Janko tasked with bringing brighter spells back to MiBR


Counter-Strike has been in a strange place in recent months, and today that strangeness continued. Struggling Made in Brazil (MiBR) announced the signing of Janko ‘YNK’ Paunovic as their new head coach, after months of speculation linking them to other people in a similar position.

The public reaction to the news is about what you would expect from the former world’s best team signing a desk analyst to help them regain their magic. Many pundits had expected the team to pursue Wilton ‘zews’ Prado, their former coach who is currently working wonders with Team Liquid, or another high level analyst, but the move comes out of left-field, and if it fails the team will have to bear the brunt of the negativity.

As a player, YNK’s main claim to fame is having played on the same team as Nikola ‘NiKo’ Kovac, the FaZe Clan star who was briefly considered the world’s best player (long after he’d left YNK’s team), but his career went further than that at a time when playing from 'non-CS' regions was incredibly difficult. He transitioned from the role of unsuccessful player to analyst via the position of observer, and his desk segments do show his understanding of rotations and ability to explain them to laymen with no idea how CSGO should be played, which could help when working with Tarik and Stewie2k.

On a more serious note, after the way MiBR attempted to recruit replacements for TACO and boltz, it is difficult to be sure if this was their first choice, but it seems like the team isn’t really sure what they need. The eventual signings of the Americans from Cloud 9 came after the team had chased every other skirt in sight, which raises the question as to what number on the list for a new coach YNK really was, especially when you compare him to a zews or zonic.

Lack of top-level coaching

Having said that, there is a lack of genuine top-level coaching in CSGO, with the masterminds few and far between, and a lot of the middle of the pack coaches and analysts coming in for a level of derision, or at least dismissal. Even after Cloud 9 won the Major at the start of the year, there was scorn poured on their coach Soham ‘Valens’ Chowdhury for being a ‘chat moderator’

With that in mind, it’s clear that the world of CSGO has just as much trouble judging who is going to be a great coach, and YNK has a good chance of making a splash. His analysis over the years will have exposed him to many different strategies and play styles, he has interacted with the best of the best, and crucially he will bring a fresh thought process to a team that is very obviously out of ideas.

It will be a challenge for YNK of course, as the team is clearly at its lowest point in years and lacks direction. Whether he can provide them with the information they need to play as a unit is one question, but it equally remains to be seen whether he is able to help quell the infighting that looks as though it could tear the core of FalleN, fer and coldzera apart for good.

While his credentials as a coach are not on par with some, the MiBR brand, owned as it is by Immortals, is at least building a decent desk for a B-tier CSGO event, having already signed Tomi ‘lurppis’ Kovanen as their General Manager of CSGO, after he spent some time flitting between desk work and other commitments. This may not be as accidental as it seems, with Immortals CEO Whinston having commented in the past that his priority is entertainment over pure excellence.

It will be interesting to see if YNK can bring anything to the Brazilian table that FalleN and co have not already clocked, and equally interesting to see who replaces him on the desk at future events. With a swathe of Americans retiring recently, it could be a chance for the likes of Sean Gares or Jordan ‘n0thing’ Gilbert to cement themselves as part of the furniture going forwards.

Tim MastersTim joined Luckbox as an editor in 2018, having previously spent time at GosuGamers, EsportsHeaven and other sites. He currently is not at his desk.