Truly the end of an era for Liquid (GS #8) within the professional Counter-Strike: Global Offensive scene as Liquid has now officially verified the rumors that have been floating around since yesterday; Nicholas ‘nitr0’ Cannella is no longer playing for Team Liquid, replaced by Michael ‘Grim’ Wince.
The news was leaked yesterday by various outlets that ultimately led to Liquid speeding up the announcement, making the separation from long-time IGL and AWPer Nicholas ‘nitr0’ Cannella seem rushed and tenuous by some accounts.
Team Liquid Coach Eric ‘adreN’ Hoag played a bit on stream today with Erik ‘fl0m’ Flom on Twitch, where Hoag stated they haven’t had an opportunity to practice with Michael Wince yet, but are planning on doing so ‘in the upcoming week’.
UPDATE: In reply to request for comment, Team Liquid said;
"We can confirm that Michael "Grim" Wince will be starting for Team Liquid at Dreamhack next weekend. We're not ready to share more at the moment, but we will have more to share with the community soon."
— Rush B Media (@RushBMediaGG) July 29, 2020
He further stated that the leaks pushed Liquid forward on the announcement of Michael joining while Nicholas takes leave from the team that he has led through multiple tournaments since January 2015; his in-game leadership brought Liquid to the fastest-ever Intel Grand Slam with legendary performances across a wide variety of maps; most famously the Overpass heaven hold with an AWP.
Nicholas Cannella is a beloved figure of the Team Liquid roster, yet his performance has admittedly been sliding downwards on a steady trend since 2015, with the most notable (and recent dropoff) in performance analysis beginning October 2019 where his overall rating went from 0.98 to a low of 0.84.
His role steadily became more supporting within the server, and the Liquid shifting a team slot from support to fragger with Michael Wince stepping in brings a reminder of Fnatic in early 2016; Fnatic replaced their IGL ‘pronax’ with an up and coming fragger Dennis: Fnatic then went on to win six tournaments in a row with relative ease.
Others are reminding of Vitality, who replaced their IGL ‘NBK’ due to streaky runs in tournaments, yet then arguably looked worse than ever once he departed.
It’s been known that Jake ‘Stewie2K’ Yip has been IGL for Liquid in recent months; this move is allegedly coming from recent internal discussions where Nicholas has opted to step down himself from the team: he is not being ‘forced out’ by any means, and he’s taking it on the chin rather well considering he’s been with the NA team for the past half-decade.
Until next time, friends.
— Nick Cannella (@nitr0) July 29, 2020
What this will result in, specifically for Team Liquid as a whole, is tough to say at this time. Grim has been making a name for himself on Triumph in T2 at recent events despite falling to Chaos EC repeatedly, but we’ll know soon enough.
Dreamhack Open Summer 2020 begins on August 8, and runs for eight days until August 16 with a $90,000 prize pool; Liquid will be competing, and that will be our first chance to see if Michael ‘Grim’ Wince can step up and frag with some of the best names in professional North American Counter-Strike.