Thank You Nitr0

August 01 2020

It is with a heavy heart that we are officially announcing the departure of Nick “Nitr0” Cannella from our starting CS:GO roster. Saying goodbye to the last remaining member of Team Liquid’s inaugural CS:GO team is no easy task. Yet attempt it we must.

Early Days & Growing Pains

The North American CS landscape was a rocky one back in 2015. No NA team had made it to the grand finals of a major, let alone win one. And Europe was heavily considered to be the powerhouse region of Counter-Strike, with their crowns safely locked away in their Cathedral where no one touched them for years.

Even so, we took a gamble. On January 13th, 2015 we put our faith in the skills of five guys and set off into the fray with an entirely North American CS:GO team.

Whatever initial hopes we held, however, would make way for mixed outcomes. We were a team with ample skill but maybe not enough direction. Where sometimes our raw skill would carry us, our lack of teamwork would ultimately fail us in some of the tougher battles. Nitr0, just 20 at the time, wanted to fix the problems. He just wasn’t quite sure how...

The first step for Nitr0 in his five-year journey with Team Liquid was finding a place for himself. And he did just that, becoming Liquid’s rifler in those early days. Nitr0 stuck with the team, learning and growing with us over that first year, helping drive everyone — including himself — to improvement.

Together we would go on to become the first-ever North American team to reach a CS:GO Major grand final at ESL One: Cologne 2016.

Selfless Transition to Success

Despite major improvements, and some notable successes, we still lacked leadership going into 2017. Without batting an eyelash, Nitr0 once again stepped up to fill the void. He later spoke to HLTV about what drove him to take up the mantle as Team Liquid’s IGL.

"Going into the player break, we were obviously having some problems within the team, and once we decided on our roster for the future, then I really thought that we needed to change something, because we weren't having the results that we wanted.

So I decided to just start in-game leading, I've done it in the past and it was kind of successful. In the past, we didn't have as much firepower on the team, and whenever I'm in-game leading, it's hard for me to frag, obviously it still happens today, but now we have better fraggers on the team, we don't need my firepower."

This full faith in his team and willingness to do what’s needed was further made evident when Nitr0 made the switch to AWPing full time. Though the AWP was always his secondary, Nitr0 took on the challenge for the sake of the team. He even managed to give us some rather jaw-dropping highlights in the process.

Time and time again, Nitr0 did what was necessary. Be it leading at the expense of his own percentages, leaning into his secondary because the team needed him to, or even recently stepping back as IGL after years in the saddle, Nitr0’s steadfast presence and selfless nature are what led Team Liquid to obtain 33 first-place victories over the last five years. Including the fastest-ever Intel Grand Slam.

This 63-day marvel was so unexpected and extraordinary that Intel has since changed the rules for the Grand Slam twice. And none of it would have been possible without Nitr0 as our rock. Some of us call him Cap, some Nick, and some brother. But throughout all the ups and downs, the 18 different teammates, 10 different coaches, and thousands of hours spent on improving both himself and Team Liquid, Nitr0 never quit.

Lasting Legacy at Liquid

When we ventured into CS:GO a little more than five years ago we had no idea how lucky we were to have Nitr0 right there with us. Only during the years that followed were we able to truly appreciate how much he was willing to give for the betterment of the team. Nitr0 was never out for personal glory — the team always came first.

Nitr0 helped us build our legacy in CS:GO. The innumerable championships, records, and memories, have all made the years we spent together unforgettable. Even when every single member of our inaugural team left, albeit temporarily in some cases, Nitr0 remained. Always steady.

We will never forget what you helped us achieve, Nick. We are so very much looking forward to seeing what you will accomplish next and are forever grateful to have been a part of your journey for so long. Team Liquid would not have been the same without you.

From the bottom of our hearts, thank you.