Michael Grzesiek, popularly known by his in-game alias Shroud is a well-known Canadian YouTuber, streamer, and Esports athlete. He rose to fame playing Counter-Strike: Global Offensive for the organization Cloud9, followed by streaming other games after his retirement in 2018, most prominently, PUBG. Last month, popular American Valorant team Sentinels signed Shroud in a surprise move, ahead of the Valorant Champions Tour 2022 Last Chance Qualifier for the North American region. Let us walk down, taking a brief look at who the legendary Shroud is and how his immensely anticipated comeback to the esports scene fared in his most recent endeavour.
Who is Shroud
Michael ‘Shroud’ Grseziek is a name that has acquired such legendary status among FPS players and in the gaming community as a whole, that it is tougher to find someone who does not know him rather than someone who knows him. Initially known by the in-game name of ‘eclipse’, he was signed by Cloud9 to play for their CS: GO roster in the year 2014. It was playing for them that he rapidly gained prominence and earned fame for his cracked aim and precise gunplay.
He won the ESL Pro League Season 4 in 2016, playing for Cloud9. It is also surprisingly the only S-tier tournament that he had won to date. Shroud got benched from the team in 2017, after mutual discussions with the team and retired from the professional scene of CS: GO in 2018 and left Cloud9 to pursue an individual career in content creation.
He also played in PUBG Global invitational or the PGI in 2018, alongside other imminent gaming personalities such as Ninja, Dr Disrespect, and WackyJacky. After the launch of Valorant and the subsequent success of the game on launch, Shroud began to regularly stream the game on Twitch. He was quite popular in the whole scene, despite not being in the professional Esports scene.
Sentinels x Valorant: The comeback of Shroud
Sentinels were undergoing a number of roster changes after their loss in the VCT 2022: North America Challengers 2- Group Stage. After winning the first-ever VCT Masters at Reykjavík, the performance of the team has gone downhill, losing to every team which has become better with time. With a number of roster changes in the process, Sentinels dropped Kanpeki, zombs in the process. To qualify for the Valorant Champions 2022, Sentinels had to win the VCT NA LCQ (Last Chance Qualifier). SicK, one of the best all-round players in Sentinels stopped playing the game on the eve of Valorant, facing some personal problems. Sentinels had to sign a player to fill in for the spot.
TenZ is often regarded as the best player in the NA Valorant scene and ShahZam is one of the most popular Valorant streamers in North America. They were both acquaintances of Shroud at a time, having their stints at Cloud9 back in the years. Both of the players now represented Sentinels, and the management took the decision to approach Shroud, who was itching to compete in the newest Esports scene of Valorant.
A match was made in heaven and Shroud to Sentinels was announced. This announcement took the whole gaming and Valorant community of the world into a stir. People were excited and hyped about the newly-formed lineup and couldn’t wait to watch Shroud compete again, after 6 long years.
VCT NA LCQ 2022: Shroud’s comeback tournament
Shroud said that the sole reason he was signed was to play as a controller for Sentinels. Previously, SicK used to cater to the role of controller for Sentinels. A controller is a type of agent in Valorant whose job is to hold down a site and offer ease of access to the site for their teammates, keeping the enemy at bay. It was revealed that Shroud would be only with the team for the LCQ. Apparently, if Sentinels won the LCQ tournament, Shroud said that he could stay for a longer time. Being out of the scene for a good amount of time, Shroud’s ultimate game sense could be one of the things which Sentinels might require to fare better.
The team also boot-camped for a couple of weeks before the tournament, where they played a number of scrims with other teams who also competed in the tournament. The team looked confident and was waiting to start its journey in the tournament. Let us look into Sentinnels’ matches against 100T, The Guard and Shopify Rebellion and let us break down the performance of Shroud.
The first match of Sentinels in the LCQ was against The Guard and Shroud was on the starting lineup as expected. He started off as Viper in the Breeze map which is regarded as an offensive map. Shroud held his own pretty well with a K/D of 17/20, but more often than not he was seen dying in the entry when faced with the challenge of covering more angles than physically possible. But, it all turned out well as Sentinels managed to win the map with a spirited performance from the other new signing of the team, Zellsis.
But, it was contradictory in every way in the next map Ascent. Not only did Shroud perform poorly with a K/D of 8/17, but Sentinels also lost the map. Shroud was again seen dying on entry and failing in defensive spots. It got repeated again in Icebox in the next map, but Shroud did manage to pull off an impressive 1v4 clutch, which reminded more than a few people of his Cloud9 days in CS: GO. Despite of valiant efforts from the whole roster, Sentinels lost the map and the first match ended in The Guard’s favour by 2-1. Sentinels moved into the lower bracket and were only one loss away from their exit.
The next match against Shopify Rebellion was the one where Shroud showed his Esports pedigree and stacked up a rather impressive set of stats for someone who has just come back from a retirement period of 4 years. In the map of Breeze, Shroud had a K/D of 21/13 and he seemed in his zone. Sentinels won the next map as well, winning the series by a margin of 2-0. Their fate was on their third match against 100T. This was when everything fell apart for Sentinels and Shroud.
Shroud, as opposed to the match against Shopify, seemed completely out of depth as he went on to achieve an overall K/D of 32/55 over the course of three maps. Sentinels also lost the match, thereby ending their run in the LCQ. This also ended their chance of participating in this year’s Championship. But what does it mean for Shroud?
How did Shroud fare
As for Shroud’s individual performance in the tournament, it was rather average, instead of being a standout debut like many people had expected it to be. His fragging was inconsistent and sometimes it looked like he was lagging behind his teammates, in terms of being up to the pace. It could also be attributed to his role as the controller of the team. A controller might not be the ultimate fragger of a team, but he sometimes looked out-of-sync with his teammates.
There were also some team decisions that negatively impacted his game. During the match-up against The Guard, Shroud was the spike carrier in every round, instead of playing by post-plant lineups. In such a situation, a spike planter goes through a number of tough circumstances, which did cause his death a number of times.
Although the criticism could continue, the class of Shroud’s pedigree was on display a number of times. Shroud clutched a number of times, getting multi-frags in these cases. Sentinels lost closely to only the two best teams in the region, which could be the upside of the situation. Although sporting a relatively new roster, Sentinels put up good performances against 100 Thieves and The Guard. They also did run a quite newer meta in Valorant. With only 2 weeks of practice, Shroud could easily fare better in the Esports scene of the game, if he decides to compete further.
Although hyped, Shroud’s Esports comeback in Valorant was underwhelming, although, with a few strokes of genius plays. For one, Shroud has made a comeback into professional esports after nearly 4 years since his CS: GO retirement and 5 years, since he was benched in 2017. This has definitely dulled his skills and made him rustier, as opposed to younger and more cracked players in the current scene.
The prolonged exposure to competitive gameplay in the Esports scene of Valorant has kept the other players in the game. As for the team decisions, Shroud should have been used as a better controller, saved for post-plants and his smokes could have been used later in the game.
As of now, Shroud is not an active player of Sentinels anymore, although he has expressed his wish for playing with them again in the future, if they decide to retain him in the Sentinels Valorant roster. He is strongly confident that he will be able to restart his Esports regime in the future, as he feels good enough about competing. That is it for the comeback of the “King of Reddit” to Esports.
What do you think of the comeback of Shroud to esports? Did it meet your expectations? Let us know in the comments!