The last dance. The year 2023 is coming to an end and it was a historic year for Counter-Strike fans. Valve provided the community with CS2 and the competitive season for 2023 will finish with the BLAST Premier: World Final 2023 from December 13 to the 17.
The arrival of CS2 brought a period of player changes, almost like an early transfer window, in the transition period between CS:GO and CS2. Although some changes to teams are expected at the traditional turn of the year, most of them have already anticipated this process.
In this sense, there are several new additions to teams arriving for the final event of the BLAST circuit in 2023. Let's look at the players to focus on for the tournament.
Zyphon & salazar
After all the Heroic drama with Martin "stavn" Lund and Jakob "jabbi" Nygaard, who joined rivals Astralis, the Danish team arrives at the competition "dismembered". Casper "cadiaN" Møller is already official at Team Liquid, so Heroic will be without three members of the team that cemented Heroic's status in CS.
Rasmus "Zyphon" Nordfoss' loan from Sprout to Heroic is extended and the player has another opportunity to show that he can be part of this new Heroic. The young Dane was already with the team on loan at the BLAST Premier Fall Finals and showed some good results.
Also on loan, Jason "salazar" Salazar will have the burden of being the team's sniper, having to replace the legendary cadiaN in the team's role. The 19-year-old player has been playing for ECSTATIC and has a tough test ahead of him in Abu Dhabi. We'll see how the young man copes with the pressure and this great opportunity at the tier one level.
William "mezii" Merriman's debut at Vitality couldn't have been better, winning the first trophy of his career - the BLAST Premier Fall Final. With the burden of replacing Emil "Magisk" Reif, the French organization's results with the Briton in the team spoke for themselves in their debut.
It will be interesting to see if, with mezii on board, Vitality can once again be consistent and stand out in an ocean full of "sharks".
frozen & Brollan
It wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that FaZe Clan is the best team in the world in CS2, right? Even with the defeat in the BLAST Premier Fall Final, FaZe have been on an impressive run in CS2.
One of the team's figures, Russell "Twistzz" Van Dulken left the team to join Team Liquid and thus FaZe suffered a huge loss. However, the team captained by Finn "karrigan" Andersen wasted no time and brought another of his old MOUZ teammates to be Twistzz's replacement in the team: David "frozen" Čerňanský.
At 21 years old, frozen is another member who joins FaZe after a period of consolidation in MOUZ, after karrigan and Robin "ropz" Kool. The truth is that frozen has been asking for a ticket to higher flights for some time now, not belittling MOUZ's great project. We'll see how the young man fits into the system set up by karrigan and whether FaZe fans will mourn Twistzz's departure for a long time or not.
For frozen's departure, MOUZ brought a solution that, at least for now, is temporary: Ludvig "Brollan" Brolin. The Swede arrives on loan from NIP, having been on the organization's bench since October.
After a period of ups and downs at NIP, the Swede has the chance to show that he deserves to be in tier one and an opportunity in a well-structured MOUZ project is something that doesn't come along every day.
Having also made his debut for the team in the BLAST Premier Fall Final, Ihor "w0nderful" Zhdanov is a player to watch because we want to see more. The truth is that replacing Oleksandr "s1mple" Kostyljev at NAVI and in his role must be one of the biggest responsibilities in Counter-Strike.
However, the period at Sprout and these first games with NAVI show that the player deserved a chance and some of the games he played were truly impressive. We want to see more.
Nemanja "nexa" Isaković's return to G2 has been somewhat slow with the team being eliminated from the CCT 2023 Online Finals 5 after losses to Aurora and Guild Eagles. Following the somewhat controversial departure of Justin "jks" Savage from the team, G2 will have to justify the changes in their next series.
ENCE also enters the competition with recent departures. Lukas "gla1ve" Rossander replaced Marco "Snappi" Pfeiffer as IGL on the team, while Jakub "kuben" Gurczynski replaced Eetu "sAw" Saha as the coach. The two new additions have already made their debut in the "home" competition, Elisa Masters Espoo 2023, reaching the semi-finals. With these big changes to the project, we want to see how ENCE will perform.
Finally, at Cloud9, the recent elimination at BetBoom Dacha leaves the question open as to whether a native AWPer is really necessary on the team.