In 1999, a mod called Counter-Strike changed gaming as we know it – and now players born in the new millennium are looking to change the game itself. We all know CS is a young man’s game, but a tipping point is getting ever closer as the list of CS:GO talents born after 2000 keeps growing – which of them are destined for true greatness?
Though the young Frenchman couldn’t quite carry on with his incredible rookie season performances going into 2020, no one can take away his norm-shattering entrance to professional CS from this guy. Long expected to be a generational talent, ZywOo was finally unleashed upon us after taking care of his education. Just like sergej, any downturn in form or team results goes to show that Counter-Strike remains a team game despite any individual excellence, but we also know that this kind of unique talent will always find a home, either in domestic or international teams.
The surprise pickup of FaZe’s post-karrigan project had a slow start in the team, but a set of role swaps and a bit of time can do wonders to the confidence and abilities of anyone, let alone a young CS:GO pro. He’s run up the score since his six-month tenure with Epsilon, and consistently improving performances in the new year (with a standout series against Vitality back in September) promises exciting future chapters in his story. Considering how aggressively FaZe is set up to let NiKo work his magic, his steady growth makes for one of the low-key special storylines in the scene.
Seven teams in three years (at least based on the way HLTV tracks them) at the age of eighteen either suggests great talent or great issues. The Lithuanian youngster has got bucketloads of the former, and his deep run with CR4ZY at the StarLadder Berlin Major definitely put him on the map. The league wars and the massive disruption to the global esports calendar has definitely affected the possibilities afforded to his squad, but he nevertheless keeps on keeping on in FLASHPOINT under the c0ntact banner. How long until someone saves him from this purgatory? Only time will tell.
At first, it seemed like the only knockout punch this Tyson has landed was to his own career. Despite the great promise, he was a square peg in a round hole that was daps’ ill-fated Cloud9 project, and one has to wonder whether he can run it back all the way to the top based on his second stint as a stand-in for ATK.
Throughout the rise and fall of ENCE – both in the rankings and the eyes of the fans – the adulation and respect going sergej’s way was a constant. The young assassin has posted top 10-worthy numbers during the Finns’ honeymoon period, and though he seems to be one of the victims of their ill-fated shuffle, there’s no doubt he has the time and the talent to turn things around, even if his future may not be in a team currently funning their way out of the top 30.
Whatever the new NiP may turn out to be in the end, Plopski’s pickup seems like an inspired decision by the Swedes. Though not even he could break the spell Fnatic seems to have over this squad for the last few years, he was one of the better-performing Ninjas in this Pro League season and the 17-year-old will likely be a lynchpin of any future squadbuilding efforts by the side.
Sydney turned out to be a coming-of-age story for Brollan who defied expectations on the big stage and played an integral part in Fnatic’s back-to-back LAN final appearances. He was already one of the better-performing players of the Swedish side at their catastrophic Katowice showing but he really came into his own since then, staking a real claim for a spot in a top ten team in the world.
Though there were a few wobbles along the way, it’s now clear that mousesports’ gambit paid off, the combination of a veteran IGL and explosive young talent producing one of the best teams in the scene. Though ropz misses out on this list by virtue of living ten days in the 1990s, frozen is an undisputed contender, making the most of his big break after eye-catching performances with NoChance and GUNRUNNERS.
MIBR in all but name at this point, the pickup of meyern suggests a change of direction by FalleN and his legendary squad. Breaking up the all-Brazilian side in spirit and branding as well for a young talent says volumes about meyern’s potential. Though the team’s overall results are still not quite what the fans would expect, young Ignacio has clearly shown that he can hang with the generational talent playing alongside him, with a bright future going forward.
The juggernaut memes are not quite dead yet but they’re showing signs of serious respiratory infection. Complexity’s new squad posted some very impressive results early on in the year, and oBo was arguably the most eye-catching performer in the squad. Owen clearly owes a lot to Jason Lake’s ambitious rebuilding project, and playing with the big boys on the server must be a dream come true for a young talent who was memeing around under the FeelsUnderAgeMan banner in the first half of 2018.