Nemanja "huNter" Kovač is a caged monster, waiting for his opportunity to feast upon the best teams in Counter-Strike. His upward trajectory as a professional hasn’t been typical though, nor has it been easy.
He is the older cousin of FaZe Clan super-star Nikola "NiKo" Kovač, meaning people’s expectations for him have been high from the get-go.
At 23 years old, huNter isn’t a young buck but what he lacks in “youth” he makes up for with leadership and poise. He has the potential to help a team reach the upper echelon of the world rankings, someone just needs to break him free.
huNter has been a member of the Valiance organization for well over a year, helping their roster improve dramatically in recent months.
Similar to his cousin, huNter is the in-game leader for his team while simultaneously being the best player from a statistical perspective. He sits at an ADR of 90 on LAN over the last six months, which is 12 higher than any of his teammates.
At the IEM Katowice European Minor in January, Valiance were only a few rounds away from knocking Vitality out of the tournament. A victory there would have put them one match away from qualifying for the Major outright. In the end, they finished in fourth place and missed out on getting a second chance at the Minor play-in.
While huNter has limited experience playing against the best teams in the world, there is no reason to believe he wouldn’t excel on the big stage. It can only be assumed that his firepower would be tremendous if he didn’t have to in-game lead as well.
Friends and acquaintances of huNter boast about his hardworking and honest personality when asked about him. It is quite clear his impact stretches far beyond what happens in the server.
Prior to the Major qualification attempt, huNter was met with a dilemma that not many know about. His contract with Valiance was up so he had to make a tough decision.
Sign a new contract and remain loyal to his teammates or refuse and hope for an offer from a top team in a couple of months? Both choices presented obvious risks but he chose to re-sign, despite knowing that a good performance might draw interest from top teams.
Following the Major, perhaps his greatest fear became a reality as multiple teams expressed interest in acquiring him. Mousesports and FaZe Clan were among the most notable, but they balked at the buyout figure on his fresh contract.
It is easy in hindsight to say huNter should have been selfish and left his teammates hanging, but his decision to stay shows a level of honor that few have shown in recent memory.
Players in Counter-Strike are notorious for making self-centered decisions and have no qualms about turning their back on their teammates.
This display of loyalty should leave any team feeling confident that he will commit for the long haul, instead of jumping ship at the first opportunity. Any interested team passing over him right now will regret it later.