NA's Youngsters: Where Are They Now? - Part 2
North America has seen plenty of youngsters emerge through FPL and Rank S. Many of these players have developed fantastic careers in CS:GO.
Make sure to read the first article covering some of North America's more well-known youngsters. While 2020 has had quite a few negative effects on the scene, plenty of players have solidified spots for themselves within the scene this year. Most of them have been around for a while, but the online era has given these talents a platform to shine.
Michael "Grim" Wince's name has been on everyone's lips in 2020. The young rifler first broke out with SoaR Gaming in 2017 and impressed many, even back then. The SoaR roster's core stuck together under multiple organizations, such as Dignitas, AZIO Esports and Spacestation. With many NA players leaping over to VALORANT, Grim showed what he was made of in 2020. He was at the forefront of Triumph's recent success, putting up spectacular numbers against MIBR and FURIA Esports. Grim is now reaping the fruits of his labor as he has recently joined Team Liquid. In typical Grim fashion, he hit the ground running at DreamHack Open Summer 2020 and was the event's best performer.
Ryan "Snakes" Amann was another member of the SoaR Gaming core. While he followed Grim and co. to the different organizations, he wasn't always an active player as his age sometimes limited him from playing events. Much like Grim, Snakes showed immense potential very early into his career. He last played for Triumph in the North American qualifiers for Flashpoint 1, but later stepped down from the active roster, citing personal reasons. He was a back-up player for the team up until the expiration of his contract. While it's unclear whether or not Snakes will ever come back to CS:GO, his incredible talent would be welcome now more than ever as players continue to switch over to VALORANT.
Rahul "curry" Nemani is another youngster who emerged through the path of pugging. He became a notable figure in the FPL community and played a few seasons of MDL with MAC-51, Team Divine and Under 21. He was an essential part of Triumph's rise in 2020, but recently departed the team's active roster as he plans to continue his education in the Fall. Nevertheless, curry will be playing with Rugratz as the team looks to play out Season 35 of MDL with little practice. A return to the professional level for curry is unlikely until he finishes his studies.
April 2019 was a big month for Kaitlin "Keiti" Boop as she qualified for Season 31 of MDL with slashLEVEL and became the first woman to qualify for FPL. Later that year, she joined Mythic, where she plays alongside Erik "fl0m" Flom. Though her competitive experience is limited, she has been the stream team's consistent firepower source. Keiti always turns up in when she's needed and she was an integral part of Mythic's deep run in the last MDL season. While she may not yet have played at a professional level, she certainly could. Her time with Mythic hasn't only allowed her to grow in a team atmosphere; it gave her the opportunity to develop a brand as a streamer.
Peter "Asuna" Mazuryk's time as a potential CS:GO prodigy was rather shortlived. The 17-year-old only has 82 recorded maps, throughout which he averaged an impressive 1.10 rating. He notably played in Recon 5, Rap Gang and his very own Asuna's Anime Aimers before eventually being signed by Triumph. He displayed a lot of promise with the North American organization but quickly made the switch to VALORANT following an offer from Immortals. While his team has had mixed results, Asuna's flashy abilities have translated over to VALORANT and he's been a very entertaining player to watch. So early into his professional career, there's really no telling what the future holds for Asuna, but the leap to Riot's FPS seems to have paid off for the youngster.
You thought he was just a Twitch Rivals partner?— Immortals (@Immortals) June 10, 2020
Please welcome @AsunaCSGO, the skilled fifth member of our VALORANT roster. pic.twitter.com/WJSBxXbYua
Nathan "leaf" Orf is another player who has made headlines this year. The 16-year-old plied his trade for Gorilla Gang, Rugratz and Under 21 before signing with Chaos Esports Club earlier this year. Nathan was another player that was considering the switch to VALORANT as he received an offer from C9, but the plans eventually fell through and he returned to Chaos' CS:GO roster. Much like Grim, leaf has also proven his superstar potential in 2020 by beating teams like FURIA, C9, 100 Thieves and MIBR. However, many in the community were skeptical of leaf's performances, especially against MIBR, as cheating accusations were thrown his way. Many in the community, who had been following leaf's career, were quick to jump in to defend the 16-year-old. Despite the accusations and threats, leaf has showcased incredible skill while with Chaos and his future looks bright.
Erik "penny" Penny is another young gun who has had a terrific year, averaging a 1.12 rating in 2020. The Canadian proved to have a great understanding of the game's mechanics, exemplified by his mastery of the different weapons at his disposal. He played alongside leaf in Rugratz and recently joined Triumph as curry stepped down. The gap in the play level will be noticeable for penny, but the opportunity to play for Triumph is fantastic for him.
While things aren't perfect in North America's lower echelons, the scene is slowly improving as fresh blood is beginning to emerge. The likes of leaf and penny are only the tip of the iceberg and Season 35 of MDL is looking incredibly exciting. Rugratz, Positive Vibes Only, RBG Esports, Kinship, timbermen and Third Impact all have members under the age of 20. These young players are the future of our scene and, while it's likely that some of them will transition over to VALORANT, we need to ensure the longevity of NA CS. Supporting the lower tiers is synonymous with working towards the prosperity of our scene.