Following reports by dbltap’s Jarek Lewis, Team Liquid president Steve Arhancet took to Twitter to address the matter. While he didn’t explicitly discuss the report or its implications, he functionally confirmed the roster move.
“Yes, we will be making changes to the roster...Our commitment to winning is unwavering, and that’s important to us. That being said, it’s also really important to provide information to all our fans about what those changes are and why we’re making those changes. Unfortunately, we won’t be able to do that right now,” Arhancet said.
Unless things change dramatically in the near future, this means that nitr0’s tenure with Liquid is at an end.
Lewis’ report does not delve into details regarding the move. Though the headline states that nitr0 is “stepping down” from Liquid, it is unclear if he is being shopped to other organizations, taking a break from CSGO, or doing something else entirely.
nitr0 has played in a variety of different roles for Liquid over the years to generally great effect, but he has primarily been known for his time as the team's in-game leader and primary AWPer. He played a key role in legitimizing the organization in CSGO in 2016 by helping them reach the grand finals of the ESL One Cologne Major, and served as captain during the team’s incredibly run in 2019, which included one of the hottest streaks of play the game has ever seen. He departs Liquid having won a slew of tournaments, most notably ESL Pro League Season 9 and ESL One Cologne 2019, as well as the Intel Grand Slam.
According to Lewis’ report, in lieu of nitr0 Liquid is looking to get an injection of young talent on its roster in the form of Michael "Grim" Wince.
The 19-year-old has been a force in North American regional leagues since going pro in 2017. Though he had a notable run with Team Dignitas in 2018, his most successful run to date has been with his current team, Triumph. He has been a standout performer for Triumph in recent months, posting excellent individual efforts in both WINNERS League Season 4 and the Mythic Invite League.
He’ll have a tall task in front of him trying to consistently replicate that success against the strongest teams in North and South America. Seeing if he can effectively fill the shoes of nitr0 will be one of the biggest CSGO stories of the summer.
Should reports prove true, fans will be seeing quite a bit of Grim over the next month. His debut with the team would likely come in nine days in DreamHack Open Summer 2020, which is immediately followed by ESL One: Cologne 2020 Online and ESL Pro League Season 12.
Expect definite confirmation to come in the immediate future.