NRG Esports at full strength for StarSeries after visa resolution

Steven R. March 29, 2019

NRG Esports’ Counter-Strike: Global Offensive team will be able to compete at full strength at StarSeries & i-League CS:GO Season 7.

After two days of worrying, NRG confirmed that AWPer Cvetelin "CeRq" Dimitrov will be able to compete in Shanghai. Visa troubles threatened to scuttle the new NRG’s first big event together, but the team revealed that the Bulgarian was able to make the trek to China.

This is great news for the organization, but the team could still face an uphill battle at the event.

NRG Esports seemed poised to establish itself as an elite CS:GO organization at the 2019 Katowice Major. Despite failing to qualify for the preceding FACEIT Major: London, the team had established itself as a legitimate contender in 2018, posting first-place finishes at Intel Extreme Masters XIII: Shanghai and CS_Summit 3. It was regarded by many as a top-five CS:GO team, and a possible dark horse to go deep in the tournament.

NRG looked ready to live up to those expectations in the Challengers Stage, cruising through the group with a 3-0 record. But things went off the rails in epic fashion in the Legends Stage.

NRG was the first team to wash out of the second group stage, getting eliminated with a 0-3 record. That stumble undermined the progress the team had made in the months prior and denied it a guaranteed spot in the Berlin Major.

That disappointing finish also prompted the team to release the long-tenured Jacob "FugLy" Medina and replace him with former Cloud9 and MiBR standout Tarik "tarik" Celik.

The new NRG is making its first appearance at StarSeries & i-League CS:GO Season 7, but visa issues related to CeRq threatened to put the team on ice. Tarik was the first to announce the news on Twitter, with NRG CEO Andy Miller stating the sticking point was a visa issue potentially preventing CeRq from entering China. The next day, NRG announced that the issue had been resolved and that CeRq was en route.

That’s great news for NRG as it looks to start over after FugLy, but it is by no means a guarantee of success for the team. The field in Shanghai is a deep one. Katowice Major runner-up ENCE Esports is set to compete, alongside proven contenders including Natus Vincere and MiBR.

The long-term outlook for NRG is still a positive one. But with the team looking to establish itself as an international force, it needs to put in strong performances at events like this.

NRG isn’t guaranteed any softball opponents either, as its run begins with a showdown against North. Kicking off the tournament with a win over the Europeans would send a strong message about where NRG now stands.