Rostermania update: Off-season changes in one place*
Which teams have opted for changes so far during the official tournament break? Here is a list that will be updated whenever a new move is announced.
August 14 update:
August 11 update:
The closing stages of the tournament break are upon us with just over a week before we return to action when ESL Pro League kicks off on August 16. Most teams who wanted to make adjustments to their rosters in the summer off-season have already done so, which gives us a chance to look back at the last three weeks and make a list of the changes for those of you that haven't been keeping your ear to the ground in the break.
The off-season has been a little less manic this year, perhaps due to the Regional Major Ranking deterring teams from switching too many players, but it has still produced a few big moves at the top of the food chain and several more at the lower tiers. More could also be on the horizon, which we will make sure to make a note of here if that happens in the following week.
fnatic: The first to pull the trigger
fnatic are the only big brand to make multiple changes to the active roster this off-season so far. It was inevitable that the organization would put its foot down after a long drought and a series of last-place exits, and they were the first to pull the trigger when they missed out on a place at IEM Cologne and began their break earlier than others.
With fnatic bringing about a new era and pulling away from an all-Swedish roster for the first time since 2013, long-time members Maikil "Golden" Selim and Jesper "JW" Wecksell were benched to make room for former Cloud9 duo Alex "ALEX" McMeekin and William "mezii" Merriman. In another step of the transformation of the organization's CS:GO division, keita was brought in as the strategic coach, with the head coach, Andreas "Samuelsson" Samuelsson, moving to an oversight role.
Astralis: Back to a six-man roster
The Danish powerhouse offered some reassurance to their fans earlier in the off-season amid rumors of the team falling apart, announcing that they would retain Lukas "gla1ve" Rossander for three more years after the in-game leader signed a new deal with the organization, lasting until 2024.
Key changes still seem to be on the cards for Astralis, however, as they have also signed 18-year-old Philip "Lucky" Ewald to address the AWPing issue that had haunted the team ever since Nicolai "device" Reedtz made the move to NIP. But who will take a step back to make room for the newest member?
Complexity: A Heroic reunion
News came out of the Complexity camp, as well, once the Benjamin "blameF" Bremer-led side rounded off the season with a last-place exit at IEM Cologne. The early elimination at the final event before the break was one of several in 2021 for the European team, and with their best result of the year so far being a top-six finish at ESL Pro League Season 13, it hardly came as any surprise when they decided to make adjustments.
Complexity opted for changes in both staff and players. The removals of keita and William "RUSH" Wierzba facilitated a reunion of a former Heroic trio, with Luis "peacemaker" Tadeu and Patrick "es3tag" Hansen added to the squad as former teammates of blameF from their time under the Danish organization.
BIG: Returning to the roots (kind of)
BIG did not survive the off-season unscathed, either. Ismailcan "XANTARES" Dörtkardeş was transfer-listed and decided to "follow a new path" after two and a half years with the German organization, giving the Berlin-based team a chance to give up speaking in a second language for the first time since they brought in Owen "smooya" Butterfield in early 2018.
Few would have expected the Turk's replacement, however. Most would have bet on a player from within Germany to come in, but instead BIG picked former North in-game leader Nicklas "gade" Gade, who has admittedly shown that he can speak the language.
Heroic: A dramatic split with HUNDEN
Nicolai "HUNDEN" Petersen released a statement at the end of July, denying behind-the-scenes allegations that he had shared Heroic's strategy book and claiming that the only material he had discussed with colleagues from other teams were anti-strats for opponents.
It didn't take long for the team to share their side of the story, cutting ties with the coach and launching legal proceedings against him as a result of an internal investigation that allegedly revealed that the 30-year-old shared sensitive information from the team's strategy folder with a major competitor.
Endpoint: Filling the gap, again
Endpoint have perhaps grown used to the fact that they are being used as a farm team by the big dogs. They had previously lost two prospective players they helped grow to larger organizations — Thomas "Thomas" Utting to Envy and Shahar "flameZ" Shushan to OG —, and they were once again left with a gap in the roster in this off-season after their star player, mezii, was acquired by fnatic.
In keeping with tradition, the British side has once again opted for unproven talent in former NASR member Mohammad "BOROS" Malhas in order to to fill the gap, and the team looks forward with hopes that they will be able to keep him for longer than a few months this time.
MSL's mystery team
After spending the last eight months without a team and resorting to streaming, Mathias "MSL" Lauridsen decided to take the plunge and assemble a new roster instead of waiting around for the right offer that might never come. The ex-North IGL revealed little about the composition, saying only that it is a "good mixture of talent and experience" and that it will aim to compete at the top-20 level.
Evil Geniuses: A temporary setback*
Evil Geniuses will have to make do without their in-game leader at ESL Pro League Season 14. Stating that he doesn't feel mentally ready for more international travel and competition following a long stay in Europe in the first part of the season, stanislaw decided to sit out the team's first tournament following the summer break and stay at home for a few more weeks.
The team's coach, daps, will step into the roster temporarily in Pro League, with stanislaw expecting to be back in time for Evil Geniuses' second outing in the new season in BLAST Premier Fall Groups.
Eternal Fire come to life*
The Turkish superteam that had been rumored to come to life for weeks was finally revealed at the end of the off-season. It was no surprise that Özgür "woxic" Eker, Buğra "Calyx" Arkın, XANTARES, and Ömer "imoRR" Karataş were a part of it, but reports differed on who the fifth player would be.
A smattering of others outside of the top 30
- Sprout bench denis
- ptr retires, junior to stand in for Bad News Bears
- Movistar Riders bench steel, release shokz
- cajunb headlines core changes in AGF
- Nordavind transfer-list roster
- MAD Lions bench SPELLAN
- fox to take break from competition, EasTor joins OFFSET
- MIBR release danoco