In an announcement that wasn’t the least bit surprising, GamerLegion confirmed their new CSGO lineup, which has been playing for the German organization for several weeks already.
GamerLegion confirmed on September 16 the signings of Frederik ‘acoR’ Gyldstrand, Kamil ‘siuhy’ Szkaradek and Nicolas ‘Keoz’ Dgus to its CS:GO team, rounded out by longtime members Mihai ‘iM’ Ivan and Isak ‘isak’ Fahlén.
The timing of the announcement feels long overdue. The trio began playing for GamerLegion in August in the IEM Road to Rio open qualifiers, with the team booking one of the final spots in the upcoming European RMR A tournament — a qualifying event for the IEM Rio Major.
That success was unexpected to many, including the GamerLegion organization itself, which couldn’t help but poke fun at the lateness of an announcement that already feels like old news.
The new team is the result of a long rebuilding process that began in June, when GamerLegion benched Sean ‘eraa’ Knutsson. The Berlin-based organization then also moved on from Alfred ‘RuStY’ Karlsson and Patrik ‘Zero’ Žúdel, having felt that the roster had peaked when it reached the European RMR leading to PGL Major Antwerp.
“For us, it was always clear that we wanted to be better than that,” Julian ‘morxzas’ Miculcy, Head of Operations at GamerLegion, told Dexerto. “We want progress. A big goal for us will always be [reaching] a Major.”
GamerLegion landed on the current roster after talking to — and testing — “a lot of players” over a number of weeks, morxzas said. Some of their targets ended up being snatched by other teams, but he is happy with how the squad has shaped up. “I would say now, after the trials and everything, that it would have been bad if we had got anyone else,” he said.
Putting the pieces together
GamerLegion’s new squad feels like a clear improvement on the previous roster, even if it still does not generate the type of frenzy that came with the organization’s first team in 2019, which featured Kévin ‘Ex6TenZ’ Droolans, Adil ‘ScreaM’ Benrlitom, and Hampus ‘hampus’ Poser.
morxzas explained that GamerLegion refrained from signing a swath of big names as they sought to preserve their identity. This means continuing to support young talent, and no one represents this better than siuhy, who earned a reputation as an in-game leader on the rise during his time with MOUZ’s academy team, the winner of four of the first five editions of the WePlay Academy League.
“He hasn’t played at the highest level but he already has a lot of the qualities a leader should have,” morxzas said of the Polish player.
“I don’t think this [lack of experience] is going to be a problem. You can quote me later if I’m wrong, but I think he can be the next karrigan.”
Keoz, who hails from Belgium, will be hoping to reignite a career that has stalled in recent years after he was part of the Syman team that surprisingly reached the StarLadder Berlin Major in 2019.
But probably the biggest question marks revolve around acoR and whether he can be a difference-maker for GamerLegion. His year on MOUZ was punctuated by uninspiring performances, which led to his removal from the team at the start of 2022 and a seven-month journey on the bench.
The early signs seem to be positive, with the Danish AWPer averaging a 1.29 HLTV rating and a 1.38 Impact. (though the low level of some of the opposition provides a contextual element to these numbers.)
morxzas believes that acoR is rediscovering himself with the team and can once again be the AWPer that shined during his time with MAD Lions in 2020.
“acoR has a lot of drive,” he said. “He was out of the game for a long time, and now he has got this new chance. He has a lot to show and a lot to prove.
“I feel like he is the right guy for this. I have a good feeling about him.”
With the RMR less than three weeks away, preparations for the tournament in Malta are in full swing with a bootcamp in GamerLegion’s facilities in Berlin.
The team will have a baptism of fire on LAN against the world No.1 and reigning Major champions FaZe. It’s hard not to view this matchup as a David vs. Goliath affair, but there could also be a little bit of destiny at play here, if siuhy goes on, as morxzas expects, to build the sort of reputation that FaZe’s Finn ‘karrigan’ Andersen enjoys.
When they put this roster together, GamerLegion did not expect the team to deliver results instantly, hence the self-deprecating joke about how the organization managed to qualify for the RMR without even officially having a full roster. The CS:GO community at large is also bound to feel unmoved by today’s announcement.
Such criticism aside, one thing is clear: GamerLegion built this team with an eye on the future, hoping that it will succeed where the others — some laden with marquee names, others not so much — failed.
“I want these five players to succeed,” morxzas said. “I think we are going to be top 30. But in the future, I want us to be top 20, top 15, and play in the big tournaments.
“We are going to have a good start playing against FaZe. This will be one of our biggest matches.”