BIG have confirmed the acquisition of Owen "smooya" Butterfield from Epsilon, who has completed the team's roster.
Owen "smooya" Butterfield comes in as a replacement for Kevin "keev" Bartholomäus, who was benched from BIG at the beginning of February, while Nikola "LEGIJA" Ninić stepped down from the active roster to become the organization's Head of CS, with Tizian "tiziaN" Feldbusch taking his place in the squad.
Despite initially aiming to fill the AWPer's shoes with a German-speaking player, the team arrived at the decision to look for international talent, as they felt the young players on the local market "need more time and experience" on the international scene, according to BIG's CGO, Christian Lenz.
smooya's first offline showing with BIG will be at the Qi Invitational, set to start on April 24. The team originally meant to use their MDL roster, including LEGIJA, at the $75,000 event, but Fatih "gob b" Dayik was forced to skip the Serbian tournament due to an important family matter.
After that, the team will go back to practicing with LEGIJA until the MDL European Finals and Global Challenge (May 9-13) are over, as smooya isn't allowed to play at said events because of a roster lock issue. BIG's debut with their full lineup will thus likely have to wait until ESL One Belo Horizonte, on June 13-17, for which they qualified earlier this month.
"In an interview for UNIRKN regarding our lineup situation after the Major I said once that calling and staying German is still our direction for the future. However, after analyzing the player market for a long period, we realized that we have to consider international options as well to complete our roster." BIG's CGO, Christian Lenz, explained.
"Firstly I would like to thank Epsilon for giving me my first opportunity to prove what I can do at a higher level of Counter-Strike, without Epsilon I would never have been given this opportunity to play with such an amazing team, so I thank them for all the support they have given me over the past 9 months." smooya said in a statement.
"As for now I am really excited to start my new adventure under BIG and once again prove that I can play at the highest level of CS while playing under a solid team. Getting this chance to play with such players is amazing for me personally as I've looked up to some of these players for years and now I get the chance to create history with them. My main goals with BIG are to make it to legend status at the FACEIT major in London, till then I just want to improve day by day."
BIG's roster now is:
Alexander "kakafu" Szymanczyk (coach)
Kevin "keev" Bartholomäus (backup)