Nikola “LEGIJA” Ninić has returned to his old role in BIG, where he will take over as interim head coach. The 30-year-old German strategist will take over for Dustin “DuDe” Großmann, who is taking a break due to personal reasons.
LEGIJA Back In Charge
LEGIJA has returned to the helm of BIG, where he will replace the German Counter-Strike: Global Offensive head coach DuDe. The news follows DuDe’s announcement that he will be taking a break from coaching due to personal reasons, without providing further details.
Rumors of LEGIJA returning to the coaching role at BIG have emerged earlier this week and were confirmed by BIG’s Chief Gaming Officer, Christian Lenz, on Wednesday, September 15.
Lenz confirmed ✅
Note: There will be no statements from us regarding the personal issue, please respect his privacy. Thanks! https://t.co/OOC1HvfLIv
— Christian Lenz (@ChristianLenz) September 15, 2021
The German strategist will step back into his old role for the first time since 2019 when he coached an entirely different iteration of the squad. The 30-year-old joined BIG in January 2017 as a player and remained in the active lineup until 2018.
He transitioned to coaching in February 2018, following BIG’s disappointing run at the PGL Krakow, which ushered in a major roster overhaul. LEGIJA remained as BIG head coach until August 2019, eventually leaving for Team Envy.
LEGIJA served as both head coach and a player during his time at Envy, albeit failed to achieve much. The team started falling apart at the start of 2021, eventually leading to LEGIJA announcing free agency in March.
Shortly after his departure from Envy, LEGIJA returned to Europe and started working with BIG behind the scenes. LEGIJA has been serving as an assistant coach since May and will now take over the reins for the first time in two years.
DuDe Out For At Least Two Months
While it’s unclear for how long DuDe will be out of action, he could remain on personal leave for at least two months. DuDe is expected to watch the games from the sidelines until the end of the final Regional Major Raking event, the Intel Extreme Masters: Fall, and might also miss the PGL Major Stockholm, assuming BIG manage to qualify.
Until his return, LEGIJA will lead BIG through the remaining tournaments of the year. LEGIJA will make his debut as a new head coach at the BLAST Premier: Fall Groups 2021 on Monday, September 20, when BIG are set to play their first match of the tournament.
At the BLAST Premier, BIG got placed in Group B, alongside G2 Esports, MiBR, and Ninjas in Pyjamas. The teams will compete in a double-elimination, best-of-three (Bo3) format, with the top two teams securing a direct invite for Fall Finals and $25,000 in tournament winnings.
Road To Major
Following the BLAST Premier: Fall Groups 2021, BIG will attend the Intel Extreme Masters Season XVI – Fall: Europe as the year’s finals Regional Major Ranking (RMR) event. It will run from September 29 to October 10.
At IEM Fall, BIG will face off against Heroic, G2 Esports, mousesports, Ninjas in Pyjamas, Team Vitality, Astralis, Complexity, OG, and 15 other teams who will vie for the coveted RMR points.
BIG are currently ranked seventh in the European RMR standings, with 1200 RMR points. This sits them 460 points short of Heroic and G2 Esports, who share the top spot and are 770 points clear of a bottom-12 finish.
If BIG finish IEM Fall higher than 14th, and if Double Poney, FunPlus Phoenix Complexity Gaming, Sprout, and OG fail to place inside the top-13, BIG will be guaranteed a spot at the 2021 PGL Major. A top-nine on the RMR standings would secure BIG a status of Challenger.
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