North bids farewell to its Counter-Strike team: a retrospective

North bids farewell to its Counter-Strike team: a retrospective

February 16, 2021 | 0 | 19

In early February, North made its biggest announced in quite some time, but it wasn’t a positive one. The organization, which started in Counter-Strike back in 2017 was winding up.

The news came after years of disappointments, roster changes, and lots of money spent. Yet, North is a very interesting case, and it certainly is one team that marked the CSGO scene over the years.

So, who were North? What they have in their records? And more importantly, what’s next for their ex-players? Let’s take a deep dive.

North heads to a promising start

Founded in January 2017, North started as an ambitious team with massive monetary backing. The organization signed the then Dignitas players, which were on the rise as one of the best teams in the world.

Featuring Magisk, MSL, k0nfig, RUBINO and cajunb, North had a bright future ahead. The team’s first tournament was the ELEAGUE Major Atlanta, also the first Valve-sponsored event of the year.

There, the team managed to hit the playoffs, but couldn’t get past Virtus.Pro. Afterwards, “RUBINO” announced that he would be leaving the squad, and then FaZe player “aizy” was brought in his place.

In the following months, North didn’t manage to bring any trophy back home. However, the team was always finishing in the upper places of almost every tournament they took part in.

A bad decision

If there’s one team which history is full of questionable decisions, it’s North. The first questionable roster change of the team came in 2017 still. The team benched Magisk, one of their star players.

The Danish young star performances weren’t the same as they once were before aizy joined the team. However, it was clear that the squad had bigger issues than Magisk’s form.

North brought the now OG player “valde” to their ranks. The young player was seen as a versatile reinforcement, and the initial results after adding him weren’t any bad. The team even won the infamous DreamHack Open Montreal 2017.

Still, North’s biggest issue wasn’t solved – aizy bad performances. In late 2017, North started taking heavy loses. Finishing 6th in EPICENTER 2017 and coming last in EPL Season 6 Finals. North was a ticking-bomb at the time.

North disappoints at the big stage

A promising North on the verge of breaking up

After the end year’s break in 2017, North was heading to 2018’s first Major. There, they were one of the two big Danish teams, and both of them were in bad states. However, North ended up being the worst of the two after finishing last place.

Something was wrong with the team and the then current roster wouldn’t be up much longer. One of the changes that did came, again, was questionable.

Gone were the ever-disappointing cajunb for mertz, a promising awper. Gone with cajunb, however, was k0nfig too, the team star.

In his place, the ex-Astralis rifler and one-time Major MVP Kjaerbye was brought. Once all changes were done and completed, expectations for North were once again high.

Yet, the team disappointed. The team failed to qualify for many important events, and even low-tier teams like Hellraisers were consistently beating them. Of course, this was a result of North refusing to look into its biggest issues: MSL and aizy.

A refreshing win, followed by a controversial move

MSL was removed from North

After a mediocre semester, North, just like many other teams were looking to do roster moves. The first one was bringing “niko” to the team, replacing “mertz”.

North then headed to its first premier event in some time in late August 2018. There, the team surprised everyone – the ever-disappointing team managed to win DreamHack Masters Malmo. The team managed to take over Astralis twice, even.

Many analysts and fans were now warmed up to the Danish team. After all, the team won convincingly over some of the best teams in the world. Now, North was heading to the second Major of 2018.

In the Major, the team was eliminated in the first stage of the competition. Disappointing many fans, a major change finally came for the team: the then captain, MSL, was removed from the team.

The change didn’t came without its critics. Many were confused as why MSL was removed, especially since he was the player that helped the squad lift the trophy in Malmo. Yet, one could argue that his momentum was too short, as he wasn’t a star in Berlin.

“Cadian” was the new captain. The new leader kicked off his run by managing to qualify for the ECS league, a feat North never managed before. Results were mixed afterwards though, and winning a single trophy, cadian left the team in May 2019.

A lost year for North

Gade was one of the most criticized players in North

With cadian gone, “valde” was now North’s in-game leader. The player used to be North’s best performer, and his stats took a fall as the team couldn’t hit together.

North best results for their run with valde as their captain was qualifying for the Berlin Major. The team didn’t achieve much, and as much as the organization promised to be aiming to create a top team, it was clear that the effort wasn’t being made.

Soon after the Berlin Major of 2019, valde bid goodbye to North. The young player decided to take up an offer from OG. In his place, North brought back cajunb. Under an improvised leadership from “gade”,

North kept the mediocre results in, although they managed to win one event, a smaller Dreamhack Open to close 2019.

The nail in North’s coffin

MSL was back, but the results didn’t went positive for North

North was in shambles. The team which once competed amongst the best five in the world was no more. Magisk, the player North kicked off was now one of the most successful riflers in CSGO thanks to Astralis. Valde was in a much more promising project.

Aiming to bring back their old talent, and which those two names above being crossed, MSL was brought back. Along with the reinforcement also came a full rebrand of the organization, that wasn’t received very well.

A quarter goes by, and even with MSL back in the leadership, the team results didn’t improve as expected. Comes May, Kjaerbye, the team star, took a leave. Thanks to a reinvigorated “aizy” not everything was lost, but the team didn’t reach any goals.

In the second half of 2020, Kjaerbye left the team for FaZe Clan. North acquired “lekr0” from NiP, but the Swedish player disappointed massively. Then, MSL and aizy were benched, and 22-year-old “kreaz” was added on a loan.

To close 2020 and the organization run in CSGO, North headed to DreamHack Masters Winter 2020 Europe. There, the team’s zombie roster only managed to win one match before being eliminated.

What’s next for North players?

The North project is over after four years. The organization managed to build quite the alumni, with players like Magisk and Valde which we mentioned above.

As things stand now, the team’s current roster should part ways. If there’s one issue that plagued the team for a long time is the lack of chemistry between players.

Yet, there’s plenty of talent left, and many players that would be invaluable assets for rosters that need experienced players. MSL and aizy are interesting picks in this category.

Some other players, however, like cajunb, have a lot to prove. After dismal performances, the veteran will have a hard time finding a place in a team among the 30 best in the world.

North’s left their mark in CSGO’s evergoing history

North is no more, but Counter-Strike won’t stop anytime soon. In order to keep off with all news and games, make sure to keep up with us.

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The author

My name is Marcos, I have been following the CSGO pro scene since 2015 but really got into in following games and pro teams in 2016. Used to bet a lot, stopped a bit but never stopped following the esports scene. I’m a student right now so I got a lot of time to keep with it and discover new things.

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Published at Tue, 16 Feb 2021 18:06:41 +0000

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