Cloud9 to replace interz; Forester, SANJI, buster among candidates - Report
Cloud9 have begun talks over making their first lineup change in over two years, setting their sights on multiple candidates.
The Russian squad have yet to land a replacement for the support player but are currently considering several options. OverDrive has said on his Telegram channel that Igor "Forester" Bezotecheskiy and Sanjar "SANJI" Kuliev are two of "many candidates," and HLTV.org can add that sources have indicated Timur "buster" Tulepov as another.
Forester is currently contracted to Entropiq, where he has been listed for transfer since October and remained the only player tied to the Czech organization, as the rest of the team has since been released. The 22-year-old was among the best-performing players on the lineup, averaging a 1.10 rating in 2022.
SANJI and buster have been sitting on the sidelines ever since they were benched in Virtus.pro last October and this May, respectively. The former was removed to make space for Evgenii "FL1T" Lebedev and the latter in favor of David "n0rb3r7" Danielyan and Petr "fame" Bolyshev, moves that have since yielded the team now competing under the neutral name Outsiders a Major title at IEM Rio.
Should changes in Cloud9 be confirmed, it would mark an end to the longest-standing roster currently competing at the top of CS:GO. The lineup around Vladislav "nafany" Gorshkov has remained the same for nearly two and a half years, having made their latest adjustment in July 2020, when Abay "HObbit" Khasenov replaced Anton "supra" Tšernobai in the team then known as Gambit Youngsters.
Cloud9 have plenty of time to ponder their options, as they currently have nothing on the calendar until at least IEM Katowice, which kicks off on January 31. The Russian-majority side would be one of the teams guaranteed a place at the main event based on their current standing in the ESL World Ranking, but it's unclear whether they would be able to attend after Poland decided to deny Russian citizens entry into the country from outside of the European Union in September amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine.