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The untold truth of Shroud

If you're at all in tune with the Twitch scene, you've probably heard a mention or two of Shroud, a Canadian gamer who made his name playing Counter-Strike: Global Offensive competitively. Shroud — whose real name is Michael Grzesiek — has since moved on from professional gaming and makes a living as a full-time Twitch streamer, playing games like PUBG and Fortnite. It's a shift a lot of former pros are attempting these days, but not all are successful. Shroud is one of the fortunate few.

His fans know most or all of the above. But there are some things about Shroud that those who watch his broadcasts probably aren't aware of. Some lesser-known facts and tidbits that aren't common knowledge. Some untold truths about this CS:GO-pro-turned-streamer that require a good bit of digging.

These more obscure Shroudisms are assembled below for your reading pleasure. By the time you reach the bottom of the list, you'll know some things a lot of Shroud fans don't. And you'll be able to unofficially call yourself his biggest fan.

He admitted to using Adderall for watching demos

In sports like football, basketball, or the Olympics, the use of performance-enhancing drugs is a big deal. The bodies that govern these sports test athletes to ensure no one is using the drugs, and should someone be caught, they could face anything from fines to suspensions to complete expulsions. It should come as no surprise then, that the world of eSports has faced a similar challenge with PEDs. But steroids aren't the drug of choice for gamers. Instead, it's Adderall.

Adderall is a prescription drug given to those who suffer from ADHD and cannot properly focus their attention on the task at hand. In gaming, the drug is used to enhance a player's concentration. It helps them get "in the zone," so to speak. And Shroud has admitted to using Adderall in the past, though he claims he never used the drug while competing. Rather, he stated that he took Adderall before watching "demos" — which are replays of CS:GO matches — seemingly to increase his focus on the players and strategies he was studying.

It's unknown whether or not Shroud faced scrutiny from any gaming leagues for his Adderall use, though now that he doesn't game professionally anymore, it's likely not as much of an issue.

He used a clever crowd trick in CS:GO tournaments

When playing Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, you have to rely a lot on both your teammates and your instincts. Unless you can see an opposing player on your screen, you don't have a magic radar that tells you where they are, so you're left to trust either the callouts provided by those on your side, or if there are none, your best guess.

That is, unless you're utilizing the same ingenious tactic used by Shroud in his competitive matches.

If Shroud thought he was about to be engaged in a one-on-one gunfight against an opponent — who would either be around the corner or behind a wall — he'd listen to the crowd's reaction as he pointed his gun at a wall or through smoke. If the crowd got louder, he'd know the opponent was on the other side. This trick worked, according to Shroud, even if players were competing in soundproof booths. The crowd noise could be felt in the vibration of the booth, giving Shroud and his teammates the same useful information about an opponent's location.

PC Gamer compared his success to that of a huge sports star's

Imagine being so good at the thing you do that you're compared to one of the greatest players to ever play a sport. Like, if your job was carving wooden sculptures, and someone called you "the Peyton Manning of sculpting." That's high praise, and often means you're in a pretty elite class. Shroud received a pretty similar comparison to that one for his play of shooting games when he was interviewed by PC Gamer.

The publication talked about watching Shroud play, noting how effortlessly he seemed to down opponents regardless of the game. FortnitePUBG. It didn't matter. He'd notch dozens of kills in a single match and make it look easy. The writer wondered if there was something Shroud had that separated him from others who played and practiced just as much as he did, ending that bit of the piece with a comparison to one of basketball's biggest legends. "You could never be Shroud. You could never be Michael Jordan."

He retired from CS:GO to focus on the big money

In three years of competitive play in CS:GO, Shroud managed to pocket $213,000 in prize money. That's a pretty nice chunk of change, especially if you're making it by playing a video game. That's the dream, right? Who would leave that? Shroud did. In late 2017, he retired from professional play to focus on growing his Twitch stream, which had the potential to blow his eSports earnings out of the water.

And it did.

If you average Shroud's pro earnings over three years, he was making approximately $71,000 per year. That's a nice salary to pull, but playing on a professional eSports team required Shroud to travel quite a bit, which he wasn't a fan of. These days, he's able to earn far more from Twitch while being able to travel — or stay home — as he pleases. In September of 2017, Shroud's Twitch subscriber base sat at around 34,000. When you factor in the $5 per sub and take away the 50% cut that goes to Twitch, Shroud was pulling in around $85,000 a month. And his subscription numbers have likely increased since then.

Now you can see why Shroud chose streaming!

Ninja called him the best shooter in PUBG

Ninja is a well-known Twitch streamer who is a pretty talented player in his own right. He's played games with some of the biggest names on Twitch, and on top of that, he's teamed up with celebrities like Drake and NFL wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster. He can identify who has the goods to be great in a shooting game, so a compliment from Ninja to another player is a pretty big deal. Which is why his thoughts on Shroud really stand out.

Ninja spent one of his streams watching Shroud play PUBG, expressing shock at some of Shroud's kills. At one point, Ninja stated, "I'd arguably say that he's one of the best players in this game, shot-wise." Ninja also made it known that he felt Shroud should be competing in PUBG tournaments, saying, "It's a shame to see such, like, shooting talent, you know, not compete when PUBG is, like, actively pushing eSports." Ninja ultimately said he understood why Shroud wasn't playing professionally anymore, noting that he likely made a lot more money than he did playing CS:GO (he does).

He once received a temporary PUBG ban

In PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, you take part in a 100-player battle royale match that is every man or woman for themselves. The very nature of the game type means that every other person on the map is looking to kill you, and you them. Everyone has an equal footing on the map, but this balance can be thrown off if two solo players decide to team up. For this reason, the act of "teaming" in solo queue is a bannable offense in PUBG.

It's the reason Shroud got banned back in the fall of 2017.

Shroud logged on one day to find a "You have been banned" message staring him in the face, which he tweeted out with the caption, "I thought I hid all the evidence." Details were scarce as to why Shroud was banned — at first, anyway. But time soon revealed the reason: he had been caught "teaming" with a player named Bananaman. Shroud was not permanently booted from the game, but he did have to serve out a three-day ban before he was able to play again.

He won a PUBG tournament against other big-name streamers

On May 30, 2018, Shroud and several streaming buddies took part in the Twitch Rivals PUBG Invitational, a one-day tournament that took place entirely online. The tournament had a prize pool of $80,000 for the North American region, and the winnings were divvied up by how well the top teams placed. Shroud, Chad, J9, and Choco were all on the same squad, but they faced some pretty stiff competition, as major players like Dr. DisRespect and DrLupo were fielding squads of their own.

Ultimately, the Shroud factor was too much for the other teams to overcome.

Shroud's Squad won 9 out of the 10 games they played, with the only loss coming because J9 got disconnected mid-match, leaving the team down a man. The team scored $21,600 of the total winnings available in their region, which — split between the four players — was $5,400 each. Not bad for a few hours of work.

He has PUBG weapon skins themed after him

If you're ridiculously good at what you do, your name can move products in that space. Michael Jordan sells basketball shoes. Rachael Ray sells food-related goods. Cesar Millan sells dog stuff. And in Shroud's case, he has an entire PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds crate that sells in his honor.

The crate itself isn't exactly brimming with stuff. It contains two "Ghosted" weapon skins: one for the AKM, and another for the KAR98K. And it sells for $9.99, which is effectively five bucks apiece for each weapon skin. But the fact that the skins exist at all is fascinating when you consider that Shroud hasn't always been a PUBG player. It wasn't his specialty to start, but he's managed to develop a huge following of people who want to see him play it.

Those fans are likely the intended audience for the skins, so if you see someone running around a PUBG map with Shroud's logo wrapped around an assault rifle, you now know where it came from.

He had to apologize to a fellow PUBG player after accusing them of cheating

Competitive PC games really get the blood pumping, and PUBG is one that definitely ups the ante in terms of stress and anxiety. You only get one life, after all, so it can be frustrating to die and see your game come to an end. Especially if you think the person that killed you was cheating. Shroud often comes across cheaters and calls them out if he's streaming PUBG. However, in one instance, he got it wrong. And the player he called a cheater — g0_bang — suffered as a result.

While playing in a match, Shroud looked around a corner briefly and quickly bit the dust. He claimed he was killed by someone using a "speed hack," and named g0_bang as the offending player. Over the next few days, g0_bang was reported hundreds of times by other players, all because Shroud mentioned him as a potential cheater. Eventually, g0_bang uploaded video evidence of the match in question to prove that he had not been cheating, and that he wasn't even the player who had killed Shroud to begin with.

Shroud later apologized and offered to play with g0_bang to make things right. g0_bang declined, stating that all he wanted to do was clear his name.

Another streamer called him "the embodiment of what Twitch should be"

Streamers become famous for a lot of different reasons. Dr. DisRespect is known for his over-the-top portrayal of an adrenaline-fueled male gamer. Tyler1 garnered most of his following because they all wanted to see his next meltdown. And then there's Shroud, who has continued to grow his viewership on Twitch by being really, really good at shooting games.

The way Shroud did it, according to fellow streamer Lirik, is how it's supposed to be done.

"I'm kind of biased, too, because I know his background and what I like, too. But I feel like he's kind of the embodiment of what the best of Twitch has to offer," Lirik said. Lirik also complimented Shroud's CS:GO-based roots, stating that he believes "all the best FPSers come from Counter-Strike."

Shroud's draw is not necessarily that he's trying to be the most entertaining, even though some fans may find his skill entertaining on its own. He gets eyeballs simply because he's a talented player. No gimmicks necessary.

Shroud doesn't believe PUBG is ready for the esports arena ...

A lot goes into prepping a game to be played by the pros — sometimes way more than what developers actually have to do for the base at large. Standards have to be set. Rules have to be created. Oh yeah — and the game has to work properly.

PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds has a history of being a bit unreliable. And for that reason, Shroud believes that the game just isn't ready for prime time when it comes to esports.

The Daily Mail spoke to Shroud while he was overseas for a PUBG tournament and posed a few questions to the former pro, including a few about the PUBG Global Invitational and whether or not the tournament was a positive move for the game in the esports realm. Shroud's response? "I don't believe PUBG is esports ready yet, and I'm not sure that it ever will be. It's no secret that the game has a lot of bugs, and on top of that, having like 64 or 100 players in a LAN environment is very difficult –- it's a logistical nightmare."

Basically, the game has to nail down the basics before it becomes an esports staple.

... and he openly mocked PUBG's attempt at a tournament

Despite the opinion of Shroud, PUBG has tried to put on tournaments and make itself friendly to those who want to challenge themselves against the upper echelon of players. And because Shroud is so good at PUBG — or any other game he touches, for that matter — he's often found himself at these events. That was the case for the PUBG Squad Showdown in 2018, a collaboration between Twitch and PUBG that saw pro gamers team up with celebrities.

Unfortunately for the Squad Showdown, the event was an unmitigated disaster. And Shroud made his frustrations pretty well known while he played.

To start, Twitch had a bunch of problems streaming the event. Four hours of time went by, and in that span, only two total matches of PUBG were played. On top of that, there were several instances where Shroud could hear the callouts from players on the other team, which he disappointingly relayed to his own teammates, followed by, "You can't not hear that."

But perhaps the biggest letdown of all? Shroud's celebrity teammate, Ludacris, bailed on the event. So Shroud was given a replacement player instead.

The immaculate grenade

We have a pretty good understanding of how Shroud feels now about PUBG, at least in the esports sense. He hasn't had many good experiences with the game in that type of environment, and even when the game isn't making itself an issue, something else comes along to cause problems. Regardless, Shroud still accepts invites to PUBG-related tournaments, and he did so for a Charity Showdown at the PUBG Global Invitation in July 2018.

And once again, PUBG proved itself to be an unreliable esports game. At least to Shroud.

During a heated matchup, Shroud threw a grenade that presumably should have wiped out two players on the opposing side. The grenade exploded and did very little damage, leaving the casters at the event asking, "How is he alive?" with regard to one Shroud's opponents.

That moment was held up as yet another reason that PUBG should not be played professionally. But objects may not have been as close as they appeared in game. A Twitter user shared a screenshot online that placed the grenade a bit further away, leading to the possibility that it wasn't a glitched-out grenade, but rather a misjudged throw by Shroud.

Were it not a charity tournament, it's probably a battle that would still be raging on. As it happens, everyone's simply moved on.

He once killed three members of Cloud9 in a Rainbow Six: Siege match

The majority of Shroud's time in professional gaming came on the squad known as Cloud9, a talented group of gamers who are known for their prowess across a few titles — namely, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. But the times, they are a-changin'. And when a new esports game pops up, most pro teams give it a look and decide whether or not they'll put together a pro roster. Cloud9 eventually settled on assembling a team for Rainbow Six: Siege, a competitive first-person-shooter. And Shroud, now a retired-pro-turned-streamer, independently decided one day to check the game out while on stream.

The two entities — Shroud and his former pro team, Cloud9 — met in the wild. And it went about the way you'd expect, if you'd expect Shroud to wipe the floor with anyone in his path.

That's right. In a pretty stunning case of right place, right time, Shroud matched up against several Cloud9 professional players, who were online putting in practice on Siege. Shroud, who primarily plays other games, had installed Siege to check it out, and while matchmaking, drew his old squad. And in one of the rounds, he team-wiped the entire Cloud9 team.

At least Cloud9 knows where it can look for a replacement player should they need one.

He was temporarily banned from PUBG

PlayerUnknown himself, Brendan Greene, has been pretty outspoken about people who cheat or glitch inside PUBG. "In my house, you follow the rules or you GTFO," he's quoted as saying. So it should come as no surprise that the PUBG team doesn't take kindly to those who cheat and make the game experience less fun for others. And that feeling holds true regardless of who you are — an amateur newbie or, perhaps, a past professional gamer who is now a Twitch streamer.

Shroud flew a little too close to the sun in one of these instances. Though he wasn't technically cheating himself, Shroud found someone using a glitch in PUBG to basically fly their car through the air. And he rode in the flying car before ejecting onto a building and killing a player inside of it. PUBG responded with a temporary ban.

"I was trying to have a good time," admitted Shroud, who was originally slated to serve out a month-long ban. In reality, he was back on the game in a shorter span of time.

After his PUBG ban, he took a shot at trying to kill the glitchers instead

By the time Shroud had served out his suspension, not much had changed inside PUBG. The very same car glitch that got him banned from the game was still out in the wild and being used on the regular. And it was being used so often, in fact, that Shroud actually found himself playing against other people who were trying to use the exploit.

But this time, Shroud didn't hop in the passenger seat for a joyride. Instead, he tried to bring the ride to a stop.

"I think I can kill him," said a confident Shroud, looking down the scope of his gun to line it up. And on the other side of those sights? The pilot of a flying car — a car not unlike the one Shroud rode to a ban. With a few clicks of the mouse, Shroud eliminated the opposing player, causing the car to fall out of the sky and back down to earth. And just to finish the job, Shroud then killed the passenger of the car, too.