After months of rumors swirling, OG final announced their new Counter Strike roster. This teams marks the org’s first foray into Counter Strike, as they had previously been dedicated entirely to Dota 2. The organization brings with them a championship pedigree, as they are the first and only team to win back to back TI’s, which they did with a predominantly Scandinavian core led by all-star position 5, and founder, N0tail.
This is one of the most interesting teams I’ve seen since the original Kinguin lineup that became FaZe, mostly due to the eclectic nature in which it was fashioned. The roster contains one of the best IGLs of the last year, who was unceremoniously dumped from a Major contending team, a French and Danish reject, a forgotten young prospect, and a Polish player that I’ve never heard of.
Their first tournament as a squad will be the cs_summit 5, which is a favorite amongst CS viewers. Tune in on December 12th to see them in action for the first time and get ready to bet on CS:GO esports.
Now, obviously I wasn’t there when this team started, nor am I privy to anything that you wouldn’t know, but understanding where this team comes from and why it exists is important to know where they’re going, how they’ll perform, how much leeway they’ll get until roster changes, etc.
This team is built around two guys that were kicked from their respective teams, NBK- and Aleksib. While it’s not unusual to have teams built around recently kicked free agents (see NoChance, GamerLegion), it is unusual to build a team around two non-stars. Of course, NBK and Aleksib are world class in their respective roles (support player and IGL), neither of them has the firepower that a team needs to be even top 10 consistently.
That’s what makes this team so interesting, is that it’s being built essentially backwards compared to how teams like FaZe function. They are starting with the backbone of the team, building a solid system with solid role-players, and trying to fill in the fraggers later.
As far as fraggers go, they did the best they could presumably. ISSAA and valde are two low risk, high reward players assuming everything works out well. Think of them as underperforming top 10 picks in the NBA.
Take valde for example. He’s 24-years-old and was one of the more promising Danish players of the last couple years. He spent almost two years with Heroic, where he was never quite able to put it together. He has a handful of big performances over his tenure, but nothing that would make you think he could be anything better than serviceable. OG are banking on changing his role up, taking away some of the IGL responsibilities that he held over the last couple years, and turning him into a second or third star to complement ISSAA and mantuu.
ISSAA is maybe the pickup I’m the most intrigued by. He broke out with HellRaisers and put together some very impressive performances with them, rarely dropping below a 1.10 at LAN events. Unfortunately he was hindered by a rotating and inconsistent cast, and has spent the last couple months languishing on the bench. With an IGL of Aleksib’s caliber, I wouldn’t be surprised to see ISSAA pick up more HLTV MVPs in the next year. Just look what Aleksib did with sergej.
Overall this team has some nice upside. ISSAA, Valde, and Mantuu certainly have the potential to be a high fragging core, at least on the level of someone like 100 Thieves. Aleksib has certainly proved he’s worth the paycheck, especially when comparing early 2019 ENCE to late 2019 ENCE. Funnily enough the weakest link might be NBK – his numbers over 2019 are not encouraging. He spent most LAN events this year securely in the red, which will have to change for OG to make waves.
What Does This Mean?
Some teams pop off immediately after a roster change. It’s usually referred to as the honeymoon period and is a real and powerful thing. I don’t think OG will have a very fruitful honeymoon period. While they’ve likely been practicing together for a while, this team has a couple of obvious problems right away.
The most obvious problem for these guys is the language barrier. I don’t know for sure, but I think that every player on this team speaks a different first language. Not only that, but ISSAA is the only player on this team that’s played on a squad with mixed nationalities before, and they were all CIS so who knows what language they were communicating in. It will certainly take some time for these guys to communicate at the speed and efficiency that top tier CS requires.
Three of these guys, NBK, Aleksib, and ISSAA, haven’t played a game of CS on LAN since the StarLadder Major. Valde played most recently at DreamHack Masters Malmo, and Mantuu hasn’t played since mid-September. This team is not going to be in good form by any stretch of the imagination.
Lack of experience
Speaking of Mantuu, do you know how Premier Tier events he’s attended? 0. Know how many A Tier events he’s been to? 0. In fact, the best team he’s ever faced on LAN was NRG, in 2017. This is going to be like a whole new game for him, and that will take time. Unless of course, he’s ZywOo, but I don’t think he is.
System takes time
Aleksib was kicked from ENCE, at least in part, because his system is restrictive. Effective, but restrictive. And while we could waste time talking about which is best, whether they should have stuck it out with him, whatever, it doesn’t really matter. The point is, Aleksib has a way he likes to play CS, and that’s the only way that he’s effective. Learning that system is going to take time, especially with a language barrier.
So no, don’t expect OG to be good right away. In fact, don’t expect them to be good for a while. If I were you, I’d bet against them every chance I get. But, there will come a day where they flip the switch and look incredible, probably against a Team Liquid or a FaZe. So be ready.