Team Falcons have assembled an all-star roster, but history has shown us that a Counter-Strike superteam on paper doesn't always translate to success
Team Falcons did not set the Counter-Strike world alight in 2023 with their performances, but they head into the new year as one of the most talked about teams in the scene. While they did attract big names like Nathan “NBK-” Schmitt and Kenny “kennyS” Schrub in the past, the ownership realized that to achieve a status comparable to the likes of the 1994 San Francisco 49ers or the 2003-04 Los Angeles Lakers in Counter-Strike, they needed to make bolder moves.
Team Falcons Set Sight On Soaring Heights
Due to the substantial financial backing from their Saudi Arabian owners, the Falcons possessed the resources to transform their ambitious vision of becoming a Counter-Strike powerhouse into reality. Shortly thereafter, a flurry of marquee players began to be associated with the team, all of whom were recognized for their achievements in the game's highest echelons.
So with recent news of NiKo leaving G2, and joining the Falcons project.
I would imagine the line up is
Only thing I'm worried about is that they're paying a lot of money for players who haven’t played CS2 for a longtime. It's…
— Bubzkji (@Bubzkji) November 3, 2023
Although they fell short of acquiring some of their primary targets, Team Falcons successfully put together a star-studded team, featuring former Astralis star Emil “Magisk” Reif and the ex-ENCE trio Alvaro “SunPayus” Garcia, Pavle “maden” Bošković, and Marco “Snappi” Pfeiffer. The sole survivor of the recent overhaul was Mohammad “BOROS” Malhas, whose Falcons legacy, however, is less than six months old.
After his impressive performance at the Paris Major for Monte, Falcons moved quickly to secure the signature of the Jordanian player.
It's been reported by @playersua that BOROS' transfer from Monte to Falcons amounted up to $200,000
While the site's sources also claim that the player's "[release] clause was 1.5 – 2 times higher" pic.twitter.com/9ghHaL9rMN
— EllanarkJesus (@EllanarkJesus) June 21, 2023
The biggest coup Falcons made, however, was not in the playing quintet but in the backroom staff. They stunned the world by bringing in the mercurial Danny “zonic” Sørensen and his trusted deputy, Lars Robl, both from Team Vitality. Zonic, a Major winner with two different teams, became the statement signing that the Falcons needed to instill a championship mentality into the squad.
Counter-Strike Superteams: What Does History Tell Us?
Team Falcons is not the first superteam ensemble in the history of Counter-Strike. The introduction of Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyljev to a Natus Vincere squad that already featured the talents of Ladislav “GuardiaN” Kovács and Egor “flamie” Vasilyev resulted in an immediate victory at ESL One: New York 2016 for the Ukrainian side.
Similarly, Astralis found the winning formula with the combined might of Lukas “gla1ve” Rossander, Nicolai “dev1ce” Reedtz, Andreas “Xyp9x” Højsleth, and Markus “Kjaerbye ” Kjærbye.
That’s just one side of the coin, however. While there are some success stories, we must not forget that the Counter-Strike scene is littered with the wreckage of failed superteams. Teams built with the express intention of dominating the competition, only to implode under the weight of inflated expectations and tactical rigidity.
Cloud9 can be cited as the most recent addition to the list of doomed Counter-Strike superteam experiments. The Russian juggernauts made waves by acquiring Denis “electroNic” Sharipov and Ilya “Perfecto” Zalutskiy a few months back.
The new-look Cloud9 seemed excellent on paper, but after four tier-1 appearances, fans were only treated to glimpses of the team’s potential. Dmitriy “sh1ro” Sokolov, one of the most consistent performers for Cloud9, announced his surprise departure, putting a damper on the Cloud9 superteam hype.
The story of North might appear more fitting for the Falcons' narrative. The Scandinavian side burst onto the scene in 2017 with the prominent Danish soccer team FC Copenhagen as a part owner of the squad. Despite substantial investments and numerous roster reshuffles, the team failed to achieve significant success and was ultimately dissolved in 2021. 2019/20 FaZe Clan and the 2023 FURIA can also be regarded as underperforming superteam endeavors, even though the latter is still active and has the chance to turn things around.
What To Expect From Falcons?
As we have seen many times before, assembling five big names together doesn't guarantee immediate success. The Falcons are a team with immense potential, but their journey to the top could be fraught with challenges. Will they underperform like the teams we have mentioned, or can they rise to their potential and make a solid claim to the biggest prizes in competitive Counter-Strike?
Our money is on the latter. We believe the Falcons made some excellent choices while building their current roster, which positions them as strong contenders for success. They have retained a player with a very high ceiling instead of impulsively going for an upgrade. BOROS can prove this to be a rewarding decision in the coming days. Additionally, they have brought in Magisk, who adds significant experience and quality to the team.
The decision to acquire three players from ENCE was also a smart one. ENCE was a team on the rise, and the Falcons opted for players who were crucial to their success. SanPayUs could be the next big thing in CS2, Snappi is one of the most composed in-game leaders in the current scene, and maden can continue to perform at his best in an almost unchanged atmosphere. Recruiting three players from ENCE also secured Falcons a spot at the Copenhagen Major European RMRs.
Many were hoping for a more explosive roster, but the final team that Falcons chose is well thought out. There is a clear sign of strategy here instead of impulsiveness, which makes us believe that Falcons will be a team that will significantly raise the bar and emerge as a genuine title contender in big events.
We would like to reiterate the importance of zonic’s arrival at the Falcons project. The Frenchman has lifted the most prestigious trophies in Counter-Strike and demonstrated a proven ability to win.
Falcons have entrusted him with total control over the construction of the squad. With the resources at his disposal, the former Astralis and Vitality coach will likely feel he has a substantial chance of establishing Falcons as a genuine Counter-Strike titan.