NRG recently announced a roster change to their Counter-Strike team. The change saw Damian “daps” Steele’s departure from the roster. At the same time, Peter “Stanislaw” Jarguz joins the roster as their new IGL. This roster change marks a fundamental shift in NRG’s strategy for the upcoming months. This roster will have a tough act to follow as it follows one of the most successful periods for the organization in CS: GO.
In order to get a good judgement about NRG’s CS: GO team let’s take a look at the improvement in the team’s rankings.
Daps joined NRG as a player in December 2016. The initial period saw the team unable to secure deep placements in several LAN events. The roster was unable to put forth a strong performance as they were unable to hit their shots for the most part. The team’s rapid rise in rankings saw NRG rise to the 4th rank in March 2019.
The current roster ( the core of this roster ) has emerged as a true force in the CS: GO rankings. When the core of this roster came into formation ( January 2018), NRG was ranked around 25 in the HLTV rankings. The core of the team has improved tremendously since those rankings. Their current ranking is #7 behind the Tier One teams in Counter-Strike.
Daps has been the In-Game Leader for NRG since December 2018. He had a brief stint as the team’s coach in 2017. Damian has proven himself to be a tactical leader capable of bringing out the best in a bunch of players. He was able to extract the best performance from each of the players on this roster. While he himself was at a low in his career before he joined NRG, his ability to motivate his teammates is unmatched in North American Counter-Strike. When the NRG roster came into formation in 2017, not many expected them to be able to rise to within the top ten in Counter-Strike. The North American team proved their detractors wrong and were able to showcase some quality Counter-Strike.
Daps’ Statement regarding his tenure on NRG
Daps has taken the decision in his stride and attributes it to a mutual understanding between the team and himself. However, there is little doubt that Daps was the sole reason for the improvement in the team’s results. His great eye when it came to the players’ aptitude and performance is why NRG was able to rise from their low ranks to a Top ten ranked team.
If tarik isn’t kicking these IGLs then it’s an awful coincidence how soon they leave after he joins or they join his teams.
— Thorin (@Thooorin) June 11, 2019
As of today I am currently being benched by NRG. My time with NRG had its up and downs from when I first joined to now but I can leave feeling happy with what we accomplished considering with where we started.
The year of 2017 was by far my most miserable year mentally as a player and almost caused me to quit playing at the end of the year (around the time i tried coaching) but while it was miserable, this year was the year that helped me change how I looked at CS as a whole.
Start of 2018 was big because I wasn’t even guaranteed to continue playing but I asked the players to give me a chance for at least a month or so and if it didn’t work they could go another direction. So I have the players to thank for giving me that chance to prove myself and will never forget 2018 as we weren’t predicted to do as well as we did by anyone and managed to reach top 5 at one point. Over time though stagnation does occur if you have the same group of people together for a long time and that is what eventually happened with our team, while FugLy was not the only reason for our decline the team felt removing him would help us improve in other areas.
Going into 2019 we were looking for replacements for FugLy before and after the major and this is around the time I feel my vision for the team was lost. We reached out to our top 3 options to replace him but they either couldn’t join or didn’t want to join. As our list of potential players shrank mibr replaced Tarik and Stewie, Stewie instantly went to Liquid which left Tarik, obviously with how we setup our team Tarik is not a direct replacement for FugLy but with our only options at this point being taking a risk on young talent and a major winner the choice is obvious. I think Tarik is a good player and it is unfortunate that the way we played last year didn’t work as well this year. After reflecting on it I think the change is best for both parties and hopefully Peters style will offset what we lost with FugLy and help them win events instead of getting semi-finals.
There was a time for me when being on a top 10 team seemed out of reach so I am happy to have helped been apart of a team that managed to stay top 10 for over a year but am also sorry to my teammates for not being able to play better as a individual or find a way to make our current lineup win events this year.
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However, it is also a fact that the team was plateauing when it came to their results. They were unable to move past just getting into the playoffs of premier tournaments. A change was needed and more often than not, it is the In-game leader who receives the axe. There is also the situation where Tarik’s inclusion in a team tends to ensure changes to their roster in the near future. It has happened multiple times in the past and NRG’s latest move further reiterates the same course of action.
Stanislaw joins NRG
Replacing Daps on NRG, Stanislaw will find a new organisation to represent in North America. Widely regarded as one of the best North American In-Game Leaders, Stanislaw has moved from success to success. His time on NRG will see the team prepare for the upcoming tournaments with the Berlin Major in sight. The team has had plateauing results of late and the decision to replace Daps with Stanislaw is understandable as NRG had to make changes to progress further.
However, as with any move, this will be a double-edged sword for NRG. Stanislaw does bring in something new to the team, however, we are not sure how the team will adapt to this novelty.
Is this the right approach for NRG?
NRG is already a very strong team with multiple deep placements in Premier CS: GO tournaments. Daps was able to provide adequate leadership and put the team forward in comfortable positions. Bringing together a bunch of relatively inexperienced players and helping them rise through the CS: GO ranks, Daps achieved a significant milestone in his career. The NRG squad already has several skilled players and Daps was able to use them to the team’s advantage.
The NRG roster has strong players such as Brehze, NahtE and CERQ. While Cerq has been a revelation for NRG in their online matches, it is Brehze and NahtE whose consistency has been the bane of their performance. The two were able to help NRG put up a strong performance with Daps and Cerq providing a strong support base. Let’s take a look at some of the players in the NRG squad.
Vincent “Brehze” Cayonte
Vincent “Brehze” Cayonte has been extremely consistent over the past few years. His performance does have its ups and downs, however, Brehze has remained within a particular skill bracket. At the same time, we have seen NRG face off against much better opponents. Brehze’s ability to maintain his skill and aim against better teams is one of the reasons for NRG’s rise.
The player is usually seen playing with the rifle as his weapon of choice. The AK47 and the M4A1-s are his most used weapons, with the two accounting for nearly 75% of his gameplay. His first shot aim is what entails him to deal the maximum damage to his opponents. With a 51% headshot percentage, Brehze has been able to win nearly unwinnable situations. He can single-handedly be the reason why NRG can gain an advantage early in the round. He has a very high skill ceiling and if he performs near the top of his game, NRG seems to become a very strong team.
However, he is just one part of the NRG juggernaut. Along with Brehze, the other players such as NahtE, Cerq and now Tarik also play a crucial role in the team’s success.
Ethan “Ethan” Arnold
Ethan “Ethan” Arnold has been a decent surprise for NRG’s success in recent months. ‘NahtE’ has an excellent spatial judgement about his surroundings and he can often get multiple frags in a round. The player has good awareness about his surroundings and ensures that he can go into an advantageous position when overwhelmed in numbers.
NahtE’s performance has seen a significant uptick when compared to the past few years. The increase in his average performance has seen him rise to his peak around March 2019. It coincides with the rise in performance for the North American team. Currently, his performance seems to be on a decline and that goes well along with the rest of the squad. However, it is not a huge surprise and we expect him to bounce back very soon.
With multiple clutch victories, Ethan has been able to salvage extremely disadvantageous rounds for the team. Together with Brehze, the player has been able to help NRG secure their position as a near Tier one team.
Tarik “Tarik” Celik
One of the biggest changes to the team’s roster came when Tarik joined the team. His addition was big news for the team’s performance as Tarik represents a former Major winner capable of defeating the best teams in the world.
This addition was a huge skill upgrade when it comes to their overall skill level. For many analysts, this addition would make up for the overall lack of performance by their IGL Daps.
NRG’s performance has been very consistent in the past few months. They have had multiple Top 4 finishes with the exception of Dreamhack Masters Dallas 2019. The team’s performance does seem to have stagnated over the past few months and that seems to be the catalyst for the latest roster changes.
For now, Tarik has just been another cog in the NRG wheel. However, with time, we hope
Stanislaw’s addition to NRG: A success or a Disaster?
There have been numerous instances in the recent past where we have seen successful teams implement a roster change. These changes bring about hope for better results and a skill ceiling that was unattainable with the previous roster. Teams such as BIG Gaming, Fnatic ( 2015), Mousesports have implemented roster changes with the hope of an improvement in their results.
Most of the teams have not had the desired results with these roster changes. A roster change features several different angles and the players’ reaction and changes cannot be judged beforehand. The players’ relationships with each other, their adjustment to the new shot-calling and communication can all face difficulties with roster changes.
Teams such as Mousesports, the Fnatic of 2015 and others have had occasions when their roster changes were very surprising to the average fan. These teams were at the top of their game and seemingly en route to becoming the best team ( if they weren’t already the best team ). However, a simple change could mean the difference between the team synergy, player’s communication and various others. The egos of the players might also be a determining factor in the synergy within the new roster.
Great on Paper, but the reality is always different
On paper, Stanislaw’s addition to NRG makes a lot of sense. He was let go from Complexity recently. He is considered to be the best In Game Leader in North American Counter-Strike. His individual skill also is better than Daps with the strategical aspect of his game seems very similar to Daps. However, in the coming few months, the team would need to tick off several positives in order to potentially put forth a strong performance at the Berlin Major.
NRG hope that they can enter the Top tier scene of Counter-Strike teams with these changes. Currently, they are stuck at the 7th rank with the occasional movement up and down in the leaderboards. However, the team’s performance will depend on how well Stanislaw can manage the new team with an abundance of talent. Whether they can achieve their objectives or not is a question that will have an answer with time. NRG will next be seen at ESL Pro League Season 9 LAN Finals. The event takes place from 18th to 23rd of June 2019 at the Sud de France Arena in Montpellier. You can catch NRG’s new roster in action live on Twitch here.