Mousesports star rifler Nikola "NiKo" Kovač will transfer to multinational European Counter-Strike: Global Offensive team FaZe Clan following DreamHack Masters Las Vegas on Feb. 15-19, the two teams announced Thursday.
NiKo's first competition with FaZe will be at the Intel Extreme Masters World Championship in Katowice, Poland, on March 2-5. His replacement on mousesports for that event was not announced, although Slingshot Esports reports that it may be Chris "chrisJ" de Jong, who was recently benched.
The transfer comes after both parties failed to make it far at the ELeague Major -- the first of the two tournaments backed by Counter-Strike developer Valve -- on Jan. 22-29. Mousesports failed to qualify for the playoff stage, and FaZe fell out in the quarterfinals to SK Gaming despite using a stand-in.
"After the major, NiKo approached us with the wish to join FaZe," mousesports CEO Cengiz Tüylü said in a news release. "We agreed, that after all the effort he put in at mousesports, it was time to search for a solution that would benefit everyone involved. Together with FaZe, we worked out one of the biggest transfers in esports to date."
NiKo will replace Philip "Aizy" Aistrup, who recently parted ways with FaZe to join Danish Counter-Strike team North, owned by national soccer team FC Copenhagen. It is not currently known who will compete in Aizy's spot at DreamHack Masters Las Vegas, as he has already moved over to the North lineup.
NiKo, who has competed with mousesports for the past two years on some of the biggest stages in the world, is often touted by industry analysts as one of the best players in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. However, mousesports as a team has often been criticized for lacking additional talent to back up his skill.