That big incoming deal from Team Liquid has finally been unveiled, and it’s a bit of a surprise at that; there aren’t any further shifts to the active roster within professional Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.
Instead, Jarosław “pashaBiceps” Jarząbkowski has joined the team as a streamer.
Jarosław hasn’t played in a permanent position since he left Virtus.pro in 2019; the thirty-two-year-old player has since taken to streaming full time, enjoying a massive community on Twitch of 1.2 million followers that celebrate his outgoing and friendly personality matched with impeccable play and server vision.
The Polish player seems like an odd choice for the North American-centric Team Liquid, and that’s the actual meat and potatoes of this announcement; Team Liquid is actively seeking favor within European culture, a search for long-term correlation and acceptance.
Some have posited that this could mean a future where the North American team finds a more global roster, accepting users outside of NA to help bolster their roster against some of the more hardened teams.
Ok boys. Papito is coming!
I'm joining @teamliquid and becoming their new friend, which will support them for better or worse. Together we will make great history in CS:GO. Let's go brothers, let's go Team Liquid 💪
— paszaBiceps (@paszaBiceps) August 5, 2020
Frankly, it’s a smart move; in North America, Counter-Strike simply isn’t as popular as it is in other regions such as Europe.
The disparity between talent pools that stem simply from popularity within the various regions has ensured that North America continues to struggle against more dominant names, while official matchmaking within the North American region ensures a poor experience for the vast majority that attempt to explore it.
It’s a vicious cycle that has no immediate fix; a lack of players means shoddy competition, and shoddy competition within matchmaking means that it’s frankly difficult for CS:GO to maintain a wealth of players.
Thus, it seems like Team Liquid is settling into the idea that a more internationally-structured team will be necessary for the foreseeable future; it’s unlikely that this entire shift is to simply sell additional merchandise for Team Liquid.
If Team Liquid does begin shifting into a more international team, however, it could result in Liquid losing a bit of their fanbase that is NA localized, solely based on the idea that Liquid is the only team that seems consistently capable of at least holding the feet of European teams to the metaphorical fire.
We’ll ultimately need to wait and see what Team Liquid has in store for their future, but with this signing (along with Grim) it’s clear that they’re going to continue to be a staple within the professional Counter-Strike scene for years to come.