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Luci Kelemen
Luci Kelemen

Writes about way too many things. Has way too many opinions. Wants to tell all the interesting stories in the world.

November 2nd, 2020

Nadeshot’s organizations has confirmed its departure from the Counter-Strike scene after just a little more than a year with their current squad. Despite the promise, they never really lived up the expectations of a “championship-calier roster”, and once you factor in their disastrous first attempt at entering CS:GO, you wouldn’t exactly blame them for staying away from the game for the foreseeable future. It’s not just the performance of the ex-Renegades but the state of NA CS as a whole that may prove to be the real deterrent.

The opening gambit

The first part of the 100Thieves CS:GO story goes back all the way to December 2017 with their ill-fated attempt to parachute into the Boston Major off the back of the ex-Immortals lineup consisting of HEN1, LUCAS1, fnx, bit and the now-infamous Giuseppe “kNgV-“ Vito, who has somehow managed to outlast Nadeshot’s org in Counter-Strike.

He was technically still just a loanee at the time of their miracle run to the finals of the PGL Kraków Major but the org unsurprisingly opted to make his visit from Red Reserve permanent as they were aiming to find a permanent replacement for fnx. At that time, it seemed like two different Brazilian rosters could challenge for top spots in the world, and though the then-SK lineup still had some juice left in them, the Immortals squad imploded in much faster and a lot more spectacular fashion.

There was the infamous “prove it or I’ll kill you” affair the very next month as the team was a no-show for the first map of the DreamHack Open Montreal 2017 finals against North. It was the second time they were inexcusably late from the beginning of the series – pulling a similar stunt against Counter Logic Gaming in the semis without a similarly harsh penalty – prompting a tweet from FNS saying “Worst part is I lost to a team with 3 players who were hung over”.

As any serious competitive player would, kNgV- responded with a death threat, one he apparently tried to follow up on soon thereafter, which prompted his benching from the squad after a bit of back-and-forth. It marked the end of the Immortals saga as the Teles brothers (HEN1 and LUCAS1) sided with the mercurial player and benched themselves in protest, and the org ended up dropping them like a hot rock with the then-SK squad firmly in their sight, even sacrificing a Major appearance in the process.

Enter 100Thieves and a brilliant opportunistic pickup of a problematic side without a home but with a ticket to the biggest CS:GO event in town. They announced the move on December 13th, just 30 days before the Major was set to begin in Boston, but the team failed to acquire the requisite visas to participate, much to the schadenfreude of many who weren’t fans of the players’ aggressive antics. On January 21st, kNg attempted a second career suicide in less than six months by tweeting a remark with homophobic undertones at Duncan “Thorin” Shields in response to one of the analyst’s standard Twitter… things. He was promptly removed from the lineup four days after the fact. Five days after that, 100Thieves let the entire roster go without a single official match played and withdrew from CS:GO with immediate effect.

For a first attempt, it could have gone better.

A “championship-caliber” team

100Thieves’ next chapter in CS:GO began at the end of October 2019 with the acquisition of the Renegades roster, a move that came just a month after Evil Geniuses’ high-profile return to the game and promised a potential great new North American rivalry, especially with Team Liquid still firmly in the mix at the time. Instead, the org now departs with just $180 500 in total winnings to their name and no tournament win whatsoever. In fact, their best showing came right after they were picked up by 100Thieves, a second-place finish at IEM XIV Beijing where a resurgent Astralis completely carved them apart in the grand final.

Early playoff exits followed basically everywhere else since, though Liazz and co. did manage to book-end their stay with the org with another silver medal earned, albeit merely at a regional online event this time in the form of ESL Pro League Season 12’s North American bracket, losing to FURIA in another grand final blowout. Not even the biggest fans of the boys would contend that their play saw any significant improvement over the course of their time with 100Thieves, which is perhaps the biggest indictment of the move overall. Far from the “championship-caliber” team Nadeshot was looking for, it seems like the roster’s time together is reaching its end with reports about multiple impending transfers (jks to Complexity and jkaem to one of the multiple interested parties) and their coach’s departure to VALORANTer pastures at the end of September.

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What’s next for the roster (and North American Counter-Strike?)

To be fair to 100Thieves, all this could be a sign of things to come. Nadeshot has basically confirmed in his video that the decision to drop the squad was related to their desire to move to Europe due to the lack of high-quality opposition in the current era of regionalized competition. Though it’s well worth asking whether it was worth the investment to do so for the current squad in their particular state (with few notable results against other North American sides and the expected departure of jks), the owner is certainly on to something when he says that “everything is transitioning over to Europe”.

This isn’t just about the plans for NA teams to temporarily move to EU for cross-regional end-of-year tournaments, or even the rumors about EG’s potential departure from the scene. The NA talent pool simply isn’t that deep. Both Complexity and Cloud9 opted for an international roster with mostly European talent – meanwhile, Gen.G doesn’t have a full roster. As for the more established squads,. neither Team Liquid nor EG have managed to return to the heady heights of late 2019 in terms of results or performances so far. Meanwhile, many of the region’s up-and-coming talent (and to be fair, a decent chunk of never-have-beens, too) opted for VALORANT instead, with salaries far exceeding that of what European orgs are willing to stake at this moment in time for that game. It’s not the best time to be an NA CS fan.

In any case, a combination of visa issues, calendar kerfuffles and sheer bad luck means that 100Thieves once again departs from CS:GO without a chance to compete at a Major in earnest.

“It just sucks.”

Nadeshot certainly has that right.

Photo credit: HLTV