• Ashlynn "Valkenn" Brady

What Happened to the Final Members of CLG?

Updated: Oct 30, 2018

The Final Stage of CLG’s CS:GO Roster:

On November 30th, 2017, CLG announced their departure from the male CS:GO scene just three years after forming the branch. This move took place after rumors of financial and political issues, as well as tension within the team began to surface. From FNS discussing his struggles to form a working relationship with coach Steve 'Ryu' Rattacasa to Nick Allen, the Chief Operating Officer at CLG (COO), expressing his concerns with being associated with a game involving Terrorists. Things had slowly been falling apart behind the scenes right in front of everyone's eyes.

The final roster under the CLG name consisted of Pujan “FNS” Mehta, Kenneth “koosta” Suen, Ethan “nahtE” Arnold, Stephen “reltuC” Cutler, Ricky “Rickeh” Mulholland, and coach Steve “Ryu” Rattacasa. Over the course of 195 maps and eight months the team played at eight LAN events, five of those being top five finishes. This run also included an 8th and 5th place finish at ECS Season three and four, as well as a 7th and 8th place finish at EPL Season five and six. Their online results were not nearly as impressive as their offline, and all around the NA team was playing well below the standards the previous lineups containing Tarik 'tarik' Celik and Josh 'jdm64' Marzano had set.

FNS and his new set of comrades consistently fell short at every single event they attended. A great example of this being their performance at not just the PGL Krakow Minor but the ELEAGUE Minor as well, where they fell just short of second place both times. Barely missing out on a chance at the main qualifiers two years in a row was definitely disheartening for not just the players but the organization as well. Or even better yet, their loss to Immortals at DreamHack Montreal. On top of the losses, CLG got into a bit of trouble with Brazilian player kNg. Resulting in the famous death threats directed towards FNS after several members of Immortals showed up late drunk and hungover.

After a rough start at the event, CLG came back and won two Bo3’s 2-0 against Gale Force and Kinguin only to get 2-0’ed themselves by said Brazilian team. The team's final push towards redemption was a failed run at making both the EPL and ECS Finals. Like I mentioned earlier, both seasons ended with them in a 7th/8th place finish. These two failures ultimately led to the final reassurance that CLG needed to pull out of at least the male side of their CS:GO unit. It was no longer financially stable for them to continue, and they struggled to find sponsors who wanted to be associated with a game of CS:GO’s nature.

FNS’s Struggle to Find a Permanent NA Home:

Shortly after CLG closed the doors on their male CS:GO division, FNS got picked up by compLexity. Replacing Alec "Slemmy" White who the team had used as their in-game leader for 8 months with little to no results. The addition of Pujan didn't bring compLexity much success either - he only spent three months on the team before transferring to Cloud9. During that time, FNS didn't get to attend a single LAN event. He spent the entirety of his stay playing qualifiers and attending the EPL and ECS online leagues.

Only one of the seven qualifiers FNS attended with compLexity ended as an accomplishment, a spot in ECS Season 5. Missing out on DreamHack Marseille, IEM Katowice, and IEM Sydney was a big blow to the American squad. To top off this string of bad luck, both online leagues ended with compLexity getting relegated. Which yes, includes the ECS spot they fought so hard to get. Granted FNS left half way through both seasons, it was clear that there was no progress made with him on the team.

Without any progress made both individually and as a whole it came as no surprise when FNS changed teams. He is one of the most experienced in-game leaders in North America and Cloud9 certainly believed in this as well. His buyout was rumored to be at around $200k and FNS looked like he was going to be a permanent answer to the major winning team’s IGL problem. In fact he was their first real IGL since the departure of Sean "seang@res" Gares in 2015. With four experienced rifler’s surrounding him, FNS was looking to create a structured gameplan for the team to follow in hopes of reviving the same performances that lead the team to win the Boston Major.

Looking at what past teammates have said about the IGL it is clear that FNS takes his job very seriously and knows how to get his players motivated, something that I personally hoped would maybe stear Tyler "Skadoodle" Latham in the right direction. One of NA’s best AWPers who sadly has a bad case of being incredibly inconsistent. Sadly this team reaped no rewards for the young IGL either. They played four LAN events together - DreamHack Marseille being the only event they finished outside of the group stage. His time was short, and Cloud9’s statement on his departure definitely shed some light into the situation;

John"FNS brought with him the structure, discipline, and leadership that led him to success with former teams, but the differences in philosophies proved to be too great to form the cohesion needed to accomplish the results we know they are capable of. Both the team and FNS arrived at the conclusion that the time and energy of all parties would be better spent seeking out more suitable arrangements for their respective play-styles." (Cloud9)

His trial period was very rushed, without any time to properly begin the process of creating a gameplan with his teammates but it was also clear that his style wasn’t what the Cloud9 players were looking for. Luckily, FNS has recently found a home in eUnited, replacing Brandon "Ace" Winn. His vast knowledge of the game will be perfect for the young NA team, bringing a new level of leadership and confidence to the players. FNS will be looking to make this home last, hopefully for more than just a few months, and keep the team rolling in their online leagues. He is one of the few players in North America with the mentality and motivation to take on the leadership role of a team and not give up. It will be very interesting to see what he can do with eUnited in the up and coming months.

Koosta’s Adventures in the Lower Tiers of NA CS:

Koosta did not find himself on a proper CS:GO team until roughly three months after being released from CLG. The young AWPer joined forces with Braxton "swag" Pierce, Matt "Pollo" Wilson, Keven "AZK" Lariviere, and Joshua "steel" Nissan on Torqued (Formally known as GX) in place of Shawn "witmer" Taylor. Obviously playing with members banned by Valve means no CS:GO Majors, but the team still made the best of what they had. With koosta on the team they only attended four LAN events, but were very prosperous when it came to their online results.

Torqued finished in 3rd place at ESEA MDL Season 27, as well as placed in top three at several smaller online NA events, including the iBUYPOWER Spring Invitational earlier this year, where the team managed to beat compLexity 2-0 before falling to Team Liquid in the semifinals. The team also managed to qualify for cs_summit and DreamHack Open Tours 2018. Both events were not very successful for the team, in fact a majority of koosta’s time on the team ended with very little reward. However, he did improve his individual stats tremendously. Ending his run with Torqued with a 1.13 rating and a 1.30 opening kill rating, a performance well beyond what he had shown on CLG.

With the departure of Braxton "swag" Pierce and Keven "AZK" Larivière, it was clear that the Torqued roster was falling apart and with ESL One Belo Horizonte coming up they needed to find a solution quickly. Luckily for them, Ghost Gaming decided to sign the remaining members of Torqued. Pollo, steel, and koosta were now playing alongside Yassine “subroza” Taoufik and Matthew “Wardell” Yu, replacing Sebastion “seb” Bucki, Andy “vSa” Xu, and Tramaine “stan1ey” Stanley. They also managed to bring their coach along, James “JamezIRL” Macaulay. Ghost was definitely the new beginning that koosta was striving for and so far the team has definitely proven they plan on being able to compete against the best of the best.

The team was immediately thrown into action at ESL One: Belo Horizonte where they unshockingly finished 7-8th due to a lack of practice. Since then, koosta has managed to grab a 3-4th place finish at the ZOTAC Cup Masters as well as an amazing start to the ESL Pro League online season. He and his team are currently 13-3, occupying the second place spot in NA ahead of the likes of NRG and Liquid. koosta is currently the 9th best player in the league with a 1.16 rating and has been one of the most consistently good players on the team. With a few weeks left in the season, the team has already secured themselves a spot at the LAN final taking place in Denmark.

Playing offline is a completely different ball game than playing online and it will truly test how much koosta and the rest of his team have actually improved. So far it is very clear that he has found a new long-term home with Ghost. However, if he ever plans on attending a Major again, things will have to change. Whether that be a new team or Ghost picking up a new IGL, not being able to attend such a big event will definitely be an internal conflict that koosta will have to figure out for himself eventually. For now things are on an upward trajectory for the 22 year old and with the direction that Ghost is heading, I wouldn't be surprised if we saw koosta’s face at a lot of the future LAN events taking place this year.

nahtE’s Surge to the Top:

nahtE spent only a few matches playing with former CLG teammates Stephen "reltuC" Cutler and Kenneth "koosta" Suen in Unemployed for Christmas before taking a break from competitive play for a few months. Returning from his break to replace Allan "AnJ" Jensen on NRG Esports, looking to take on the role that the former struggled to adapt to during his time on the team. There was a lot of talk about this, especially since he had been playing such aggressive rifling roles on CLG. So far, nahtE has been playing well above most people's expectations for the young player and his transition into the new role has gone smoothly.

nahtE is definitely the most successful of the five players being mentioned in this article, however it hasn't been all smooth sailing for the young player. He certainly started out his time with the team with a bang, ending ESL Pro League season 7 in second place and ECS season 5 in first. Shocking the entirety of the csgo scene, nahtE finished as the number one player in both leagues. Ending EPL with a 1.35 rating and ECS with a 1.38 as well as some of the highest opening kill stats in both leagues. Straight off the bat it was clear that the 18 year old was definitely the right choice as a fifth player. However, despite his amazing performances, NRG still has their struggles, especially at LAN events.

His first two LAN events, IEM Sydney and the EPL finals, ended with NRG going out in 9th-12th place. Both ended with nahtE having 1.10+ ratings. In fact, I would say that for the most part his teammates managed to keep themselves calm and collected enough to perform at the best of their abilities. It ultimately came down to the team's lack of experience and time spent playing in a LAN environment, and of course the fact that they had to face some of the best teams in the world. nahtE started out NRG on a good note and has been on a upward trajectory since their first event together.

nahtE has been able to stick to pretty much the same role for his entire time on NRG, but he has made it clear he is a very versatile player. Able to consistently perform for the team no matter what position he is put. An attribute that has made him one of the best in NA, as well as an easy player to teach and play with on a team environment. In fact looking at the top 50 teams in the world, nahtE is currently ranked the 6th best in 2018. The young star has an outstanding 1.20 rating and is averaging 0.77 kills a round on NRG. Not to mention that he also has a 1.18 KD and that his team wins 75% of the rounds that nahtE gets a first kill on.

Right now NRG are the 9th best team in the world and the #1 team in the U.S. a ranking that they have fought very hard to get to. It is safe to say that nahtE has played a very big role in the team success alongside his two more impactful teammates, Tsvetelin "CeRq" Dimitrov and Vincent "Brehze" Cayonte. Not to mention the fact that nahtE is now reunited with ex-OpTic and CLG coach Chet Singh. With each tournament that goes by you can see the progress being made by the team and nahtE especially has grown tremendously as an individual. His future is definitely looking the brightest and the most promising of the ex-CLG lineup, and seems like the most likely candidate to even win a major one day.

Rickeh’s Journey to the FACEIT Major:

Rickeh spent the least amount of time with CLG, playing only 471 maps with the team. He was picked up by the NA team back in March of 2017, just a month or so after he was kicked from the Australian team Renegades. His signing with CLG made him the first Australian player to join a a North American roster, and is argued to be one of the big factors, alongside FNS’s leadership, behind the team's short period of success. After CLG, Rickeh did not return to CS:GO until early 2018 where he played as a stand in for ex-Splyce.

He only played a handful of games with the team, but Rickeh did manage to help them secure 2nd place at the ESL Pro League Season 7 North America Relegation, earning the remaining members of the team a spot in EPL Season 8. It was a very small return but nonetheless impactful, with the AWP back in his hands it was clear that he planned on fully coming back into the scene. And after his time with ex-Splyce he almost immediately got picked up by Rogue. His impact was almost immediate, leading them to a 2nd place finish at DreamHack Open Austin shortly after his arrival.

Rickeh replaced the up and coming Canadian player Anthony "gMd" Guimond, a move coming after a numerous number of bad performances from both the team and gMd himself. He is definitely an above average player in NA, especially with the skill he has shown in the past with the AWP. A role that American teams have struggled to properly fill with reliable talent and, like I mentioned above, DreamHack Austin definitely proved this. Rickeh started out with a bang, ending as the fourth best player in attendance. It was clear that even after just barely a week of practice with the team that he was going to be the beginning of something great.

Their run lasted up until the FACEIT Major Main Qualifier where the team bombed out in 12th-14th place. Making it their only finish outside of the top five, it was very disappointing, especially with how the EU minor had gone for them. Before this the team had consistently fallen short at every single qualifier they attended, looking like they were just on the cusp of breaking through for months. As a viewer it was very frustrating to watch, but it can also safely be said that Rickeh wasn't the problem. Win or lose, he was putting up consistent numbers and trying his hardest, further proving why he is still a valuable player post-CLG.

After the FACEIT Major, North benched Mathias MSL Lauridsen and picked up cadiaN. Rickeh’s team is now being lead by MSL, the IGL cadiaN replaced, and are looking to rebuild themselves from there.

Right now Rickeh is just playing in the two online leagues, EPL and ECS, and things have looked pretty grim so far. Obviously the stress of trying to find a new IGL has taken its toll on the team, but nonetheless Rickeh has of course been one of the best players on the team. Luckily that stress is now over and MSL will definitely be able to turn Rickeh and the rest of his team into something great. Even if Rogue ends up being a disaster, I would even argue that he could be a viable option for Cloud9 to pick up if they decide they don't want Timothy “autimatic” Ta as their primary AWPer. He still has the fire under his feet to be an impactful player and definitely isn't going to be leaving the scene anytime soon.

reltuC’s Demise:

reltuC was the longest lasting member on CLG, playing on the team since their first real lineup back in 2015. He stuck with them through thick and thin and was quite literally on the team for his entire career up until they left. reltuC played a total of 659 maps and attended five Majors. Sadly none of them reaped any rewards. All ending in 13-16th place finishes outside of MLG Columbus 2016 where CLG went out 5th-8th. He knows all too well the hardships of being on a NA team but nevertheless has still continued to play. In fact it did pay off for at least the last few months of his time on the team when they had their string of top 5 finishes from April to June of 2017. reltuC is a very motivated player but has never been a star, always taking on the support role and helping his teammates more so than himself.

In February of the current year reltuC replaced Jonathan "Jonji" Carey on RONIN who took a step back from the team to focus on his education. However this lasted a very short amount of time - roughly two months to be exact. reltuC participated in about half of the games RONIN played during the 27th season of ESEA MDL. Winning only half of these, he didn't have a very big impact on the team. In fact it was very concerning seeing a player who was once apart of a top NA team struggle to get kills against Tier 3 talent. Sure he has never been a fragger but bottom fragging against teams well below the competition that he faced while on CLG was a bad sign for the experienced player.

reltuC’s next team, Splyce, didn't go much better for him individually. Splyce, which later turned into boxr after they got dropped by the org, played a bunch of online qualifiers without any success. They got relegated from ESL Pro League Season 7 and fell short at everything else they attempted as well. Well, all except the NA relegation event that they managed to get second place at, securing their spot in the current season of EPL. reltuC’s time with the team did nothing but make him look worse. In fact 2018 has been statistically the lowest of his entire career. He is the only player from CLG who has yet to make a real comeback into the scene, and it doesn't look like he will be doing so anytime soon.

After his adventures on Splyce, Envyus decided to re-enter the CS:GO scene. Picking up reltuC as their support player along side IGL Kory 'SEMPHIS' Friesen, AWPer Josh 'jdm64' Marzano, secondary AWPer Noah 'Nifty' Francis and entry fragger Taylor 'Drone' Johnson. On paper, the team actually seems quite decent for NA team’s standards. However it has been quite the opposite, and reltuC has continued on his downward spiral. Not just with himself individually but with yet another seemingly failed NA team as well. Obviously Envyus have only played online games, but have walked away with only one win, unable to even compete against Rogue or INTZ, two of the lesser skilled teams in ESL Pro League. It is obvious that reltuC is reaching the end of his career and is sadly the only player of the five that hasn't been able to bounce back on their feet.

It is possible of course for his current team to pick up the pace, especially given more time to practice but it seems unlikely that reltuC will be able to keep up even if this is the case. The 29 year old has done a lot for the NA scene, and has been a loyal teammate to many. Especially to the CLG org, but it is clear that his time and come and gone to be on a top level NA team. At the end of the day he hasn't been able to keep up and has practically disappeared from the public's attention outside of his signing with Envyus. Maybe he will step back and become a streamer or work at events, or maybe he will prove me wrong and return to being a top level support player. As of right now though the future looks grim, and with EnVy already looking to make changes I wouldn't be surprised if his name was on the chopping block next.