EspiranTo wins battle of wills at Imperial

The promising roster playing under the banner of the UK’s Imperial today had another attempt at shooting themselves in the foot by reversing their recent decision to remove Rokas ‘EspiranTo’ Milasauskas and reinstate the young Estonian. After the clash of styles EspiranTo had with recently-acquired in-game leader Kevin ‘kRTYSTAL’ Amend, it was inevitable only one could survive, and sure enough the German signed in June of this year has been cut from the starting five in favour of the young gun.

The trouble all started just over a week ago, when EspiranTo announced he would be voluntarily removing himself from the roster due to a clash of personalities with the newly appointed in-game leader. This led to something of a war of words on social media, which even saw his coach jump into the conversation unprompted, and by all accounts the blame lay mainly at EspiranTo’s feet, if not entirely.

While this sort of impetuous behaviour is not surprising from a player who only turned 17 earlier this year, the fact that Imperial have now rowed back on their decision and reinstated the player who chose to rock the boat shows a potential weakness in the group. Backing the man you brought in as in-game leader shows every other team member that authority and hierarchy have to mean something, while allowing a young talent to get his way by rewarding such petulant behaviour simply encourages more mutiny.

To add to that impression, when the initial conflict arose, the coach of the team, Neil Murphy, came out and publicly explained how things had unfolded. While he made an attempt to show how both sides had contributed, the opening par of his Twitlonger made it clear who was to blame, with the quote below fairly damning of the reaction to what was a move the team needed from EspiranTo.

“[EspiranTo] didn't want to bring Kevin in, we needed a dedicated leader so I told him to give him a chance & he did. Right from the start Espi barely spoke in praccs, Kevin tried to give him any role possible but Espi just didn't like the style which I felt was very unfair as Kevin was doing the exact jobs we really missed to progress.”

Lack of basic team ethic

It will be interesting to see if the team can get back on track after an incident like this one, with all the signs suggesting that the future will need to see a massive change from EspiranTo if he is to become famous for anything more than the demise of kRYSTAL. A line from his twitlonger, where he lamented the fact that he was “forced to change myself as a player because of his calls”, seems to suggest a lack of not only basic teamwork from the player, but also a fundamental misunderstanding of where he is both in his career, and his standing as a player in CSGO.

That is not to say you cannot make demands at a certain point, but to ask for the removal of a leader or refuse to consider changing your style requires a level of ability and success to back it up. For s1mple, NiKo or KennyS, the question might be more complex, but EspiranTo is at a point in his career where he should be going out of his way to learn new ways to play, and taking on board information from as many different sources as possible.

Instead, this episode paints a picture of a somewhat spoiled player, and we can only hope he has learned enough from it to become a better team-mate and deliver on the talent he has. Instead of looking at what he might achieve, it would be wise to remember the dues the likes of ropz and even s1mple were made to pay before gaining respect and influence, and compare that to his own short career.