One of the best players in recent CS:GO history and former FaZe Clan star Nikola “NiKo” Kovač has been signed by G2 Esports. After months of speculation, NiKo will be joining his cousin Nemanja “huNter-” Kovač in G2’s starting lineup.
G2 Esports announced the acquisition in a hilarious video, depicting NiKo’s kidnapping and reveal by no one other than his cousin huNter.
I'm really excited to announce that I will be joining @G2esports and I can't explain how happy I'm that I will be playing with @G2huNter and rest of the guys from now on. I'm coming to this lineup with the goal to bring them back to the top and make sure to stay there. #G2WIN https://t.co/2zbFWwsqOd
— NiKo (@G2NiKo) October 28, 2020
A fresh start
NiKo joined FaZe Clan from mousesports in 2017, in one of the most expensive transfers in esport history at the time. During his three-and-a-half-year long stint with FaZe, the Bosnian guided the team to ten titles at various LAN tournaments, earning the MVP award at six of them. In the last three years, NiKo was also one of the best players in the world per HLTV’s yearly rankings, finishing 2017 in 2nd place, 2018 in 3rd, and 2019 in 11th place.
“Three and a half years in FaZe Clan has come to an end. With tears in my eyes, I have to say goodbye to everyone who was involved throughout my time in FaZe, all the players that I played with, all the staff behind that was always there for me and all the fans that have supported us throughout this period. It was a wild run with a lot of ups and downs, so many good memories that I will cherish forever, it sucks that we couldn’t bring a major trophy to such a legendery organization, but no one regrets it and is hurt more than me.”, NiKo stated in his TwitLonger statement.
Heading into G2, NiKo was supposedly set to replace François “AmaNEk” Delaunay in the teams’ active roster. Currently, it looks as though the French organization will be following in the footsteps of Astralis and fielding a six-man roster.
It has been a largely inconsistent year for G2, as the team spent the most of it yo-yoing between the middle of the pack and the very top at premier tournaments. The team has lacked consistency for a big part of the year, mostly due to its lack of consistent firepower.
NiKo will be their best chance to change that, seeing as he will transition from his previous IGL leader role to more of a focal point for the team.
The new G2 Esports lineup will be making its debut at the BLAST Premier Fall Series where they will take on FURIA in their opening match of Group C.
Can FaZe bounce back?
Replacing NiKo will definitely be the toughest challenge that FaZe has faced in its CS:GO history. Players of that caliber are generational talents that are few and far in-between. The team has already announced that Olof “olofmeister” Kajbjer Gustafsson will return to the team’s active roster.
With olof’s best days looking like they’re behind him, FaZe will have to look to Marcelo “coldzera” David and Helvijs “broky” Saukants to step up to the plate.
With NiKo’s loss FaZe is out of the very top of the competitive CS:GO scene, and will be stepping into unknown territory. Heading into future tournaments the odds are looking against them, as FaZe will definitely not be viewed as the favorites they once were.