Edouard “SmithZz” Dubourdeaux announced his retirement from professional Counter-Strike: Global Offensive today in a post on his official Twitter account, but his withdrawal feels more authentic than others.
In a Twitlonger titled “New beginnings,” the French player revealed that he has stepped back from competitive play and will take on a career in streaming as his next challenge.
SmithZz’s career features an expansive list of teams and tournament wins, including a Major title with LDLC at DreamHack Winter 2014. His resume includes famous esports organizations VeryGames, Titan, and Team EnVyUs, and during these runs he played alongside French CS legends including Nathan “NBK” Schmitt, Kenny “kennyS” Schrub, and Richard “shox” Papillon.
SmithzZ is neither the first nor the last Counter-Strike pro to retire. But in a way, SmithZz’s decision to step away means more than that of other Counter-Strike veterans who have left the scene or, in some cases, stayed overly long.
Those players who just won’t let their esports career run its natural course are common. They start new teams, move into new roles, and release new announcements by the day. It’s understandable. After a decade of performing a job they love, it’s hard to walk away.
But there is humility in both SmithZz’s announcement and the player himself as Counter-Strike begins to lean too far one way on the scale between sanitized PR and unfiltered vitriol.
Over the past two years, some of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive’s original top pros have left teams as their spots are taken up by younger and faster players. C9’s Jordan “n0thing” Gilbert comes to mind as another casualty of CSGO’s changing of the guard. Tarik “tarik” Celek took n0thing’s spot, eventually helping Cloud9 secure America’s first Major trophy at ELEAGUE Boston.
But unlike SmithZz, n0thing has stuck around, playing an analyst role on camera and joining pick-up teams for open qualifiers and other tournaments. He’s present and active, he’s not entirely gone.
SmithZz’s retirement should hit home not because of his successes and failures, but because his everyman demeanor and his willingness to play unglamorous roles should remind fans of themselves.
He’ll carry the bomb, throw the utility, bait for his teammates, and do the jobs no one else wants to do the get the win. Everyone knows that feeling. Even Team Liquid’s Jonathon “EliGE” Jablonowski knows what it’s like.
There were few moments in SmithZz career that were his alone. Even for SmithZz, it was never about SmithZz. It was about his friends, his team, and the best things that he could do to help.
Maybe because it comes as CSGO undergoes a historic shift, but Smithzz’s announcement feels more like the beginning of the end of Counter-Strike’s OGs more than others that left before him.
Maybe it’s because SmithZz was the target of merciless criticism from analysts on Twitter and elsewhere. At times, their critiques seemed to cross the line from legitimate assessments to easy jokes made at SmithZz’s expense.
SmithZz won’t be the last founding member of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive’s esports scene to hang up his hat. But SmithZz, a young man who accomplished so much as a teammate but what some thought was never enough as an individual, should remind fans that a Counter-Strike team is more than star players and headshots.
SmithZz’s willingness to do whatever it took to help his team, even if it meant stepping away from the mouse and into a coaching role, shows that it isn’t just the star players that are the foundations of Counter-Strike.