Flux in European 'Counter-Strike' scene as Star Series set to premier
The field has been set for the tenth SLTV Star Series, and the list of teams is representative of the state of flux many of Europe’s best Counter-Strike: Global Offensive squads have found themselves in.
Two teams on the list are still without complete rosters. SK Gaming shockingly lost the services of veteran Frank Pita just after his team had debuted with a top-eight finish at Dreamhack Summer. Pita explained in a brief statement that his sudden retirement was the result of a new job offer he had received.
Mousesports are also fielding an incomplete roster, though their issues have been longer in the making. The team dropped Timo “Spiidi” Richter after his scheduling issues forced the team to use a substitute on multiple occasions.
The team thought that they had found a replacement for Richter in Tobias “Troubley” Tabbert. But Tabbert’s decision to leave German side Planetkey Dynamics didn’t seem to sit well with the team's management, as they refused to release him from his contract.
Both SK Gaming nor Mousesports have yet to announce resolutions to these roster issues, even as the SLTV season looms.
Other teams set to compete have run into issues maintaining proper sponsorship. Both German side Berzerk and Estonian side Online Bots have openly sought new organizational homes after having parted ways with their prior outfits.
And while the team has thus far remained intact, questions continue to hang about the future of Fnatic. The team’s Dreamhack Winter championship seemed like an especially distant memory as they were knocked out of the group stage at Dreamhack Summer, though their win in the smaller ESPORTSM Swedish national competition, capped off by an impressive finals victory over Ninjas in Pyjamas, did provide some consolation.
Speaking of the Swedish powerhouse, Ninjas in Pyjamas shocked fans by withdrawing from consideration for the Star Series competition. Last season’s runners-up indicated that their players would be taking a break from play following their North American trip that will include successive tournament stops in Dallas and Austin, Texas.
Defending Star Series champions Natus Vincere will also be making the trip through Texas beginning this weekend with the ESEA finals in Dallas, and they will be defending their Star Series title upon returning home to eastern Europe.
Here are the teams that will be participating:
- Dobry Gaming
- Hell Raisers
- Natus Vincere
- Online Bots
- Over Gaming
- SK Gaming
- Virtus Pro
League play begins June 24 and will culminate in Kiev, Ukraine on August 30.
Screengrab via YouTube