Changes ahead of ESL Impact: JTR departs Nigma Galaxy, NIP sign ToH1o, Danuu leaves NAVI Javelins
The world's best women's team has parted ways with their coach after overwhelming success over the past 12 months.
Roster moves ahead of ESL Impact Season 3 see Ricardo "JTR" Júnior depart Nigma Galaxy after two years' worth of service, Anton "ToH1o" Georgiev, who was unbanned from attending Valve-sponsored events on Wednesday, has put pen to paper and signed with NIP Impact, while Danuta "Danuu" Grajkowska and NAVI Javelins have gone their separate ways.
JTR joined the Ksenia "vilga" Kluenkova-led team back in April 2021 and assisted the roster in reaching a peak of No. 114 on the world ranking while picking up four consecutive LAN trophies at the ESL Impact League Season 1 and 2 Finals, ESL Impact Valencia 2022, and ESL Impact Katowice 2023.
Their yearlong domination was so pronounced that the Russian-majority roster were crowned the Women's Team of the Year at the HLTV 2022 Award Show, edging out FURIA fe and CLG Red in the process.
What's more, two of the team's players — Ana "ANa" Dumbravă and vilga — truly flourished under the Portuguese coach's leadership and were subsequently recognized for their individual efforts in the server, being crowned the first and third-best women's players of 2022 by HLTV, respectively.
Despite his success with Nigma Galaxy, the Portuguese coach decided to leave his comfort zone to explore new opportunities, as he told Dust2.com.br. The Russian-majority squad is now on the market for a replacement ahead of ESL Impact's third season, which begins April 8.
Conversely, NIP Impact have opted to reinforce their coaching staff with the addition of ToH1o, who joined the Swedish organization on the same day that his Valve-sanctioned ban was revoked (March 1).
The team will be hoping the Bulgarian skipper's experience with the likes of Windigo, Strife, Nexus and Genk can help the squad post more tangible results on the board, as their only noteworthy placements so far are victories in two ESL Impact Cash Cups.
Danuu, meanwhile, exited NAVI Javelins on Wednesday, bringing an end to a near-yearlong partnership between herself and the Kyiv-based organization.
The Pole was the worst-performing player on the lineup at the time of her removal, averaging a 0.98 rating over 33 maps. Alas, the team still enjoyed some success throughout her 11-month tenure, notably making it to the ESL Impact Katowice grand final, where the Polish ensemble were playing on home soil, before being felled by Nigma Galaxy in the title decider.
Nigma Galaxy, NIP Impact, and NAVI Javelins are scheduled to compete in ESL Impact Season 3 Europe, which will play out online between March 8-April 16. The league will conclude with a LAN Finals at DreamHack Dallas on June 2-4, where a $150,000 prize pot is up for grabs.
Nigma Galaxy now have:
Ana "ANa" Dumbravă
Katarína "Kat" Vašková
Victoria "tory" Kazieva
Alexandra "twenty3" Timonina
Ksenia "vilga" Kluenkova
NIP Impact sport the following roster:
Mayline-Joy "ASTRA" Champliaud
Jennica "jenkon" Sjögren
Naomi "Nayomy" Janssen
Paulie "pauliiee" Barazani
Kiara "Qiyarah" Janssen
Anton "ToH1o" Georgiev (coach)
Tilde "7licious" Byström (inactive)
Marita "Minnie" Siljan Sørensen (inactive)
Thea "pullox" Evensen (inactive)
NAVI Javelins are down to the following four players:
Angelika "Angelka" Kozłowska
Hania "Hanka" Pudlis
Karolina "Liina" Kasprzyk
Wiktoria "vicu" Janicka