The CS:GO season saw many players shine with their phenomenal individual performances but only a few were able to deliver match-winning performances consistently and effectively. Among these players was Latvian rifler Mareks ‘Yekindar’ Gaļinskis, who showcased exceptional performance for the North American organization Team Liquid ever since he joined the team.
The prowess of the Latvian rifler as the entrance fragger has been crucial to Liquid’s success in the second half of the season. After only fourth months with Liquid, YEKINDAR improved the team’s overall performance, bringing a positive conclusion to the season that had seemed doomed before his arrival. Here is how his journey with Liquid turned out so far
Yekindar played an important role in Liquid’s success
Following the departure of Team Liquid’s standout player Jacky, “Stewie2K” Yip from the squad, the team’s performance began to decline. The organization that dominated North American CS:GO in 2019 suddenly found itself struggling against its native rival, primarily due to a lack of firepower.
Despite bringing back the Grand Slam winner, Nicholas “nitr0” Cannella to the roster in January, the squad struggled in the first half of the 2022 season. Liquid bounced back from its disastrous form after the organization parted ways with French veteran Richard “shox” Papillon and brought YEKINDAR from Virtus.Pro in July as a temporary substitute.
A new legend approaches… 👀 pic.twitter.com/FEhW06hkWE
— Team Liquid CSGO (@TeamLiquidCS) October 18, 2022
The Latvian entry fragger made a substantial contribution to Virtus.pro’s success, aiding the team in winning the second season of Flashpoint in December 2020, placing second at IEM Katowice in 2021, and taking the first position in a number of lower-level competitions. Additionally, in the HLTV rankings for 2021, he rose to become the 8th most powerful CS:GO player in the world, establishing himself as one of the best entry fraggers in Europe.
With the addition of YEKINDAR, Team Liquid’s approach—-which was fairly passive due to the time and space required by its entry fragger in every round—changed into an aggressive yet composed playstyle. The additional firepower added by YEKINADR balanced Liquid’s roster and gave Jonathan “EliGE” Jablonowski and Keith “NAF” Markovic some room to frag out without feeling too pushed.
THEY ARE IN THE SEMI-FINALS 💥#BLASTPremier pic.twitter.com/GhFCDtgSBb
— BLAST Premier 💥 (@BLASTPremier) December 16, 2022
In the weeks after his arrival, the North American team side advanced to the IEM Cologne quarterfinals. The team also secured a second-place finish at ESL Pro League Season 16 after losing the grand final to Vitality. In addition, Team Liquid managed to secure the lone legend seed at IEM Rio Major 2022, though the team, unfortunately, fell in the Legends Stage and was unable to advance to the playoffs in Brazil.
Without a doubt, Liquid’s performance in the IEM Rio Major wasn’t great, but they made up for it by placing second at the BLAST Premier World Final. Given the significant influence YEKINDAR had on team Liquid’s recent achievements, it will be intriguing to see if he can lead the North American organization to match its golden years of 2019.
Header: ESL Gaming