The Story of Shroud: The King of Reddit

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22:56   |   Jul 07, 2018


The Story of Shroud: The King of Reddit
The Story of Shroud: The King of Reddit thumb The Story of Shroud: The King of Reddit thumb The Story of Shroud: The King of Reddit thumb


  • To be famous in the world of esports, it’s safe to say you need to be able to appreciate
  • a good meme.
  • True super stardom in this world, doesn’t take place in big press conferences, red carpets
  • or glamorous photo shoots.
  • In esports you’ve got to master the art of Reddit.
  • The combination of being absolutely incredible at your game of choice while simultaneously
  • not taking anything seriously.
  • (Stream)
  • Maybe nobody in esports history embodies this more than the King of Reddit himself:
  • ShroudyRowdy
  • From clutching on the biggest stage with Cloud 9 to the top of the Twitch charts.
  • This is his story.
  • Shroud joined Cloud9’s Counter Strike: Global Offensive roster on
  • September 1, 2014, after the organization acquired compLexity’s roster, which featured
  • Shroud as a stand-in.
  • Shroud was a streamer who had been competing in ESEA qualifiers with Exertus eSports and
  • Manajuma during 2013 and early 2014.
  • It was during this era that he impressed the eventual Cloud9 roster and landed himself a spot on the squad.
  • "The main way I kinda got scouted was I streamed a lot. Streaming is actually a good way for people to
  • scout I guess. Because they can watch your stream."
  • "I didn't even know I was going to join the team, I just finished the regular season with Manajumas.
  • And then a week after Dboorn messages me and says, "Hey do you want to join Complexity?"
  • Which is Cloud9 now and I was just like, of course yeah."
  • From his beginnings in Mississauga, Canada, Shroud was bred to play games.
  • He lived with his father, who built computers obsessively and introduced Shroud to games as a child.
  • "I love games, I love computers. I built every single computer we owned.
  • And since he was really tiny I was putting him on my lap and let him do whatever.
  • And then I introduced him to Counter-Strike because I like that game, and he picked up so quickly that
  • after a couple of months there was pointless for me to play with him.
  • Shroud started streaming while pro Counter-Strike was still a pipe dream for him in 2011.
  • He’d actually lost interest in CS during Source, but his FPS fire was rejuvenated when
  • a friend gifted him CSGO on Steam a year or so later.
  • Shroud was a huge fan of Summit1G on Twitch and wanted to give streaming a try.
  • "So I first started streaming, oh boy it was probably like 2011ish.
  • I didn't have any viewers, I streamed probably for a year with 1 viewer and that was myself.
  • And the reason I started streaming, was because of Summit. And I was watching him play and he had
  • a couple hundred viewers and it was just how much he streamed inspired me, he quit his job and whatnot
  • It was just- I wanted to do that."
  • It was a long time before he saw any success on the platform, but his pro career in CS:GO allowed
  • his stream to grow.
  • Shroud made his LAN debut with Cloud9 in 2015 at ESL ESEA Pro League North America Season 1.
  • Shroud and C9 won the NA bracket and then finished second to Fnatic in the international finals.
  • (Casting)
  • In an era where North America was considered the minor leagues of pro CS,
  • C9 making it to the Pro League finals was huge.
  • Cloud 9’s summer run in 2015 was big for NA CS
  • and Shroud was quickly building a reputation for being one of the most talented players in North America.
  • "Cloud9 looked at Shroud and they saw potential. They liked his decision making, they liked his positioning.
  • And they said "Okay if we can develop this guy if we give him more experience.
  • We like how he's playing the game, but if we give him more time to develop with good teammates, those
  • frags will come." The frags aren't the issue for them. They saw how stellar his aim was, how pinpoint and
  • and precise it was."
  • "I love Shroud to death and I think he's one of the best players I've ever played with man.
  • Probably the best, best pure aimer I've ever seen in my life."
  • "Shroud is literally like the best aimer in North America, like hands down I feel like when he's rifling."
  • "Like you can watch this guy on stream pull off the most ridiculous 4ks and 5ks."
  • After their ESL Pro League finish in 2015,
  • Cloud 9 and Shroud’s next big finish was at DreamHack Bucharest in 2016.
  • Once again they were the runner-up, falling to another one of the world’s strongest teams in Virtus.Pro.
  • (Casting)
  • During the latter half of 2016 Shroud and Cloud 9 finally won a big tournament.
  • (Casting)
  • C9 defeated SK Gaming in the Finals of ESL Pro League Season 4,
  • to bring a significant title to American Counter Strike.
  • That fateful summer of Cloud9 was capped-off with a bang.
  • And this team was single-handedly making a case for North America’s potential
  • to compete on the international stage.
  • At this point, Shroud had been relegated to more of a supporting role
  • than his early days of wowing on stage with his aim.
  • "I'm trying to help those guys f*cking be the all-stars.
  • I'm no longer the all-star.
  • For those of you that don't already know.
  • My role isn't to f***ing make plays and all that bullsh*t.
  • It's to help them make plays.
  • I'll die for them I'll flash for them, I'll f***ing smoke for them, I'll do anything for those guys."
  • "I don't care how much sh*t anyone's gonna give me."
  • With the injection of youth into C9’s roster,
  • Shroud was doing a lot of lurking in-game and mentoring the new players.
  • The addition of Stewie2k and Autimatic to the classic C9 core of Shroud,
  • N0thing and Skadoodle proved that an American team could play at the highest level.
  • But the real test, was competing at a big time CSGO event
  • where all the best teams showed up.
  • (Casting)
  • Cloud9 just barely squeaked into the elimination rounds at 3-2
  • after opening with back-to-back losses to Ninjas in Pyjamas and Natus Vincere.
  • In the bracket stage there were three North American hopefuls:
  • C9, Liquid and OpTic.
  • But after Cloud 9 got their revenge on NiP in the quarters, they were NA’s last hope.
  • Cloud 9’s cinderella run continued when they faced off against Na’Vi.
  • They showed up in a big way and trounced Na’Vi in a 2-0 victory.
  • (Casting)
  • A North American team was about to play David against a Goliath in SK Gaming,
  • and there was a $100,000 grand prize hanging in the balance.
  • (Casting)
  • Cloud 9 might not have won it all.
  • But they proved once again that they had what it takes to compete at the game’s highest level
  • Shroud was instrumental in C9’s run in Cologne,
  • particularly in the bracket stage when it counted most.
  • Of course after Shroud left C9,
  • they went on to become the first North American team to ever win a Major title.
  • But, his impact on that run in Boston is notable nonetheless.
  • Shroud was a key cog in what would come to be America’s CS:GO darlings
  • and without his consistency, game IQ and commitment
  • they wouldn’t be the team we know today.
  • Even Stewie admitted that Shroud was one of the things that made him want to be a pro.
  • "So when I watched streamers, like I used to watch Mike play a lot. And I would see him do certain
  • aim- like a certain way to aim, then I would try to mimic it. I would try to steal people's play style
  • and add it to my own."
  • Throughout his career as a pro player Shroud balanced his career
  • with the growth and development of his stream.
  • (Stream)
  • What could be better, right? Streamer by night, pro rifler by day.
  • But at times the Counter Strike community were critical of Shroud for his career juggling act.
  • "Unluckily for Shroud he had unfortunately not the strongest performance this weekend in the Summit.
  • And he got roasted it looks like a little bit by the community because he streams other games."
  • "Motherf*cker."
  • "He doesn't just play CS every hour of the day."
  • When his performance waned or Cloud 9 were struggling,
  • fans wanted to see Shroudy practicing CS — not playing other games on stream.
  • "Dude mods, like literally. My mods feel free to ban to f*cking ban anyone just crying about
  • what other people say. Like I don't care to see that,
  • I don't care to see any of that sh*t."
  • "What?"
  • "Do you still like playing Counter-Strike?"
  • "No. Dead game."
  • "When people criticize pro players for not purely just practicing whatever their field or sport or game is
  • all the time."
  • "So at the moment, the instance that's really brought this up to me, is the case where people are really
  • critiquing Shroud over the fact that he'll stream PUB Battlegrounds or whatever the f*ck."
  • "The idea that you know he's doing that instead of practicing and that's why he's not some top player
  • or whatever."
  • "You haven't seen the CS reddit Shroud, it used to be all praise for you. Now they hate you."
  • With that said, even at the height of his career,
  • Shroud was more popular as a streamer and personality, than as a pro player.
  • And after C9’s run in Cologne in 2017, Shroud started to focus more than ever on streaming.
  • And this aligned nicely, with the explosion of one of the biggest games of the last few years.
  • PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds was released in March 2017,
  • and by the time the summer rolled around, was taking the gaming world by storm.
  • A few months prior to his choice to step down from C9,
  • Shroud hopped into PUBG. And, well — he was unbelievably good at it.
  • (Stream)
  • And then, in August 2017 Shroud stepped back from the team’s starting roster
  • and decided to focus entirely on his stream.
  • "I messaged Jack and I was like "Hey, (Jack's the owner of C9 by the way) I kinda want to step down.
  • I would love to be your guys' backup, I want to see where full-time stream takes me."
  • "It felt like it was about time for me to go, like this whole PUBG thing came out,
  • I've enjoyed PUBG so much and I'm like slowly losing my passion to compete.
  • I just want to relax, sit here, and game."
  • During that same August, PUBG had its biggest streaming month.
  • The game was streamed to an average of around 100,000 viewers at a time.
  • As Shroud lept into streaming and left the safety of his pro career behind,
  • he and PUBG were attached at the hip, and both were only getting bigger.
  • In August 2017, the first month he streamed full time. He averaged at just under 20,000 viewers at a time.
  • Since then, he's never averaged less and peaked in April of 2018, with an average of 40,000 viewers.
  • "I'm literally like shaking."
  • "Like this is crazy, I'm about to be at 7500 subs. You guys... Oh my god the subs."
  • "Oh my god I look over to my right and it's just a wall."
  • "Oh my god."
  • Professional esports and streaming have operated adjacent to one another for years now.
  • not surprising for your favorite pro player to also dip their foot into Twitch
  • to help build their brand.
  • But as of late, we’ve seen streamers whose Twitch personality surpasses any fame or fandom
  • they’d achieve as a pro player.
  • Figures like Ninja and Dr.Disrespect have never been in the forefront of any major professional esport
  • but have become some of gaming’s biggest stars.
  • And Shroud wanted to give himself a chance at that.
  • At being more than an above average pro Counter Strike player.
  • (Stream)
  • Even while he was a pro player, Shroud was always known as the king of Reddit.
  • But, since his commitment to full-time streaming,
  • he’s earned that nickname tenfold.
  • "Watch this..."
  • (Stream)
  • Other top broadcasters fill up your computer screen with music,
  • gimmicks and boisterous entertainment.
  • But Shroud, is just a straight-up gamer.
  • And he’s damn good at every game he plays.
  • (Stream)
  • "I always pick Shroud's mind cause I consider Shroud, the best PC player on Twitch."
  • "But when you wanna talk about PC and PC precision, I think Shroud is just miles in front of anybody."
  • In a lot of ways, Shroud has become a sanctum, for the old guard of esports fans to kick back
  • and hang out.
  • He hasn't adapted to the overly boisterous style of other massive streamers like Ninja.
  • Shroud is just a great gamer who streams every day, and he owns that brand.
  • And it’s that rock solid brand that he’s built his community around.
  • Shroud has become the place to go for esports fans, redditers
  • and anyone looking to watch high level gameplay and grab a laugh.
  • (Stream)
  • What cements his style even more is his consistent support of small streamers.
  • He's found a way to build content, out of helping people.
  • (Stream)
  • No matter the game, Shroud’s viewership stays strong
  • something that’s unusual for all but the biggest streamers.
  • Shroud has recently streamed CSGO, PUBG, Fortnite, Realm Royale and World of Warcraft
  • Somehow, he’s just great at every game he tries.
  • Overshadowed by his growth a streamer
  • is the fact that Shroud has become one of the best Player Unknown’s Battleground players on the planet.
  • "But I was watching Shroud last night, play Battlegrounds. In first person."
  • "That guy's a maniac."
  • "He might be the best player in the game."
  • Recently, in a team tournament, Shroud and another popular streamer Chadd
  • took down 9 out of 10 winner winner chicken dinners in the event.
  • (Stream)
  • In a lot of ways, the popularity of Fortnite
  • has epitomized why Shroud’s viewers are so loyal to him.
  • He knows he could give in to the hot new thing,
  • but in typical Shroud fashion he’s stayed loyal to PUBG.
  • He’s not trying to be like Ninja or ride the Fortnite wave into mainstream success.
  • Shroud has truly lived the esports rollercoaster.
  • He’s evolved from North American Counter-Strike golden boy to Reddit’s darling
  • right before our eyes.
  • There’s no question that there’s a long way to go in esports’ fight to legitimize
  • itself in the mainstream and offer long term career options past the upper-echelon of each game.
  • But, if there’s a benchmark to follow when it comes to remaining relevant throughout
  • your career in a world where there’s new games popping up left and right
  • Shroud is it.
  • He’s adapted.
  • He’s stayed loyal.
  • And he’s still here, growing and leaving his mark on every aspect of this community we love.
  • Thanks for watching. If you want more great content just like this, be sure to hit the subscribe button.

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To be famous in the world of esports, it’s safe to say you need to be able to appreciate a good meme. True superstardom in this world, doesn’t take place in big press conferences, red carpets or glamorous photo shoots.

In esports you’ve got to master the art of Reddit. The combination of being absolutely incredible at your game of choice while simultaneously not taking anything seriously.

Maybe nobody in esports history embodies this more than the King of Reddit himself: Michael “Shroud” Grzesiek

From clutching on the biggest stage with Cloud 9 to the top of the Twitch charts. This is his story.

Edited by: Brian Van Huynh (@beevanhuynh)
Narrated by: Josh Bury (@ThrownGauntlet)
Written by: Keith Capstick (@KeithCapstick)
Graphics and Animations by: Christian Pearson (@Chr_Pearson)

Courtesy List:

Music used under license from Associated Production Music LLC (”APM”).

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