North is making a surprising change to their roster just three weeks after their early exit from the London Major. They are replacing in-game leader Mathias “MSL” Lauridsen and Nikolaj “niko” Kristensen. Rogue Gaming’s Casper “cadiaN” Moller and OpTic Gaming’s Nicklas “gade” Gade will be taking their place.
— North (@TheNorthIsHere) September 27, 2018
This is a surprising development for some fans, as North is coming off of a decent half year. Before the London Major, they would win Dreamhack Masters Stockholm in pretty dominant fashion. Also, the teams they were facing were not walks in the park either. They would sweep Natus Vincere in the Quarterfinals, beat Mousesports, and finally take down Astralis in the Finals. They even beat Astralis earlier in the group stages. North is one of the few teams that have taken a series from Astralis this year.
In that tournament, they were looking at the top of their form. Many people would place very high expectations onto their shoulders, and for good reason. Even HLTV would place them as a top-five team in their rankings after Stockholm. Before Stockholm, they would even win Dreamhack Open Valencia. Because of this, North became one of the most hyped teams heading into the London Major. However, they could never live up to the praise they were given.
North: A Major Meltdown? Or Major Overreaction?
You can look at this roster change in two different ways. This could be a warranted roster swap due to multiple disappointing finishes under the same in-game leader. However, you could look at this as an overreaction to one bad result at the London Major. It does seem like Stockholm was the exception to their year; they hadn’t had many great performances throughout 2018. Could North have stuck with this current roster and try to figure things out? Yes. However, it looks like they believe bringing back some top-tier talent will propel them further than MSL could have.
Speaking of MSL, he would give a heartfelt thank-you and goodbye to North:
A four year long journey has ended. It started out with aizy leaving for FaZe and me and Kjaerbye building a new team of talents which surprisingly got in top-6 in the world. Since then, it has been a very interesting journey with a lot of ups and downs[…] Looking back, I’m very proud of what I have accomplished, being top-5 in average in 2017. Over the 4 years I have won two big titles and four small ones and I’m very happy that I could finish my time in North by giving the fans that stuck with us a very big title. I want to thank all the teammates I have had through the time and thank North for the time. I will come back stronger!
Also, niko is returning to the Heroic bench for the time being. It is not known whether he will be taking a starting spot on the roster. It is expected that if mertz returns to North, niko will take his spot. Wherever MSL and niko end up, we wish them the best of luck in their future endeavors!
Homecoming for cadiaN and gade
On the other hand, cadiaN and gade are both “coming home” as well. For cadiaN, it is a return home to Denmark after spending time with American organization Rogue Gaming. He was the in-game leader for the team for a year, leading them through the American Minor. At the London Major, they would put up impressive efforts against the likes of Astralis and North, before being eliminated. People are praising cadiaN for his preparation as an IGL, as well as his ability as an AWPer. Jonas “whimp” Svendsen, Director of Esports at North, would give a statement:
I am glad to welcome cadiaN to the team today. We evaluated the team composition after the Major, and decided that we needed a new leadership. With Casper, we get a leader with a different approach to the game and meta. I expect that the duo of cadiaN and ave will be able to develop our game even further. We are happy that gade returns to North. We have followed him thoroughly during his time at OpTic and believe that he has made satisfactory progress and gained a lot of experience.
Gade is returning to North after his loan with OpTic Gaming. Gade is still relatively young, although he and OpTic were not able to accomplish much in his tenure there. Hopefully, with a revamped North roster, he and the rest of his team can find success in the coming months.
What do you think of North replacing MSL and niko with cadiaN and Gade? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below! If you want more Counter-Strike content, check us out here!