TSM’s return to Counter-Strike might be over without its team ever actually playing an official match.
There are few teams in esports more iconic than TSM. The organization is one of the most beloved brands in League of Legends esports and has pivoted that reputation into fielding top teams in a variety of games. One of the games that TSM has been most conspicuously absent from is CSGO.
The organization had a controversial exit from Counter-Strike in 2017 but wanted a fresh start in 2023 with the looming release of Counter-Strike 2. That effort might be for naught, with reports by blix.gg saying that its new crop of players is potentially walking away.
New TSM CSGO roster with ENCE, Cloud9 stars may never play a game
By the time many fans started hearing about TSM returning to CSGO, reports were already circulating that the team was set to dissolve.
On July 24, CSGO esports reporter DrakyCSGO tweeted that TSM was set to return to the tactical shooter genre. The team’s roster was meant to include a number of prominent names including former ENCE in-game leader Valdemar “valde” Vangså. The roster has a promising look, but a follow-up report suggests that it might never actually play on a server together. The full lineup was set to include:
- Valdemar “valde” Vangså
- Audric “JACKZ” Jug
- Timofey “interz” Yakushin
- Cai “CYPHER” Watson
- Mădălin-Andrei “MoDo” Mirea
- Rémy “XTQZZZ” Quoniam
According to blix.gg, coach XTQZZZ is set to walk away from TSM. Other members of the team are also potentially set to do the same due to “alleged breaches in verbal agreements” regarding the duration of the contracts and bonuses.
This is a baffling turn of events for TSM and conjures up memories of its last disastrous foray into CSGO esports.
Why isn’t TSM in Counter-Strike?
TSM left Counter-Strike esports in 2017 after a public blowout between TSM founder Andy “Reginald” Dinh and the in-game leader of its CSGO team, Sean “sgares” Gares.
In 2016 TSM and a number of other prominent esports organizations attempted to create a new CSGO league, the PEA. This saw the organizations withdraw their teams from the ESL Pro League in order to raise the profile of the PEA and establish it as a competitor to ESL.
This was met with public pushback from some players, with sgares being one of the most outspoken individuals. This resulted in sgares being removed from the organization. He then took to Twitter and revealed a series of angry direct messages sent to him by Dinh, who stated that he was damaging TSM’s brand. Dinh later acknowledged this and claimed that shares had contractually agreed to allow the organization to set the team’s competitive schedule in exchange for a higher salary.
Following sgares’ removal from the team, the rest of the TSM roster opted to leave. The players signed with Misfits shortly thereafter, but TSM didn’t return to CSGO.