SK almost returned to CS:GO in 2018
In a mini-documentary released yesterday, SK's CEO, Alexander Müller, revealed officially for the first time that SK were months away from announcing a new CS:GO squad in late-2018, going so far as to sign contracts and hosting a media day for the team. This new lineup would see SK continue their relationship with the Brazilian scene after the departure of Gabriel "FalleN" Toledo and co. to MIBR in a blockbuster revival of the brand.
The origins of SK's planned return to CS:GO finds its origins in the collapse of Immortals' Brazilian roster. For those who need a refresher, Immortals hosted a successful Brazilian roster helmed by Lucas "steel" Lopes which made history by becoming the second Brazilian squad to make the finals of a Major at PGL Krakow 2017.
Despite this massive achievement, the team quickly began to unravel. In a fateful incident at DreamHack Open Montreal 2017, Vito "kNgV-" Giuseppe threatened and attempted to confront Pujan "FNS" Mehta due to a misinterpreted joke over the team's performance at the event. kNgV- was suspended from Immortals due to this outburst, however due to a mix of hubris and blatant disrespect for their employers, the team fielded kNgV- in the EPICENTER 2017 Americas Closed Qualifier. This led to kNgV- being fired from Immortals, while the organization scrambled to find a replacement.
Two days after kNgV-'s ouster from Immortals, Henrique "HEN1" Teles and Lucas "LUCAS1" Teles would request to leave the organization and subsequently be benched. Ultimately, the removal of three of their core players would leave Immortals scrambling to rebuild their roster for six months before pulling the plug, a factor that partially motivated the signing of SK's roster to become MIBR by Immortals Gaming Club.
After three months on the bench, LUCAS1 and HEN1 would reunite with kNgV- after a new roster the trio had been planning was signed by 100 Thieves following their entry into CS:GO. Alongside the Immortals trio, Lincoln "fnx" Lau and Bruno "BIT" Lima to round out the roster, with 100 Thieves being BIT's largest team at the time in CS:GO. A massive factor motivating Matthew "Nadeshot" Haag and co. to sign ex-Immortals was due to the team having a spot in the ELEAGUE Boston Major, meaning 100 Thieves would get a massive boost in publicity and in-game stickers to boot.
Unfortunately for 100 Thieves, this ultimately never happened due to kNgV- losing control of his emotions again and getting into a spat with Duncan "Thorin" Shields on Twitter where he used inappropriate and homophobic language in a rebuttal to the British pundit. This would lead to kNgV- being fired once again before 100 Thieves ultimately pulled the plug and released the fledgling roster.
After losing another organization due to questionable decision making, fnx, BIT, and the Teles brothers elected to cut kNgV- loose for the time being, creating a new team with benched SK player João "felps" Vasconcellos based around fnx's clothing brand — Não Tem Como. Despite an early snag where LUCAS1 and HEN1 left to join Luminosity, the project stayed together, re-adding kNgV- while bringing Marcelo "chelo" Cespedes and coach Alessandro "Apoka" Marcucci into the fold.
Two months into the existence of this project, SK re-enter the story as FalleN and co. leave to join MIBR, with Müller revealing how SK quickly began discussions with NTC to become the new squad to rep their historic Counter-Strike brand. Unfortunately for the NTC, SK also had their eyes set on joining Riot's LEC franchise in League of Legends, something that Müller said sapped all of the organization's resources. Despite the Brazilian players already signing contracts and having a media day ahead of an upcoming announcement, SK made the decision to focus all of their efforts on their LEC pitch, cutting the Brazilians loose and ending their involvement in CS:GO.
If SK had gone the other way, the team would've consisted of:
Bruno "BIT" Lima
João "felps" Vasconcellos
Lincoln "fnx" Lau
Vito "kNgV-" Giuseppe
Marcelo "chelo" Cespedes
Alessandro "Apoka" Marcucci (Coach)
Despite losing their third organization in less than a year, the core of SK's failed roster would go on to join INTZ while BIT rejoined oNe and fnx became a brand ambassador for MIBR while flirting with a continued playing career.
With SK seemingly permanently out of CS:GO, it's interesting to speculate how history could have turned out differently if they signed another Brazilian squad and how it could've changed Brazil's fortunes in world Counter-Strike.