Ranked as the fifteenth best player in the world in 2019 and the nineteenth in 2020, Justin “jks” Savage is undoubtedly the most talented and famous Australian player CS:GO has ever produced. Reaching 3rd-4th at the 2019 StarLadder Berlin Major, a series of poor projects at poor times has seen his career stagnate however to the point where the Aussie has been sitting on the inactive bench at Complexity since November.
But, with just a handful of days’ notice, jks was drafted in as an emergency stand-in for FaZe Clan ahead of IEM Katowice 2022, replacing Robin “ropz” Kool for the play-in and group stage and then Havard “rain” Nygaard for the stage in the Spodek Arena. In what was undoubtedly the greatest stand-in performance in the game, jks finished with a 1.14 rating as FaZe swept G2 to win the entire event. With the Aussie firmly back in the shop window for top-tier orgs, Gamelevate takes you through who could be battling for jks’ signature.
Fnatic have always historically been an org that only houses Swedish players, however, the team’s downward spiral over the course of the online era has led to a rethinking and the first international lineup in the side’s history with the acquisition of a British-core led by Alex “ALEX” McMeekin.
The team’s results have been far more consistent since the shakeup too, with Fnatic returning to the top twenty in the world rankings, winning their first trophy since October 2019 at DreamHack Open, and making it through to the main event at IEM Katowice 2022.
However, just two days after being eliminated from Katowice, Fnatic were rocked by the news that Owen “smooya” Butterfield would be benched and that talisman Ludvig “Brollan” Brolin was being pursued by domestic rivals NiP. With the team forced to field two rookies in Iulian “Regali” Harjău and Peppe “Peppzor” Borak for the European RMRs, and the switch to being an all-English speaking side, there could be space in the side for a figure like jks.
Assuming Brollan completes his move to NiP, jks would slot in nicely as one of the chief fraggers in the team. It would be a lot of pressure attempting to replicate some of the numbers Brollan has been producing, but it would undoubtedly be a move that could see jks showcase some of his star quality again after so many months doing the hard graft as an anchor with Complexity.
Earlier this year, we backed Evil Geniuses as North America’s best hope of challenging at the top of the Counter-Strike pyramid after the org picked up the 2018 Boston Major winning core of Jacky “Stewie2k” Yip, Will “RUSH” Wierzba, and Timothy “autimatic” Ta.
So far, things haven’t been going so well for EG however with a bottom place finish (along with every other NA side) at the BLAST Spring Groups.
Whilst we personally think it might be a little premature to jettison anyone from this new lineup, having a talent like jks suddenly in the shop window might just tempt EG into rolling the dice with a reshuffle.
Vincent “Brehze” Cayonte would presumably be the player to let go as one of the side’s chief riflers, though Tsvetelin “CeRq” Dimitrov could always be made to make way with either Stewie or autimatic picking up the AWP full time for EG. With NA having a serious lack of international titles over the past few years, the pedigree of having a recent IEM Katowice winner coming through the doors in a figure like jks could give the org some newfound belief.
With that being said, Complexity CEO Jason Lake has recently said that jks has stated he wants to play in Europe, so luring him back Stateside could be a tough negotiation for EG.
The last two teams jks has played in have both been international lineups, and one other side that might be a good fit for the Australian is OG.
Famous for housing players from all four corners of the globe, OG have always been a competitive side, but just on the fringes enough to keep them away from some major silverware. And whilst we’re not saying the signing of jks alone would be enough to throw OG from contenders to champions, it would certainly inject a level of prestige the team have been potentially been missing out on.
OG entered 2022 with a change at the top, with G2’s Nemanja “nexa” Isaković swapping in for Aleksi “Aleksib” Virolainen and the results have so far been solid enough so far, especially when it comes to the Serbian’s own personal performances. With exciting talents like Shahar “flameZ” Shushanand Mateusz “mantuu” Wilczewski, there might not be as many opportunities to be the star of the side for jks, but his experience could be crucial in driving this current OG project forward.
A 1.15 rating, Valdemar Bjørn “valde” Vangsåhas consistently been touted as the best player in OG’s setup and, if the Dane does end up being lured away, jks could easily slot in as his replacement.
As with so many other CS:GO transfer sagas, things don’t always play out as obviously as fans or experts might expect, and the reality is that there are few teams in the world that wouldn’t benefit from having someone as skilled as jks in their side. It’s the rate that such a talented player remains on a bench for so long, but it’s even rarer that a player is able to put himself firmly in the spotlight with one of the biggest trophies in the game.
Optic have been rumoured to be interested in making a return to the game with jks as one of the stars, Team Liquid could be interested in enticing the Australian if their current project continues to fail to deliver, whilst a team like MOUZ are another example of a European org with an international lineup he could slot into.
The good news for jks is that he will almost certainly have no shortage of offers to choose from.