Seven Potential North Pick-Ups You Probably Didn't Even Consider
The sudden benching of Daniel ‘mertz’ Mertz caught many off-guard; not least, it seems, the North fans, whom loved the AWPer. The naming of the stand-in for Dreamhack Valencia - Oscar ‘mixwell’ Canellas - didn’t quell any fears those fans had. Mixwell was quick to dispel rumours that he would be the permanent fifth for the primarily Danish squad, but with North testing calling in English, it opens up a lot of new options.
Mathias ‘MSL’ Lauridsen, the IGL, has often looked towards five rifle set-ups, especially on the T side, but he still likes having a strong AWP as the backbone of his CT set-ups. In fact, MSL has said North really want an AWPer who can ‘kill a lot and play smart’, an incredibly vague description. Thankfully, as RushB’s resident North fan, I’m here to break down a few interesting options that North can explore.
One caveat I would add, is that because North left this so late, many of the players they could get in would be ineligible for the Major. It might be worth finding a stand-in until after the major (or, you know, playing mertz) to get the right player.
Jorgen ‘cromen’ Robertson
The Norwegian star has spent the last few months ripping heads off in FaZe Clan, but with the return of Olof ‘olofmeister’ Kajbjer, cromen is available and importantly, not major locked. He isn’t an AWPer; he’s not even a hybrid, really; but he is a gifted and smart player who is used to calling in English. Lifestyle wise, Denmark shouldn’t be too alien to a Scandinavian, so fitting in shouldn’t be too hard. However, it does force a five rifle set-up more often than not, or it moves aizy/MSL onto a more permanent AWPing role which seems sub-optimal.
Cromen displayed his potential with aplomb at ESL Belo Horizonte, where he finished the event with a 1.18 rating, a nasty +38 K/D with 0.70 KPR. Lauded for his fragging power, cromen is somewhat underrated as an intelligent CT player. With North’s CT sides being so poor at Cologne, it might be worth trying cromen out, even though he isn’t an awper.
2. Özgür 'woxic' Eker
Speaking of players who are used to speaking in English, woxic is a player who has consistently put up massive numbers and importantly, is a sniper. The Turkish star is famous for his insanely high sensitivity, but has managed to find a consistency with that style. His unique play style and phenomenal CT side control make him a sought after target. North should know a lot about the guy - their rivalry with Hellraisers in smaller tournaments has been back and forth, mainly due to woxic’s domination on the CT side.
Woxic is a legitimate superstar in ‘Tier 2’ who has taken North apart several times with his destructive, yet passive, AWPing. His lowest rating on LAN in his career is 1.06 at the ESL Pro League Finals, where he still went +17. In six of his last seven events he’s put up a ridiculous 0.80+ KPR - fragging which mertz can’t quite stand up to.
There are three problems with w0xic - one, is that he would cost a decent wedge to buy out. Though he’s hinted at being unhappy with his team on Twitter, he’s not appeared desperate to leave and given his performance, HR won’t let him go easily. Secondly, he has VISA issues occasionally, which one would need assurances on was one to pick him up. Thirdly, he’s currently playing at the CIS Minor and as such would have to be picked up after the Major - something which North are unlikely to be willing to do.
North left this very late and as such many players they might otherwise have been interested in will be roster locked, which is a real issue for them.
3. Kevin ‘xccurate’ Susanto
Bear with me on this one, cause this is a weird one, but the more you mull it over the more interesting it is. xccurate is a dangerous AWPer with an insane ceiling, who, since giving up the IGL role, has really had mixed results. At times he’s looked like a real star, but TyLoo’s inconsistencies in communication and form have hindered him getting a real handle on his own style. BnTet is the real star of that team (and could easily be an entry on his own), but in terms of AWPing, xccurate is far more dangerous.
Yes, xccurate’s raw numbers in terms of rating are not great at all, but in watching his game there’s plenty to be excited about. That said, it would be a huge risk to believe you can mould him into the AWPer that MSL wants; but you can’t deny it would be a very fun experiment.
4. Nikolaj ‘niko’ Kristensen
Once again, a player who isn’t an AWPer at all, but a player I’ve been a huge fan of for a while. niko kept up with JuGI on Heroic but now, with a much weakened team, looks a little lost. His skill level is good enough for a step up, but whether North is the team that should pick him up is up for debate.
Being a domestic player, North will know plenty about the 20 year old, and will know exactly what he can and can’t do. If they’re quick they might be able to nab him before the roster lock for the Major, but it would be a bit of a gamble. niko has never shown himself to be a superstar, but with the fragging power of Kjaerbye and valde they have all the firepower they need, and a stable player like niko could work wonders.
This would, of course, leave the AWP duties up in the air, making it unlikely.
5. Jacob ‘dragoNfly’ Lund
MSL spoke about the lack of AWPers in Denmark, which likely rules this one out; but dragoNfly is about the best available AWPer that they could poach from their own country. Whilst he’s shown brief glimpses of being a dangerous sniper, it would be a gamble and certainly not an instant improvement on mertz.
6. Rokas ‘EspiranTo’ Milasauskas
Another player North have played against a lot recently, EspiranTo is lighting up scoreboards all over the place with Imperial. His fellow Lithuanian Nukkye is the primary AWPer, but EspiranTo is a hybrid who is incredibly dangerous on both rifles and the AWP. He’s very young and gives MSL a lot of room to shape him into whatever he needs, and given his age it’s unlikely he would set North back too much.
EspiranTo looks like a real star, and whoever picks him up is getting a serious player. This is another one which is really, really unlikely, but North’s willingness to change to calling in English opens up the chance to pick up players they wouldn’t normally consider.
7. Cvetelin ‘CeRq’ Dimitrov
Everyone knows about CeRq now - he’s been the one-hit king for NRG for the last few months and has shown he could live up to the hype he earnt. CeRq was a large part of the NRG defense that crushed North at StarSeries as they caused a stir at that event, but after bombing out at the major CeRq could be looking elsewhere for his next team. As the only European on that team he seems the most likely to move to his home continent, and North would be a real testing ground for him. Like every player on this list it would be a gamble, but CeRq is a supremely talented player who would make for an interesting pick-up.
Once again, it would have to be after the Major, but there are so few available players that wouldn’t be. I hear RUBINO might be able to stand in for the Major...