Steven R. September 28, 2019
After weeks of rumors, Richard "shox" Papillon has officially left G2 Esports for Team Vitality.
The Counter-Strike veteran announced the news in a post on Twitter.
“It is with unspeakable joy that I take a new course, I hoist the sails towards a horizon tinged with superb tricolour colors since I join a French structure,” Shox said. “The biggest, I join the Team Vitality hive with the fierce desire to bring my stone to a building that I hope is as wonderful as possible...it is with great pride that I join their ranks.”
The addition of Shox is an interesting one that could lead to big things for Vitality.
NBK- out, Shox in for Vitality after Berlin Major
Vitality posted a solid top-eight finish at the StarLadder Berlin Major, but did not play up to its potential throughout the event.
The team got off to a rocky 1-2 start in the Challengers Stage. The team survived and looked better during the Legends Stage, advancing to the playoffs after posting a 3-1 record. Unfortunately, the team was quickly eliminated from the playoffs after being dispatched 2-1 by Avangar. While that is ultimately a strong finish and guarantees Vitality a Legends Stage spot in the next CSGO major, it was still a disappointing end for a team that was considered a contender to win the tournament.
Vitality honed in on the team’s captaincy as the cause of that stumble, with Nathan "NBK-" Schmitt and Alex "ALEX" McMeekin sharing in-game leader duties. The team opted to drop NBK- from the roster and wanted to add a new star player to replace him.
When G2 Esports opted to make similar moves after washing out of the Legends Stage, it brought the two French teams to the bargaining table.
G2 Esports, Vitality agree to terms on Shox transfer
G2 Esports and Team Vitality have been at the center of a number of roster change rumors over recent weeks, largely stemming from the uncertainty surrounding the transfer of Shox.
G2 has been preparing for life without shox for a few weeks now, playing in online qualifiers and at ESL One New York with Fabien "kioShiMa" Fiey as a substitute. Rumors suggest that the team is looking to add a pair of players from CR4ZY, though neither has made any public statement confirming or denying this.
For Vitality, the team has been consistently linked to shox since benching NBK-, but the big question was how much the team was ultimately going to spend in order to get him.
Previous reports suggested that Vitality was on the hook for a buyout clause for shox worth between $500,000 and $700,000. This was negotiated down to a figure between $350,000 and $450,000, but still stands as one of the biggest buyouts in CSGO history.
Vitality will be looking to make that investment pay off in the near future. The team is approaching a hectic few months, which starts with its berth at DreamHack Masters Malmö 2019. It will be interesting to see how shox transitions into his new role with Vitality, and if shox was the missing piece that will turn Vitality into a contender for the top spot in CSGO.