DISCLAIMER: While this article will use the current situation in Fnatic’s CS:GO squad, it is in no way meant to imply that Freddy “KRiMZ” Johansson is actually doing anything like what’s discussed below. The circumstances surrounding the whole debacle only revealed that something like this could possibly happen.
Okay, let’s talk about the roots of what’s happening. On August 15th, three Fnatic players, Robin “flusha” Rönnquist, Jesper “JW” Wecksell, and KRiMZ went to GODSENT, while Jonas “Lekr0” Olofsson and Simon “twist” Eliasson came over from GODSENT to Fnatic. In the beginning, it looked like Fnatic got the rough end of the deal, however, both teams underperformed. That’s not what really matters.
What is really important is the rules around Legend status in CS:GO Majors. Top 8 teams from the previous Major (ESL One Cologne 2016 in this case) are automatically invited to the next Major, provided that they have three of the five players who qualified for the Legend status. When three Fnatic players left the team, Fnatic was, to put it frankly, fucked, while GODSENT got a guaranteed spot in the next CS:GO Major.
Let’s say that two out of the three players who left their previous team absolutely hated it there, while the third didn’t really mind it, just preferred playing with the two who wanted to leave. The trio thought that they would have a better chance of winning titles if they went to the other org. It didn’t turn out like that. Both teams ended up bad, players form declined, it got so bad that there was basically no chance of either of the teams winning the next Major.
Now, seeing that the plan has turned to shit, the fence-sitting third man, playing worse than he’s ever played, losing hope of actually inning with either of the teams, decides to make bank. How? By going to the owners of both team and saying, “If you want to go to the Major for sure, you need me. How much are you willing to pay?” The power a player has in a situation like this, both in negotiations and the ability to decide the future of others, is mind-boggling. With Sticker sales, and the possibility of prize money, you can make a lot from playing in Majors, especially if you’re Fnatic, a team with a HUGE fanbase. Basically, the player who is on the team with three Legends to another org’s two and who is willing to leave it, has a blank check. That should never be allowed to happen.
While the roster rule was implemented to give players more power to make sure organisations treat them well, this power could be misused horribly. Of course, it requires a very specific set of circumstances. This probably won’t happen again for years, if ever, however, a way to prevent this situation should be found nevertheless. Let’s hope Valve announces something. If we’re extremely lucky it won’t even be on Valve time.