How do you solve a problem like SK Gaming?

A month ago, the best team in the world was either FaZe or SK Gaming, depending on how much you value recent results. About week ago, the water-carrier and man who facilitated the greatest player in the world left SK Gaming, and from that point on we’ve been drowning in the insanity. First rumours about HEN1 and LUCAS1 began to swirl, borne of their departure from the NTC group, before things became more complicated, and at the same time a little more s1mple…let’s have a look at what might be next for the Brazilian core.

The year is 1999, and your PC is about to crash, maybe. Not really, instead of that doomsday that never happened, this is a potential disaster that looks very possible. When other moves broke down, it was Stewie2k who started to appear in the whispers, and soon enough those who know confirmed he had been practicing with SK. There seem to be Americans better suited to this move, with Elige in particular known to be a Portuguese speaker, but that isn’t the main reason this move doesn’t make sense to us.

The aggression of Fer is a huge part of SK Gaming’s success, and ended up being the reason felps could not turn his insane level of talent into a permanent spot on the Brazilian team. While Stewie2k is able to vary his playstyle, the playmaking aspect is still his forte, and it would require some adjustment. On the other hand, if you are looking to replace the entry role TACO toiled so tirelessly in, he could be a great pick, and his motivation in Cloud9 was clearly lacking in the wake of their major win. Whether the prize on offer is enough to make him want it again, only time will tell.

The s1mple answer.
On the face of things, this is the sort of move that makes your pants tight and your breath heavy. Combining the best player in the world from a fundamental point of view (coldzera) with arguably the most outrageously talented man in Counter-Strike history would seem like a no-brainer, but maybe that is more true that we know. The man from Na’Vi has already shown he does not really enjoy the American lifestyle, and even the entourage SK were allegedly willing to fund may not have been enough to change that.

Furthermore, flamie’s inclusion in the deal as a sort of comfort blanket/fifth man seems like the sort of move that could backfire, as he is far from a makeweight player even at this point in his career. Finally, and this applies to many options, there is an obvious language barrier, and more so than with a native English speaker, as both s1mple sides would have to operate in a second language under extreme stress. This move almost certainly won’t happen now, and if you are a fan of SK, that is probably something you should be happy about, as it had the potential to be the end of the entire affair.

Go back to go forwards
There is a world where felps actually ends up being the solution to SK’s problem, albeit a fairly distant and unlikely one. His chemistry with the team is not terrible, and the fact TACO has left and boltz joined means that if he did come back, it would be in a different, more aggressive role. Like TACO, he would have to learn to subsume his ego in favour of coldzera, but we know he attempted this previously with some success.

This move also works out of simplicity, although some would argue that if you are going to consider it you may as well have just kept TACO.
Other options in this direction include HEN1, LUCAS1 and even kNg, although the latter is about as toxic as Flint tap water according to all reports. The odds of unearthing another coldzera from the rough seem long, but with the MiBR brand still a possibility and the patriotism strong in SK hearts, there are both emotional and logical reasons to hire a fifth that speaks your language, knows your culture, and reveres you as gods already.

Off the wall
You might think in an article where option two is ‘add s1mple to a Brazilian team living in the US’, that there was no room for a more crazy solution, but there are players out there to prove you wrong. For a moment, put aside all the common sense, and imagine SK decided to give a chance to a legend, one who is currently not active, but will return soon and can do anything. SK shoxie, anyone? How about one of the rumours that is already said to have happened, when SK tried to make SK NiKo a thing.

The point is, if you’d asked the experts whether they could ever see SK kicking TACO and picking up a player like s1mple, you’d have been laughed at just a couple of months ago, but today we know that nearly happened thanks to the Na’Vi CEO’s helpful tweet. Anything could happen at this point, and if stew falls though prepare yourself for just that, as right now it looks like SK are fishing with dynamite and seeing what surfaces.

Images courtesy of Cloud9, Na'Vi and SK Gaming