Verdant have announced two changes to their CS2 roster. Earlier in January they parted ways with Andrew “Wolfie” Allan, who subsequently retired from full-time team Counter-Strike. Now, they have continued their restructuring as Matas “Extinct” Strumila has moved to the bench by mutual agreement.
They also lost Tom “arTisT” Clarke for the RMR qualifiers, with the talismanic AWPer and in-game leader taking a break from competition. He is listed on their lineup for the upcoming ICE Bonus Season 1, but Verdant admit in their statement that their permanent starting five may not be confirmed for some time.
Extinct leaves the squad almost a year after he joined the roster (then competing under Viperio) in the build-up to the Copenhagen RMR. He has played with arTisT and Callum “Girafffe” Jones since 2020, on teams including UMX, Coalesce and the orgless FAMBIT banner. The six-time EPIC.LAN winner was one of the team’s stronger performers with a 1.06 average rating, including being their strongest performer at the UKIC Season 0 Finals, where they lost to K10.
Verdant owner Sami Cunningham commented in a quote-retweet of the announcement that “unfortunately for us, University must take precedence”, suggesting that Extinct‘s final year of his university studies were a key factor in the decision.
Really appreciative of all the hard work Matas has put in through the last months.
Unfortunately for us, University must take precedence and we wish him the best in both his final year of studies and whatever comes next!
— Sami (@SamiACunningham) January 26, 2024
Wolfie joined the team at the tail end of their term with Viperio, along with Mohamad “Ducky” Nourelden. Now under Verdant, they competed at ESL Premiership Autumn 2023, UKIC Season 0 Division 1 Finals and assorted online events. He achieved an average rating of 1.03 with the team. The Scot tweeted shortly after his departure that he was retiring, as he had accepted a full-time job outside esports which meant he did not have the time to focus on full-time team Counter-Strike.
The first replacement will be familiar to UKCS fans, as Mason “Vacancy” Haines already stood in for Verdant in their unsuccessful RMR qualifier run. Vacancy played with Team 7AM last year before joining Sprout Academy after Oscar “LVN” Levin’s team disbanded; unfortunately his experience in officials was limited not least because Sprout kept promoting academy players to the main team. He left the organisation earlier this year as they looked to overhaul their academy, but quickly found himself back in action with Verdant.
The other name competing with Verdant for the ICE Bonus Series 1 is Israeli youngster Doron “Zax1e” Prizent. Hotly-tipped within his domestic scene, Zax1e was singled out by Lotan “Spinx” Giadi as his HLTV Bold Prediction for 2024. He also stood in for UK organisation Endpoint in 2023 helping them to a win over GenOne. He most recently played with Israeli organisation NOM Esports.
For ICE Bonus Series 1, Verdant will be:
Tom “arTisT” Clarke
Callum “Girafffe” Jones
Mohamad “Ducky” Nourelden
Mason “Vacancy” Haines (stand-in)
Doron “Zax1e” Prizent (stand-in)
Ciaran “biscu” King (coach)