Denis ditches Sprout, joins BIG as former star Nex heads to bench

By Steven Rondina


May 16, 2019

Reading time: 2 min

The German Counter-Strike: Global Offensive scene has received a new shakeup.

Denis “denis” Howell is splitting off from Sprout after an 18-month run with the team to join fellow German organization BIG. The news was confirmed by all parties on Twitter.

“Today it’s time to say goodbye to Denis, who has been part of Sprout from day one,” Sprout announced on Twitter. “But our ways part from now on even though we hoped for a different outcome. Nevertheless, we wish him best of luck and the success he is looking for at BIG.”

Denis is best known for his two-year run with Mousesports from 2015 to 2017. After splitting off from that organization, he helped found Seed alongside former members of Penta Sports, which later formed the foundation for Sprout.

Despite dealing with heavy roster turnover, the team enjoyed moderate success competing in regional European events. Though the squad hasn’t appeared at many larger events, it worked its way through some tournaments of note in 2019, taking second place at Charleroi Esports 2019 and Copenhagen Games 2019 with Denis looking like a force during that particular run.

Though Sprout seemed to be headed in a good direction, Denis opted to jump to an organization that is already better established as one of the continent’s best.

With the addition of Denis, BIG has deactivated Johannes “nex” Maget. Nex has bounced in and out of BIG’s active lineup since joining the team in 2017, most recently coming off the bench in February. Though his return was a welcome one, the team has struggled under the spotlight ever since, most notably washing out of the 2019 Katowice Major with a 0-3 record in the New Legends Stage.

According to a statement from BIG, nex returns to the team’s bench “due to ongoing health issues and after an intense evaluation of the team’s situation.” He will remain with the organization on the inactive list as a potential substitute where he sits alongside sniper Owen “smooya” Butterfield.

BIG stated that Denis is en route to Berlin and will begin working alongside the squad to prepare for ESL Pro League Season 9 and the upcoming ESL One Cologne. The new BIG will debut on May 21 with a series versus Heroic.