The holiday offseason only means two things for top CS:GO organizations – grind and shuffle.
Yuletide was a pretty dormant period for top tier CS:GO. The end of BLAST Pro Series: Lisbon 2018 midway December officially marked the end of activities for most players. Fans won’t get to see top tier pro games until the third week of January at the beginning of the Minor Championships for Intel Extreme Masters Major 2019 at Katowice.
But the silence of rifles doesn’t mean organizations are slacking as well. Contrary, most teams worked overtime as they bid to form the best possible squad especially for teams attending the Minors and the Majors come March.
With that, here are some of the biggest trades and shuffles that happened the past month.
MIBR assembles TACO and zews
MIBR stands for Made in Brazil, and finally since returning to the scene last June, the organization will be able to live up to its name by fielding in a not so ordinary lineup of pure Brazilian talent. MIBR is one confirmation away from reuniting the successful 2017 SK Gaming core composed of Gabriel "FalleN" Toledo, Fernando "fer" Alvarenga, Marcelo "coldzera" David, Epitacio "TACO" de Melo and João "felps" Vasconcellos.
The team is currently staying with Tarik "tarik" Celik, however their intention to go to a full-Brazilian lineup suggested that they are looking for one more talent. Reports surfaced that the organization is in talks with felps for arguably one of the biggest reunions in competitive CS:GO.
Along with returning strategist Wilton "zews" Prado, the SK core might be one of the truest teams to bid for the IEM Major title.
Team Liquid welcomes Stewie
Liquid had a blast in 2018 as they have earned multiple 2nd place finishes across big tournaments leading them to be the 2nd best team in the world next to Astralis. The move to let go of TACO and zews who were regarded as key pieces for Liquid’s success looks like a downgrade but the addition of the dauntless Jake "Stewie2K" Yip might spell the difference for the North American squad.
Stewie had a tough time during his stay with MIBR which was primarily blamed to communication challenges. Now that he’s back to a more comfortable environment, fans are eager to see the Stewie2K that secured NA’s first ever Major title.
karrigan-less Faze Clan
Faze Clan is quite in limbo after listing former in-game-leader Finn "karrigan" Andersen on loan to Team EnvyUs. The Danish captain played a key role in Faze’s massive success as an international lineup – something that is rarely accomplished in professional CS:GO.
Multiple reports suggest that Faze is in talks with former Gambit star Dauren "AdreN" Kystaubayev who was also the IGL for the CIS squad during their championship run at the PGL Krakow Major 2017. If this materializes, Faze Clan would eventually come back as one of the contenders in dethroning Astralis at the top of the CS:GO ranks.
HellRaisers add Hobbit
The FACEIT Major London 2018 saw another significant storyline aside from Astralis and Navi’s own, and that is the story of HellRaisers who made it to the New Champions Stage after a grueling run that began way back at the CIS Minor closed qualifiers.
The signing of Abay "Hobbit" Khasenov is a clear upgrade for the squad. A flexible player that seems to fit in any role, Hobbit made a name for himself through clutching moments along with AdreN at the PGL Major. It is now up to the rest of the HR squad to prove everyone that they can sustain their impressive run at FACEIT.
TYLOO reunites with Attacker & Summer
Recent news involving TYLOO’s acquisition of Yuanzhang "Attacker" Sheng and YuLun "Summer" Cai from Flash Gaming after releasing IGL Ke "captainMo" Liu with Hui "DD" Wu unfolded the controversial state of the Chinese CS:GO scene. A statement made by Flash Gaming founder “Enndy” suggested the existence of irregularities within the CS community in the region.
Despite all the hiatus, TYLOO on the other hand remained as the top dog of Asian CS:GO. The combination of China’s best offerings along with Indonesian stars Hansel "BnTeT" Ferdinand and Kevin "xccurate" Susanto will look once again to stage upsets just like how they did in London where they made history as the first Asian team to crack in to the New Legends Stage.