Swag announces retirement from competitive CS:GO
Braxton "swag" Pierce has announced he is hanging up his mouse and keyboard and will step away from the competitive Counter-Strike scene. He will instead devote his time and energy to become a professional player of the Riot Games' FPS title – Project A.
The 23-year-old American CS:GO pro has unveiled his retirement from the competitive scene earlier this Friday, February 28, thus ending his eight-year career. In the announcement, he explained that while he will continue to stream CS:GO in the future, however, his focus will now be on the Riot Games' upcoming tactical shooter, dubbed Project A.
"I am no longer with Swole Patrol. I have decided to take a step back from competitive CS and although I may still stream CS in the future, my main goal is to await the release of Project A and put my ambitions of being the best in the world to fruition," said swag.
With his announcement, swag will leave Swole Identity with immediate effect, thus leaving the North American CS:GO team without their best-performing member. Swag recently played at ESEA MDL Season 33, where he was averaging 1.43 rating, which was far above all other four members of the team. Since he joined Swole Patrol, however, swag has been averaging equally impressive 1.28 rating.
Swag entered the CS:GO scene back in 2011, when he got recognised as the rookie of the season at ESEA Season 9. In 2012, he played for TEAM4NOT, and later teamed up with Team Dynamic, Lurking and Working and in May 2015 joined Quantic Gaming, which marked a huge stepping stone for his CS:GO career.
At Quantic Gaming, swag played alongside Sean "seang@res" Gares, Spencer "Hiko" Martin, Jordan "n0thing" Gilbert and Kory "SEMPHIS" Friesen. In August 2013, the whole roster joined compLexity Gaming and in November, the same year, attended DreamHack Winter 2013, where swag reached semi-finals and finished his first CS:GO Major at a third-fourth place.
In March 2014, swag got released from the squad and teamed up with the infamous iBUYPOWER, where he continued building his renown as one of the most promising young talents in the scene. With his new team, swag went on to win several tournaments, including CEVO Season 4 Professional, ESEA Season 16 – Global Invite Division, CEVO Season 5 Professional, FACEIT – NA Championship 2014 and finished second at FACEIT League – Season 2. Thanks to swag's impressive performances with the team, iBUYPOWER went on to put up several impressive results by the end of the year, which helped swag make an appearance in HLTV 2014's top 20 players – ranking at No.18.
In January 2015, swag and three of his teammates at iBUYPOWER received an indefinite ban from all Valve's Major circuits due to their participation in the match-fixing scandal, related to CEVO match, which was played in August 2014. All the bans handed to the players were later unveiled to be permanent, meaning swag never got to partake in another Major for the duration of his CS:GO career.
The American CS:GO pro then went on to play for GX, Torqued and in July 2018 teamed up with Swole Patrol. With his new team, he participated in several ESL Pro League and DreamHack Open events after ESL and DreamHack lifted the bans connected to the match-fixing scandal.
In the years that followed his exodus from iBUYPOWER, swag saw a fair amount of success in some lesser tournaments and events. Most recently, he participated at ESL Pro League S10 – Americas, where Swole Patrol finished last after a losing all of their matches in the group stage. Earlier this year, the team also took a swing at DreamHack Open Leipzig and Anaheim NA qualifiers, but without much success, as they crashed out of both qualifiers in the early stages.
At WINNERS League – Season 3: North America Invite Division, whcih took place in late-January, Swole Patrol made it to the finals, where they lost to INTZ and shortly after disbanded the roster. Swag, Jason "neptune" Tran, Jake "kaboose" McDonald, Collin "wrath" MCSweegan and coach Daniel "fRoD" Montaner went on to merge with Team Singularity's former NA lineup to form Swole Identity which took a swing at FLASHPOINT Season 1: North American Qualifier, where they finished fourth after losing to Orgless in Loser's semi-finals.
Swag will leave the CS:GO scene after almost nine years, leaving behing an impresive legacy, which will unfortunately be overshadowed by the match-fixing schandal with iBUYPOWER, which taited swag's name forever. Now the 23-year-old American pro will look to relaunch his esports career in another FPS title, hoping to start fresh and make a name for himself in another esports scene.
Braxton "swag" Pierce career stats:
Total kills: 10527
Rounds played: 14447