G2 Esports have announced that they have signed Nikola “NiKo” Kovač to a deal on Wednesday. In doing so, they have united NiKo with his cousin, Nemanja “hunter-“ Kovač for the first time in their professional careers.
In doing so, NiKo moves away from FaZe Clan, a team he has played in since February 2017 and with whom he has risen close to the top of professional CS:GO. Although the team failed to win a Major during his tenure – more markedly in 2018 when they lost to Cloud9 in the ELEAGUE Major: Boston finals – they have won nine S-Tier tournaments and five A-tier competitions.
NiKo’s role within FaZe changed gradually. Initially a rifler and entry fragger within the lineup, the departure of Finn “karrigan” Andersen on Dec. 2018 marked his transition to in-game leadership, causing him to shoulder as much of the team’s weight as he used to before joining FaZe. Indeed, a similar transition had taken place in mousesports, which was dubbed NiKosports as a result.
The player joins an ailing G2 Esports squad, one that occupied the top ranks within the HLTV.org rankings until July 2020. However, the team’s performances sharply fell since June 2020, with their semifinal showing in ESL One: Cologne 2020 standing as an outlier among disappointing finishes.
With NiKo’s entrance, G2 are considering their options for the rest of the lineup as they stand with six players on the roster. Should in-game leader Nemanja “nexa” Isaković remain on the lineup, the burden of leadership would be lifted from NiKo’s shoulders, although at the cost of either support François “AmaNEk” Delaunay or rifler Audric “JaCkz” Jug, the latter of which has had a career resurgence within G2.