What’s next for NA’s best hope?
The NA shuffle is underway with Liquid making the first move. The much-rumored moves seem to finally be happening as Stewie2k, Grim and FalleN have been placed on Team Liquid’s bench. Let’s take a look at the players’ legacy and their rumored future moves.
Team Liquid Stewie2k: The Key to the Summer Run
Back in 2019, when Stewie2k came back from MiBR to the top of NA. Joining Team Liquid was a big signing but massively questionable. Liquid was 2018’s 2nd best team, always ending up in the finals against Astralis in their era. They just needed that final piece that allowed them to topple Astralis’ dynasty. Bringing in Stewie2k took Team Liquid from being a high-fragging but tactical team to a NA superteam.
Liquid’s Summer run is one of history’s most dominant periods but their inability to secure that Major ended their run of dominance and saw Astralis rise back up to the top. During the Summer run, Stewie was a brilliant entry-fragger who could flex into the AWP as required. Since then, he’s been slowly taking over other roles to fill out the gaps left in the team. When Nitr0’s tactics failed to perform, Stewie took over as the IGL. When the team struggled with the AWP role, Stewie and NAF took the burden of the big green.
Over this period his performance may have gotten worse during periods, but his drive for the game was clearly visible even if it might have negatively affected the team dynamics. Even when AWPing-IGL Fallen came in, Stewie still had to step up as the IGL when Fallen’s style didn’t work out.
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Evil Geniuses Future?
With all the run-it-back style stories going around, Stewie, too, seems to be trying his hand at a replay. His Cloud9 teammate Autimatic is ready to return and together with Cerq and Brehze, they’ll be rebuilding Evil Geniuses under Malek. The target is clear, take over the NA Crown from Liquid, but will they pull it off?
Grim: An under-utilised Star
Team Liquid picked Grim up from Triumph in 2020. Nitr0 felt burned out and the team needed a change. Coming into the team, he was the next big promising talent available in NA. With performances such as the legendary 64 kill game against MiBR, he was set to be the next big thing in NA.
Sadly for him, he joined a team with the 3 biggest NA stars ever, which meant that he had no chance at getting his preferred roles. Acting as a supportive anchor, he had a shaky first year on the team. But after Twistzz’s departure, he got a few more roles and picked up a few more solid performances helping Liquid get some respectable results with his strong mechanics.
Overall though, he was never set up as the star of the team and thus I don’t think we’ve seen everything Grim has to offer.
Complexity was the frontrunner to pick up Copenhagen Flames after the Major. But with calls stalling out for a while, the org has started looking back at home. Reports have said that Complexity may target the rest of the Extra Salt core after oSee moves to Liquid. Adding Grim and Junior will bolster the lineup’s firepower and will make them a solid top 3 in NA.
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FalleN: The Professor
Gabriel Toledo is a legendary name in CS. The Godfather of Brazil established the region as a contender for the top, with SK/LG’s dominating Era. Even after the poor performances in 2018/19, he was still considered one of the greats. but the abysmal 2020 for MIBR led many fans to count him out. Coming to Liquid was his attempt at resurrecting his career and creating a longer legacy.
Sadly for the Professor, he was never really given a solid run at the leadership of the team, and with his own doubts about his abilities in the modern meta of the game, he was never able to recreate his past glory. Even as an individual his performances were mediocre.
The Last Dance. But Why?
FalleN looks set to return back to the SK/LG core. A core he’d been playing with from 2015 to 2020. With Fer and FNX set to return, and Coldzera reportedly leaving the project, this Last Dance sounds awful. Let’s just hope it doesn’t tarnish the legacy of what used to be one of the greatest cores of all time.
Liquid’s Future: Nitr0, oSee, Shox
Liquid will be announcing more changes in the future, with Nitr0, oSee, and Shox being the likely candidates to come in. A peculiar mix for sure, but with Elige and NAF staying in the team, this roster is set to be the dominant NA team for the future. oSee has been a revelation from NA and nitr0’s return could be great if it works. The biggest question is Shox. The French legend already has a family and has always lived in France. So for him to play on an NA-based team will be a big change.
Fans of Liquid will hope that the team can succeed in 2022 and contend for trophies in the hyper-competitive era of CS we are about to enter.