Last month, Grayhound Gaming formally announced the departure of long-standing member Erdenetsogt ‘erkaSt’ Gantulga. It came as a shock to many, but right off the bat, we were informed that the Australian government refused to grant him a visa. To continue playing Counter-Strike professionally in this region, erkaSt would need to keep on studying, which unfortunately was not an option for him.
erkaSt mentioned in his announcement about the difficulties of studying and competing, stating “In July, my visa expired. I could not find another way, other than studying in Australia, to compete as a professional player. I do not want to study and compete at the same time, because previously I was skipping exams for tournaments,” said erkaSt.
The announcement of this shock departure raised the question of who would take his place. There was speculation surrounding a few people, with the “Esports Social Club” highlighting all the rumours on their podcast. They mentioned that erkaSt played a pivotal role in the line-up, so finding a replacement with similar experience would be extremely difficult in this region. At the same time, they ruled out recent free agent “MoeyCQ” and instead pointed fingers at “INS”.
Speculation of Josh “INS” Potter’s move to Grayhound was looking extremely likely, after announcing his departure from ORDER Army soon after Grayhound released their news. He explained the key reasons behind leaving were to do with the team’s disappointing results and not being able to get things to work. Prior to his departure, ORDER Army had failed to qualify for the Asian Minor, despite being favourites to go through.
Announcement of INS
In true Grayhound fashion, an announcement video came out on September 11th to confirm the arrival of Josh “INS” Potter to their active lineup. “I am super happy to be given this opportunity, obviously I have been watching the boys compete overseas regularly, and was envious after missing out on so many overseas trips,” Josh said. “So when they asked, I jumped at the opportunity. We have a really good group here, and we’ll only get better with more game time.”
Grayhound’s Active Roster:
The line-up’s first international test after the announcement was the qualifiers for Dreamhack Malmo. “I was very confident even with the limited practice time we had. I’d known for a few weeks that I would be joining Grayhound, so I had put in a lot of individual practice while the boys were over in Berlin at the major,” said Josh.
Josh went on to be the highlight player of the team throughout the qualifier, successfully assisting his team in securing the qualifying spot.
When talking to Dexter about appointing Josh to the line-up, he mentioned it was a joint decision with erkaSt. “We talked on the beach about who to pick up after Montpelier, Erk suggested Josh, which would’ve been my suggestion anyway. Josh is a smart, young player who has a lot of talent, which is a rare thing in the scene right now, in my opinion,” said Dexter.
After learning that erkaSt had a say in the matter, we asked Dexter whether Josh would be filling a similar role as erkaSt. “In our system, everyone has the ability to roam free. It’s just based on the best educational decision in the moment really. Josh will cover some positions, but at the moment we’re swapping and changing things as he is very new to our line-up,” said Dexter.
We were curious about Dexter’s thoughts on how Josh has adapted to the line-up in such a short space of time. “He has slotted-in well, the rest of the team have two years of making decisions together, and Josh hasn’t been a part of that,” Dexter said.
“All of what’s to come is part of rebuilding our line-up. We’ve only had three days of practice, which isn’t anything close enough to show our usual capabilities,” concluded Dexter.
Despite only having Josh practicing with the line-up for three days prior to their first international qualifier, the team was able to band together and come out on top.
Horizon for Grayhound Gaming
With the obvious exception of Dreamhack Malmo, as they have just qualified for the global offline event, Grayhound still have a couple of online events to tackle.
Both of the above competitions have the potential of international offline finals. It is pivotal for the Grayhound Gaming line-up to continuously compete overseas if they want to maintain their progression towards invitations, and gain international experience, so winning these would be a strong step in the right direction.
Although roster changes can prove to be damaging for Counter-Strike line-ups, it seems there is no slowing Grayhound Gaming down after their recent performance in the Dreamhack Malmo qualifier. If their consistency continues, it’s likely that we will see yet another strong year from them as we approach 2020.