Belgian Counter-Strike: Global Offensive star Nabil “Nivera” Benrlitom has run his term at Team Vitality as he steps down from the active roster.
Team Vitality’s bombshell six-man roster has made great strides in CSGO esports. The French team acquired a young star and trusted him with Mathieu “ZywOo” Herbaut’s AWP in historic mid-match substitution. The risk paid off as Team Vitality emerged on top during the online format in 2020. While other teams struggled to find balance, the 6-man lineup of Team Vitality gelled up for major events and gave esports giants a run for their money. The Nivera touch wasn’t fruitful from the outset, but eventually, it came up roses.
Despite a triumphant year, the team has decided to let go of its star sixth player after a five-month stint with the organization.
Team Vitality has clarified that they still firmly believe in the efficacy and need of an extended roster and may run a similar lineup in the future. However, due to Valve’s Regional Major Ranking ruling that deducts points for substitution, the team isn’t feeling confident regarding the future of the current structure.
The decision leaves Nivera in the free-agent market crowded with French CSGO pros.
What’s next for Nivera?
The rifler-cum-AWPer entered the top CS pro scene as an underrated youngster that a few people knew. After polishing his skills alongside the likes of Richard “shox” Papillon, Dan “apEX” Madesclaire, ZywOo, the player has come out as a sought after French star.
The 19-year old has listed as a free agent at a highly crucial time. The ripe French scene has been depleted of infamous shuffles and swaps that it’s known for. Currently, the scene bears multiple French legends sitting on their teams’ respective benches, waiting to return to their former glories. Nathan “NBK-” Schmitt has been removed from OG, Kenny “kennyS” Schrub from G2 Esports, Alexandre “bodyy” Pianaro remains absent after LDLC, and a few others like Lucas “Lucky” Chastang and Bryan “Maka” Canda are inactive.
NBK has actively been trying to put a team together to step back in competitive play. He recently bootstrapped a lineup featuring Ladislav “GuardiaN” Kovács, which was turned back from Dreamhack Masters due to OG’s contractual obligations. The reports of NBK and kennyS scrimming together are also thick on the ground; the two rekindle the 2017 EnVyUs memories when French CSGO was at its pinnacle. It’s highly likely for Nivera to jump in on NBK’s venture, but the contracts hitch the chances.
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All three players are tied in team contracts, and unless an affluent esports brand acquires NBK’s potential project, the chances of Nivera playing alongside the two legends remain slim, but not zero.
Apart from NBK headed project, G2 esports’ AWPer-less roster also seems like a homely place for the Frenchman. The organization recently cut off kennyS, and is winging it with hybrid-AWPer Nikola “NiKo” Kovač. However, in the current pro-CSGO meta where hybrid-AWPers see success, it’s unlikely G2 esports would drop a high-rated player like Audric “JaCkz” Jug again. A six-man roster has been written off by huNter in his recent Reddit AMA, which leaves Nivera for a few obvious options in the top esports scene.
The communication issue holds Nivera back
Nivera’s language difference with other top tier teams puts him at a massive disadvantage. Even in G2 esports, he would struggle to fit in with players who communicate well in English, a problem he rarely encountered in Team Vitality. The French player has earned his stripes in top-tier CS by handling ZywOo’s AWP when required and dropping kills on Dust 2, but several other hurdles may overshadow his achievements in Team Vitality.
The player steps down from the French team with an average rating of 1.00, which is not thrilling for a hybrid-AWPer, but his impact as a team player makes him a hot property. Unlike his brother Adil “ScreaM” Benrlitom’s one-dimensional play style, Nivera is the jack of all trades, a talent that Rémy “XTQZZZ” Quoniam successfully unleashed. However, his talents solely aren’t enough to attract big brands. Money-driven G2 esports could be a potential home, but huNter has rebuffed the likelihood.
For now, a setup with NBK seems like the most practical option for him in the cream CS scene due to the play-style, region, and language status. Otherwise, a de-rank awaits Nivera if the player fails to rectify the language issue and roll with a non-French lineup.