Who are the five players representing Team Spirit, the Russian squad experiencing a meteoritic rise to the top of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive?
Following its victory at Dreamhack Open January and its surprising ascent to the semifinals of IEM Katowice 2021, Team Spirit is the talk of the town in the CSGO community. But who are these five relatively unknown CIS players that are running through their opposition at a record speed?
The captain of the team is the 24-year-old Leonid “chopper” Vishnyakov. Chopper has been active in the Russian scene since 2013, playing on a variety of lesser-known lineups. He had his first breakthrough in 2016 when he joined Vega Squadron. With that team, he reached the New Legends stage in two consecutive majors.
After more than two years with Vega Squadron, he decided to part ways with the Russian organization at the start of 2019. He found a new challenge at Team Spirit, helping to build its successful roster.
While chopper’s statistics are not the flashiest, he plays an important supportive role in the team. As one of the more experienced members of the lineup, he’s vital in keeping the younger players calm and focused.
As the star player of the lineup, Nikolay “mir” Bityukov played an essential role in Team Spirit’s recent success. The Russian is the most established player on the lineup, having previously played with chopper on Vega Squadron before joining Gambit Esports. When the Gambit lineup imploded in the summer of 2019, all of its players were benched and mir transferred to Team Spirit.
The 25-year-old entry fragger is a consistent star performer for Team Spirit. His KDA ratio barely goes below 1, and he has a habit of having his best performances against highly rated teams.
mir is one of the rare pro players that use the M4A1-S as his CT rifle. While the gun is generally considered to be the weakest of the two M4 options, mir has shown that it can be made to work.
As the longest-standing player on the roster, Viktor “sdy” Orudzhev has been the only constant factor on Team Spirit. sdy, also known as somedieyoung, has represented the organization since the start of 2018. He’s been growing alongside the team ever since, culminating in the recent Dreamhack Open victory and a great IEM Katowice run.
sdy is a stabilizing factor both in and out of the server. The consistency some of his teammates might miss is sdy’s strong suit.
Statistically, sdy isn’t an exciting player. He has an occasional outstanding map or series, but he isn’t supposed to be the star of the lineup. sdy is a trustworthy anchor player who does the dirty work for his teammates. He can be left alone on a site and will do a solid job defending it.
Boris “magixx” Vorobiev is the latest hot prospect to be forged in the Faceit Pro League. The online hub has a reputation for giving young and talented players a place to shine and test their skills against the best in the game. magixx joined the hub just over a year ago and won its monthly competition in June 2020.
The 17-year-old signed his first professional contract in the summer of 2019. He initially joined ESPADA, a team that’s heavily related to Team Spirit. After spending only a month with the squad, he was transferred to Team Spirit.
— FPL (@FPLCircuit) January 6, 2021
While magixx is obviously talented, he needs to work on his consistency. His performances are still a bit hot and cold. He can dominate one map only to completely fall silent on the next. But at his age, he still needs to grow and has to be given time to take the next step.
One of the brightest rising stars in CSGO, Abdul “degster” Gasanov has gone from playing in the lower tiers of Russia to being considered the next big AWPer in the span of just two months. The 19-year-old is still on loan from ESPADA, but Team Spirit is expected to make that deal permanent in the coming weeks.
Brought on in January of this year as a replacement for Artem “iDISBALANCE” Egorov, degster has surpassed what can reasonably be expected from a rookie. He impressed in his debut tournament, Dreamhack Open January, and brought his team its first big trophy with an MVP-worthy performance.
While the community praised degster, his coach tempered expectations. Coach Nikolay “certus” Poluyanov said that while degster was a great addition to the team, he still had a lot to learn and makes a lot of mistakes that needed to be ironed out.
degster is an absolute training machine. He claims to start his day with four hours of deathmatch followed by team practice and several FPL games to close out the day.