Team Spirit announced roster overhaul may change CIS CS:GO

Team Spirit has announced major changes coming to its CS:GO roster after DreamHack Open November. The Russian organization will be pulling the plug on its current lineup and entering full rebuild mode after nearly two and half years without major changes. The final nail in the coffin for Spirit’s CS:GO roster seems to be the team’s early exit from the PGL Major Stockholm 2021: New Challengers Stage, during which the team was elimanted in the last day after their loss to Astralis.

Team Spirit at the PGL Stockholm Major

Team Spirit’s current squad first rose to prominence after grinding their way through the regional scene and emerging as one of the CIS region’s hottest prospects during the latter half of 2020. The team came into the CS:GO limelight after their Cinderella run at IEM Katowice 2021. After breezing through the Play-Ins, Spirit sent shockwaves through the CS:GO scene after winning Group A at the event, defeating the likes of G2 Esports, Heroic and ultimately dismantling Astralis in their miracle run. The Russian team’s run was ended rather quickly after, as their Semi-Finals loss to Gambit sent them home with a 3rd-4th place finish.

With a strong emphasis on teamwork, Team Spirit garnered the respect of many, and their strong showing at Katowice earned them an all-time high sixth place in HLTV’s world rankings.

Although the team’s good form continued at the BLAST Premier: Spring Showdown 2021, Spirit ultimately fell at the last hurdle. An overtime loss to G2 Esports cost them a place at the BLAST Premier Spring Finals, and Spirit’s form dipped right after the tournament.

Lacklustre performances saw the team end up with mediocre finishes against top competition, with Spirit falling out of the HLTV’s top ten rankings by May. Albeit the team’s firepower was never in question, chinks in their teamplay slowly started appearing. During the latter half of 2021, Spirit managed only one strong showing, a win Pinnacle Cup II against a mostly lower tier opposition.

A fresh start

The severity of the upcoming rebuild is still largely unknown. The team has a solid core, with Nikolay “mir” Bityukov and Abdulkhalik “degster” Gasanov looking a cut above the rest. In-game leader Leonid “chopper” Vishnyakov’s shot calling has left a lot do be desired in the past couple of months, while Viktor “somedieyoung” Orudzhev and Boris “magixx” Vorobyev seem to be stuck in limbo. Other teams in the region have also started overhauling rosters, and in a scene blooming with talent as CIS’ is, it seems to be a matter of finding the right fit that can propel a team to the top of the CS:GO rankings.

Other team’s, most notably Complexity have expressed interest in expanding to the CIS scene. Ultimately, it looks as Team Spirit’s The International victory has left the organization with some high apetites. With media exposure and potential upcoming sponsorships, Spirit looks poised to ride the upcoming wave and convey their Dota 2 teams’ success into the CS:GO scene.

We are yet to see which direction the organizaion takes in terms of players and staff. Are we looking at another full CIS line-up or is Spirit looking to go international?