Arguably the best Counter-Strike team in North America made a shocking announcement today that they were parting ways with two of their players.
iBUYPOWER has released Sam “Dazed” Marine and Joshua “Steel” Nissan, effective immediately.
The move comes on the heels of iBUYPOWER’s return to the North American continent after an extended stay in Europe, during which time the team competed in the Faceit League final and the Electronic Sports World Cup.
The results were more than fair, with the team taking a surprise second-place finish in the Faceit League competition on the back of a sweeping upset over French team LDLC.
The run in Paris during the Electronic Sports World Cup didn’t last quite as long, with iBUYPOWER getting eliminated during the quarterfinal round by Natus Vincere. But a top-eight placement at one of the year’s biggest events was nothing to sneeze at, especially following their prior performance.
Apparently, none of this was enough to stave off change.
Internal discussions within the team and organization apparently led to the conclusion that the team would need to part ways with Marine and Nissan if it were to progress any further on the international stage.
The move away from Marine is especially significant. He’d served as iBUYPOWER’s captain, and was a long-time member going back to the squad’s first major result, January’s ESEA global final championship, which it won over Titan.
The team has responded by bringing in Drew “irukandji” Timmerman to serve as coach.
Coaching has become a trend of late in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, with big teams like Ninjas in Pyjamas and Fnatic adding coaches to the mix. iBUYPOWER will become the first North American team to make a similar move.
But this still leaves two holes on the playing roster.
The first will be filled, at least temporarily, by Derek “Desi” Branchen.
Branchen has a successful history in the game, having competed alongside Timmerman as part of Manajuma earlier this year. He has more recently played for Elevate, and won’t yet officially be joining iBUYPOWER. Instead, he’ll be brought on during a trial basis to compete with the team at DreamHack Winter.
Branchen expressed excitement for the opportunity in a statement on the team’s website.
“This will be my first time venturing out of the (United States), and to be given this opportunity through CS:GO is very rewarding,” Branchen said.
One hole still remains even after Branchen’s addition, however, and the team has stated they’re still on the lookout for players to fill it.