Not every CS:GO team got better after making roster changes in 2019. In fact, some organizations completely messed up their squads before and during the 2019 season.
We’ll remember the worst CS:GO roster changes in 2019 in this list, but we won’t consider transfers which weren’t the org’s fault. For example, Complexity didn’t have an option when NRG, now Evil Geniuses, decided to buy their former in-game leader Peter “stanislaw” Jarguz.
Here are the seven worst CS:GO roster changes in 2019.
7) Windigo: Changing the communication
The Bulgarians never completely broke into the tier-one teams, but they were having some success in 2019, especially because they unexpectedly won the WESG Finals in March and earned its $500,000 prize money.
The roster was stable enough to keep fighting for tier-two trophies and making appearances at tier-one championships, but Windigo decided to bench Viktor “v1c7oR” Dyankov and Yanko “blocker” Panov to pursue international talent, signing the Turkish Buğra “Calyx” Arkın and the French Ali “hAdji” Haïnouss.
Those two didn’t add that much of firepower to justify changing the communication from Bulgarian to English. The roster never paid off and Windigo lost its two stars to other teams. Georgi “SHiPZ” Grigorov left to join CR4ZY in October and Valentin “poizon” Vasilev was sold to Complexity in November. Windigo pulled out of CS:GO right after selling off poizon.
6) BIG: XANTARES has done nothing
BIG has never won a tier-one tournament, but the Germans had some great showings in 2018. They were runners-up at ESL One Cologne in July 2018 and reached playoffs at the FACEIT London Major in September.
İsmailcan “XANTARES” Dörtkardeş, the Turkish star from Space Soldiers, was signed in December 2018 to replace Johannes “nex” Maget. The Germans were expecting a better year, but the team only got worse. XANTARES doesn’t speak English well and it affected the roles within the team.
Owen “smooya” Butterfield asked to be benched in February 2019 ahead of the IEM Katowice Major and nex was brought back. In between, the star Johannes “tabseN” Wodarz became the full-time AWPer and stopped fragging. Nex didn’t last too long and Denis Howell was bought from Sprout in May to become the primary AWPer, something he had never done in his seven-year career.
In the end, BIG went brought back smooya and nex in August, benching denis and moving its long-time captain Fatih “gob b” Dayik to a managerial role. BIG didn’t accomplish any relevant results in 2019 and things aren’t exactly looking good for 2020.
5) Vitality: Problems outside the server strike the French scene again
Everything was going well for Vitality inside the server. The French won cs_summit four in May, ECS season seven finals in June, and were runners-up at ESL One Cologne in July. Vitality were playing under two in-game leaders, Nathan “NBK” Schmidt led the CT-side while Alex McMeeking was responsible for the T-side.
Vitality had a rough campaign at the StarLadder Berlin Major in September as they tried a new tactical system. The team eventually made into the playoffs, but the atmosphere wasn’t the same. NBK was benched right after and Vitality bought Richard “shox” Papillon from G2.
But the squad has had mixed results ever since. They went from a solid contender for big trophies to a top-10 team at its best. Their best result was finishing second-place at DreamHack Masters Malmö right after shox signed, which now proved to be a fluke. We’ll see whether this roster will keep together during 2020 or if Vitality will make more roster changes.
4) Cloud9: Wrong choices all season
Cloud9 was anything but stable in 2019. They almost reached playoffs at the IEM Katowice Major in February, but let Robin “flusha” Rönnquist and Fabien “kioShiMa” Fiey leave in March. They were the best players alongside Tim “autimatic” Ta.
The North Americans tried the cheap way and signed René “cajunb” Borg, a free agent at the time, and brought in Daniel “vice” Kim from Rogue on a trial-basis. That team failed to qualify for the StarLadder Berlin Major and Cloud9 pulled the plug, leaving only autimatic.
Damian “daps” Steele, Kenneth “koosta” Suen, Tyson “TenZ” Ngo, and Oscar “mixwell” Cañellas were added but the results didn’t get any better. TenZ, the young talent, was benched in October and Cloud9 sold off autimatic, daps, and koosta to Gen.G in December.
Cloud9, one of the most prestigious organizations in North America and the only one to win a CS:GO Major (ELEAGUE Boston in January 2018), appears clueless as to where to look to build a new roster with mixwell for 2020.
3) MIBR: Stewie2K and tarik leave to find success in other teams
This isn’t about MIBR, who let go Jake “Stewie2K” and Tarik Celik at the end of 2018, to bring back Epitacio “TACO” de Melo from Team Liquid and João “felps” Vasconcellos from INTZ. It’s about how much better Stewie2K and tarik are in their respective teams, Liquid and EG.
As MIBR remains inconsistent, without winning a big trophy in two years, and how felps was replaced in June by Lucas “LUCAS1” Teles, a player that is already reportedly being benched, Stewie2K and tarik are better than ever.
The first helped Liquid to win six major LAN tournaments in 2019, scoop the Intel Grand Slam and its $1,000,000 prize while tarik eventually had better days within EG, who won ESL One New York in September and StarSeries i-League season eight in October. So, it’s safe to say that the North Americans weren’t the problem in MIBR.
2) FaZe Clan: Karrigan’s departure
Although FaZe didn’t finish 2018 in a great manner, they still had the potential to keep fighting for tier-one championships. FaZe, however, benched captain Finn “karrigan” Andersen and played with two stand-ins for the most part of 2019.
Dauren “AdreN” Kystaubayev played with FaZe from January to May, helped them to win BLAST Pro Series Miami in April, and Filip “NEO” Kubski was brought to take the in-game leadership from Nikola “NiKo” Kovač, but they accomplished nothing. After the StarLadder Berlin Major in September, FaZe acquired Marcelo “coldzera” David from MIBR and won BLAST Pro Series Copenhagen in November.
The issue is that FaZe is nowhere near consistent as they were for the most part with karrigan. The 29-year-old may not be the best player, but he certainly has his moments and knows how to build a CS:GO lineup. Karrigan is happy to finish the 2019 season on top as he led mousesports to glory at ESL Pro League season 10 finals.
1) ENCE: From a true contender to being memed on social media
ENCE was having an amazing year in 2019. The Finns unexpectedly reached the grand finals of the IEM Katowice Major in February, took down Astralis at BLAST Pro Series Madrid in April, and were runners-up again at DreamHack Masters Dallas in June and IEM Chicago in July.
The team, however, thought that a change was needed so in-game leader Aleksi “Aleksib” Virolainen departed after the StarLadder Berlin Major to open space for the Finn star Miikka “suNny” Kemppi. The roster change didn’t live to the expectations as ENCE hasn’t made any playoff appearances in tier-one championships yet.