North American Shuffle – It Has Begun, Where Will We End Up?

(Hiko pictured above via GosuGamers.

With the first wing of Blackrock Mountain released, players already have a new nemesis

                            (Hiko pictured above via GosuGamers.net)

The professional North American counter-strike scene is at the epicenter of another rumored large “shuffle” among some of the most notable North American teams such as Cloud9, CLG, and Team Liquid. A week after ESEA LAN S18, one of North America’s largest and longest LAN, leaving North American prospects in the wake of chaos.

As I’m writing this, a rumored removal of Cloud9 member Shahzeb “ShahZam” Khan and longtime core member Kory “Semphis” Frieson was officially confirmed via website announcement . On internet forums, discussion boards and Twitch streams, speculations were brought up including the C9 removals.

Notable changes regarding CLG’s lineup were posted and published via DailyDot article that included the “benching” of Peter “ptr” Gurney from the main roster “pending” changes. The night has left many wondering, what is happening, why is this happening, who is involved and when will we know?

                                (prt pictured above via HLTV.org)

Many more speculations as listed have been posted throughout the internet:

[Editorial Note: Team initials of current or speculated add have been inserted next to comment]

  • [TL] AdreN to be “cut” from main roster
  • [C9] Freakazoid to be added to main roster
  • [CLG] hazed to be “cut” from main roster
  • [C9] Hiko to be added to main roster
  • [C9] Skadoodle to be added to main roster
  • Steel to be unbanned

These new additions or removals after such an important LAN only mean the losses of ESEA LAN S18 were drastic and impacted the direct future of the organizations and/or the players. As North American prospects and talent continue to rise through the scene, the scene will continue to engage in these sporadic shifts in attempt to fix failure. Good or bad? We’ll let you decide for yourself.

As onlookers look in from the outside, we can only imagine how hectic these moments can be for the team and the organization. We must all respect the decisions and hope that we as a industry fans can use these shuffles to remind us of how difficult professional gaming is and what may be needed sometimes.

Previous shuffles have allowed players such as Mike “Shroud” Grzesiek to join as a predominantly inexperienced player – in current team, consider one of the best players in the North American scene and the international scene. A double edged sword that can potentially make or break a team.

Now that we somewhat maybe know who’s going where, it leaves us with questions regarding the cut players. All players who are veteran members of the professional scene, those with potential, experience, qualities of a player who simply shouldn’t be left a free agent for long.

            (Semphis pictured above with former teammates via HLTV.org)

Out of all the speculated changes Semphis, ShahZam, ptr have been more or less confirmed out of a position within the main roster of their perspective organizations. These players as free agents who can go to any team when their contract ends. Many speculations leave us with these players going to lower tiered teams or even newly created teams.

Hiko, a veteran CS professional-player-turned-analyst-turned part time Twitch employee, has confirmed he is still currently working on creating a team to contend the international titles at majors and nationally. We’ve seen him play after his 3-6 month break as stand-ins for Area51 & Elevate after his hiatus after the iBuyPower bans being issued by Valve.

Stating that news is actually being posted only leads us to speculate that Hiko is in fact making the team, and possibly sooner than expected because — players are free? A little ‘TL;DR’ history lesson for those who don’t know about the iBuyPower bans, players were banned for match fixing excluding Tyler “Skadoodle” Latham & Spencer “Hiko” Martin.

Those two which have played in recent events only leads us to speculate more that they will remain in whatever opportunity comes up team wise. Now this is where things go conspiracy mode. We’ve warned you.

– Hiko is employed by Twitch to further integrate community interaction with the CS scene casually/professionally. Twitch owns Good Game Agency, a talent company.

– Good Game Agency owns the Alliance & Evil Geniuses brand. Evil Geniuses, an organization with CS roots, having stated that they would return to CS if the opportunity presented itself.

– Hiko, Skadoodle, AdreN, but who else Dusty.. Who else? My guess.. We’ll wait on that.

As we sit at the edge of our seats waiting for more information, we’ll keep you updated! It’s definitely looking like North America will go through another change that will surely keep everyone player/organizations looking.