HenryG & Kassad To Rebuild Cloud9 CS:GO Squad - Dexerto

HenryG & Kassad To Rebuild Cloud9 CS:GO Squad

Published: 7/Sep/2020 18:54 Updated: 8/Sep/2020 6:03

by Richard Lewis


Cloud9 have unveiled the two figureheads that will be in charge of rebuilding their Counter-Strike team: former player turned commentator Henry ‘HenryG’ Greer and highly respected coach Aleksandar ‘kassad’ Trifunović.

The move comes following the September 6 announcement that they would be cutting their current roster comprised of North American and South African players and would be looking to build a new team.

Greer, who’s coming on board as a General Manager, will be overseeing that project while the new players will find themselves working directly with Trifunović, considered by many to be one of the most talented Counter-Strike coaches in the world.

“My plans for this team are certainly ambitious,” Greer told Dexerto.” I wouldn’t be involved in any sort of General Manager role unless I had absolute full control of the roster and direction we plan to head. C9 have entrusted me with their entire CS:GO dynasty and, honestly, I think that’s one of the boldest moves any org has made in a long time. The Cloud9 Brand speaks for itself, it is one of the absolute cornerstones of the esports landscape. I’m aware there is a certain level of expectation going forward now. Failure simply isn’t an option.”

Currently, the former commentator has been in the process of holding talks with several high profile targets but nothing has been finalized yet. The timing seems to be right as there are a number of experienced and talented players in free agency, not to mention, with November’s CS:GO Major looking uncertain, plenty of time for a new team to gel.

“When approaching a challenge such as building a CS:GO team from scratch, there are countless compromises and caveats that come with the territory, especially if your primary objective is to forge a world-class squad in a very limited window of time,” Greer continued. “I’ll be honest and say, I haven’t had a huge amount of respect for the methodology used in other ‘ground floor’ projects so far.

The focus is always around ‘big’ names that are available and then attempting to crowbar others into roles they aren’t really suited for, resulting in a one-year journey to even reach their initial goals. Kassad and I are only focused on following our specific blueprint for a world-class CS unit that can challenge for the trophies. I think you’ll all be very excited with what we’ve put together so far. We have the resources, staff and connections to create the best possible opportunities for pro CS:GO players, right now.”

Adela Sznajder - ESLHenryG (left) announced his retirement from esports commentary on September 4.

Trifunović has been without a team since leaving 100 Thieves in April but there wasn’t a scarcity of interest in securing his services. Understandable, given his proven record of improving teams, especially across his period with Renegades. This is the first time in his career he has committed to a project without knowing who he will be working with but he still feels that Cloud9’s commitment was something he couldn’t say no to.

“I think this is going to be one great project,” the Serbian told us. “To be super honest with you, I was feeling a bit disappointed these last few months because of the fact that I couldn’t really find the organization and the people that share the same vision about building a team as me.

After just a couple of conversations with Cloud9 and Henry, I realized that we see things the same way. He is super enthusiastic, focused and energetic about this and it really lit the spark that I thought I had lost in the last couple of months. Cloud9 is one of the most respectable orgs in esports and we are going to make sure we put in everything we have to build the CSGO team they deserve.”

100 ThievesKassad, most recently with 100 Thieves, joins Cloud9 as one of the world’s most highly-respected CS:GO coaches.

Fans will be curious to understand how these two roles will synergize with each other. Currently, CS:GO coaches seem to act as de facto spokespeople for their teams, especially the ones that have broadcast experience. Here, Henry has made it clear that he wants the coach’s input as one of the many factors under consideration when making potential signings.

“I don’t want to sign any players to appease my own or anyone else’s agenda,” he said. “I’m aware there will be plenty of decisions down the line that will be difficult to call. I don’t plan for roster direction to be one of them. So far, players have not been a topic that Kassad and I have disagreed on at any point. I trust his judgment and his body of work and experience speaks for itself. He is regarded as one of the absolute best coaches in the industry. We are working together to achieve our goals and have a very similar approach to building our dream.”

Trifunović echoed these sentiments: “As he mentioned, we have a very specific plan on how to do everything in the right, healthy and efficient way to build a team with a strong system and structure that is going to create a winning culture. The biggest and one of the most important things for me right now is the fact that there is absolute trust between C9, Henry and me. I feel like that’s a very good foundation.”

Cloud9Cloud9’s current CS:GO roster was assembled at the start of 2020 but the team has failed to win any tournaments so far.

For Cloud9 the move shows a return to championship ambitions for CS:GO. Since making history with their 2018 Major win in Boston the team has gone through mixed fortunes. The most recent roster was seen as something of a wildcard pick up after they lost the core of their North American roster when it was bought out by Gen.G.

While they initially shocked the scene by managing to qualify for DreamHack Leipzig and IEM Katowice, the subsequent finishes at those events showed how far the team had to go in order to compete against the very best in the world. Now it is clear they are ready to invest a significant amount of resources into a new roster, starting with the backroom staff they hope will spearhead a new dynasty.


ForZe under fire for signing CSGO coach implicated in cheating scandal

Published: 24/Oct/2020 21:30

by Alan Bernal


Russian esports org forZe are facing backlash for signing former Hard Legion coach Aleksandr ‘zoneR⁠’ Bogatiryev, who was banned by ESL for abusing a coaching bug that was found to compromise competitive CS:GO matches.

After the initial wave of backlash, forZe clarified that zoneR was brought on for a “testing coach period” to the ‘forZe School,’ a project that teaches and develops emerging CSGO talent. They do not recognize the forZe School as an academy team and said its not affiliated with the main roster.

“Zoner has made a big shameful mistake but we’ve decided to give him a second chance as he’s still a well-experienced coach,” forZe wrote in a statement. His work with the school will be conducted under supervision with the team’s management.

Despite org CEO Sergey ‘MegioN’ Ignatko’s optimism for the signing, debacles within the CSGO competitive landscape in the last year created a perfect storm for doubt on the deal.

“Not the smartest brand development choice, forZe have a lot of lovable characters and their storyline is exciting,” esports host and commentator Alex ‘MACHINE’ Richardson said. “Would be a shame to see an ill-thought out decision damage their reputation or fan base.”

Moreover, people are concerned that the org would position young, impressionable players to work with a person who was found cheating.

“This has to be a joke, right?” FaZe Clan coach Janko ‘YNk’ Paunovic said. “The most blatant cheater in coaching is supposed to set an example for young players? My mind is blown, absolutely disgraceful from forZe.”

On September 1, Hard Legion announced they were parting ways with zoneR, who went by the in-game name ‘MechanoGun’ at the time, following ESL’s decision to ban him as well as two other coaches after an investigation found them guilty of using a coach’s spectating bug.

ESIC csgo coach bug ban
ZoneR, listed here as ‘MechanoGun,’ was given a 36-month ban after ESIC found 16 cases of using the coaching bug.

It was initially decided that zoneR would be banned for 24 months from playing or coaching in ESL or DreamHack events. ESL later upgraded his ban to 36 months after the Esports Integrity Commission (ESIC) concluded their investigation of the bug’s abuse.

Of the 37 CSGO coaches found cheating, zoneR’s three-year ban was the longest penalty issued by far. He was found of using the bug in 16 cases, and had “Tier 1 Aggravated” sanctions levied against him.

This comes at a sensitive time for the CSGO community, who have been anxiously awaiting any further reaction from Valve on the coaching scandal. Some are worried the publisher might create bigger consequences or tweak team structures to prevent it from happening again in the future.

“If Valve removes coaching it’ll be because of some BULL**** like this,” CSGO commentator and BOXR CEO, Mohan ‘launders’ Govindasamy, said.

A similar concern sprouted when CSGO teams whose coaches were implicated in ESIC’s findings were simply demoted from the position to an analyst role; thereby using a loophole to keep working with the team.

ForZe will monitor their partnership with zoneR for the time being, but said they could part ways with him after the testing phase for his position has concluded.