Two of the most prominent esports organizations in America have now dropped their Counter-Strike: Global Offensive rosters, signaling what may be the biggest shakeup of the year in American Counter-Strike.
In both cases, the decision would seem to stem from multiple players parting ways with their squads to explore new rosters elsewhere. It’s an understandable time for such transfers, with the newest seasons of the ESL ESEA Pro League and CEVO’s professional league on the horizon. Throw in the recent decision made by Nihilum to abandon Counter-Strike, and roster shuffles become inevitable.
Elevate’s decision came down to the loss of three players: Will “Rush” Wierzba, Damian “Daps” Steele, and Keith “Naf” Markovic. The trio chose to move on in search of greener pastures. Elevate CEO Brandon Hatfield admitted in a statement that “this move is certainly not one we wanted to make,” and the organization made clear that it is open to returning to the professional Counter-Strike scene in either the near or far future.”
Wierzba and his teammates now appear headed to a new team alongside former Tempo Storm players Shahzeb “Shahzam” Khan and Ronnie “Ryx” Bylicki. The new squad has already competed against Team Liquid in the American RGN Pro Series, losing that best-of-three set by a margin of two games to none.
The decision from Tempo Storm to drop its own Counter-Strike team came after Timothy “Autimatic” Ta and Daniel “Roca” Gustaferri had themselves departed. According to Khan, they were looking to link up with players from the former Nihilum team. Their departure is what led Khan and Bylicki to join forces with the former Elevate players.
The moves likely aren’t done yet either. Spencer “Hiko” Martin has been seen filling in for Team Liquid in the very match in which they defeated Khan and Bylicki’s new roster, and top players have taken to both social media and league forums to tease various possibilities.