Minnesota RØKKR coach explains how dropping MajorManiak was a “big hurt” for the team

Jacob Hale
MajorManiak playing on LAN for Minnesota ROKKR CDL
Twitter: rokkr

At Major 4, Minnesota RØKKR placed top 12 after a Round 1 loss to OpTic Texas, ending their hopes of qualifying for CDL Champs. They played the event with a different roster to the one they started the season with and, one week later, they explained why losing Michael ‘MajorManiak’ Szymaniak was such a loss to the team.

MajorManiak was one of the players that helped Minnesota pull off what has become colloquially known as the RØKKR Redemption, when they pulled off a best-of-9 reverse sweep against Toronto Ultra to win the Stage 5 Major in 2021.

A respected shot-caller and sturdy assault rifle player, MajorManiak was a prominent part of RØKKR’s success towards the tail end of the Cold War season, but with results lacking in Vanguard, they decided to make a switch.

MajorManiak left the team after Major 2, eventually ending up on the Florida Mutineers, and was replaced by Colt ‘Havok’ McLendon, adding some more SMG firepower to the roster.

While on paper the move seemed a good one, allowing Dillon ‘Attach’ Price and Preston ‘Priestahh’ Griener to take on the AR roles, it did not end up earning the team a playoff berth.

In their post-season press conference, RØKKR coach Brian ‘Saintt’ Baroska spoke about MajorManiak, explaining how big of a loss he ended up being.

“Mike was definitely a huge [benefit] to our team in terms of shot-calling in Search and Destroy,” explained Saintt. “I think he had such a big layer of consistency for us in that game mode, starting from the second half of Cold War when we kind of told him to take over that leadership role in that mode.

“But when it comes to respawn we never really had a true leader on the team with any iterations of the roster, it was kind of always a team dynamic. But losing Mike was definitely a big hurt in S&D, in terms of default consistency … Mike did a really good job at reading the mid-rounds and having good defaults.”

Timestamp 17:02

It’s impossible to tell whether losing MajorManiak’s SnD prowess was what cost Minnesota a Champs spot, though winning just one of those Search & Destroy maps against OpTic Texas at Major 4 will have earned them an extra 10 CDL points, and could perhaps have helped them kick on further.

Ultimately, it’s unclear what the future of the Minnesota RØKKR looks like — they refused to comment on specifics when it came to the next iteration of the RØKKR squad — but they’ll no doubt be hoping to find someone who can bring a similar level of expertise to the team to help them win championships again.

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