Academy teams are now in high demand.

19:30, 06 Jan 2021

Over the past year or two, the success within European Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) has become clear as day. With a combination of well known organisations and multiple tournament titles, Europe has simply become the most dominant figure in the world of Counter-Strike. Teams such as Astralis and Ninjas in Pyjamas have already invested in their future competitive platforms. Players like Nicolai "dev1ce" Reedtz and Fredrik "REZ" Sterner have competed for a long time now, meaning their slots will need to be filled in the near future.

While Astralis is still competing at a consistent level, NiP is currently struggling to continue with their victorious past. In addition to everything else that has recently happened, ex-Team Liquid superstar Russel "Twistzz" Van Dulken has also hinted at moving to the European scene. The Canadian rifler was once the glue for North America but is now on a journey away from his hometown. Not only is Twistzz one of the best players to come out of North America, but he’s also seen as a talented individual around the world. Perhaps this sudden burst of growth in Europe will leave a stain on a different region.


Astralis Talent is the latest creation to come out of the Danish org known for its talented training centres. The academy team began their journey to top-tier CS:GO on January 4, 2021, some might say this is a perfect way to start the new year. Not only will Astralis receive a chance to form future pros but they’ll also open up a new stream of income. Even though Astralis has one of the largest fan bases in the competitive scene, they still seem to be losing investments. In January of 2020, their stock price opened up at 1.35 USD, whereas they're currently pushing just over 0.70.

On top of their slash in stock prices, Astralis has had to cut back on operations due to COVID-19. With the right staff and group of players, Astralis will once again be back on top, along with a superior academy program. The current roster consists of Mathias "R0nic" Pinholt, Andreas "Void" Dietrichsen, Rasmus "Zyphon" Nordfoss, Mads "vester" Vestergaard, and Victor "vigg0" Bisgaard. These young pros will learn from the best including their head coach Dennis "vnG" Vang and his assistant Mathias "spdr" Dohn. The high earning lineup of investors at the Astralis Group are now depending on their newest roster to lead the way. 


Now for the Swedish Vikings of the online world - the one and only NiP. The team reached their full potential back in 2017 and it's shown in their latest events and tournaments. Since their first-place finish at IEM Oakland, NiP has become the poster child for defeat. Besides placing fourth at ESL One Cologne, NiP has mostly placed dead last. While they’re currently ranked sixteenth in the entire world, a top ten finish is what the org is looking for. That’s why NiP has invested in a brand new academy team known as Young Ninjas - a division of amateur pros who one day plan on earning their time in the spotlight of a Major event.


The Young Ninjas program was announced back in December of 2020, and it’s picked up a lot of traction on their social media pages. After being put under months of development, Young Ninjas plans on becoming the centre of attention in Sweden. NiP is on a long road to building an empire with a program designed to topple their opponents, looks like Astralis Talent already has some competition. Following their handful of applications, the first player to join the program was Erik “ztr” Gustafsson from KPI Gaming. The main rifler has been active for almost two years now and plans on learning from the best while pursuing his passion for esports.  


Lastly is an unlikely figure who was never expected to join the European circuit, that player is Twistzz. After his competitive debut in 2015, Twistzz received an offer he couldn’t refuse. Team Liquid gave the rookie a shot to help build a team that would put North America on the map. Twistzz did exactly that and even more. He helped Liquid earn over fourteen first-place titles along with one of the most supportive fan foundations in CS:GO. Even though he had a long run with the team, that passion to perform has come to an end. No longer does Twistzz want to play in the shadows of European orgs but instead join one.


Based on his recent farewell post on Twitter, it seems like he plans on changing regions to find another championship roster. With 2021 turning over a new leaf for the massive pool of free agents, Twistzz has lots of room to play his hand. He could either fold on a smaller division or go all in and become a success story for the second time in his career.  


Images via Astralis | Ninjas in Pyjamas 

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