Partly as a result of the pandemic, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive simply isn’t seeing the same level of investment it once did. Of course, CSGO isn’t the only esports title affected, but its North American scene and teams was one that was affected the most.
That didn’t stop teams from forming up however. With backing from an esports organization or not, players are still creating projects and trying to break through the scene.
So, with various teams fighting for an opportunity to ink a deal with an esports organization, we’re going to take a closer look at five of them. These the most prominent, often mentioned teams without a public sponsor behind them.
First, let’s start with a squad that has yet to clear if they are or not an orgless team. If you aren’t aware of it, three-times Major champion Robin “flusha” Rönnquist left FNATIC in early 2021 to form his own team.
This journey has been quite rocky so far, to say the least, for the team currently named ‘GORILLAZ’. First, let’s address the elephant in the room. Yes, flusha has said that they have an organization backing them. However, when he announced his original team back in April, he also promised to reveal the organization ‘soon’. Which didn’t happen. This has caused quite the confusion in the Counter-Strike community, with some doubting if the deal between both parties is still up.
This questioning is further backed up by the initial results from flusha’s roster. The team has played a total of 18 games, and three tournaments since April. They have only won seven matches, and finished in 9 – 16th in BLAST Rising 2021, and 12 – 14th in both Spring Sweet Spring 2 Regionals and Elisa Invitational Summer 2021 Invitational. None of these tournaments were high-tier competitions, and two of them were actually qualifiers, which certainly doesn’t shine a good light on this project.
While the aforementioned results certainly don’t inspire much confidence, flusha’s team still has some key factors going in their favor. The team still has the Finnish duo of Jere ‘sergej’ Salo and Miikka ‘suNny’ Kemppi in their ranks. These two players are highly-skilled individuals which certainly are on the short-list of many organizations there and they would definitely be some of the most wanted players in the scene if they were to become available as free agents right now.
Moreover, flusha’s team has already been doing roster changes. The squad has removed Buğra “Calyx” Arkın and Rokas “EspiranTo” Milasauskas from the team since it’s creation back in April. This might scare some possible candidates, but at the same time, it could also be seen as the team trying to build the ideal roster no matter how many changes it takes. In any case, it at least shows that flusha and his teammates are dedicated to finding the perfect team to make this project work.
In the future, we definitely expect to see this team getting signed and their results should improve with time. They need to find the key fifth player that they are desperately lacking right now, however.
O PLANO is a team featuring some very well-known names from the Brazilian CSGO scene. The twins, LUCAS1 and HEN1 have joined kNgV- as one of the most promising projects from that region.
Unfortunately, O PLANO is one of the teams that were heavily affected by the pandemic. Since they are limited to American tournaments, the level of competition they are facing aren’t quite the same these players once faced when they peaked under the Immortals brand.
Not that it matters much, however. After all, O PLANO seems to be doing just ‘alright’ against the competition they are facing. The team recently managed to reach DreamHack Open June 21 NA’s grand-finals but got demolished by Extra Salt.
Overall, O PLANO works as a somewhat precise reflection of the Brazilian scene right now. The team has strong names in the ranks, but the results simply aren’t there. The squad has strong ambitions, going as far as aiming to reach the top of the world rankings this year. However, while ambition, and even the talent is there, the lack of leadership and structure will keep holding O PLANO, and the Brazilian scene as a whole from returning to the spotlights they once reached.
Recent rumors shared by trustworthy sources in the Counter-Strike community have shared uplifting news for fans of O PLANO. The team is rumored to be in negotiations with Nordavind, which just released their previous roster and committed to remain in Counter-Strike.
Nordavind is a Norwegian organization that has mostly featured rosters competing in the lower tiers of Europe. Bringing O PLANO’s crew would certainly raise some eyebrows, but it could end up being very interesting.
After all, the organization would be able to bring the players to Europe, giving them much better conditions to play and train. Considering the potential we have seen from ‘leo_drk’ and ‘HEN1’, O PLANO could end up being one of the surprises of 2021. Would they be able to reach number one in the world rankings? We don’t think so. Is it worth a shot? Definitely.
Originally called Test Takers, Bad News Bears is an orgless brand which is quite known in the North American scene. Across the years, the team featured the likes of ‘food’, ‘s0m’, ‘TenZ’, ‘Grim’ and ‘ptr’.
Currently in its third iteration, BNB is probably more popular than ever. As North American Counter-Strike struggles to keep its relevance, and the lower-tier competition gets less crowded, BNB is now seen as one of the last remaining squads keeping the lights on.
However, the current Bears are probably one of the most promising squads that played under the BNB banner. While Peter ‘ptr’ Gurney just announced his retirement from Counter-Strike, the team managed to loan ‘junior’ from FURIA. With junior in their ranks, BNB have an interesting mix of players to build upon.
Bad News Bears is often playing in North American tournaments, and hopefully, once LAN tournaments become common once again, they will also be taking part in international LANs consistently.
However, more immediately, you can tune in ESL Pro League Season 14 as BNB will be there. The Americans will be playing right on day one, and their first match will see them facing Heroic.
Unfortunately, BNB won’t have an easy time finding an organization to sponsor them. The bears have a good roster for the level they are playing at, sure. However, that’s not enough to get an organization interested anymore. The lack of investment in NA Counter-Strike is hurting the up-and-coming talent from that region and BNB is affected by it.
Turkish Counter-Strike has been very interesting to follow recently. As the likes of Özgür ‘woxic’ Eker and Ismailcan ‘XANTARES’ Dörtkardeş represents their country in premier international projects, Turkey has seen a decent number of talents coming to light these past few years.
However, while there have been some very interesting players from the country, it has been some time since a full Turkish team played on a top-level tournament. In fact, the current best team from Turkey right now, Sangal, is placed in 54th place in HLTV’s World Rankings.
This is supposed to change in the coming months as rumors of a Turkish team featuring the country’s best have surfaced. While this is just a rumor, it’s confirmed that ex-Cloud9 Awper ‘woxic’ has a project ready to be backed.
Before we talk further about woxic’s team, let’s first address the rumors surrounding it. First, the supposed line-up features Woxic, Calyx, XANTARES, paz and imorr. XANTARES and woxic certainly are the more known players of the bunch. XANTARES, especially, have been putting incredible performances on BIG game after game, and fans of the German organization couldn’t believe when the team announced that he moved to the team’s transfer list.
More recent rumors have pointed that XANTARES would be taking the role of captain of this team. While it’s Sangal the organization interested in hosting this project. The rumors mostly come from Turkish sources, so there’s some credibility there.
In any case, this team could definitely be the most interesting project out of the five listed. Years ago, Space Soldiers proved that Turkey has a pool of talented players available, but lacked experienced players. Now, they also have experienced players that played for various organizations over the past three years. These key players are now able to build a serious contender, and they are doing just that.
MSL has been one of the names that always pops up when it comes to free agents. The Danish leader is most known for his time with North. That project had mixed results under his leadership later on, but a few highlights, nonetheless, and a promising start.
More recently, MSL was rumored to be heading to FNATIC, but as we now know, that didn’t happen. Instead, MSL has confirmed that he had built his own team.
We still don’t know any names besides a shaky rumor linking MSL and aizy together in this project. In any case, this project is one that will catch many eyes if it can focus at what MSL does best – bring young, promising Danish talent to the spotlight.
If there’s one thing that MSL excels at, is bringing young talents to light. Years ago, MSL saw a 19-years-old ‘aizy’ being transferred from his Dignitas roster to G2 after stealing the spotlights. After aizy, it was ‘Kjaerbye’. After Kjaerbye, Magisk and k0nfig shined under MSL guidance.
The point we’re making is that MSL knows how to bring the best out of young stars. Now, he has a chance to build his own project and select from a decent pool of unproven talent coming from Denmark.
Hopefully, that’s what MSL will focus on. Denmark, at the moment, has a lot of talent, and it’s wise to work with that. Surely, it could be more comfortable working with people MSL knows such as ‘cajunB’, but then this whole project would simply be much less interesting. Instead, here’s hoping that MSL takes a leap of faith in some unknown names, alongside with the likes of ‘Fessor’, and lead the young guns to a respectable placing in the world rankings.
As for a possible organization picking up this team, we expect to see it happening this year still. It definitely won’t be a top-class organization like what MSL is used to, however. He will have to prove his worth if he wants to get back to the highest-level of competition.
These five projects we’ve discussed about are just some among a sea of projects searching from an organization in Counter-Strike. However, we can only shine a light to some at them each piece. Still, keep being on the lookout as many talents come from those kinds of teams before reaching the big stage. Who knows, maybe you discover a new favorite player!
Also, you might be wondering where’s a certain team or another – again, there’s no space to cover all of the teams without an organization at the moment! And in some cases, it might not even make sense covering them specifically as ‘orgless’ teams, as they might be close to disbanding or close to getting signed. This is the case of DBL Poney, as their players have teased that they have finally signed with a sponsor.
In any case, thanks for the read – and feel free to follow us here!