North America’s best Counter-Strike team has made a new addition to their roster, and the name is particularly familiar.
It was only a month ago when iBUYPOWER shocked the Counter-Strike world by announcing the departure of both Sam “Dazed” Marine and Joshua “Steel” Nissa from the team. Now, Marine is making his return.
The pair were originally replaced by Derek “Desi” Branchen and Nick “Nitro” Cannella shortly before DreamHack Winter, one of the year’s biggest Counter-Strike events.
The move failed to pay immediate dividends, as iBUYPOWER disappointingly crashed out of the group stage following an upset loss to German team Penta Sports.
iBUYPOWER’s performance at the ESEA global final was much more encouraging, resulting in a third-place finish after wins over such teams as Titan and Denial. But that wasn’t enough to stop the team from making another round of changes.
With Marine returning, Branchen has been released. Cannella will remain in Nissan’s former position on the roster.
Cannella has largely played well for the team since joining, and his being retained is no surprise. But the return of Marine is shocking given that he was originally booted from the team by its core members, including Tyler “Skadoodle” Latham, Braxton “Swag” Pierce, and Keven “AZK” Lariviere.
At the time, Marine lashed out by saying he felt “betrayed” on social media and taking to his stream to air dirty laundry from the professional Counter-Strike scene in North America. But he recently admitted that he would be willing to consider a return to the team if he were asked.
Marine had spent the past few weeks with Torqued, a new team formed by Nissan and Mohamed “Moe” Assad, among others. When it became clear that Marine would soon depart, Assad hinted at the move by noting his disappointment with the regional roster shuffling.
Screengrab via ESEA/Twitch