Competitive video gaming is now an industry more like traditional, real-world sports than people care to give credit for. There are training camps, academies, mental and physical coaches to ensure professionals remain at their competitive peak and even high profile transfers that have the potential to flip the entire Esports world on its head.
With the scene exploding in popularity and value right now, we thought we would take a quick look back across the gameâ€™s recent history and dig out some of the most high profile and shocking roster moves in the game.
Niko From Mousesports To Faze Clan
Bosnian player Niko is one of the most universally acclaimed players in the world, and was amongst the most highly rated youngsters in the world during his days with Mousesports. Traditionally a side that struggled at most LAN events they attended, Mousesports had worked tirelessly and offered Niko at least three different offers before finally landing him in 2015.
Whilst the European side continued to struggle at the events they attended, Niko went from strength to strength within the game. A carry in every sense of the word for Mouse, he made their performances at least look respectable enough to keep the criticism in check and was inducted into HLTVâ€™s top 30 players in the world throughout his time with the side.
Given how much they had put into acquiring him, and how much they were reliant on his in-game skills, it was therefore shocking to see Faze Clan swoop in and steal Niko away in 2017. The rumoured fee of $500,000 probably helped Mouse with their decision to sell up, but Niko has since gone onto bigger and better things with Faze as their IGL and remains a truly titanic figure within the scene to this day.
Flusha And Golden Return To Fnatic
Given the fact that Flusha and Golden had not left Fnatic on the best of terms earlier in their careers, their return in 2019, though logical on the surface, wasnâ€™t exactly the most exciting transfer the community had ever seen. Golden in particular had been treated pretty harshly by the Swedish org, with his more softpersona seemingly being bullied about by the core of the side that was still present when he came back.
But Fnatic were desperate in the second half of 2019. The lineup led by Xizt had just failed to qualify for a Major Championship for the first time in the orgâ€™s history and were clinging onto their place in the top 30 by the thinnest of margins.
However, the results of this switch quickly became pretty undeniably effective for Fnatic. They shocked esports betting markets everywhere by winning DreamHack Malmo on home soil in their very first outing, made it to the Grand Final or final four at the likes of ESL Pro League Season 10 and IEM Katowice 2020 and even won ESL Pro League Season 11. Theyâ€™re currently ranked as the third best team in the world, with Flusha and Golden still right at the heart of that success.
Olofmeister From Fnatic To Faze
Olofmeister was the worldâ€™s best player throughout 2015, scooping up a then-record of back to back Major Championships with Fnatic and establishing himself as a legend within the game. His lightning reflexes and keen eye for subtle developments in the game made him an invaluable addition to the team and he became instrumental to the way Fnatic played.
Faze, who seem to have a real issue with thinking throwing together a load of legends is going to equal success, stunned the CS:GO world by swooping in again and stealing their rivalâ€™s best player in 2017. The transfer, though not as hefty as Nikoâ€™s, was the biggest talking point of the 2017 competitive season and Olof has gone onto win ten events with Faze. Though they made it all the way to the final of the Boston Major in 2018, their loss to Cloud9 was the closest Olof came to reclaiming the glory of his Fnatic days before announcing an indefinite leave from CS:GO in early 2020.