While competing with FaZe Clan at the PGL Antwerp CS:GO Major, North American player Russel “Twistzz” Van Dulken commented on the state of the NA region, particularly in regards to the exodus of talent to VALORANT.
In an interview with Dust2, the North America-focused branch of HLTV, Twistzz claimed that new and upcoming players are “moving to VALORANT because they just want the easy money.” He also said that those players made the switch because “the work ethic wasn’t there in [CS:GO] to become better.”
The NA CS:GO scene has been shrinking in size over the past few years. There are less NA players competing in the top-tier of competitions, less organizations competing with North American-based rosters, and less young players coming into the scene to keep it stoked with talent for years to come. In the same interview, Twistzz described the current state of NA CS:GO as “abysmal.”
There are only three prominent organizations competing in or near the top tier of Counter-Strike with North American rosters: Team Liquid, Evil Geniuses, and Complexity. Twistzz himself is in a very unique situation; he is the only North American player competing at the highest level as part of a European roster.
Many of the NA VALORANT scene is decorated with players who played in the first or second tier of NA CS:GO, but many of them feel that they were forced out, and take issue with Twistzz’s comments. Cloud9’s in-game leader Anthony “vanity” Malaspina said that he and his Chaos teammates “went from looking for apartments to get better ping to being orgless within a 2 week period.” This came after he led Chaos to a wealth of domestic success during the 2020 season, but the organization still released the roster and left CS:GO at the start of the next year.
The Guard coach Matthew Elmore referenced Twistzz’s comments directly in his response, bringing up the Louvre Agreement that partnered specific orgs with prominent TOs. The agreement was recently extended to 2025 and boasts FaZe, Liquid, EG, and Complexity as members. Elmore, in addition to pro VALORANT players Asuna and yay, seems to feel that tournament organizers like ESL and FACEIT played an active part in the fall of NA CS:GO‘s tier two and tier three ecosystems.
ESL operated 12 seasons of a North American Pro League from 2015 to 2020, but in the final two Counter-Strike seasons in 2020 they took away the path for tier two or tier three NA teams to qualify via qualifiers or ESEA Premier promotion.