The CSGO Major is upon us and the new faces are shining through wherever you look in Katowice. Brollan may not have made it, but ZywOo leads the pack when it comes to exciting new players at this point of the biggest event in CSGO, with the likes of Gratisfaction, sergej, Jame, KSCERATO and many others impressing in week one.
However, there are also a fair few players reaching the end of their career, or at least pushing the limit of what is considered the "right" age to play top-level esports. With that in mind, we ran down a few of the biggest names who might be making their last Major appearance, although none have announced plans to pack it in post-Katowice, making it speculation, of course.
The retirement of n0thing is nearly as nebulous and hard to pin down as the retirement of Vince, the British commentator who is currently working at the Major. Much like the budget Anders, n0thing has struggled to crack the top level for a while now, but unlike Vince he seems to be getting further away from the main stage, rather than nearer. A cameo for mousesports last year wasn’t great, and if he’s exposed in Katowice while playing for an underpowered compLexity, it could be no more for n0thing, at least in esports terms.
It seems mad to say that this could be the last time we see GuardiaN at this level of play, but the FaZe team is closer to implosion than many realise. While they look great in scrims and have a talent surfeit, the team has struggled to improve with NiKo at the helm and the pressure is starting to tell. We already know GuardiaN hates to play in negative environments, and has said this could be his last team in CSGO, meaning a 0-3 for FaZe could see the end of one of the greatest snipers FPS games have ever seen.
The level Forest played at to get his Ninjas to this Major proper was a blast from the past, but it can’t be a lot of fun to have this pressure on your shoulders all the time. We’ve seen his main competition for ‘greatest of all time’ retire with the end of Neo’s top level career, and Sweden’s finest may well be tempted to hang up the mouse if things go badly in week two. His relationship with GeT_RiGhT is one of the most enduring in all of esports, but time waits for no man.
This is barely even going to raise an eyebrow for most, with HLTV already having published a number of interviews where the Na’Vi in-game leader talks about his retirement plans, but the end of the thunder god will be a big moment for CIS CSGO. In terms of leaders, he is the best they’ve had for some time if you go by results, which is all that matters in sport or esport, but his style is going out of fashion and his inability to keep up with the fragging is starting to tell on his team-mates.
Finally, the Tank, one of the most reliable and solid players in French CSGO, and a man who has already taken one break from the game. We know his motivation has wavered, and his second peak was ruined by pneumonia, and the possibility of a French shuffle post-Katowice means he could be the man to make way if Vitality decide to transplant some major organs. On the flip side, a great run with his new team could have the opposite effect, but it never feels like the Tank is far away from being put in a military museum.
IEM Katowice 2019: Legends stage preview
Tim Masters and Dr Waldo dissect the first week of IEM Katowice and run the rule over what we might expect from the Legends Stage in our reguar podcast, The Week In CSGO.