steel – NA’s Missing Link

Note: This is an opinion-based feature. Apparently a lack of clarity on the last one. Enjoy.

steel is an excellent IGL, and top-tier NA teams are missing out thanks to Valve’s ban.

Joshua “steel” Nissan is a controversial man, as he always has been. Some people claim he’s a good guy for improving players, such as Kenneth “koosta” Suen, who while under steel’s leadership has found lots of consistency. Other people would argue that he’s a scumbag, who doesn’t deserve to be near the CS:GO scene because of the iBuyPower scandal. Personally, I think that steel is a vital part of NA’s ecosystem; their missing link because he’s an excellent leader that has improved every team he has been on, and many teams could use someone like that.

steel’s most notable team was, of course, iBuyPower, which in their heyday was NA’s best team. The team consisted of great stars under solid leadership, and the team famously went on to win the ESEA S16 Global Finals. However, they are remembered for a much darker story. iBP threw a match against on 20th August 2014. They were caught, and all players on the team apart from Tyler “Skadoodle” Latham were banned from Valve-sponsored events for life. Most TOs followed suit and subsequently banned them from their events too. In July 2017, ESL unbanned the players, and some other TOs followed suit. steel played for Torqued in MDL before joining ex-iBP, then known as GX, as Sam “DaZeD” Marine’s replacement. After steady improvement, the team fell apart and players steel, koosta and Matt “Pollo” Wilson were picked up by Ghost. Ghost have removed Pollo since then, and Kevin “kRYSTAL” Amend has joined as a stand-in, but the move is expected to be made permanent.

Ghost have looked solid under steel’s leadership. They qualified for ESL One Belo Horizonte, where they finished 7-8th, and DreamHack Masters Stockholm, which begins on 29th August. Currently, at the time of writing, Ghost are playing at the ZOTAC Cup Masters, where yesterday they upset OpTic 2-1 in a bo3 series. steel finished the series with an HLTV rating of 1.20; absurdly high for an IGL. There is only one other IGL who puts numbers up like that; Lukas “gla1ve” Rossander, whose team is a man amongst boys in CS:GO at the moment.

steel is an excellent IGL. His teams perform upsets, such as the OpTic upset yesterday, and in-game his teams lack mistakes. If there are any mistakes, steel lets you know about them. Then they’re fixed. He does his job as an IGL in a disciplined way, and the ban from Majors means that NA is missing it’s best IGL in my opinion. He is a dedicated IGL that’s excellent at leading teams, he’s a solid hybrid AWPer and his knowledge of the game is vast. He makes teams consistent, and moulds players such as koosta into much better players. Something that has come to light in the last day or two, is how steel uses Sticky Notes on his PC to write down information he will need to use in-game. 300IQ, ladies and gents.

Personally, I’d love to see steel unbanned. I think he’s grown and matured from his iBP days and it’s unfair that his career has to be defined by one screwed-up thing that he was involved in; he’s done much good to many people which slips under the radar. I think that he would do a great job for Team Liquid. Liquid have a very young roster, that I believe lacks a dedicated IGL with experience in the role. steel is very good at nursing young talent; imagine what he could do with Russel “Twistzz” Van Dulken. steel would iron out mistakes in Liquid, and give them the boost they need to become a top-tier team again. I’d love to see steel join Liquid, I think he could do a job in the server or out of the server. He’s the missing link in the upper echelons of NA’s scene, and I think he’s more important than he gets credit for.

Thank you for reading the article. We hope you enjoyed it. If you want more ESN, we have a Discord server and a Twitter account, along with other articles. This article was written and edited by Dom “d0m^” Phillips.


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