Team Vitality confirmed a report about potentially benching Counter-Strike pro Nathan ‘NBK’ Schmitt by making an official announcement that provided context and reason to their drastic decision.
Vitality went into the StarLadder Berlin Major with the number two ranking in the world, and were considered a championship contender despite having to start tournament play in the New Challengers stage.
But for Vitality, the championship dream was cut short as they found themselves upset by AVANGAR, who were in the midst a magical run to the grand finals.
Two days later, on September 7, during the semifinal series between NRG Esports and Astralis, Vitality confirmed reports that they were considering benching NBK by making the roster change official via an announcement.
"CSGO update: we decided to remove NBK from the starting roster," they tweeted. "The team has shown amazing results but a change was needed as the quad in its current form, with two in-game leaders, reached its limits."
CSGO Update: we decided to remove @NBK from the starting roster. The team has shown amazing results but a change was needed as the squad in its current form, with 2 in-game leaders, reached its limits.— Team Vitality (@TeamVitality) September 7, 2019
According to Vitality, the team had “reached its limits’ with its current squad that featured two in-game leaders, and they've elected to retain the services of their lone Brit Alex ‘ALEX’ McMeekin, and move NBK to the bench.
This comes, of course, after a heavily inconsistent performance at the Berlin Major, as they were highly expected to go 3-0 in the Challengers stage, but were upset twice by Syman Gaming and DreamEaters, and finding themselves on the brink of an early elimination.
From a fragging and statistical standpoint, NBK was instrumental towards the survival of his team in that stage, as he had a terrific second map against HellRaisers, and a great series against Grayhound to advance to the next stage. He was outshined only by his teammate, the young star Mathieu ‘ZywOo’ Herbaut.
But in the New Legends stage, while the team as a whole performed better, NBK played significantly worse. His KD +/- was +33 in the New Challengers stage, but it was -41 in the New Legends and Champions stages.
However, despite all that and the decision to bench NBK, Vitality had nothing bad to say about the player: "NBK’s professionalism, talent & dedication played a big part in the many achievements recorded since the creation of the squad. However, the entire team had a hard time being consistent recently and a big decision was mandatory to go forward."
NBK’s professionalism, talent & dedication played a big part in the many achievements recorded since the creation of the squad. However, the entire team had a hard time being consistent recently and a big decision was mandatory to go forward.— Team Vitality (@TeamVitality) September 7, 2019
NBK is a natural born killer, but he’s not a natural born leader, which is why Vitality decided to go forward with a true in-game leader in ALEX.
As for a replacement, it is rumored that G2 Esports is considering benching Richard ‘shox’ Papillon, who would form a superstar duo with ZywOo if he were to wear to don the yellow of Vitality.
Vitality did not have anything concrete on what lays in store for NBK in the future, but did say that an announcement should be coming in the very near future.
"As of now, NBK is still under contract with Team Vitality and a decision regarding his future will come in the upcoming days."
As of now, NBK is still under contract with Team Vitality and a decision regarding his future will come in the upcoming days.— Team Vitality (@TeamVitality) September 7, 2019
Vitality are slated to appear at the BLAST Pro Series Moscow event just a week after a major, so the team will need to find a fifth, whether permanent or temporary, in a short amount of time.
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