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Esports organization OG announced Wednesday the benching of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive pro Nikolaj “niko” Kristensen. The 23-year-old Danish rifler is now exploring his options for new opportunities.
The move comes during a rebuilding period for OG, who failed to qualify for PGL Major Antwerp 2022. Niko’s teammate Valdemar “valde” Vangså was also benched from the team in early May. The changes confirm an earlier report from 1pv.fr that said OG were looking to shake up the roster.
Thank you, @OfficialnikoCS.
Your hard work and passion will not be forgotten.
Sometimes hard choices have to be made in order to move forward.
And it's always with a broken heart that we have to make them.
— OG CS:GO (@OGcsgo) May 25, 2022
“Sometimes good things must come to an end,” niko said in a tweet. “I have absolutely loved every second of my time with what now feels like a second family and hope to see them center stage in the nearby future.”
Prior to joining OG, niko played with orgs like OpTic Gaming, Rogue and Heroic. Niko has played mostly in all-Danish rosters but also has some experience on international lineups, most recently with OG.
Niko had been playing with OG since early 2021. In January 2022, OG traded in-game leader Aleksi “Aleksib” Virolainen in exchange for G2 Esports’ Nemanja “nexa” Isaković. The change netted the team some early success, but that has since dried up. Struggling to find consistent wins and event qualifications, OG opted to make a change and rebuild post-major as new free agents are made available. Mareks “YEKINDAR” Gaļinskis is presently the most desirable player without a team, though OG may have trouble courting the Latvian superstar.
With valde gone, the only remaining member from OG’s entry into Counter-Strike is Mateusz “mantuu” Wilczewski. The team looks to be rebuilding around the core of mantuu, nexa and the hot younger talent of Shahar “flameZ” Shushan.
As it stands, OG’s current active roster is as follows:
- Nemanja “nexa” Isaković
- Mateusz “mantuu” Wilczewski
- Shahar “flameZ” Shushan
- Casper “ruggah” Due (coach)
Coby Zucker is Upcomer's resident CS:GO writer. He's also played League of Legends at the collegiate level and is a frequent visitor in TFT Challenger Elo. He's a firm believer that Toronto should be the next big esports hub city.