Guild Esports has announced its newest entry into Counter-Strike esports with the unveiling of its new roster, the members of Bad News Eagles.
Genc ‘gxx-’ Kolgeci, Flatron ‘juanflatroo’ Halimi, Sener ‘SENER1’ Mahuti, Dionis ‘sinnopsyy’ Budeci and Rigon ‘rigoN’ Gashi surprised everyone when they became the first-ever team from the Albanian-Kosovar region to reach a Major qualifier (RMR) back in 2022, when they qualified for the PGL Antwerp Major. They’ve since competed at, and qualified for the Legends stage in, three Counter-Strike Majors in Antwerp, Rio and Paris – earning prize winnings worth $96,000 in 2023 alone.
What will now be known as the Guild Eagles team will be joined by a backroom staff of some of the most well-respected figures in the Counter-Strike community: head coach Jonatan ‘Devilwalk’ Lundberg (the only multi-Major winner as both a coach and a player), assistant coach Kevin ‘Krystal’ Amend, analyst Kieran ‘KayJay’ Playfair and with James ‘BanKs’ Banks (the team’s manager) joining Guild as a consultant to support the org.
From humble origins in Kosovan net cafes to Paris’ Hall de la Pinède, this roster has experienced an incredible trajectory over the past three years since their competitive debut in 2020. They’ve gained a cult following in both their home region and the wider world with a combined Twitter, Twitch, and Instagram followings of over 112,000, 297,000, and 137,000 respectively, and their path to success and international renown has become a success story of modern Counter-Strike.
With the backing of holistic coaching partner Ground+Air, Guild Esports will support this ascension even further, as Counter-Strike esports takes a step into the future with the launch of Counter-Strike 2 (CS2).
Ground+Air is a performance and wellbeing consultancy that will be delivering a specialist coaching and education programme to Guild Esports’ CS2 roster, designing a tailored state-of-the-art ‘Elite Performance Programme’. Ground+Air has experience inside and outside esports having built and delivered Oracle Red Bull Racing’s Performance Accelerator Programme for F1 Esports. Ground+Air brings years of experience and best practices in building programmes from other sectors; including elite professional football, motor racing, entertainment, banking and technology to build a programme designed to augment in-game performance with out-of-game wellbeing.
Guild Esports intends to deploy this programme to both established and developmental teams under the Guild Esports banner. The programme will consist of a blend of one-to-one coaching and team development workshops, delivered by performance experts from across the worlds of education, elite sports, business and esports.
Jasmine Skee, CEO of Guild Esports, said: “With the release of CS2, we realised that there was no better time for us to increase our presence in Counter-Strike. The trajectory of the Bad News Eagles roster has been inspirational, and embodies the attitude that we value here at Guild Esports – we can’t wait to support them on their journey in CS2 with the help of Ground+Air.”
Jonatan “Devilwalk” Lundberg, Head Coach for Guild Eagles, said: “We’re incredibly excited to represent Guild in CS2. Throughout our conversations with Guild it’s been abundantly clear that they share our vision, and truly want to help this roster succeed at the highest level of competitive Counter-Strike. We’ve had offers from multiple organisations during our time as an unsigned team, but ultimately we found that Guild were the most closely aligned with what we want to achieve in CS2, and were able to provide us the greatest level of holistic support to help us compete at our peak potential. With what we have already seen from meeting the staff and seeing the facilities, we have no doubt this is where we belong to reach the next level in competition.”