ALEX has distinguished himself as a CS:GO in-game leader with Vitality but the blemish of the Colossus shows he still has to prove himself without a legendary talent like ZywOo on hand in the eyes of many fans.
Is ALEX a good CS:GO in-game leader?
In-game leaders are often the face of an org, with the likes of Lukas “gla1ve” Rossander at Astralis or Casper “cadiaN” Møller at Heroic carrying all the pressures that come with top tier competitive play. Alex “ALEX” McMeekin is another one of CS:GO’s most famous IGLs, seeing his stock surge during his tenures with French orgs LDLC and Team Vitality, before finding himself in Cloud9’s doomed-to-fail ‘Colossus’ project.
However, with a spell of over five months of inactivity teetering between CS and Valorant, ALEX looks set to step back into the ring with rumors swirling around his name from some of the biggest orgs in the game.
But as the British IGL prepares for the next chapter of his post-Colossus career, one has to wonder: just how good of an IGL is ALEX?
ALEX rising through the French CS:GO scene
Whilst ALEX has become known for the heady highs of launching Team Vitality and subsequent fall from grace with the Colossus, the IGL’s first major foray into calling at the top tier levels of CS was with Team LDLC from April 2016 right up until the day he signed with Vitality in December 2018. A proud and historic French org, LDLC went through a period of remarkable consistency under ALEX during his time as the side’s in-game caller, nestling in the top thirty and uncovering talents from the region such as Antoine “to1nou” Pirard and François “AmaNEk” Delaunay.
The org’s best performance under ALEX’s leadership came at Intel Extreme Masters Season XIII – Chicago
In November 2018, where the British IGL strung together a flawless lower bracket run against North, Renegades and NRG to secure a surprising 5-6th finish, having been narrowly edged out by an imperious-looking Team Liquid in the quarterfinals.
It would prove to be the tournament that convinced Team Vitality that the British IGL was their man to lead their all-new ambitious lineup, prying him away little more than a month later.
Over his fifteen-month spell as Vitality’s IGL, ALEX would continue to showcase his ability to keep a team competing at a consistent level, as well as uncovering the latest generational talent from the French region: Mathieu “ZywOo” Herbaut.
However, ALEX would also showcase his ability to step up and perform with positive results against the best in the world, with his infamous win over Astralis at the ESL One: Cologne 2019 semi-finals perhaps being the pinnacle of his career as a caller, and S-Tier tournament wins at EPICENTER 2019, the ECS Season 7 Finals and cs_summit 4 bagging Vitality their first pieces of silverware in their history.
Consistently strong showings against the definitive dominant forces of Astralis and Team Liquid prove that ALEX’s understanding of the nuances and technicalities that come with top tier calling extend much further than the dismissive and lazy: “ZywOo go kill” memes Twitch chat is prone to spam.
It should also be noted that ALEX’s eventual stepping down from Vitality’s active lineup in March 2020 was a player decision, rather than an org one, with the Brit growing fatigued with all the intensities that usually come with being the leader of one of CS:GO’s hottest sides.
ALEX and his chemistry with teammates
Throughout the history of competitive CS:GO, the French region has become infamous for producing a whole arsenal of talismanic and gifted players, who have constantly been held back by constant squabbling and in-fighting.
Throughout his time leading both LDLC and Vitality, ALEX managed to break the feuding and prove that his greatest strength as a leader is his ability to keep a team pulling in the same direction. When Vitality picked up legendary CS:GO rifler Richard “shox” Papillon, plenty in the community predicted that old rivalries would re-ignite between him and Dan “apEX” Madesclaire, with the pair clashing regularly during their days at G2.
However, ALEX successfully navigated through this potentially tricky roster shakeup and helped to establish the roles and responsibilities to suit both players, the bulk of which are still present in Vitality’s setups even today.
And whilst debate will always exist over the extent to which ALEX helped nurture a talent like ZywOo into becoming the legendary figure he is today, there can be no denying that the Brit has continued to help prodigy players such as William “mezii” Merriman develop in the time post-Vitality.
ALEX and the Colossus blemish
After six months on Vitality’s bench, ALEX would be thrown head-first into HenryG’s groundbreaking Cloud9 project. The first name introduced under the ‘Colossus’ banner, ALEX’s reported three-year deal worth $1 650 000 broke headlines around the CS world as one of the very first publicly known contracts, and it would soon become apparent that the British IGL’s sway with Henry and the org would stretch much further than just a large contract fee.
Within three months of the Colossus being founded, recognized and respected head coach Aleksandar “kassad” Trifunović had been kicked from the org due to disagreements with ALEX, coming as a strangely brutal stamp of authority from the Brit and, in hindsight, showcasing just one of the flaws in the expensively pulled together lineup.
Putting the doubts aside: ALEX on Fnatic
The eventual fate of the Colossus will forever go down as one of CS:GO’s biggest disaster stories and, again in hindsight, it’s easy to see that both ALEX and his lineup were up against the odds right from the start.
Nevertheless, being one of the biggest faces associated with the debacle has undoubtedly scarred what was looking like a hugely respectable career in the making for ALEX. The Brit thankfully looks to have put his Valorant teeters behind him and looks set to give CS his full attention. Him joining Fnatic alongside William “mezii” Merriman before the end of the player break will allow him to prove just how talented an IGL he is.
However, with the community not forgetting the Cloud9 failure, ALEX will also be arriving at his new org with a completely new level of pressure resting over his head.