Five potential replacements for nitr0
Following the conclusion of IEM Dallas next week, North America's most dominant force Liquid will be on the hunt for a new fifth player as Nick "nitr0" Cannella will step down from the active roster. With Captain America's departure imminent, it has opened the door for numerous possibilities on who will be Liquid's new fifth, considering the recent commandeering of the IGL role by Mareks "YEKINDAR" Gaļinskis. Here are five different players that we here at Dust2.us think will elevate Liquid after the departure of nitr0.
The first option that Liquid could go with is making a move for ATK's Michael "Swisher" Schmid. The former Bad News Bears rifler has been consistently improving over the last year, stomping on the competition domestically but very rarely has he had the chance to display his talent against the top teams. As an up-and-coming North American rifler, it will fit the Liquid brand while also providing a firepower upgrade as Swisher is generally an entry fragger. On top of all that, it is unlikely that ATK would demand an extortionate buyout that Liquid would not be willing to pay, making this perhaps the most realistic move on the list.
One of the hottest prospects in the scene following GamerLegion's miraculous run to the BLAST.tv Paris Major final, Kamil "siuhy" Szkaradek is an ideal candidate for Liquid to add to their ranks. An English-speaking, space-taking IGL who masterminded an underdog run to the final of most prestigious tournament in the game, siuhy showed confidence under pressure in Paris. An added benefit from going for the young Pole comes in the fact that in taking over the IGL role, YEKINDAR will have that pressure alleviated and allow for him to focus on his own game, and with how Ivan "iM" Mihai performed under siuhy, we could see YEKINDAR's game taken to a level we have not seen previously.
Another hot prospect in the scene following the news that he is considering his options at OG is Shahar "flameZ" Shushan. The Israeli entry fragger is one of the best in the world at cracking open bombsites, fearlessly opening up rounds with terrifying efficiency on OG. If Liquid is to remain with YEKINDAR at the helm, flameZ could be an ideal running mate for the Latvian to send in to create space for Liquid.
Referring back to the first entry on this list with Swisher, Liquid's brand is, and always has been, North American. As one of just two members of the iconic Cloud9 Major winning team from 2018, Timothy "autimatic" Ta could be more than just a token replacement for nitr0 considering the level he has shown on a massively subpar Evil Geniuses team. EG has no ambitions of competing at a high level right now and autimatic has shown that he is more than capable of holding his own in the top tier of Counter-Strike. Dependable and versatile, autimatic could add a level of consistency in the rifling department and certainly raise the firepower level to hopefully get Liquid over the line and win some titles.
A massively ambitious pick I know, but paiN's Rodrigo "biguzera" Bittencourt looks ready to compete on a playoff-contending roster, and with his recent transition to the IGL role being seamless, that team could be Liquid. The main drawbacks come from the fact his mother tongue is Portuguese and it is unclear how strong his English would be to lead a team, as well as the infamous Brazilian buyouts posing another issue. If Liquid can get around those two issues, biguzera calling for Liquid could be the move to get the North Americans over the hump and into title-winning territory.