Change. It is something that is required ever so often or sometimes not at all. In the case of Indian CS, it was not so much a requirement as a necessity in order for the region to grow professionally.
The foray of foreign players into the country can be dated back to the Indian Dota 2 teams. Entity Gaming and Signify were the first ones to try them out as a part of their rosters but unfortunately, their results weren’t up to par with their expectations.
Luckily for CS, this has not been the case, thanks in part to OpTic Gaming for making its way to India. In the process of setting up OpTic India, the organization went on to host the first ever open tryouts in order to select players for its newly setup venture.
The First To Arrive
While the Indian CS community was still celebrating the arrival of the newly established OpTic India line-up, news of an international player joining an Indian roster was made public.
This came as a shock for everyone and elicited mixed responses while the community patiently waited to judge Lukas ‘yb’ Gröning. And boy what a magician he turned out to be!
Image Credit: Extremesland Official
OpTic stomped all competition on its way to becoming the best Indian CS team while achieving the feat of not losing a single game at the ESL India Premiership 2018 Fall: Online Stage. They also went onto reach the semifinals of the Toyota Master CS:GO Bangkok 2018: SEA Qualifier, something that the Indian teams had not done in a long time now.
The team's performance was without a doubt beyond exceptional, they were on par with some of the best international teams in the SEA region. And while a lot of these results maybe questionable courtesy Forsaken’s shenanigans, the team’s growth cannot exclusively be a factor of the same. Conversations with many of Yb’s teammates will reveal that his leadership has played an integral part in improving their fundamental approach to the game and towards going pro.
Yb’s primary strength does not lie in his mechanics or his abilities as a rifler, rather in his capability to read his opponents and counter them effectively. Coming from the European region, he brought with him a treasure trove of experience and strategies to polish the fundamentals of all the players on his team. He is an incredible IGL, who taught a lot to the young Indian players under his guidance, actually utilizing their potential and turning them into some of the best players in India. This was one unique way of utilizing a foreign player to improve the overall performance of an Indian CS team.
Though OpTic India was an organization whose wings were cut before they could soar high enough, their short-lived existence made a huge enough impact and left back some lessons to be learned by their indigenous competitors.
Setting The Trend
Entity Gaming was the next team to follow OpTic India. David ‘Dav’ Miljani?, an experienced Serbian player joined the roster to add on to their firepower. After OpTic India had disbanded its roster, the new Entity was a force to reckon with.
Image Credit: Entity Gaming
But after a loss to Signify CS:GO at DreamHack Mumbai 2018, Entity decided to amp up their firepower a little more. They went on to pick up two more Serbians, Darko ‘soLo’ Miti? as their coach and ?or?e ‘DJOXiC’ Niciforovi? as their new awper.
The Indo-Serbian roster has synced really well, recently winning the IEM Sydney - SEA Open Qualifier #1 where they took their revenge against Signify CS:GO while also defeating top SEA teams like BOOM.id and Rex Regum Qeon.
This time around the foreign players were not recruited for their brains but for the requirement of raw firepower. To augment their now improved firepower, a dedicated coach was brought on board to help the team with fine-tuning, map pool expansion and more.
Entity Gaming had taken a page off OpTic’s success but moulded it into something to suit their needs, setting a trend for the upcoming Indian teams like Signify and Global Esports.
While Signify sports India’s German CS genius, yb, along with star Vietnamese awper, Ngô ‘crazyguy’ Anh Công, the recently announced Global Esports roster features the Polish duo of Kamil ‘kamil’ Kami?ski and Adrian ‘Zorineq’ Kolodziejski.
Till now the adoption of foreign players into the local circuit has been largely beneficial for the Indian community and different teams have utilised these players in different ways. Slowly a trend seems to be coming to life with a mixed roster being the go-to choice for the upcoming and existing teams. And while it remains to be seen if this will result in an improvement in India’s performance on the Asian or even global competitive CS:GO circuit, we’re fairly optimistic!