Shahzam to Cloud9 & adreN to Denial eSports
Termed the "NA Shuffle" by those of us watching from the outside, some of the player shuffling became official tonight. The moves announced/confirmed are:
- Shahzam to Cloud9
- adreN to Denial eSports
- Hiko to step down from Cloud9, new team undetermined
I really think that Shazham brings to Cloud9 something they've lacked for a long time-- a very high level, game-altering AWP. While SGARES had his moments and a couple of highlight rounds every now and then, he was never going to be able to compete head to head against the kennyS and JWs of the world overseas, and domestically, he's outclassed by the NA king AWP, Skadoodle.
But now with Shazham as the primary AWP, the pressure's going to be BACK on SGARES to step up and prove his in-game value carrying some of the rifle load that longtime teammate Hiko had been responsible for. SGARES does a exceptional job of preparation in CSGO-- probably more than almost anyone else in North America-- and he'll definitely have work to do. This will be something to look out for in the coming season.
If you ask me, the Cloud9 team skill level overall goes DOWN with the replacement of Hiko by Shahzam, but their winning potential goes UP because of the specific skill Shahzam brings to the table. That may not make sense, but it's what I think is the case.
On the Denial eSports front, the addition of adreN is a great fit. He rejoins his long time teammate Anger, he gets along with all members of the team, his AWP is a great replacement for Shahzam's, and his in-game leadership complements daps. There's not really a ton of deep thought and analysis on this one because they lost an AWP, added an AWP, and carried on as usual.
As for Hiko's future, there have been rumors of him moving over to compete alongside DaZeD on the newly reformed iBUYPOWER roster in place of nitr0, but nothing official has been commented on. This is something I'd personally HATE to see as a nitr0 fan, but having heard DaZeD gush over how much he likes Hiko and believes Hiko to be one of the best players in the world, it seems like it'd be a natural fit to an already impressive roster. (reference: https://twitter.com/RyuLAN_/status/542407108352675840)
There are still talks of additional roster changes in the NA Shuffle, so we'll have to wait and see what takes place over the next week. I'm excited and hopeful that at least one of these new team combinations is the recipe needed to top the Euros at the next major events.