The Latest CS:GO Roster Changes


As Intel Extreme Masters XIII Katowice Major is taking place in less than 3 weeks, it’s important to make a summary of the most critical roster changes and transfers that recently happened in the CS:GO world. In order for you to gain a clearer insight into what’s going on, I have analyzed the changes that can and most probably will leave a mark on the teams’ overall performance.

How team performance is affected by roster changes

They say that practice is the best of all instructors and this could not be truer for the CS:GO scene. When playing at a top level, each team needs several weeks and sometimes even months to be able to operate as a whole. The large number of maps every team plays requires great tactics and clear structure, taking full advantage of each member’s strong points. In other words, it takes time and dedication to coach each player individually, while making sure the team is performing as a unity. Therefore, any roster change leads to a potential vulnerability and uncertainty regarding the team’s strength.

Let’s take football for example! Imagine that you are trying to anticipate the score of a match such as Real Madrid vs. FC Barcelona. Naturally, you will take into account the most popular players each team has. If you would clearly bet on Real Madrid under normal circumstances, you might change your mind when finding out they no longer have Cristiano Ronaldo or that 5 of their best players are suffering from an injury. The situation is similar in the esports world. FaZe Clan is not the same team if one or more of its players are stand-ins. All in all, you can now see why roster changes are something to take into consideration when making predictions about an upcoming event.

Big CS:GO roster changes

Below you will find the roster changes made by some of the best teams worldwide, over the past few months. These adjustments might, sooner or later, have a great influence on how the global rankings look like in CS:GO.

Cloud9 and Golden

Given the fact that Golden is both a strong player and an amazing IGL, it’s still unclear why the teams are quite determined to sell him. Being a key player to the roster, only a problem with his personality or a lack of consistency in his performance could have led to this situation.

At Cloud9, Golden is inactive at the moment and this also happened a while back, when he was playing for Fnatic, a team that gathered some impressive results when he was in.
Some of these great results are: finishing 5th – 8th at ELEAGUE Major: Boston 2018, 3rd – 4th at ESL Pro League Season 6 Finals, 3rd – 4th at Esports Championship Series Season 4, 1st at IEM XII World Championship, 3rd – 4th at DreamHack Masters Marseille 2018 and 1st at WESG 2017-2018.

Even though playing for Cloud9 hasn’t brought the same success for Golden, the team itself is to be blamed. Being part of a roster that has had poor results, however, made the general public also see Golden not as great as before.

The CS:GO scene became more than intense over the last 8-9 months, as Astralis, together with Team Liquid, mousesports, Natus Vincere, MIBR and FaZe Clan have basically been merciless on their way to the title at every single event. The same as many other teams, Cloud9 were demolished by these titans at each and every tournament they took part in.

Seeing the situation from the team owners’ perspective, things are quite simple. What matters most for them is that they are the ones paying the salaries, which need to be backed up by results. How great a player is individually is not important at all, when the team’s expenses are not justified by the team’s overall performance. Therefore, roster changes will inevitably follow.

As mentioned before, Golden is currently inactive at Cloud9, which means he will most probably be transferred in the shortest time. With Zellsis, the team’s new player, still on trial, Cloud9 has to evaluate how he performs before selling Golden to the highest bidder. This will be a total delight for other teams that are currently facing some challenges and would be lucky to have him.
As for now, Cloud9 is not the same solid contender we have gotten used to in the past. I advise you to keep this in mind when looking for some great CS:GO betting opportunities.

Bet on Cloud9

Team Liquid, TACO and Stewie2K

Team Liquid finished 2nd last season in the global rankings and their overall performance has been remarkable, given the fact that they have qualified for no less than 9 Grand Finals and won 2 of them. Only a team with amazing skill and consistency could accomplish that. Soon after the season ended, 2 of their key players have been replaced, namely zews (team coach for the past 2 years) and TACO (team member for about 8 months).

TACO became a member of Team Liquid back in April, 2018, hoping to have greater results and enjoy a more positive atmosphere than what he previously experienced at MIBR. He did have an amazing season at Liquid, but soon after that he most probably felt homesick. His striking success with his new team proved he wasn’t the reason why MIBR had so many poor results, so Fallen and the rest of the crew wanted him back home.

CS:GO is a sport where a player is not forced to play for a team against his will, so I don’t believe Team Liquid had too much to comment on this subject. What is more, MIBR offered Stewie2K instead, who is a very strong player and a former Major champion with Cloud9.

Since these important roster changes took place, we couldn’t see MIBR in action but Team Liquid seems to be greater than ever. Contrary to the presumption that they will perform badly without TACO and zews, Liquid won iBUYPOWER Masters IV, after defeating Astralis in the Grand Final. What an exceptional result to start the new season with and what an amazing way to unify the new roster!

Bet on Team Liquid

MIBR, YNk and zews

Besides bringing back TACO and sending Stewie2K to replace him at Team Liquid, MIBR also let go of their coach, YNk, and reconnected with zews, one of their former coaches. Both zews and TACO are Brazilians, so most probably the organization tends to have members of this nationality only, which is quite a concern for tarik, the only non-Brazilian member. With this in mind, he will most probably be replaced in no more than a couple of months.

The same as TACO, zews decided to reunite with his Brazilian teammates and friends, most probably because he had been away from home for quite a while. Right now, we hope this emotional decision will give him a confidence boost so that he’ll be ready to take MIBR to the highest level.

YNk, on the other hand, is playing for FaZe Clan at the moment, a team that is still struggling. In my opinion, they are not a reason for us to worry, as they managed to qualify in no less than 5 Grand Finals and won 3 titles in 2018, together with several 3rd-4th overall placements. What is certain is that the team’s management had a different opinion and decided to replace both the coach and IGL.

Bet on MIBR

FaZe Clan and karrigan

If we were to ask other teams, FaZe Clan’s results over the past year could have been classified as excellent. However, for a team such as FaZe, being number two is not an option. Therefore, they decided to make some serious roster changes and improve their already amazing results by sending karrigan on a loan to Team Envy and replace him with AdreN from Gambit Esports. Moreover, their new IGL seems to be NiKo, so we still have to determine how that goes.

As already mentioned, RobbaN – the team’s coach for 3 years – also left the team. Even though things are far from being clear yet, my intuition tells me the future doesn’t look so bright for FaZeClan. It seems that the team’s management started to get greedy after witnessing such a strong performance and wanted to have even more. However, with teams such as Astralis, Natus Vincere and Team Liquid still dominating the CS:GO scene, their significant roster changes are obviously an error. FaZe has had issues competing against these titans in the past and the current situation doesn’t make things easier, as AdreN can barely be compared with karrigan in terms of skill and YNk has far less experience than FaZe Clan’s former coach.

Bet on FaZe Clan


As you can see, the last few months have been quite challenging for some of the CS:GO teams. BIG makes no exception here. Which is why they’ve brought XANTARES in, a former member of Space Soldiers. In 2018, BIG had some fairly good results and promises to get even better. This won’t be hard with XANTARES as a player, as this guy was exceptional in his former team, so I definitely expect him to be an absolute beast under the new banner as well. If BIG lacked firepower in the previous competitive season, they surely found it with XANTARES.

All in all, you can expect BIG to step up from their current position – 12th-14th in the global rankings – to a top 10 placement in the near future. The team does have a lot of potential and with smooya and gob b using their full capacity in every single match, there’s nothing stopping BIG from becoming a mid-tier contender at every tier 1 event.

Bet on BIG

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