Roster moves are frequent in professional Counter-Strike. After every Valve-sponsored Major tournament, a multitude of teams make changes in hopes of improving the next time around. Potential moves are reported, and finalized moves are announced by team organizations. But what about the roster moves that didn’t happen? For every shocking change, there's an equally intriguing move that almost happened but fell short for one reason or another. This series will take a look at some of the most interesting roster swaps that never came to be. Some will be public knowledge, but we'll try to dig deeper and talk to the people involved to figure out what didn't happen and who ended up being better off. Enjoy!

In the Summer of 2015, Cloud9 made a run of semifinal appearances at international ​CS:GO events: The ESL ESEA Pro League Season 1 Finals, ESWC 2015, and the FACEIT 2015 Stage 2 Finals. Before that run, the team parted ways with Shahzeeb "ShahZaM" Khan and Kory "SEMPHIS" Friesen, adding Tyler “Skadoodle” Latham and Ryan "freakazoid" Abadir. The moves provided a necessary boost in AWPing impact and the vocal and supportive tenacity necessary on a team with multiple reserved individuals. The initial success stagnated, though. Cloud9 lost to Kinguin in groups at ESL One Cologne, and in-game leader Sean Gares informed the organization he didn’t plan on playing much longer.

In the background, a friendly joke between two friends was brewing into something much more real, something so real it might have even kept Gares on the roster -- or at least as a coach -- moving in to 2016. Swedish veteran Christopher "GeT_RiGhT" Alesund would later say he and Gares jokingly discussed playing together whenever they saw each other. Following the decline of Cloud9’s summer run, the joke nearly became a reality. 

Gares asked GeT_RiGhT to join for real and he agreed, but there were a few hurdles in the way. NInjas in Pyjamas, GeT_RiGhT's team, had a slew of events lined up towards the end of the year, and GeT_RiGhT’s contract didn’t end until December. Additionally, Cloud9 was worried that if GeT_RiGhT trialed with the team that he might gain an advantage should NiP and Cloud9 share a group at the upcoming DreamHack Cluj-Napoca Major. As such, only two hours before GeT_RiGhT was supposed to fly to America to play with the North Americans in a run of events following the Major including IEM San Jose, his ticket was cancelled. In a cruel twist, the two teams didn’t share a group at the Major anyway, and Cloud9 exited in the group stage.

Gares would later tell Duncan “Thorin” Shields in 2016 he believed GeT_RiGhT joining Cloud9 would have been the best move to revitalize the roster. He described a hungry attitude that GeT_RiGhT carries no matter the situation and said that motivation was something his team lacked. Following the Cluj Major, and once he knew GeT_RiGhT wouldn’t join, Gares told Cloud9 he intended to leave the organization. Taking his place in January was none other than Jake “Stewie2k” Yip, an unproven smoke criminal who would help bring North America its first Major title in CS:GO almost two years later.

The rest of Gares' playing career played out rather unceremoniously, as he joined Echo Fox for the bulk of the organization's ill-fated run in CS:GO. He briefly joined Team SoloMid but never played a match for the organization, as he was released following an open letter written on behalf of North American CS:GO players -- of which Gares and his TSM teammates signed -- to the now-defunct Professional Esports Association. He spent time with Misfits and played in the ELEAGUE Boston Major at the start of this year before leaving the team. He has since focused more on being an analyst, and he was part of the talent lineup for the FACEIT London Major last month.

GeT_RiGhT, meanwhile, is one of the final remaining pieces of the core NiP lineup alongside Patrik "f0rest" Lindberg. That lineup has endured a handful of roster changes since dropping Adam "friberg" Friberg last May. NiP seems to be on the rise after a 9-11th place finish at the FACEIT Major, the first Major for the organization since ESL Cologne 2016. It's fun to think about what would have happened if GeT_RiGhT and Gares ever connected, and as such, GeT_RiGhT to Cloud9 is cemented as one of the greatest blockbuster Counter-Strike roster moves that never happened.

Photo by Adela Sznajder/DreamHack