North path has been full of holes since the team released Magisk, back in 2016. Thing continued got worse once k0nfig and Cajun were kicked in early 2017 and since them it has been a downfall.
So, for the first roster change of theirs in 2019, North is making a serious bet. What this change is, what does it means and what could result of it? Let’s understand everything below.
CadiaN is out of North after almost a year
cadiaN, North ex-leader, joined this squad in September last year. He entered the team as IGL, after North failed to keep their spot at Valve’s Major system under the leadership of MSL.
For fans, this was exciting. While MSL’s most recent results have been good, his career with North in 2018 was characterized by a mediocre campaign. CadiaN signified a new leader, new strategies and a new North.
Moreover, cadiaN career was on the rise after years in the shadow of MSL, gla1ve, karrigan and even Snappi. He managed to bring Rogue, a team of underdogs, for the Major and there, everything looked surprisingly good for them.
So, what happened once cadian joined North? The team initially looked decent. North managed qualified for ECS reached playoffs in StarSeries 6, and then got a 3rd-4th place in ECS Season VI Finals.
However, things got badly quickly. North finished 9th – 12th place in IEM Chicago 2018, finished last in ESL Pro League S8 Finals and not qualified for the first Major in 2019. More recently, North reached playoffs in StarSeries 7 and qualified for ECS S7 Finals.
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A weak leadership that lead to mixed results
During cadiaN time with North, we initially saw a very similar style to those deployed by MSL before. To the extent that even MSL mentioned it. Mostly due to time constraints, of course, fans then expected changes over the course of the year.
Changes came, but they never seemed to work. Aizy who had a performance boost in mid-2018 went back to his old disappointing form. Gade who was praised by his raw skill but struggled when it comes to experience didn’t grow as a player at all.
cadiaN also assumed the role of awper who was them MSL’s secondary role. cadiaN awping skills were nothing more than average and not impressive at all. His bad decision-making capabilities were also one of the most remarkable features of his leadership.
Even with 1st place in ICE Challenge and playoffs in SL S8, his replacement was expected. After all, North missed IEM Katowice 2019. However, it didn’t come until now, and the best replacement, who would be karrigan, already had a team in mind.
The new leader
This last week North finally announced the expected changes, although the replacement wasn’t the one that fans hoped for. In the first place, cadiaN was released. To fill the place of in-game leader, North’s best player, valde, is taking the role.
To fill up the awper role, North is bringing a dedicated awper, JUGi. The Danish awper who had a road full of bumps last year in OpTic will be playing with valde once again.
Those changes sparked doubts in fans and viewers. Valde sacrificing his performance as a fragger is a huge loss after all. Previously this month, it was noticed that his performance took a serious dip, and this was a sign of what was coming for him.
While the changes are still fresh and there’s a lot of room for improvement, the expectations aren’t very high for this team. After all, valde is putting his team over his own potential, and North depended heavily on him to win.
However, the ball is also up to JUGi. Valde is trusting his old teammate to play in a star level along Kjaerbye, and this team success depends a lot on him.
The new awper
Adding JUGi to this roster is a huge bet for North. Is hard to measure JUGi performance last year considering that OpTic never really worked as a team back then. However, he will once again be playing under an inexperienced leader in a team in shambles.
Everything considered this North roster needs to checkmark a few things: Kjaerbye needs to perform like a star player, aizy needs to step-up, Gade needs to be an all-around reliable player. Then, just as importantly: JUGi needs to play like a star awper.
So once again, there’s a lot on JUGi’s back. If he can or not deliver is yet to be seen, but it’s unfair to say that the chances are on their side.
One final opportunity
North has been kicked around for a long time now and it’s clear that they’re tired of it. Moving valde to the in-game leader role has been seen by the community as a desperate move but we’ve yet to see it now that North has an awper that can change the tide.
Valde himself acknowledged that this will be a rough journey and fans aren’t expecting anything different. Still, there’s a chance of this working, and considering the situation that North finds themselves in, it’s not like they had many other options.
Fortunately for fans, North will be playing this month as ESL Pro League Season 8 Europe resumes in two weeks. There we might see North reborn, or the last iteration of North before bigger changes start happening.