Hiko retires from Counter-Strike
A veteran Counter-Strike player Spencer "Hiko" Martin has announced his retirement from competitive CS:GO scene this Thursday, in a bid to pursue a career in VALORANT.
Hiko announced his retirement during one of his Twitch streams, where the 30-year-old CS:GO legend also unveiled he will become the inaugural member of 100 Thieves’ VALORANT roster.
"I think it's my official coming out to say that I have officially retired from CS:GO," said Hiko.
"To the people that supported me the whole time, through CS, through the Liquid, Cloud9, OpTic and Rogue days, I hope you continue to follow me to my next endeavour."
Hiko's announcement about his transition to VALORANT comes amid the storm of numerous other CS:GO players and veterans making the same move, in hopes to either see more success in Riot Games' new tactical first-person shooter or to expand their legacy into another esports title. Nevertheless, with Hiko's retirement, the CS:GO community waves goodbye to one of the most iconic players in the scene.
Hiko began his Counter-Strike career in 2011, when he joined a CS: 1.6 team CheckSix Gaming where he played alongside Danny "fRoD" Montaner and Tyler "Storm" Wood. With CheckSix Gaming Hiko made his first appearance in a CS tournament in October, when CheckSix Gaming finished fifth-sixth at IEM VI Global Challenge New York.
At the end of July 2012, Hiko left CheckSix Gaming and made his debut appearance in the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive scene with Arena51 Gaming. With his new team, Hiko attended one of the first international events in CSGO, the Electronic Sports World Cup 2012 (ESWC). Arena51 ended up pocketing a bronze medal at the event, following a close 1-2 loss against VeryGames, who at the time played with some of the best French CS players in Kenny "kennyS" Schrub, Nathan "NBK-" Schmitt, Cédric "RpK" Guipouy and Edouard "SmithZz" Dubourdeaux, as well as Belgian IGL Kevin "Ex6TenZ" Droolans.
In November, the same year, Hiko also helped Arena51 win ESEA Global Finals Season 12, before the roster got acquired by team 4Nothing, which later merged with It's Goshu to form Quantic Gaming.
During his time with Quantic Gaming, Hiko finished fifth-sixth at Copenhagen Games 2013 and in April 2013 led his team to a runner-up finish at ESEA Global Finals Season 13. Quantic Gaming's strong showings at the top-tier tournaments earned the whole team contracts with CompLexity Gaming, where Hiko continued to build his renown as one of the best players in the scene. With CompLexity, Hiko secured a handful of impressive accolades, which includes a semi-finals appearance at the DreamHack Winter 2013 Major. Due to his phenomenal performances with CompLexity, Hiko got named as the ninth-best player of 2013.
In August 2014, Hiko went on to play for Cloud9 and later Team Liquid, helping the latter finish top-four at the MLG Columbus Major and second at the ESL One: Cologne 2016, which marked the first time in history a North American CS:GO team reached a Major final and to date remains Liquid's best Major tournament placement.
Hiko ended up leaving Team Liquid in February 2017 and after a short stint with OpTic Gaming signed with Rogue. With Rogue, Hiko attended his last CS:GO Major, FACEIT Major: London 2018, where Rogue failed to impress and finished 20th-22nd.
Hiko became a free agent in May 2019, shortly after the North American esports organisation decided to close down their CS:GO project due to several players receiving offers from other teams.
Throughout 2020, Hiko played for Ze Pug Godz alongside Bradley "ANDROID" Fodor, Christopher "cJ" Jones and Jason "neptune" Tran, albeit failed to see much success in his competitive endeavours. Ze Pub Godz produced two successful runs through Americas Minor Championship – Rio 2020: North American Open Qualifiers, but failed to show up in the Flashpoint Season 1: North American Qualifier, where they lost in the second round of the lower bracket against Recon 5.
Hiko's last appearance in the competitive CS:GO scene came in May, when ZePug Gods attended Americas Minor Championship – Rio 2020: North American Closed Qualifier and finished ninth-12th.
Although Hiko failed to see much success in the latter years of his CS:GO journey, he will now look to relaunch his esports career in VALORANT. As revealed by the North American CS veteran, he has already signed a contract with 100 Thieves who are looking to build a team for VALORANT and expand their brand into another esports title.