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After a poor start to the season, Acend benched Finnish player and in-game leader Santeri “BONECOLD” Sassi on Wednesday. While still on the roster, the announcement said BONECOLD is free to explore new opportunities.

This change is the second one for Acend after starting 2022 VALORANT Champions Tour Challengers 1 with a 2-3 record in the Europe, Middle East and Africa region. This was not enough to qualify for the playoffs.

Acend started by beating SuperMassive Blaze 2-0, but that ended up as their best match of Challengers 1. After tough losses to Fnatic and Guild Esports, the team faced a win-and-in scenario against BBL Esports.

However, for that final match, Acend tweeted out that star player Aleksander “zeek” Zygmunt wouldn’t play due to mental health issues. With the emergency substitute of Semyon “purp0” Borchev, the team struggled and were upset by BBL 2-1.

With their Masters hope gone until the next stage, the team looked to make changes. Acend, not afraid to switch things up when things don’t work, decided to search for a new in-game leader.

BONECOLD’s future

As BONECOLD himself, he is still the IGL that led an underdog team to the top of Champions 2021. Teammates tweeted great things about his play wished him the best on whichever team he joins in the future.

Acend manager Mark “Krimson” Senior spoke out on this decision after talking to BONECOLD in a Twitter thread. In his words, the team had disagreements on what to do in-game for parts of 2021 and 2022. After missing Masters by not qualifying for playoffs in Challengers 1, the team knew it was time for a change.

BONECOLD is a great player and excellent to work with, and there is certainly no bad blood between him and the players,” Krimson said.

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