G2 Esports’ IGL troubles aren’t over yet. The team’s Counter-Strike: Global Offensive roster will bench its captain yet again in search of new direction.
After middling results for much of 2022, in-game leader Aleksi “Aleksib” Virolainen has been removed from G2 Esports. The in-game leader’s move was prompted by consecutive losses to Movistar Riders and ENCE at IEM Cologne, but was rumored for much longer than that. G2 Esports has always seems to have trouble finding the right in-game leader, and the current talent pool for captains is small. Who can step in and take control of the G2 squad?
In a brief social media post on July 16, Aleksib announced his benching from the G2 Esports CSGO roster. The news came just hours after a disappointing 12th-place finish for the team at IEM Cologne 2022. A tier-two player for many years, Aleksib first rose to stardom as part of the memetic ENCE roster of 2018. He went on to captain OG’s debut team and landed with G2 in early 2022. He was traded to G2 in exchange for former IGL Nemanja “nexa” Isaković.
Why was Aleksib kicked from G2 Esports?
G2 has not given an explicit reason for why Aleksib was kicked, but it’s almost certainly related to the team’s recent rocky performances and difficulty with in-game leadership.
While earning just $16,000 of the $1 million prize pool at IEM Cologne is a low point, it’s not G2’s first poor finish this season. The roster buckled at IEM Dallas and critically underwhelmed at the Antwerp Major. It’s a far cry from February when the team earned $180,000 with a second-place finish at IEM Katowice.
This is also not the first time G2 has struggled with its captaincy. The team made the shocking decision to get rid of Nemanja “nexa” Isaković just two months after finishing second at the Stockholm Major. Even further back, the team unsuccessfully experimented with Richard “shox” Papillon in the driver’s seat.
Fans should also remember that G2 Esports has a few unique traits that complicate roster changes. Audric “JACKZ” Jug is the longest-standing member of the G2 roster while Nikola “NiKo” Kovač and Nemanja “huNter-” Kovač are family and likely not interested in being separated. Ilya “m0NESY” Osipov’s buyout is rumored at over $600,000, and G2 management probably wants to get its money’s worth on its young star. If G2 wants a roster change, the IGL slot is the only wiggle room it really has.
Who will replace Aleksib as G2 IGL?
With the departure of Aleksib, G2 is now in search of a new IGL. However, the market is tight right now. G2 can either pick up a free agent or poach an in-game leader from another team. If G2 chooses the former, here’s a list of potential candidates.
Rasmus “HooXi” Nielsen
The former captain of Copenhagen Flames could potentially get called up to G2 Esports. HooXi oversaw the team’s rise through 2022 including a top-eight finish in Antwerp. He’s one of just two Copenhagen Flames players not to be signed over, and there’s little doubt that HooXi is in the discussion for G2 IGL.
Alexander “ALEX” McMeekin
Fnatic’s former captain has been quiet since his benching in May, but he likely intends to continue his career in CSGO. G2’s IGL troubles could be good news for ALEX. He directed Fnatic during its hot streak in late 2021, and his relative lack of fragging power shouldn’t be a problem with this powerful G2 roster.
Kirill “Boombl4” Mikhaylov
The controversial captain of Natus Vincere is an unlikely choice for G2 Esports, but Boombl4 is still the most decorated IGL not signed to a team. He proved able to work with superstars like Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev and his unique lurking style adds an X-factor to his teams. With the sudden exit of Aleksib, there is now a possibility of Boombl4 joining G2. If he’s not busy pursuing a rap career, that is.