Nitr0 officially returns to the CS:GO Team Liquid
After over a year of retirement from the highly exclusive club of professional Counter-Strike: Global Offensive players in mid-2020 to pursue a career in Riot Games’ first-person popular tactical shooter, VALORANT, Nicholas “nitr0” Cannella returns to North American Team Liquid’s CS:GO team.
“It’s not like I had all these “Counter-Strike” offers and I chose Liquid. I didn’t have any other offers for “Counter-Strike.” Liquid was my only one,” admitted the player to The Washington Post about his return. “Obviously they still like me a lot, and they have faith in me.”
The 26-year-old veteran also mentioned the age gap as part of his reason to feel more comfortable with his old battlefield with Team Liquid, saying: ”I didn’t really talk to too many people in the “Valorant” scene.”
Liquid announced the reinstatement with a video on their Twitter handle showing a Team Liquid member restoring Nitr0’s signature Captain America shield, painted black by 100 Thieves when he left in 2020 for a short stint as part of its VALORANT roster.
Despite his short time with the VALORANT team, nitr0 was a pivotal rifler/controller agent player that contributed to their win at the North American First Strike event. This win secured their smooth run into the semifinals of VCT Masters Three Berlin alongside an array of notable former NA CS:GO stars, including Ethan, steel, and fellow former Liquid player Hiko.
“The first time I really had the itch to go back would be during the last Major, [“Counter-Strike’s” championship event]. I think it was in November,” said nitr0. “Going back to “Counter-Strike” wasn’t really a long-term plan or anything. It wasn’t a long-term decision. I hadn’t been thinking about it for that long.”
nitr0 has indeed proven also a valuable player for Team Liquid. Together, they secured major championships victories at the ESL One Cologne 2019, Intel Grand Slam Season 2, BLAST Pro Series: Los Angeles 2019, and the notable $1,000,000 Intel Grand Slam season 2 win after conquering the 4-tournament threshold over Vitality at Cologne’19.
Nitr0 will reclaim his position as Team Liquid’s In-Game Leader (IGL) to lead a CS: GO familiar roster comprising of long-time teammates Jonathan “EliGE” Jablonowski and the newly re-signed for a long term contract with Liquid, Keith “NAF” Markovic.
The team will go on without Gabriel “FalleN” Toledo, Jake “Stewie2K” Yip, and Michael “Grim” Wince who was moved to the bench towards the end of the year after their unsuccessful major run.
NA AWPer Joshua “oSee” Ohm from Extra Salt will be replacing FalleN on the team’s sniper duties and French veteran from Vitality Richard “shox” Papillon rounds out the rest of the roster ruled under Eric “adreN” Hoag as Head coach. Team Vitality itself is reported to have recently signed the ex-Astralis trio.
The flop is said to be one of the main reasons for Team Liquid’s restructuring with no major win across the past two years with Intel Extreme Masters XIV – Chicago back in 2019 as their last win.
After this roster announcement, all eyes are now set on Evil Geniuses and its prospect to sign autimatic, RUSH, and a former Liquid player, Stewie. This rearrangement comes just in time before a period that is expected to be a revitalization of NA Counter-Strike once the 2021 season of tournaments concluded.