An Inside Look At How Transfers Happen in CS:GO

In the world of professional sports, the movement of players from team to team is quite commonplace. Sometimes, a player begins to outshine his team and commands a high transfer fee that smaller organizations just can’t refuse. Other times, behavioral issues cause an organization to cut ties with a toxic team member to save the rest of the team. Or, a player may become available who’s just too good to let go to another team. This is true in CS:GO as well.

So, we wanted to give you a peek at the inner workings of how a player is transferred from one team to another. With HellRaisers having just signed Hobbit from Gambit after releasing bondik, we talked to the CEO of HellRaisers, Aleksey “xaoc” Kucherov about how teams handle these delicate matters.

Recognizing that your team is in need of a new member is always the first step. According to Kucherov, “There are many different opinions that need to be considered, first from players who might see that a role isn’t being filled adequately. Secondly, the top management voices its ideas because they see things unrelated to the actual play (media, finances, etc.) And then the owners have to approve since roster changes can be quite radical or costly.”

After seeing that the team might be better going in a different direction, a replacement needs to be identified. “First, the coach and captain identify someone who they think will fit the best because they see that a player fills a need. Top management can also give their input when they’re knowledgeable about CS,” Kucherov said. A lot of time is put into demo watching to be as certain as possible that they’re choosing the best possible addition. “Of course, the player you want to sign must also have the desire to play for your team, or it just won’t work out,” he added.

The biggest difference between big time professional sports and esports is the influence that players have over roster moves. In basketball a player might make his opinion public on who he’d like to play with, but unless that player is Lebron James, a team’s management will rarely make the move happen. In the CS world, the final decision doesn’t just come from the top. “A communal decision between the team and top management is standard, and if there’s any disagreement, usually a player isn’t brought in or replaced,” Kucherov said. Then if everyone agrees, the owners are approached for final approval.

Since esports organizations are smaller than traditional sports teams, sometimes having been formed in one of the team member’s childhood home, the process of removing a player from the roster can be more emotional and personal. But the task ultimately, almost always falls to the CEO in most situations. “It’s better to just be straightforward,” Kucherov said. Sometimes there’s a warning or a probationary period where the player has the chance to correct mistakes.

So, once a replacement is identified, a team has to make sure the potential replacement knows of the desire to sign him and get the contact information of the people at his current organization. The unsettling of a player by a team who is under contract with another is unethical but players talk to one another often, so it’s almost always obvious when a player is considering transferring.

How much a team pays for a player is dependent on several factors: the length of time remaining on a player’s contract, the contracting team’s desire to sell, the quality of the player. “If you’re knowledgeable about the CS scene, values of players are pretty well-known. Since players aren’t supposed to divulge their contract details, it should be tough to know how much time is remaining on a player’s contract, but again, players talk,” Kucherov said.

Whether a team is looking for someone to fill a role better or seeking a way to take their team to a higher tier, transfers are a vital part of esports. There’s been talk of making esports organizations more like traditional sports, with a General Manager charged with bringing in personnel and removing some of the power from players. As teams continue to bring in more and more revenue and become more like corporations, it’ll be interesting to see if players retain the ability to influence how their roster looks.

Good Luck and Have Fun!

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