Sources Say: Inside the Coldzera/MIBR Rift and His Desire to Someday Play With NiKo

"Sources Say" is a new column that will ideally come out weekly, but we'll see how it goes. It will focus on discussions and behind-the-scenes developments I can confirm or plainly just feel confident are happening, even if they don't lead to any official moves. "X team are targeting Y player," or "A player has been practicing with B team," -- that type of stuff.

The intention is to take you, the readers, a little more inside what's happening in professional Counter-Strike and have this become a routine blog-style post that is much more relaxed than my typical articles but still contains those juicy bits of information we all know and crave.

On the most recent episode of “By the Numbers,” Richard Lewis mentioned something that has annoyed me for some time. Near the beginning of the podcast, he mentions a lack of journalistic integrity in the Counter-Strike community. I agree with him wholeheartedly. This is something I discuss with my editor Vince on a regular occasion, though I’ve remained quiet about it publicly. I don’t believe I carry the authoritative weight that someone like Richard has earned to boast about what others should or shouldn’t be doing. Quite frankly, in most cases I just don’t care what other people do. This is a bit different, though. I'm passionate about my work and the industry in which I work. Since Richard brought it up, I figured now was a good time to give my two cents.

In case you haven’t had a chance to hear what Richard said, I’ll paraphrase it. In the Counter-Strike community today, we have journalists who don’t understand how plagiarism works and accuse others of it when it in fact didn’t even happen. We have others who don’t feel it necessary to state their actual name on any of their work. He went on about a few other related topics, but we’ll just focus on this for a moment today.

As someone who tried as hard as possible to combat bullshit in the industry, this kind of stuff is disappointing to see. We already have enough areas to improve on professionally in esports, why add to it here? At times it can feel a bit unfair that people lump myself into the same category as those mentioned above, but this isn’t about me. It’s about journalistic integrity. I can’t understand how a community can put so much faith into people who have hardly proven their reputation or for some reason feel it’s OK to hide behind an alias and an avatar, yet publish investigative reports. Imagine if Apple spent years making iPhones but then attempted to hide or mask who actually made the product. Wouldn’t that be a bit weird?

Anyway, onto the reasons you're really reading this column:

--ESL One: Cologne was a wild tournament, which has become a regular occurrence. We saw Natus Vincere claim its third victory in as many events and, more surprisingly, beat Astralis in the semifinal on the way there. This is a team that has two players who almost jumped ship to join the now Made in Brazil roster just a few months ago. When the deal fell through, MIBR opted for Stewie2k, and the rest is history. As I reported Monday, Stewie should be reuniting with Tarik if things continue to move as planned. The move would make Made in Brazil only 60 percent Brazilian. If you haven’t caught on as to why MiBR was revived, it should be quite apparent now the brand is a marketing vehicle and nothing more. There is an absolute possibility that in the future the team has only one or two Brazilians on the roster.

--Flickshot reported the same day about Coldzera feeling uneasy playing for MIBR, which is definitely true. Also published in that story was that his first choice at the moment would be to rejoin TACO on Team Liquid following the Major, which is also true. Something that wasn’t mentioned is that in a perfect world, Cold would like to pair up with NiKo if at all possible. The two have discussed playing together one day on multiple occasions. Coldzera doesn’t have an explicit buyout from what I’m told, meaning Immortals can make up a number on the spot. In the past, the organization has been fair but firm, so take from that what you will.

--From the people with whom I’ve spoken, the divide between Cold and the rest of MIBR stems from the team not practicing hard enough or being dedicated enough. Cold seems to feel that lack of preparation is the team's main problem, while the rest of the team thinks Boltz should be replaced. If Coldzera had a choice, he would like Zews to coach the team again, which partly explains his desire to play for Team Liquid over anything else. There is a lot of time between now and the end of September. MIBR could shape up and win the Major. You all know how Counter-Strike goes.

--One final note: With Olofmeister returning once again for FaZe Clan at ELEAGUE, this has left Cromen with a number of opportunities. I’m not yet comfortable sharing which teams are interested in him, but just know that there are plenty. He made the most of his opportunity with FaZe.