By Pavo Jurkic
August 24, 2019
Not many people had heard about the CR4ZY CS:GO roster before they qualified for the upcoming StarLadder Berlin 2019 Major. It’s not because of the rebrand which happened in June, but because CR4ZY (formerly known as Valiance) was never really near the top of the pro CS:GO scene.
They had some flashes of brilliance here and there but nothing worth mentioning. However, everything changed in November 2018, roughly a year after Valiance acquired Binary Dragons’ roster. On November 3rd 2018, Valiance announced four new arrivals with hopes of elevating their game and finally reaching a CS:GO Major Championship.
Nexa as the in-game leader, ottoNd as the AWPer, and EspiranTo in the rifling department – were new roster additions. Additionally, emi took over the coaching role, rounding off a massive CR4ZY CS:GO roster overhaul packed with high aspirations.
Shortly after the roster overhaul, their track record drastically improved and in less than three months they went from 80th to 19th place on HLTV CS:GO World Rankings.
huNter and Nexa are the central driving force of this CR4ZY CS:GO roster. Their brilliance, in terms of game sense and dueling ability, is second to none. The remaining new arrivals, EspiranTo and ottoNd, are doing their fair share of work too, fighting tooth and nail for every single round.
Even though they were enjoying their gameplay in late 2018 and early 2019, right after the roster overhaul, this CR4ZY CS:GO roster (still Valiance back then) was hoping to achieve international success via the IEM Katowice Major.
Their journey started off well, beating Mousesports twice to earn their spot in the EU Katowice Minor playoffs. Unfortunately, EU Minors are often as hectic as they come. With a whole heap of promising up and coming teams, it’s difficult for lesser-known teams to find their stride and qualify for the Major.
And that’s exactly what happened in the playoffs. ENCE was the first obstacle Nexa and the company failed to overcome. Need I remind you, ENCE ended up as the most prominent spectacle of IEM Katowice and they had to venture to the third map against Valiance.
Team Vitality, led by ZywOo and apex, put the nail in the coffin of Valiance’s Katowice Major aspirations. They were left without a spot on the 3rd Place Play-In event and had to pack their bags.
Roughly a month before StarLadder Berlin EU Minors, Valiance announced they’ll be rebranding as CR4ZY. A brand-new name, a brand-new logo, but the same old players craving for international glory.
“Within the year and a half from signing the roster known as Binary Dragons, esports organization Valiance has succeeded to propel its CS:GO roster from flirting with a top 40 placement to a solid powerhouse closing in on that top 10 spot. The team’s passion and dedication were never in question but the company’s name wasn’t reflecting its personality, and for that reason, change needed to happen.”
– Antonio Meic, CEO of CR4ZY
Even though people are bashing their logo for being overly simplistic and the ugliest Major sticker, I actually like it. More than anything, I love what it represents – a fierce Balkan team (BALKAN REPRESENT) that packs quite a punch and isn’t afraid of going up against the best teams in the world.
Fast-forward to July and the EU StarLadder Berlin Minors, not many people expected CR4ZY to do anything noteworthy, let alone qualify for the Challengers Stage. With the likes of Mousesports, North, Fnatic and BIG, it seemed as though CR4ZY will experience yet another heartbreak.
However, Nexa and huNter were having none of it. With splendid performances in the group stage, CR4ZY finished on top of Group A above Mousesports. This time, they didn’t even have to beat them once to secure the playoffs.
However, the playoffs started off on the wrong foot with a dismal performance against North that pushed them into the lower bracket. And, worst of all, they had to face Fnatic in a Bo3 elimination match. With the entire CS:GO community confident in Fnatic’s ability to win the remaining two LB matches, CR4ZY players found themselves cornered in once again.
CR4ZY vs. Fnatic was to be or not to be for the Balkan side.
And, my oh my, to be it was!
As many of you already know, StarLadder Major Berlin will be the first-ever CS:GO Major Championship without Fnatic. Yep, the CR4ZY CS:GO roster eliminated one of the most iconic CS:GO organizations out there. However, that’s not all – they also defeated North and qualified straight to the Challengers Stage without having to suffer through the 3rd Place Play-In.
Despite not having top tier opponents before the EU Minors, can CR4ZY still pose as a potential dark horse? Well, I believe they can. If they could defeat both Fnatic and North in the lower brackets and finally qualify to the Challengers Stage, they sure as heck can square off against virtually all competing teams.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying CR4ZY has realistic chances of winning the Major. I’m just saying they’re likely to reach the Legends Stage and be a scary team to play against.
Then again, much of their Berlin success depends on their opening match against Grayhound. It’s going to be a tight contest and proper proving grounds for both of these teams. But, once again, if hunter and nexa bring forth their A-game, I reckon they’ll sweep the floor with mediocre Aussies.
Without a doubt, Nemanja “huNter” Kovač is the driving force of this CR4ZY CS:GO roster. Over the course of the last few months, he went from being a solid tier B fragger to an absolute sensation in the EU region. His fragging and Nexa’s ability to react to situations and always get the best out of his teammates will be of utmost importance for CR4ZY in Berlin.
Much like his cousin, NiKo, huNter is showing glimpses of pure fragging brilliance. His peek game is on point, his game sense is impeccable and his overall contribution is always off the charts. If he keeps going like this, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him lured away by bigger teams. Perhaps even FaZe. Knowing NiKo’s influence on his org, getting his in-form cousin to play alongside him is definitely something he could pull off.
CR4ZY’s Challengers Stage success depends heavily on huNter. Nexa is right up there too. However, he is their IGL, and you can’t expect him to have smashing frag numbers each and every game. That said, huNter will have to step up for the occasion and lead his team’s fragging numbers throughout the Challengers Stage… and hopefully throughout the Legends Stage too!
In my opinion, this CR4ZY CS:GO roster looks absolutely scary. They’re dynamic, they’re unpredictable, and best of all – they can duel with the best of them. We’ve already seen it in both of their playoff matches against Scandinavian opponents, Fnatic and North. Dust II is a dueling map and CR4ZY showed up with their A-game on both occasions.
In all honesty, Antonio Meic, CR4ZY’s CEO, was right when he said that his team’s old name wasn’t reflecting their personality. The new one, CR4ZY, definitely does. These players are CR4ZY, be it at times. And the more international experience they snatch in Berlin, the better they’ll perform in the remainder of 2019.
What are your thoughts on this CR4ZY CS:GO roster? Do you think they can achieve greatness in Berlin with this roster? Could they perhaps reach the top eight, snatch their biggest-ever prize pot and finally reach the HLTV top 10?