigan

 

At the end of 2018, Richard “Shox” Papillon realized that he could no longer be the in-game leader for the team and have it succeed at the highest level. As that was the case he brought on Kevin “Ex6TenZ” Droolans onto the squad. While that didn’t work, I don’t necessarily think he was wrong given what happened in 2018. While he’s starting to show good signs as a player recently, the problem is that we’ve already seen that this can only go so far as he did the same thing in 2016.

 

As for Karrigan, he could be the leader that could finally get Shox and Kenny “kennys” Schrub firing at the same time, a dream that has been never been fulfilled since the two have teamed up. Additionally, we know that Carlos Rodriguez Santiago likes the idea of international lineups and Karrigan is one of the most critical pieces needed to make an international team work.

 

The Case Against Karrigan

 

The French players are still enamoured with the French scene and still believe that they can somehow make it work without teaming up with Nathan “NBK-” Schmitt or Dan “apEX” Madesclaire. Also given the formation of the team that G2 made in 2018, I think Shox puts a premium on having a similar culture in the team. Because of that, I don’t think it’s likely that G2 are even considering getting Karrigan, even though he could be a catalyst for great change.

 

What’s in it for Karrigan

 

He’d get to play the role of Jesus and resurrect the French scene. In all seriousness though, both Shox and KennyS are two of the players in CS:GO history who have shown that they can come back into form whenever they feel like it. If he could get them back on track, the G2 team could instantly be a world contender.

 

Who Will Win the Karrigan Lottery?

 

As the IEM Katowice Major cycle continues, many of these teams will have to start asking the hard question, namely how much do we need Karrigan? The answer has be swift as I’ve shown how Karrigan can immediately impact and improve many of the top teams in CS:GO today. His entire career has shown time and time again that he is the best leader in the world when it comes to combining disparate parts and making them greater than the sum of their parts.

 

As for who among the teams will win the lottery is yet to be determined. Each team has different things that they can offer. For instance, people are clamoring for a Karrigan to OpTic or North move and while the Danish scene is the best in the world, it’s player pool is still smaller than the rest of the international scene.

 

If we’re talking about money and authority, Cloud9 could be a decent test, especially as the kioShiMa and Karrigan combination was a great duo back when they played together in FaZe. If we’re talking about raw talent, I think the best two options are Mouz and Fnatic as they have the most skilled lineups that need Karrigan’s services.

 

While I’ve also listed G2 and Na`Vi and given cases as to why they could use Karrigan, I don’t think either will be in the running here as G2 have shown they want to stick to the French scene for now and Na`Vi have shown they want to stick to the CIS scene. For the entire competitive CS:GO world, this will be a critical move as Karrigan is a super weapon. He’s proven it time and time again throughout his career. Whichever team can acquires Karrigan’s services will have a piece that will get them on the road to Championship contention status and that is what is on the line in the Karrigan lottery.

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