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Published: November 7, 2023

Written by: Stefan Velikov

  • The Bulgarian organization has removed niki1 and KalubeR from their starting lineup
  • They have brought in coach Grashog and previously benched Patrick to fill the gaps
  • Both might be just a temporary stopgap until 500 finds other players

Following a disappointing 2023, Bulgarian Counter-Strike 2 organization 500 is restructuring the team in the hopes of finding a roster composition that will work better.

500 Replace Two Players

With the Counter-Strike offseason currently booming, organizations are busy restructuring their rosters in an attempt to find a better composition for their lineups. Unfortunately for some teams, this is more of a necessity rather than a luxury, and Bulgarian CS2 team 500 seems to be in the former category.

The organization announced yesterday evening that they are removing two of their players from the starting lineup Nikolay “⁠niki1⁠” Pantaleev and Kalin “⁠KalubeR⁠” Erenditsov. 500 cited that the lack of success the organization has had during 2023 is the reason for this decision. Nevertheless, the org thanked both players and wished them good luck in their future endeavors.

In their place, 500 announced they will be bringing Ivan “⁠Patrick⁠” Ivanov and coach Denis “⁠Grashog⁠” Hristov. The two players are not strangers to the Bulgarian organization as Patrick has already played for the team, but was benched less than a month ago. Meanwhile, as already mentioned, Greshog is the team’s coach and has been in this position since February, but will not be a part of the main lineup.

500 Has Had a Tough Year

The choice of the two “new” players is somewhat strange for a couple of reasons. For one, Patrick has already been benched recently, while Greshog is the team’s coach and he will likely have to now play a dual role in the organization. Second, both players have a lower rating than the ones they are replacing, making one wonder why they are seen as an improvement in the team. That being said, both could just be a temporary stopgap that 500 is employing until they find other players.

2023 as a whole has not been very kind to the Bulgarian organization. The team started the year at No. 22 in the world rankings but has seen a steady decline ever since, and now find themselves outside the top 100. Their biggest achievement was their qualification for the BLAST Paris Major 2023 Europe RMR B, where they exited the tournament with a 1-3 record.

Following that adventure, the team found themselves in deep waters again and had to make tough choices. They eventually removed Georgi “⁠SHiPZ⁠” Grigorov necessitating Greshog to become a temporary stand-in, a role the coach seems to find himself again in currently. Interestingly, SHiPZ soon found himself again in the main lineup, where he has remained ever since.

The organization has already debuted with their new lineup against 9 Pandas at CCT East Europe Series 4, but have unfortunately lost 0-2, which is obviously not a great way to start with their revamped roster.

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