Is YEKINDAR’s stint with Team Liquid at IEM Cologne 2022 a test?

Mareks “YEKINDAR” Gaļinskis will be stepping in for Team Liquid at the upcoming IEM XVII in Cologne, the organization... Daria Belous | 22. June 2022

Mareks “YEKINDAR” Gaļinskis will be stepping in for Team Liquid at the upcoming IEM XVII in Cologne, the organization announced yesterday. Is Team Liquid testing a new addition to their CS:GO roster to understand why he costs so much money? 

Previously the organization decided to revamp its roster by benching Richard “shox” Papillon and Eric “adreN” Hoag and followed by adding Damian “daps” Steele as a coach. However there’s still an empty slot for the rifler, thus Team Liquid announced that Mareks “YEKINDAR” Gaļinskis will join the squad for the upcoming IEM Cologne 2022, and maybe more. 

YEKINDAR is an inactive Virtus.pro player who was benched in May 2022 due to various reasons, one of which is the Russian invasion of Ukraine. YEKINDAR is a Latvian so it’s quite impossible for him to travel back and forth from Russia to his home country in order to play in boot camps because of flight restrictions. Otherwise, he would have to move to Serbia to train there. 

Is money the reason why Yekindar is still without a team?

YEKINDAR was a valuable player for Virtus.pro, as with him the team claimed the second season of Flashpoint in December 2020 and finished second at IEM Katowice 2021, along with victories in multiple lower-tier competitions. Moreover, he became the 8th most powerful CS:GO player according to HLTV rankings for 2021. Following his benching, there were obviously a bunch of rumours about his next esports home. At first, there was a news hook that Natus Vincere negotiated about purchasing YEKINDAR, however, the COO of the organization denied that information. 

Another side of the situation was revealed by Nemanja “nexa” Isaković from OG, who have also recently changed their roster. In the interview after OG’s win against Natus Vincere in BLAST Premier Spring Finals 2022, he said that the org tried to acquire YEKINDAR for their new roster, however, his price was around $1 million, that’s why they stuck to Adam “NEOFRAG” Zouha and Maciej “F1KU” Miklas

Seems like a test in Team Liquid 

On June 21 Team Liquid announced that YEKINDAR will be their stand-in for IEM Cologne 2022, which starts on July 5. However, the organization haven’t clarified whether this is a test for the player or a temporary substitution until Team Liquid find a new player to complete their roster.

Maybe the organization decided to use the tournament loan to see how YEKINDAR will play with the existing squad. YEKINDAR himself seems excited about his upcoming performance, according to his statement on Twitter. 

Header credit: ESL Gaming | Adela Sznajder