Why MIBR fans should be really worried

Time waits for no man, as the saying goes, and in CSGO it is more true than you’d believe. Contracts last a year or so and rosters even less so, meaning that signing teams to long-term deals is always risky. However, when Noah Whinston and Immortals sealed the deal to bring the SK Gaming core to their company, they must have felt like they’d gamed the system, having hired the most successful team of the past two years, and one of CS’s all-time great cores.


Of course, there were changes between the time the deal was agreed and when the move went through, most notably the removal of TACO, and eventually more money was thrown at the problem. If you damp down the notes a bit, you can even put a fire out with cash, but there are far cheaper and better ways to do it, although that doesn’t seem to have occurred to IMT yet. They followed up the deal for SK with a massive purchase, taking Stewie2k from Cloud 9, before Tarik joined to complete the current roster.

Those fans who just want to see coldzera, FalleN and the rest back on top should be worried that change may not come

Since then, it’s become the standard opinion among top names that this is probably never going to be the same level of team they were in the SK days, although some are still hanging on to the ‘if they just play their best’ rope that has kept the likes of kennyS and shox alive so long past their primes. However, on the other side of things, the team has been pumping out a lot of good content, that surely keeps their brand alive, and MIBR get far more column inches than their results justify.

Time for a change?

Many people feel that it must be time for a change. When YNK moved into the setup, he was praised to the rafters by the people he used to work with, but those in a more neutral position were sceptical of his ability to teach anything to players that were well beyond any level he reached as a player. After an initial upswing, his team has gone back to average, and has begun making the sort of decisions that suggest the brain power is already at its limit, if not overstretched.

However, those fans who just want to see coldzera, FalleN and the rest back on top should be worried that change may not come, and this is going to be the status quo going forwards. The assumption is that IMT won’t appreciate paying out the big bunce to get no wins, but their CEO has already publicly stated that he views entertainment as the most important thing in esports, rather than sheer excellence of performance.

In the episode of Esports Salon, above, the IMT CEO admits a number of times that he is more concerned with marketing than wins, erroneously making comparisons to other scenes he hasn’t fully understood, such as Super Smash Bros. This should worry MIBR fans greatly, as the four-man core was always about the victory first and perhaps explains some of the murmuring about coldzera, the ultimate CSGO competitor, wanting to leave for Liquid.

If that does happen, and it becomes explicitly clear that the project is not about winning games then that will be the end not only of the team, but also the brand. If Whinston is assuming the names will always be big enough to carry his logo to the mainstream, he has misjudged CSGO as badly as he did Smash, and will end up seeing a huge pot of venture capital lost again, to the detriment of his investors and his organisation.

Image: Noah Whinston

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