Michael "Shroud" Grzesiek is coming out of esports retirement. The former CS:GO pro has joined the Sentinels’ roster and will compete in the Valorant North America Last Chance Qualifier in August.
Shroud's last official esports tournament was way back in 2017. Shroud placed second with Cloud9 in ESL One's CS:GO tourney. A month later he stepped down from Cloud9's main lineup and in 2018 he announced his formal retirement from competitive CS:GO and Cloud9.
Of course, Shroud9 still continued to stream on Twitch, signing an exclusive deal in 2020. That same year was also when Shroud started streaming Valorant, Riot's then new hero-based shooter, a game for which he only had good things to say.
Although Shroud has played a lot of Valorant, joining Sentinels marks his return to professional gaming, something that he's been "itching" to do.
"This whole thing was spur of the moment over dinner," Shroud said in an interview posted Friday. "Like 'hey, Sentinels needs a fifth, do we throw your name in there?' And I was like, 'absolutely.'"
Although Shroud hasn't met most of the Sentinels' members, he has met TenZ, a former Cloud9 teammate. "I heckin' love TenZ," said Shroud with a smile. He's also said that watching Sentinels play reminds him of his old Counter-Strike team, something he hopes will let him easily integrate into the roster.
Shroud promised he wouldn't let his success as a streamer temper his desire to become successful in professional Valorant. He intends to play as a Controller on most maps, although he did say he'd be willing to relinquish Viper to a teammate if requested.
Riot Games is hoping Valorant becomes just as successful as League of Legends as an esport, but it's also hoping that it avoids League's reputation for toxicity. That's why Riot is implementing a new voice evaluation system on Wednesday that will scan in-game voice communications. The system first starts training its AI algorithms before going into beta later this year.
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