MarKE to join Chaos as steel weighs up future
The Canadian player will step down from the Chaos lineup and his future could lie elsewhere.
Chaos are close to signing former NRG and eUnited member Edgar "MarKE" Maldonado, as first reported by DBLTAP and confirmed by HLTV.org. The Mexican player will step into the shoes of veteran in-game leader Joshua "steel" Nissan, who is currently entertaining the idea of moving to VALORANT.
MarKE has been without a team since parting ways with Ze Pug Godz, who recruited Maxim "wippie" Shepelev last week to fill the vacant slot. In Chaos, the Mexican player will reunite with his former eUnited teammate Anthony "vanity" Malaspina, who will take the team's reins.
steel's lifetime ban from all Valve events following his role in the 2014 iBUYPOWER match-fixing scandal was viewed by many as a hindrance to the team's progress, including by steel himself, who said in a recent interview with HLTV.org that his departure was "just a matter of when". Due to the Canadian's situation, Chaos were forced to field Jacob "FugLy" Medina and coach Matthew "mCe" Elmore as stand-ins in the ongoing Regional Major Ranking (RMR) circuit, the qualifying system for the ESL One: Rio Major.
The last member of the Ben's Anime Team signed in November 2019, steel looks set to leave Chaos on the same day that they broke into the top 20 in the world rankings, a huge achievement for a team with two young talents who have just started playing at the highest level in Erick "Xeppaa" Bach (20) and Nathan "leaf" Orf (16). In last week's interview, the Canadian admitted that helping other players to move up the ranks had been a source of pride.
steel's retirement from Counter-Strike would represent another blow to the North American scene, which has already lost several players to VALORANT, most notably Nick "nitr0" Cannella, who switched games shortly after stepping down from Liquid's starting lineup and linked up with former teammate Spencer "Hiko" Martin on 100 Thieves.
MarKE will make his first appearance for Chaos on Tuesday, in the team's opening match in ESL Pro League Season 12, against Liquid. The team have also qualified for FunSpark ULTI, a $300,000 Chinese LAN that could be pushed to 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
With this change, Chaos will have:
Anthony "vanity" Malaspina
Erick "Xeppaa" Bach
Jonathan "Jonji" Carey
Nathan "leaf" Orf
Edgar "MarKE" Maldonado
Matthew "mCe" Elmore (coach)
Correction: An earlier version of the article incorrectly mentioned that MarKE would become the in-game leader of the team. According to Chaos, the new captain and IGL is vanity.