“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 Stews childhood wasnt 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 Stewies 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 couldnt 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 couldnt play CS:GO and missed practice sessions with his amateur teams, but was still dedicated to the game. He didnt 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.” C9s 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 familys 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 thats 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 theyd 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 didnt think he was worth anything Hes 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 fans 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 wasnt some NA superstar, he was a PUG player, known for making flashy individual plays. Armchair analysts took to Reddit and HLTV to laugh at C9s decision and puzzle over why theyd 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 wasnt 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 didnt 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 Stewies first big win. But if everything came together in Brazil, it didnt 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.” Stewies star power was there, but he still didnt have that huge win. He had come so close so many times, but just couldnt get in done when he needed to. Tarik was moved to IGL and for a while, things didnt look too bad. Cloud9 wasnt 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 Majors 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 Stewie2ks 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 FaZes 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 wasnt 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 worlds 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 doesnt 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..