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Counter Strike: Global Offensive

MAD Lions unveil kuben as coach

MAD Lions have named Jakub “⁠kuben⁠” Gurczynski as the new head coach of their Counter-Strike squad. The announcement was made on Tuesday on the ‘HLTV Confirmed’ podcast, where the 32-year-old discussed the plans for the team and the goals for 2021.

kuben will take the team’s reins as it heads in a new direction, with Thomas “⁠TMB⁠” Bundsbæk the only player remaining from the Danish squad after Ismail “⁠refrezh⁠” Ali and Rasmus “⁠sjuush⁠” Beck were sold to Heroic, and Fredrik “⁠roeJ⁠” Jørgensen and Rasmus “⁠HooXi⁠” Nielsen were moved to the bench.

MAD Lions‘ new squad will be an international project with an expanded roster, with former mousesports coach Allan “⁠Rejin⁠” Petersen acting as senior manager and Spanish legend Jonathan “⁠MusambaN1⁠” Torrent as assistant coach.

kuben returns to coaching after a brief hiatus

“When we started interviewing players, I thought I’d love to have an in-game leader who’s experienced in tier one,” kuben said. “This is the only one I think it’s worth investing in. Since we invested in the coaching staff, we don’t want to go and buy out players. We prefer to get rookies and just develop them. But we are willing to have an experienced tier-one player. This guy shouldn’t be replaceable because he’s the role model for everyone.

“What I think is smart as well is to bring in two AWPers, even with different playing styles, one of them really aggressive and one more of a passive AWPer. I think it’s something innovative in CS:GO. Let’s say we play four scrims in a day: the first AWPer will play the first and third scrims, while the second AWPer will play the second and fourth scrims. MusambaN1, who was an AWPer his entire career, will be watching the first two scrims, and then he’ll be working with them individually. I want MusambaN1 to focus on the AWPers.

“The riflers won’t be playing one role, I want them to be versatile in every aspect of the game. In my opinion, it’s really good to have four riflers to fill three slots and two AWPers to fight for their spot, maybe even dependent on the map.”

A member of the ‘Golden Five’ lineup that won multiple international CS 1.6 events between 2006 and 2008, kuben took up coaching in 2015 when he joined Virtus.pro, reuniting with his former teammates Filip “⁠NEO⁠” Kubski and Wiktor “⁠TaZ⁠” Wojtas.

He most notably guided the team to victory at ELEAGUE Season 1 and DreamHack Masters Las Vegas 2017, and to a runner-up finish at ELEAGUE Major Atlanta during his near five-year tenure, which came to an end in December 2019, when the Virtus.pro organisation decided to drop their Polish squad after a series of mixed results and signed the AVANGAR roster

He spent a few months on the sidelines following the disbandment of the Polish team, returning to coaching in August with Envy, whom he led in Flashpoint 2 before the North American organisation withdrew from Counter-Strike.

The Polish veteran brings with him a wealth of experience and a championship résumé. MAD Lions won one of the biggest tournaments of 2020, the first edition of Flashpoint, but questioned about his immediate expectations, kuben said that he’s thinking long-term.

“We want to build a coaching structure,” he noted. “We want to have a good scouting process, which we are currently building. This is what we are doing right now. This is the path we want to take. Perhaps this year won’t matter as much because of the pandemic. We want to try out something new. We started with the coaching staff and then we picked the players. I believe in this project.”

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Counter Strike: Global Offensive

[VOD] Revealing MAD Lions’ new coach and discussing Pro League on HLTV Confirmed

With a unique twist to the HLTV Confirmed show, the guest for tonight’s show won’t be announced until the broadcast starts. The experienced coach will sit in the “Hot Seat” and talk about MAD Lions‘ new direction after parting ways with the Danish lineup.

kuben is taking over MAD Lions

The coach will also touch on his previous gig, the type of players MAD Lions are looking to sign, and their goals for this year. In the standard part of the show, the panel which will feature Chad “⁠SPUNJ⁠” Burchill, Milan “⁠Striker⁠” Švejda, and Zvonimir “Professeur” Burazin, will touch on recent news and results at ESL Pro League Season 13.

Topics for the show:

Hot seat with MAD Lions coach
-Joining MAD Lions
-Direction of new squad
-Status of the roster
-MAD Lions goals for 2021
-Discussing previous coaching experience
Recent news
-Nivera steps down from Vitality
-Are six-man rosters done?
-OG bench ISSAA
ESL Pro League
-Heroic flawless with MAD Lions backbone
-BIG problems for the Germans
-FunPlus Playoffs
-Are G2 better or worse?
-How legit are ENCE?
-Checking in on Vitality
Playtime
-Viewer questions and leftover topics

Keep track of the show on social media:

HLTV.org on Twitch
HLTV Confirmed on Twitter
HLTV Confirmed on Youtube
HLTV Confirmed Audio

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Counter Strike: Global Offensive

Spirit coach Certus: “degster is a great asset, but he can play much better than he’s playing now. We will work on that”

A breakout year for Spirit, 2020 saw the Russian team reach unprecedented heights, peaking at No.13 in the world and securing wins over teams such as Vitality, fnatic, and mousesports. Yet as the winter break neared, Spirit lost some steam and were unable to get past the group stage of both IEM Beijing-Haidian and DreamHack Masters Winter. To end the year as only the fourth-best team in the CIS region after showing that they were capable of scaling greater heights was something that the Spirit organisation couldn’t be happy with.

Certus has been with Spirit since 2016

“We grew more and more fatigued towards the end of the year, there was no longer any strength to analyze our defeats, draw conclusions, fix mistakes, and conduct all the necessary work in practice,” Nikolay “⁠Certus⁠” Poluyanov, the team’s coach, said to HLTV.org, echoing what many others had already said about the pandemic-crippled 2020. “All in all, the year was long, difficult and, worst of all, monotonous.”

The veteran coach, 37, added that there are only a few teams that can go through a season like that without suffering “serious dropoffs”, which was a key reason for the roster changes that were made and for the move towards a six-man lineup.

In order to bring in new players, someone had to be removed, and it was the team’s AWPer, Artem “⁠iDISBALANCE⁠” Egorov, who found himself on the chopping block. While critics deemed him inconsistent, the 24-year-old was far from a bad player, averaging a 1.12 rating in 2020, and Certus explained that it was a different reason that led to him being placed on the transfer list.

“We decided to remove iDISBALANCE because we wanted to change our game, and to do that we needed a more aggressive sniper,” he noted. “However, I’d like to state that Artem is an incredible player and teammate, and his lack of consistency was due to the tasks we assigned to him in the game.”

To fill the more aggressive AWPing role, Spirit landed highly-rated youngster Abdul “⁠degster⁠” Gasanov, who, together with Robert “⁠Patsi⁠” Isyanov, had helped Espada reach the top 30 in the world rankings before that team broke apart. “I’ve followed Abdul since his first official games for Espada, sometimes in my free time I even talked to him in TeamSpeak to help him in his progress,” Certus said before revealing that they trialled the AWPer as early as in 2019, but opted to add Boris “⁠magixx⁠” Vorobiev instead. “He wasn’t ready at the time, but he developed very fast.”

Patsi also joined the team on a trial period. His strong individual play and communication, Certus said, explain why the 17-year-old was described as “the best option we could count on” in Spirit‘s announcement. “He just needs time to adapt to our playstyle. With the right attitude, I don’t think his trial will last very long.”

chopper and co. trialed degster before picking up magixx

DreamHack Open January Europe was Spirit‘s first event with the new lineup, taking place just a week after degster and Patsi joined the team. Their potential was apparent, but as only the fifth-highest ranked side in the eight-team tournament, they were dark horses at best. In the first stages of the tournament, their play reflected that, getting into good positions but struggling to close out maps against Sprout and Gambit in the group stage, as well as against BIG in the playoffs, leading to drawn-out and messy series.

“I think this is because we lack experience playing as a team,” in-game leader Leonid “⁠chopper⁠” Vishnyakov said about their inability to capitalize on leads such as 15-10 on CT Train against Sprout and 13-6 on CT Inferno versus BIG. “Sometimes we didn’t know what to do when we found ourselves in difficult situations since we hadn’t had time to play and discuss them in practice. Both BIG and Gambit are more experienced teams – they know how to put pressure on their opponents and don’t grant you many chances to play your own game.”

The grand final against FunPlus Phoenix was a completely different story, though. After four hard-fought BO3s, all going 2-1, Spirit breezed past Chris “⁠chrisJ⁠” de Jong‘s team, securing a quick 3-0 victory in the grand final to win the tournament. “Against FPX it was different,” chopper admitted. “They are a new team like us, so in the grand final we just played our game and enjoyed it – and on that day we were stronger”.

An intriguing part of Spirit‘s run to the title in DreamHack Open January was their handling of a six-man roster, which saw Patsi play multiple maps, replacing different players. The Russian team played with five different lineups throughout the group stage, swapping out every member besides Nikolay “⁠mir⁠” Bityukov.

“For DreamHack and practice before it, I just tried different combinations, sometimes contrary to players’ opinions,” Certus explained. But as the tournament progressed, the coach stopped tinkering with the roster: Patsi played just one map tin the playoffs, the 16-14 Inferno loss to BIG, in which he mustered only nine kills and a 0.64 rating. chopper admitted that their focus moving forward will be on playing as a five-man roster with a substitute player, rather than an active six-man lineup.

“The roster composition will most likely be 5+1 moving forward instead of 6,” the in-game leader said. “Patsi is still in the testing phase, and as he gets more experience we will evaluate where and when to slot him in”. The main reason for that isn’t Patsi‘s poor performance in the DreamHack tournament (0.82 rating from five maps), but rather Valve’s ruleset for Regional Major Ranking (RMR) events, which incurs penalties for every player swap.

“If all tournament organisers have the same clear rules about six-man rosters, we will move towards fully embracing it, but recently, Valve regrettably took a stance that destroys this approach,” Certus says. ” I don’t see how we can play some tournaments with five players and others with six. I haven’t decided yet, but most likely Patsi will be a substitute player in case of emergency.”

mir was Spirit’s best performer in 2020, averaging a 1.22 rating

With mir having reclaimed the form that he had as the star of CIS upset kings Vega Squadron, and with the addition of rising talent degster as a potent AWPer, Spirit have secured two of the region’s hottest prospects. The two players averaged a 1.27 and 1.29 rating in DreamHack Open January, proving crucial to Spirit‘s success in the tournament. But while praise is thrown their way, especially towards the new signing, who has already been labelled the squad’s best player by some, Certus plays down the hype and enforces a team-first view.

“We consider every player to be the best,” the coach said. “Stats can be deceiving – the player who has the best stats is not always the one with the highest impact. degster will give us more aggression, which is something I feel we lacked before. Abdul is a great asset, but he can play much better than he’s playing now. We will work on that.”

Spirit peaked at No.13 in the world rankings last year, and obviously have more to give now. What do they aim to accomplish in 2021? chopper‘s answer is simple: “Our team has the highest goals, we aim to break into the top 10 and stay there, to participate in every tier-one tournament while we gradually improve our team play and become a more stable team internationally.”

Their next challenge is the IEM Katowice Play-in, in which they will begin their campaign with a clash against Cloud9. “Our goal is to show what we prepared in practice, and to play at 100% – but we’re still a new team and qualifying is not a do-or-die situation for us,” chopper added. “Personally, I don’t think about the consequences of qualifying or missing out on the main tournament – I just think about our next game.”

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Counter Strike: Global Offensive

AIm steps down as SAW coach

SAW coach Ricardo “⁠AIm⁠” Almeida has announced that he has decided to step down from his position with immediate effect as he will be taking a break from esports for an undetermined amount of time.

The decision comes as a blow to SAW, who have been led by AIm since the creation of the team, at the beginning of 2020. The Portuguese side have been almost ever-present in the top 30 in the world rankings in the last four months, making deep runs in tournaments like ESEA MDL Season 35, DreamHack Open December and the European Development Championship 1.

AIm had been coaching SAW coach since the creation of the team

“Warriors, I’m grateful for all the battles that you helped us face in the last year,” AIm said. “Together, we achieved something unbelievable. It is with some sadness that I announce that I’ll be leaving gaming for an undetermined period of time.”

SAW are currently sharing the top spot in Group A in ESEA Premier Season 36 with Winstrike following victories over forZe and Apeks in their first two matches. They have also qualified for the knockout stages in European Development Championship 2, which will begin on February 22.

With AIm‘s departure, SAW have:

Portugal Christopher “⁠MUTiRiS⁠” Fernandes
Portugal Ricardo “⁠rmn⁠” Oliveira
Spain Omar “⁠arki⁠” Chakkor
Portugal Renato “⁠stadodo⁠” Gonçalves
Portugal Tiago “⁠JUST⁠” Moura

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Counter Strike: Global Offensive

feedme joins FATE as head coach

FATE have named Mihajlo “feedme” Petrović as their new head coach, the organisation announced on Wednesday. The Serbian fills the position left vacant by current BLUEJAYS coach Darko “⁠soLo⁠” Mitić, who parted ways with the team by mutual agreement at the beginning of the year.

feedme links up with his former teammates Milen “⁠milky⁠” Iliev and Kaloyan “⁠shaiK⁠” Borisov in his new role after coaching them in TeamDown2Earth, whom he led to ESEA Advanced after qualifying through the Main division’s 35th season. The team later disbanded after the Bulgarian duo moved to FATE in January and the organisation dropped the remaining players after losing its main sponsor.

feedme takes over as FATE coach

“I am very excited and grateful for this opportunity,” feedme told HLTV.org. “I will put all my time into this project. These are the best players I have ever worked with, and if we keep working as hard as we have, I expect to achieve some great things with these guys!”

FATE are currently competing in ESEA Premier Season 36 Europe, in which they hold a 0-1 record after a narrow defeat to GamerLegion in the opening match. The Bulgarian side will hope that the addition of the Serbian coach can swiftly turn the team to winning ways moving forward in their group.

The complete FATE roster is:

Bulgaria Nikolay “⁠niki1⁠” Pantaleev
Bulgaria Ivan “⁠Rock1nG⁠” Stratiev
Bulgaria Ivan “⁠Patrick⁠” Ivanov
Bulgaria Kaloyan “⁠shaiK⁠” Borisov
Bulgaria Milen “⁠milky⁠” Iliev

Serbia Mihajlo “feedme” Petrović (coach)

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Counter Strike: Global Offensive

RobbaN set to take over as FaZe coach

Marcelo “⁠coldzera⁠” David revealed that Robert “⁠RobbaN⁠” Dahlström will take over the coaching role for FaZe in an interview with cybersport.ru. The former CS 1.6 professional player will therefore be back in the spot he stepped down from two years ago, and was filled by Janko “⁠YNk⁠” Paunović in the meantime.

In the interview, coldzera noted that FaZe are waiting for the Esports Integrity Commission (ESIC) ban that was handed to RobbaN to expire before using him in tournaments. The Swede will be clear of the suspension of participating in ESIC-member events, including those organized by ESL, BLAST, and DreamHack, on March 13.

RobbaN will return to the helm of FaZe

“RobbaN will be the coach. We are waiting for his ban to expire, it seems that there is about a month left,” coldzera said to cybersport.ru, adding that the tactician is already helping the team in practice games.

The Swede was handed one of ESIC’s shortest bans, for 5.5 months, due to bug abuse in a 16-1 loss to Astralis in May 2017. However, RobbaN professed his innocence, claiming that he attempted to get out of the bugged state and that no information was passed on to his players

“By the time his ban ends, we will have a full roster,” coldzera added, hinting at the arrival of the in-game leader which will take Olof “⁠olofmeister⁠” Kajbjer‘s spot on the lineup. “In addition, we are on the lookout for a psychologist to help solve some of our problems. He will also join the team when we resolve all issues with the fifth player.”

When asked about the final FaZe player, coldzera answered that he will be announced “in March or April”. Earlier reports have linked Finn “⁠karrigan⁠” Andersen to a return to FaZe, and with the expiry of his contract with the German organization set to happen in March, the 30-year-old in-game leader could be returning to the organization on a free transfer.

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Counter Strike: Global Offensive

djL joins Copenhagen Flames as head coach

Copenhagen Flames have appointed Daniel “⁠djL⁠” Narancic as their new head coach, the organisation announced on Wednesday. The 27-year-old, who has been working with the team for a few weeks already, takes over a position that has been vacant since Morten “⁠zEVES⁠” Vollan left the team to coach x6tence in June 2020.

djL has coached teams such as Red Reserve and GamerLegion in the past. Between May and December 2020, he worked as an assistant to head coach Neil “⁠NeiL_M⁠” Murphy on c0ntact, leaving the Flashpoint partner at the end of the year.

djL becomes a head coach after his period with c0ntact

“As soon as we saw the news of Daniel being a free agent, AcilioN and I discussed the possibility of adding him to our team,” Daniel Vorborg, Head of Esports at Copenhagen Flames, said in a statement. “Daniel has a great mind for Counter-Strike and has been observing with us for a while in both practice and officials, and he has started taking the reins with the team.”

djL is Copenhagen Flames‘ third addition for the 2021 season. Last month, the Danish team replaced Sebastian “⁠Basso⁠” Aagaard and Jakob “⁠Daffu⁠” Schildt with Marcus “⁠maNkz⁠” Kjeldsen and Magnus “⁠Nodios⁠” Olsen, both of whom were signed from x6tence.

Copenhagen Flames are through to playoffs of the Danish qualifier for the Elisa Nordic Championship after topping their double-elimination group. They currently sit third in Elgiganten Ligaen Season 16, hosted by Dust2.dk, with a 6-2 record.

With djL‘s addition, Copenhagen Flames now have:

Denmark Jakob “⁠jabbi⁠” Nygaard
Denmark Asger “⁠AcilioN⁠” Larsen
Denmark Nico “⁠nicoodoz⁠” Tamjidi
Denmark Magnus “⁠Nodios⁠” Olsen
Denmark Marcus “⁠maNkz⁠” Kjeldsen

Sweden Daniel “⁠djL⁠” Narancic (coach)

Denmark Sebastian “⁠Basso⁠” Aagaard (benched)
Denmark Jakob “⁠Daffu⁠” Schildt (benched)

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Counter Strike: Global Offensive

Valve unveils 2020 RMR stickers; announces points reset, coach limitations

Valve has released team stickers from the 2020 Regional Major Ranking (RMR) circuit, with the capsules containing stickers from teams that would have received invites to compete at the ESL One Rio Major based on the number of points they amassed in the qualifying tournaments.

Subsequently, they have also reset the RMR standings heading into 2021, although teams who previously held Legends status in the 2020 leaderboard will begin the new circuit with 600 points, Challengers with 300, and Contenders with 100.

The 2020 RMR stickers are now available in the game

A substitute player can now also be registered independent of coaches, allowing six-man rosters to register their extra player for events. Upon their first substitution, teams will incur a penalty to their RMR points, but no subsequent penalties will be applied when a player is brought back in to a roster.

Crucially, Valve has also issued a statement on the coaching bans handed down by ESIC in September 2020, ruling that some of those that were involved in exploiting the coaching bug will be barred from attending Majors.

The number of Majors that involved coaches will be banned from participating in is determined by a scaling table, with two ESIC demerit points stopping coaches from attending one Major, three demerit points preventing attendance at two Majors, and so on until six or more demerit points are reached, which will permanently ban the involved party from attending a Major event.

The way bans will apply across the board is currently unknown, given the wide range of bans and concessions given to different coaches due to coming forward. HLTV.org has reached out to ESIC for clarification on how coaches who had ban reductions by ESIC based on concession allowances, like Nicholas “⁠guerri⁠” Nogueira and Alessandro “⁠Apoka⁠” Marcucci, will be affected.

In tandem with their ruling on coaches attendance at Majors, Valve has determined that no one besides participating players will be allowed in the room where the team is playing or on the server during online RMR matches. The rule applies to both coaches and support staff, who will not even be allowed to communicate with the team during matches.

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Counter Strike: Global Offensive

tow b steps down from BIG; DuDe becomes head coach

Tobias “⁠tow b⁠” Herberhold has decided to step down from BIG due to personal reasons, the organization has announced. To replace him, the German side has promoted the assistant coach, Dustin “⁠DuDe⁠” Großmann, to the head coach position. tow b has not ruled out a potential return as an advisor in the future.

The 36-year-old had already made the decision not to extend his time with BIG in June and the organization began to plan around it shortly afterwads, bringing in DuDe in September as an assistant coach to slowly prepare for the transition ahead of 2021.

tow b leaves BIG after a year and a half

“It was a tough but well-considered decision that I made already during the last player break in June,” tow b said in a statement. “I might come back in the future in an advisory role for BIG, but now I will return to work for SkinBaron.com that I co-founded in 2016. I will focus again on marketing activities and product management.”

BIG brought in tow b from Sprout in mid-2019 as a replacement for Alexander “⁠kakafu⁠” Szymanczyk as part larger overhaul of the Berlin-based organization’s CS:GO division, which saw Fatih “⁠gob b⁠” Dayik retire and Denis “⁠denis⁠” Howell get benched.

The team went on to undergo another key change at the beginning of 2020 with the addition of Florian “⁠syrsoN⁠” Rische and Nils “⁠k1to⁠” Gruhne, with whom they clinched the No. 1 spot in the ranking in the middle of the year and remained there for a month and a half after winning three consecutive tournaments, DreamHack Masters Spring, cs_summit 6, and DreamHack Open Summer.

The coaching change comes ahead of the start of the 2021 season, which will officially begin on January 17 for BIG with the ESL Meisterschaft Autumn playoffs, where Johannes “⁠tabseN⁠” Wodarz & co. are set to face Rhein Neckar in the semi-finals. The German team are also slated to participate in the IEM Katowice play-in stage, which will have eight spots at the main event on offer, on February 16-17.

With DuDe replacing tow b as the team’s head coach, BIG‘s lineup now looks as follows:

Germany Johannes “⁠tabseN⁠” Wodarz
Germany Tizian “⁠tiziaN⁠” Feldbusch
Turkey Ismailcan “⁠XANTARES⁠” Dörtkardeş
Germany Florian “⁠syrsoN⁠” Rische
Germany Nils “⁠k1to⁠” Gruhne

Germany Dustin “⁠DuDe⁠” Großmann (coach)

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