Steven R. April 6, 2019
One of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive’s most recognizable North American teams is no longer without an organization.
North American staple Swole Patrol is now Lazarus Esports. The entirety of the team has transferred to the Canadian organization, which returns to men’s Counter-Strike for the first time since 2017.
Originally founded in 2011, Swole Patrol has existed in many different forms over the years. In 2018 it became a proper team with a full-time lineup, competing in events like World Electronic Sports Games, Fragadelphia 12, and the qualifiers for a variety of larger tournaments. It enjoyed modest success throughout the year but struggled to ever gain traction as its roster was frequently poached by other teams, particularly eUnited.
Following the 2019 Katowice Major, Braxton "swag" Pierce rebuilt Swole Patrol with a new lineup. Jordan "Zellsis" Montemurro was the highest profile addition, joining after a trial run with Cloud9. Alongside Zellsis was former Ghost Gaming player Yassine "Subroza" Taoufik, eUnited entry fragger Michael "dapr" Gulino, and journeyman Gage "Infinite" Green.
This latest iteration of Swole Patrol had minimal opportunity to compete as a full unit, with the only tape on the lineup coming in the open qualifiers to DreamHack Masters Dallas 2019 where it was defeated by Luminosity Gaming. Still, the roster was promising enough to catch the eye of Lazarus.
Originally branded as SetToDestroyX, the organization entered the CS:GO space in 2015 but dropped its roster shortly thereafter when two players were banned by CEVO. It signed another roster a few months later and has bounced in and out of Counter-Strike several times since, checking out of the game entirely in December 2017. In 2018, SetToDestroyX was rebranded as Lazarus Esports and began signing talent in Fortnite and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. It originally reentered CS:GO by signing Russian women’s team Donut Galaxy.
The jury is out on the new lineup’s competitive ceiling. Despite being released from the team, Zellsis proved himself a top talent during his short run with Cloud9 and could help establish the team as a contender on the North American regional scene.
The team is currently preparing for a boot camp for the ESL Pro League Season 9 Americas division. It will debut in a stiff group stage opposite CompLexity Gaming, Team Liquid, and Ghost Gaming.