North has been a troubled project since the day the five men and their entourage signed up to represent FC Copenhagen, but you can’t accuse the org of resting on their laurels, or whatever people without laurels rest on. Since the initial five-man group joined for a veritable bucket of money (which Google Translate, wonderfully, says in Danish is "spand penge") their results have been poor, and they’ve kept making changes to try to find a remedy.
After bringing in what turned out to be the worst player on Astralis (kjaerbye), they have gone for another roll of the dice, and the sort that is bound to engender some bad jokes about misunderstandings. For the next two games, the Danish player Nikolaj "niko" Kristensen will stand in during Dreamhack Masters Stockholm and the Faceit London Major, replacing young AWP player Daniel "mertz" Mertz, who joined Heroic on loan until October 1st.
The reaction from those who know CSGO, and particularly Danish CSGO well, has been generally positive, and the fact this is only a trial deal at the moment means there is a chance for North to go back if it goes horribly wrong. With OpTic snapping up some of the more obvious choices North might have made, it’s also not as easy to find a top team in that part of the world, even if you have massive wages to offer.
Deeper issues at North?
That has been part of the problem for North, but the fact Astralis were able to pick up one of the players already rejected by their ‘rivals’ and turn him into a top-ten talent (Magiskboy) might be a sign of a deeper issue. The losses of Magisk and k0nfig didn’t seem to say much about North at the time, but their level since does at least hint that some people find it very hard to perform in the current system MSL, North’s in-game leader, likes to deploy.
As always, the players have paid tribute to their owners, who allow them to move and exist independently when they see fit, as you can tell from Niko’s statement thanking RFRSH for letting him leave Heroic. *"I’m happy to get to test myself in new surroundings and I simultaneously hope and wish the best for Heroic. In many ways, this is a special transfer and I have only good things left to say about Heroic and RFRSH. On the other hand is a good thing for me to enter a new group. North is one of the best teams in Denmark and a team with great ambitions. In that sense, it’s not far from what I’m coming from but I’m excited about this new challenge." *
He went on to send yet more hot air in the direction of Heroic’s owners, taking the total number of mentions RFRSH got in the statement about a player joining North to three, one more than uses of the word North. "I would like to use this occasion to send my thanks to everybody at RFRSH and Heroic and I’m looking forward to see everybody again this fall. Now is the time for something new, at least for the coming period. I’m happy that RFRSH and North together have given me this opportunity."
The major is as good an arena as any to test out the new look North, and if they enjoy success with this team it shouldn’t be that tough to make the move a permanent one. If, on the other hand, it turns out this is yet more good money thrown after bad, it may be time for the owners to think about more radical change, and changing the leadership group in a team that has been consistently inconsistent, and disappointing way more than they should have.
Image credit: North