After a controversial Counter-Strike: Global Offensive career, Braxton “swag” Pierce is retiring.
In a Twitter post, the American CSGO pro stated that he may stream CSGO in the future, but his focus is now on Riot Games’ upcoming tactical shooter, Project A. In fact, he already has pretty lofty goals for the upcoming game.
“I am no longer with Swole Patrol. I have decided to take a step back from competitive CS and although I may still stream CS in the future, my main goal is to await the release of Project A and put my ambitions of being the best in the world to fruition,” he said.
swag was previously a streamer and occasional competitor for Cloud9’s CSGO team before becoming a full-time player on the North American regional circuit, posting top placements in events such as WINNERS League Season 2 and Fragadelphia 12.
swag’s controversial CSGO career, hopes for Project A
swag started playing Counter-Strike professionally in 2011. He was named rookie of the season in ESEA Season 9 and immediately made an impression on professional teams. He was signed to Quantic Gaming in 2013 and attended Dreamhack Winter 2013, reaching the semi-finals.
After being released exactly a year later, swag joined iBUYPOWER. The team came in second at the FACEIT League Season 2 Finals, earning swag the 16th spot in HLTV’s top 20 players of 2014 list.
But the following year, swag and three former iBUYPOWER teammates were among seven pros involved in a match-fixing scandal. During a match between iBUYPOWER and NetCodeGuides.com, the seven players involved in the fix used smurf accounts to place high-value bets on the match.
“Performing before an audience of millions of fans, they are ambassadors for their game. The strength of professional Counter-Strike comes from the integrity of its players and teams,” Valve said in a statement at the time. “[Pro players] should, under no circumstances, gamble on CS:GO matches, associate with high volume CS:GO gamblers, or deliver information to others that might influence their CS:GO bets.”
swag and his associates were immediately and indefinitely banned from Valve’s Major circut, including the upcoming ESL One Katowice event. A year later, Valve issued another statement that ruled all seven players were permanently banned for the match-fixing offenses.
The match-fixing scandal did little to sway swag’s fanbase, who even created a petition to have him unbanned from Valve-sponsored events.
Individual third-party TO’s eventually unbanned swag, allowing him to compete in various notable tournaments for teams such GX, Torqued, and then Swole Patrol. However, Valve remained committed to his banishment from majors, which forced his teams to play with substitutes in official qualifiers. This proved to be logistically difficult for any team that signed him as recently as the StarLadder Berlin Major. This undoubtedly made it difficult for swag, and any team he competed for, to find top sponsors.
Riot Games’ Project A does offer a new opportunity for swag. The upcoming tactical shooter by the League of Legends publisher will undoubtedly see significant esports support, and he likely won’t face the same kind of barriers that he did in Counter-Strike.
Unfortunately for swag, the game is seemingly miles away from completion with no release date lined up.