• Anthony Vitale

Moves We Missed: OpTic in '17 & '18

The attempts to build an international OpTic roster in 2017 and 2018 had their fair share of problems. These issues led to a couple of roster change proposals that never came to fruition.

Hopes of bringing life to the OpTic roster were put into an international group of players following the collapse of their North American squad. The organization was left with two players, the Spanish hybrid player Óscar “mixwell” Cañellas and current Team Liquid front runner Keith “NAF” Markovic.

Photo courtesy of WESG

Behind them was coach Chet “ImAPet” Singh, who joined the team to rebuild what was left of the previous North American roster, but to no avail. Given the circumstances, their only option was to begin exploring the market for new recruits.

With the sudden emergence of European free agents and the possession of the Spanish superstar mixwell, it seemed like a no-brainer for OpTic to attempt building an international roster from the ground up.

The original lineup proposal had Danish in-game leader Marco "Snappi" Pfeiffer at the helm, as well as Dennis “dennis” Edman. These names would have been occupying the space of team's eventual leader Adam "friberg" Friberg and entry fragger Kevin "HS" Tarn. dennis was willing to join if the team had a player fit to lead so he wouldn't have to. But because Snappi declined the offer, so did dennis. Instead, he decided to take his chances on his swap between fnatic and GODSENT.

Interestingly enough, dennis went on to join Ninjas in Pyjamas and act as their interim leader after choosing not to do so for OpTic. However, leading a team in his mother tongue of Swedish is more practical than doing so with a brand new core of players in English.

OpTic would ultimately settle for Aleksi "allu" Jalli, friberg, and star rifler Emil "Magisk" Reif who had been sitting on North’s bench for three weeks. The issue then was pulling HS out from his contract with PENTA after they had just lost Miikka "suNny" Kemppi to mousesports.

OpTic fielded NAF for their opening ESL Pro League Season 6 matches and he performed exceptionally well in a team completely foreign to him. He secured a 1.35 rating across the four maps they had played and won.

Everything seemed to have gone the way the team had hoped with HS’ eventual buyout from PENTA. But it turned out that this was not the case. Supposedly, the team looked to maintain hold of NAF and continue with him as their fifth player, but he had other plans in mind, joining Renegades only three days after HS was signed.

A statement from OpTic's coach at the time, ImAPet, confirms this to be the case. ImAPet went on record during a sit-down on our very own Rush B Podcast, saying, "We were going to make a roster change, but we didn't and people kind of found out and it got messy. We were just going to remove HS and I think we were trying to get NAF back. And if that didn't work, then we were going to remove HS and get dennis in January." It is important to remember that dennis was considered for the team at its genesis but he had taken another path.

January had arrived and still no alterations were made. However, new developments in the scene opened another window of opportunity for the organization to peer into. Following the poaching of Magisk by Astralis, the remainder of OpTic’s European players began hunting for new homes.

Yet another rebuilding stage marked the availability of American sniper Shahzeb “ShahZaM” Khan, in-game leader Peter “stanislaw” Jarguz, as well as a multitude of North players as too great an opportunity to squander. This would later become the more questionable iteration of OpTic that we know today as one of the worst team environments in recent CS history. However, only a small change to the squad was initially intended.

Before offering ShahZaM a chance to reclaim his place in OpTic, the staff originally attempted to keep mixwell, but alas, his desire to return home to Spain after so much heartbreak proved too great to tie him down. It was just one more idea that was thrown to the wayside, thus ending the string of planned roster changes that we never got to see from the international OpTic rosters.