The Story Of Stewie2k: From Pug-Star to Superstar

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Jun 16, 2018


The Story Of Stewie2k: From Pug-Star to Superstar
The Story Of Stewie2k: From Pug-Star to Superstar thumb The Story Of Stewie2k: From Pug-Star to Superstar thumb The Story Of Stewie2k: From Pug-Star to Superstar thumb


  • "What do you make of this guy Stewie2k?"
  • "It's a very high risk high reward pickup."
  • "I don't know if Stewie2k is necessarily the best fit for this team."
  • "There's a very good chance he will not become some fantastic player."
  • "He will not become the player that will help Cloud9 become a better team."
  • "And they will not be as good a team as they were in the summer where they made those three finals in a row."
  • "So I don't think it's a good pickup."
  • (Casting)
  • Jake “Stewie2k” Yip was born on January 7, 1998 and grew up in San Francisco California,
  • but Young Stew’s childhood wasn’t easy.
  • His parents spent most of their time overseas, and since his siblings were so much older
  • than him, he was raised by his aunt until her health pushed her out of Stewie’s life.
  • "Growing up I always lived with my aunt.
  • Because my parents would work out of the country."
  • "But eventually my aunt got cancer but she's okay now.
  • My mom would come back monthly. And my dad would come back during the big holidays."
  • By the time he was in high school, his friends were at different schools, and his siblings
  • were off to college.
  • He was on his own, and turned to video games to fill the time.
  • Stewie discovered CS:GO in the summer of 2014, when he was 16 years old.
  • And he was instantly hooked.
  • "The more I played CS:GO, the more attached I got to the game."
  • "I thought it was a really cool game, and I thought like, it was a pretty fun game to learn."
  • "So when I watched like 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 playstyle and add it to my own."
  • But his obsession came at a price.
  • Stewie was getting into 10-man pick-up-games on ESEA and playing into the night like his
  • heroes on stream, which meant he had to sleep in.
  • Which meant he missed school.
  • Which meant he stayed home and played all day long, and missed school the next day.
  • CS:GO was his drug of choice.
  • He couldn’t stop playing, and it was tearing his life apart.
  • At that point, his grades were slipping, and his school told him he either had to come
  • back or transfer.
  • "I missed like weeks of school and then eventually my school would contact my mom."
  • "And my mom would fly back and make sure I'm starting to go to school.
  • But I'll still go to school."
  • "But my grades aren't good, I'm not doing homework."
  • "My test scores aren't that good."
  • "My parents never understood esports. And always thought being on the computer is a waste of time."
  • "So when they would get contacted from school about me being absent, they would confiscate my computer."
  • Without a computer, Stewie couldn’t play CS:GO and missed practice sessions with his
  • amateur teams, but was still dedicated to the game.
  • He didn’t see a future in class, but he did see one when he was playing CS:GO.
  • Stewie knew about the world of professional CS:GO, and wanted to land with a stable team,
  • especially if that team was Cloud9.
  • He looked up to what was often considered the best CS:GO team in North America, and
  • he believed he had what it took to get on their roster.
  • "Well I always wanted a chance even when you guys picked up Ryan.
  • I honestly thought that I should have gotten that chance but..."
  • "We didn't know you." "Yeah no one knew who I was but.
  • I always thought that I could bring more to the table then any other pickup."
  • C9’s then-manager, Stunna, kept in contact with Stewie though.
  • He saw potential in him.
  • He knew the PUG star could shine on the big stage.
  • Stewie knew that getting noticed would require endless hours of grinding.
  • He even snuck out of the house one day to play in the RGN Pro Series LAN in 2015, which
  • was his first experience meeting fans.
  • "Well the first fan interaction I had was at RGN LAN. That's the LAN I snuck out to."
  • "So that was pretty cool when people asked me to sign their gear."
  • Stewie got his first taste of CS:GO fame and it only made him want more.
  • He threw himself into the game but all the while, his family’s respect for him bottomed out.
  • "At that point. My dad and my mom kind of, you can tell they're giving me the cold shoulder."
  • "And they're like not really listening to what I say, they're letting me do what I want.
  • But they're not happy about it. But they're like not paying full attention to me."
  • And that’s when he got the offer.
  • "One day, I was practicing. And then I got a call from Tres. Then I picked up the phone and he said that
  • He's gonna give me a three month contract. But really it was like a full contract that one of you guys had."
  • But I guess it was um..."
  • "Light a fire under your butt."
  • "Yeah pretty much and then, that's where it all happens. I didn't even get a tryout, I just got a spot on the team."
  • But Stewie waited.
  • At 17 years old, his parents would have to sign off on his burgeoning CS career, something
  • he knew they’d never go for.
  • "He wanted to wait til he was 18 to be able to do this on his own."
  • "And one of things I had to consider is like I had these other players that I was talking to.
  • And I needed to basically have faith in him, that he wouldn't sign with another team
  • when he turned 18 which was a few weeks away. And I needed to basically commit to him, turn down the other players that I was talking to
  • and wait for him to turn 18.
  • And on his 18th birthday, like some time after midnight, he signed his contract with Cloud9."
  • Stewie moved to the C9 house shortly after, without a word to his parents.
  • That chapter of his life was closed and he was ready for his shot at stardom.
  • He was ready to finally succeed at something.
  • But the pundits didn’t think he was worth anything
  • “He’s someone who has shown no tactical aptitude whatsoever.”
  • "Seems to have shown no self-awareness as a player, because he hasn't improved any of these key areas
  • where he was having issues."
  • "I don't know if Stewie2k is necessarily the best fit for this team."
  • "But I think Stewie2k is a really good player, and I just don't feel like it's the right team for him that's all it is."
  • "God this is the worst attack ever."
  • "It's a mirracle that you're able to just run in like that and get a kill, it's honestly it's a miracle."
  • "There's a very good chance he will not become some fantastic player."
  • "He will not become the player that will help Cloud9 become a better team."
  • "And they will not be as good a team as they were in the summer when they made those three finals in a row."
  • "So I don't think it's a good pickup."
  • The moment Cloud9 announced they had signed Stewie2K to replace SeanGares,
  • one question was on every CS:GO fan’s lips:
  • Why?
  • "I'm not trying to be an ass here but, of all the young and uprising talent in NA, why the hell Stewie2k?"
  • "Who else? Who do you think is better than Stewie. That is a young and upcoming player."
  • "Seriously I'm curious about what you guys think."
  • "Cause if you don't think Stewie2k was our best pickup, then you really just don't know the scene."
  • Stewie wasn’t some NA superstar, he was a PUG player, known for making flashy individual plays.
  • Armchair analysts took to Reddit and HLTV to laugh at C9’s decision
  • and puzzle over why they’d sign a complete no-name.
  • But Stewie persevered.
  • "At the start I did get a lot of haters, and a lot of people who discredited what I like to do."
  • "Over time I think when I started showing potential, that's when I started to have a little more support
  • from fans. And a little more support from other players as well."
  • His first months with Cloud9 were rough.
  • The team wasn’t winning anything, and bombed out of the MLG Columbus Major.
  • (Casting)
  • After that, the team brought on Slemmy as an IGL, to take some of the pressure off of Stewie.
  • It didn’t work out.
  • (Casting)
  • Slemmy was out by August, and while Autimatic replaced him on the roster,
  • it was up to Stewie to step up as IGL.
  • "Everyone always thinks he's some flashy player who wants the highlights and they like to criticize him
  • when he doesn't have a big performance. But being his teammate I realized Stew loves to win.
  • And he actually when he was strat caller he was pretty unselfish with a lot of the calls.
  • He didn't always want to put himself in the best positions. And that's when I started to gain a new
  • respect for him as a player."
  • "I feel like he didn't really realize, until joining this team, until he was forced into an IGL role,
  • in a sense, that he's really good at it. And I just don't think that would have happened on any other team
  • that might have... Yeah no other team would have pushed him to do that. So I feel like he's a really good IGL
  • And he's only gonna keep getting better."
  • With Stewie in charge, C9 was popping off in North America,
  • and picking up impressive placements internationally.
  • But the pressure was back on Stewie. And he finally proved his worth in Brazil,
  • at the ESL Pro League Season 4 Finals.
  • (Casting)
  • "The rise of Stewie this year has been the biggest Cloud9 story."
  • "And when I've talked to him about the work that he's put in it's unbelievable how much he's deserved it.
  • With the demo watching and everything."
  • "Absolutely a meteoric rise from Stewie this year turned to be from people a lot of people questioned
  • his addition to Cloud9 whether he was the right choice for them but,
  • he turned out to be the in game leader of the team, the playmaker, and the leader in general.
  • "So an amazing all-around performance from him."
  • C9 brought down OpTic Gaming, Mousesports and SK Gaming for Stewie’s first big win.
  • But if everything came together in Brazil, it didn’t stick together for long.
  • (Casting)
  • C9 looked better at ESL One Cologne, where they made it all the way to the grand finals,
  • but were utterly dominated by SK,.
  • (Casting)
  • And then everything fell apart at the Krakow Major.
  • (Casting)
  • Cloud9 went into a full rebuild mode, dropping longtime members Shroud and N0thing for Tarik and RUSH.
  • Still, Stewie was hopeful.
  • "I think the team has a lot of potential. I think the ceiling is way higher than with Jordan and Shroud.
  • I'm not taking credit away from them. But I think we have more potential with this team just cause we got a lot
  • more younger players now. We mesh together really well. Our personalities don't clash.
  • We talk things out when we have problems."
  • Stewie’s star power was there, but he still didn’t have that huge win.
  • He had come so close so many times, but just couldn’t get in done when he needed to.
  • Tarik was moved to IGL and for a while, things didn’t look too bad.
  • Cloud9 wasn’t winning, but they were getting far.
  • Unfortunately, they were stymied at every turn by one team:
  • (Casting)
  • FaZe were a superteam, built to win Majors and dominate the competition.
  • And leading up to the Boston Major, they were certainly living up to their reputation.
  • The team placed second at IEM Oakland, the ESL Pro League Season 6 Finals
  • and first in the ECS Season 4 finals.
  • They might not have been shoe-ins, but FaZe entered the Boston Major as tournament favorites,
  • while Cloud9 were just another NA team hoping for a better than average placement.
  • "You can kind of compare us to FaZe, we're not as good as them right now but they have five superstars
  • and I feel like we have five superstars as well."
  • "They don't look like they're gonna go to the top ever. But they're like one of the few teams that I actually
  • appreciate in as much as they do take care of the teams that are below them.
  • All the teams below them in the rankings, You could usually put your money that Cloud9 will beat them.
  • But then they'll lose to the ones above. It's rare you get consistent teams like that actually."
  • C9 went undefeated in the Major’s New Challengers stage,
  • but things got rockier when they hit the New Legends stage.
  • (Casting)
  • "This was a tough one for me, because I sort of bigged up both teams as dark horses."
  • "I really didn't want them to meet. But Space Soldiers getting the better of that one,
  • Cloud9, really gotta pick themselves up if they want to get to Boston."
  • "These are the standings. You can see Cloud9 all the way down there in the doldrums right now.
  • Crazy, crazy stuff."
  • Cloud9 needed to win three in a row to make it to the bracket.
  • They brought down Virtus.pro
  • (Casting)
  • "Yesterday after the Space Soldiers game you tweeted that your confidence was at an all-time low.
  • But today that's not what we saw at all, you were playing with a lot of confidence.
  • So what happened between yesterday and today, how did you reset?"
  • "Yeah yesterday I don't know why but I just wasn't really focused on the game against Space Soldiers.
  • So today I just kinda came out with a killer mentality, and just kind of overpeaked."
  • Astralis
  • (Casting)
  • And Vega Squadron
  • (Casting)
  • "We've had a couple teams where we've talked about if you're going to qualify the Major. Avoid elimination
  • whatever it might be, you have to have your stars kind of step up and just say flat out, "I'm going to qualify."
  • And Stewie did that here, today."
  • With those three wins, C9 made it back to the bracket.
  • and they were determined not to let it go to waste.
  • C9 were set to take on G2 in the quarterfinals,
  • but what followed would be better described as the Stewie show.
  • (Casting)
  • Next was SK Gaming, a tournament favorite and one of the best teams in the world.
  • With everything on the line, Cloud9 and Stewie knew what they had to do.
  • (Casting)
  • On the other side of the bracket, another tournament favorite was tearing through their competition.
  • (Casting)
  • FaZe Clan had dropped a single map in the New Challengers stage,
  • and made it all the way to the grand finals without dropping another.
  • They looked unstoppable, and analysts pegged them to win it all.
  • "This is the final boss. This is the FaZe roster. Just look at this talent, it is so stacked."
  • "Cause if you look at meetings this year when they've played each other, you can see Cloud9 have certainly
  • not had the best of it."
  • "FaZe Clan seem to be their kryptonite."
  • "I think the problem here is, the fact that FaZe not only won the last three encounters in a Bo3 2-0.
  • It's in such a dominant fashion as you guys can see only double digits two times.
  • Cloud9 has played super well but, FaZe is the favorite here and they're going to play like it."
  • But Stewie2k’s Cloud9 had a different plan.
  • The first map was close.
  • (Casting)
  • But Cloud9 were ready to fight back.
  • They were close in the first round, and they came in swinging on FaZe’s map.
  • (Casting)
  • The underdogs took Overpass 16-10,
  • and with the home crowd behind them,
  • Cloud9 had shown that they had what it took to take maps off FaZe.
  • Now they just needed to win.
  • (Casting)
  • With that win, Cloud9 made history, , becoming the first ever North American CS:GO Major champions.
  • But that trophy meant more than just a victory for NA, it was a victory for every player on that team.
  • It was a victory for Stewie.
  • "And how about this boy. Such a struggle, to even get to play professional Counter-Strike in the first place."
  • "And now he is a Major champion."
  • For Stewie, the kid whose family never supported him,
  • the kid who defied his parents to go pro, the kid who dreamed of one day suiting up for Cloud9,
  • this was everything.
  • It was proof that signing him wasn’t a mistake.
  • It was proof that he was one of the best CS:GO players in the world.
  • But being on top means fighting to keep your spot.
  • Just a few months after winning the Major with Cloud9, Stewie left for SK Gaming.
  • The promise of competing with one of the world’s most accomplished teams was simply too enticing.
  • "FalleN has always been pictured as a great IGL, one of the best. And cold, one of the best players in the world.
  • "If not the best. They came to me, last minute and said, if I still wanted to join. I kind of just decided last minute.
  • There was only two days left and they wanted me to decide quick so I had to put all the pros and cons
  • together and just compare together."
  • But SK has struggled since adding Stewie.
  • The team is on shaky ground, with unclear leadership and a new player that doesn’t speak their language.
  • But they have Stewie. His firepower, his potential, and his drive to turn his losses into fuel for victory.
  • Stewie is still young, and his future is still open.
  • With one major trophy under his belt, he has to be looking for another.

Download subtitle


Jake "Stewie2K" Yip didn't have an easy road to superstardom. Playing CS:GO hurt his grades and his relationship with his family, but he kept going.

He kept playing CS:GO because he knew he had what it took to be the best. He kept playing CS:GO to silence the haters. He kept playing CS:GO because one day, he was going to be a Major Champion.

This is his story.

Edited by: Brian Van Huynh (@beevanhuynh)
Written by: Daniel Rosen (@Daniel_Rosen)
Narrated by: Josh Bury (@ThrownGauntlet)
Graphics and Animations by: Christian Pearson (@Chr_Pearson)

Courtesy List:

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

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