mousesports bench woxic despite promising ESL One Cologne start

Nick J. August 23, 2020

mousesports didn't last long in ESL One Cologne 2020, but its sudden benching of AWPer Özgür "woxic" Eker is cause for concern.

After dropping out of ESL One Cologne 2020 without a win, woxic took to Twitter and confirmed reports that the organization had benched him. While there has been no official word from the mousesports organization, woxic told fans that more details will be released in the near future.

Multiple outlets claimed that woxic was removed from the team's active lineup due to the player's attitude instead of his performance, but former teammates have come to his defense. Both woxic and several who claim to know him have publically denied the reports, creating an even more confusing situation surrounding what was an already head-scratching move from the German Counter-Strike: Global Offensive team.

Regardless, woxic's play was a major factor in both mousesports' rise in 2019 and its decline in 2020. The team reached the number two spot in CSGO's world rankings in February 2020 by winning multiple high-profile tournaments surrounding the 2019 holiday season. Starting with an underwhelming showing in IEM Katowice 2020, mousesports has been suffering from a precipitous decline.

mousesports was on track for better second half of CSGO's tournament year

The weak showings ultimately lead to what was rumored as a complete break from CSGO by its players over the sport's July holiday.

While most top teams take a break from CSGO's competitive circuit each July, most players still try and stay sharp during the break. Rumors say that mouz coach Allan "Rejin" Petersen asked the roster's players to completely step away from the game in order to get refreshed.

"I've never experienced this before. Every break I just played," said mouz rifler David "frozen" Čerňanský.

Whether the complete break was mandated or not, a hard-fought series against Natus Vincere in ESL One Cologne made CSGO fans perk up. While mouz lost 2-1, the games felt much closer than the the scoreboard made it seem. Close rounds and Katowice-like performances from Na`Vi gave them the game, but mouz passed the eye test.

That was a bit of a moral victory for the team.

mousesport's recent games have been an emotional roller coaster for no clear reason. In early June, the team managed to defeat Astralis and its stand-ins 2-0 at BLAST Premier Spring, giving fans a boost after its early 2020 slump. But mouz never managed to break out of their online CSGO funk. The team has lost five games since then, including its Cologne series against Na`Vi.

Two of them were against teams with weaker bona fides, including MAD Lions and GODSENT, that should have been easy prey for mouz stars Robin "ropz" Kool and woxic. woxic has taken much of the blame for this, leading many to state that the team should instead focus on playing around ropz. But despite both fan criticism and the team's shakiness of late, woxic remains underrated.

woxic's value to mousesports as ropz balance too important to lose

Even with mousesports' struggles and the drama surround the team, woxic is the seventh-highest-rated player on top-20 CSGO teams, higher than the likes ofMarcelo "coldzera" David, Jonathon "ELiGE" Jablonowski, Keith "NAF" Markovic, and Peter "dupreeh" Rasmussen. For a young competitor like woxic, that's a phenomenal feat. 

Even with the early elimination there was a marked improvement with mousesports in ESL One Cologne, but woxic's benching has put a cloud over what looked like a promising team. The story coming out of the event would have been that the team was ready to turn a corner, but now the question is if ropz can single-handedly carry the team.

In a situation eerily similar to that of former mousesports star Nikola "NiKo" Kovač, the German organization seems content to stymie its talented players.