The professional CS:GO scene is taking a break. Teams are on vacation, and players are recovering from active flights and participation in big tournaments. Organizations are summing up the first half of 2022 and making decisions to improve or maintain results.
After the unsuccessful performance at IEM Cologne 2022, G2 Esports has announced changes in the team. The team's captain Aleksib and the team's long-time rifler JACKZ left the team. At the upcoming BLAST Fall Groups 2022, they will be replaced by the in-game leader from Copenhagen Flames HooXi and the most experienced rifler jks, who won the IEM Katowice 2022 with FaZe Clan as a stand-in. The organization will likely continue to work with these players throughout the second half of 2022.
From January through July, G2 Esports' results have not been consistent. The roster with NiKo, huNter, and m0NESY set more ambitious goals they couldn't achieve with their old teammates. Will the reshuffle help improve the results? Does the G2 Esports reshuffle look like a real enhancement? Read in our story.
A little info on the roster newcomers
Justin jks Savage hasn't played on the professional scene regularly for half a year. The Australian player's latest appearance was at IEM Katowice 2022 as a substitute for FaZe Clan. At that time, ropz could not play for his team due to a positive coronavirus test and the squad urgently needed a stand-in. In the playoffs, Justin replaced another FaZe Clan player, rain. As Twistzz recalls, he had to convince his teammates to let jks play in Katowice.
I told them that jks was the best option for the team. I didn't care that he hasn't really played CS:GO for two months. In my opinion, his performance with Complexity is not an accurate representation of what he's capable of - that team's system just didn't work for him. So I wanted to give him a chance to prove himself in our lineup. Jks was the best candidate to be a stand-in - he's a lurker who can take over ropz's position. You saw the rest for yourself.
In Poland, the Australian earned the first meaningful win of his career, finishing in the top 15 of the tournament according to HLTV's individual rankings. Why was Justin without a team after the successful event?
The last team of jks was Complexity Gaming. Justin wasn't able to realize his full potential with the international lineup. He was often the hero of the highlights, winning shootouts against two and three opponents, but his prowess wasn't enough to place him high in the big events. In November 2021, the organization put rifler up for transfer, and since then the player hasn't had consistent practice on the competitive scene.
Judging by his FaZe Clan play, the Aussie has lacked strong teammates in his roster throughout his career. Under the captaincy of karrigan, Justin made opening kills and created an early lead for the team in each round, while his teammates could finish the winning rounds in their favor.
The experience of playing with the last major champions will come in handy for jks in the all-star G2 Esports lineup. He replaces JACKZ at the position of entry fragger and rifler and will now prove to the world that his six-month downtime was a misunderstanding on the part of tier-1 teams in CS:GO.
Rasmus HooXi Nielsen is one of the representatives of the Danish school of CS:GO. For most of his eSports career, he has defended the Copenhagen Flames tag and served as team captain. Under his leadership, the Flames have made a name for themselves as a big player on the tier-1 scene since 2021 and they even made the playoffs at the last major in Antwerp, where they challenged ENCE for a place in the semi-finals.
The Copenhagen Flames squad could continue to reach new heights, but the organization decided to sell the CS:GO roster and let the players play against the best teams in the world on a regular basis. Having all five players in one organization together would no longer be possible.
We had to at least triple the guys' salaries to keep the roster. That takes a whole lot of money. At fnatic the salaries of nicoodoz and roej have quintupled. Plus their new organization has a slot in the ESL Pro League, which is very important. Last year all the players on our roster wanted to move to Complexity largely because that club has a permanent slot in both the ESL and BLAST franchise leagues.
Daniel Warborg, founder of Copenhagen Flames
Rasmus has some information about himself on Twitter. He is proud that he quit smoking a month ago, joined a gym and started to eat right. In June, he visited the Tour de France and saw off his "nerd" teammates in Fnatic with warmth. The positive and determined Rasmus has come a long way from the local tournaments in Denmark to the international arena with matches against the top teams and got his first opportunity to play for an organization with title ambitions only at the age of 27.
However, not all analysts are happy about this turn of events. The Dane has no experience playing against CS:GO stars, and has only recently begun playing at the highest level. Rasmus will have a new challenge in his career: he will no longer be seen as an "underdog," and he will get a lot of attention. Under him, G2 Esports will either get back to winning ways, or they'll stay away from the most important games of the fall.
Will the newcomers strengthen G2 Esports?
Before we move on to a comparison between the old and new players in the organization, it should be noted that changes always give a boost to the entire roster. New ideas and strategies emerge, the team transforms and it can surprise the opponents. Cybersport knows examples of no-names and lost players who resurrected their careers after one transfer.
JACKZ vs jks
Jks could be the player whose career gets a boost after moving to G2 Esports. At least we can see the preconditions for it. In Renegades and 100 Thieves, Justin showed outstanding support skills, handled automatic weapons skillfully, and was one of the leaders in HLTV rating. He ranked among the top 20 players in 2019 for the entire season.
The Australian currently has an HLTV rating of 1.07 - even his poor performance in Complexity Gaming hasn't affected his stats. He is ahead of his teammate JACKZ in every way - he dies a little less (0.63 vs. 0.68), does more damage per round (77 vs. 73) and has a better KPR (kills per round) than his opponents (0.71 vs. 0.67). Also jks is harder to kill than JACKZ (0.63 vs. 0.68). The small gaps between the two rifflers lead to a radical difference in average kills-to-death ratio (KD) - 1.12 for the Australian vs. 0.99 for the Frenchman. The G2 Esports rookie also outperformed his opponent in clutches (64% vs. 58%).
The most telling comparison of players was the performance at IEM Katowice 2022, where jks stood for FaZe Clan and helped win the trophy, while JACKS with G2 Esports lost to them in the grand final by a score of 0:3. In the face-off between the teams, Justin emerged with a zero kill-to-death ratio and an average damage per round of 80 hitpoints. The Frenchman, on the other hand, took only 65 health per round from his opponents, and finished the encounter with 72 kills to 97 deaths.
According to the extended stats from HLTV, the Australian was much better at first kills than his predecessor for the entire tournament (jks had 25% attempts with 60% success, JACKS had modest 15% attempts with 50% success). He's moving into dangerous spots more aggressively, and is better at using grenades. At the lurker position, Justin outperforms his opponent in every way.
jks had his weaknesses in the tournament as well: he was mediocre in pistol rounds (0.88 KD for the whole tournament). The Frenchman in Katowice was an above average pistol shooter, with a 1.47 KD among the twenty best players of the tournament. Overall, JACKZ is getting more headshots in his career with 58% versus 52% for the new G2 Esports rifler.
Based on the raw numbers, G2 Esports was able to replace JACKZ with a decent substitute, and in the long run jks can support the team's star core with his fire.
Aleksib vs HooXi
Insiders' concerns about replacing the Finnish captain with the Dane is the experience of playing in S-class tournaments. Aleksib gained experience at ENCE when the Finnish squad was beating the Astralis prime players. In his two years at OG, he turned an unknown organization in CS:GO into a tag that the top players had to reckon with. The player left G2 Esports due to unsatisfactory results: the organization aimed to win tournaments and triumphs against the strongest opponents, but only stayed in the top 10. But can HooXi boast even that kind of experience? No, because the phenomenon of Copenhagen Flames appeared only a year ago and the successful performances of the team fell to the majors - the Flames were not seen at any other S-class LAN-tournaments.
Rasmus played only 54 maps against the top 10 HLTV teams with an average rating of 0.81 (Aleksib played 266 maps with a rating of 0.96). Insider confirmations so far are justified. HooXi will play against the stars in every map, but so far he will be the team's weak link and, often, will leave the team outnumbered. Compared to the former G2 Esports captain, he does less damage (68 hitpoints per round vs. 74.4 for Alexib), kills opponents less often (0.58 vs. 0.64), and dies more often (0.69 vs. 0.65).
The captains are responsible for quality grenade throws, but the Dane didn't succeed here either, losing to Aleksib in every way. At the last major in Antwerp the Finn's skill in using flashbangs was considered one of the best, something the new captain can't boast of (but he has a funny highlight in his portfolio). However, at the same tournament they both performed equally poorly in the pistol rounds (0.79 for Alexi and 0.76 for Rasmus)
Individually, HooXi is by no means an adequate replacement for the experienced Aleksib. As an in-game leader, he probably had an impact on the overall picture of the game. However, at the PGL Major Antwerp 2022 his stats were the worst of all the play-off's participants. Copenhagen Flames was lucky to face the underdogs of the tournament, and on its best day, the team got a sensational victory over ENCE. In the playoffs, the latter rematched the Danes effortlessly.
The Danes won less than half of their duels (46%), didn't often win pistol rounds (41%) and often gave their opponents the lead at the start. Reaching the final stage of the majors was a tremendous success for the team, but it is unlikely that the HooXi's team would repeat the result in Rio.
The main question: how will replacements affect the results of G2 Esports?
M0NESY already voiced one of the causes of unstable results in major tournaments. The problem lies in the lack of team's preparation and lack of understanding between the players.
We need to find the team chemistry and work on the map pool. G2 Esports has a very inconsistent map pool. We can have a 100% win rate on Inferno, but zero on other maps, like Ancient. We need to work harder, we need chemistry within the team. FaZe showed how important it is. Players on this team understand each other well, and perhaps that's what helps them succeed.
Now the management of the organization is going to rack their brains as to how the four skilled players can cover the weaknesses of the captain. That's not to say that HooXi will 100% fail, but a player with little experience and weak individual stats doesn't seem like a pathfinder to trophies this fall. However, the Copenhagen Flames have played in the majors twice and made the playoffs once, so Rasmus can lead his teams to success.
G2 Esports wanted to contend for wins from the first tournaments in August, but the team ended up reinforcing itself with a quality rifler and taking its chances with a captain from a tier-2 team. Maybe this lineup will bond with special team chemistry, or the players will be stronger individually and out-shoot all their opponents in the fall. But there is no serious boost in the numbers now, and there is a good chance that the Spanish organization will remain in the same place as it was in the spring of 2022.