Despite being one of North America’s most successful Counter-Strike: Global Offensive rosters, Team Liquid appears to have been troubled from the very start.
At their height, Team Liquid were able to place second at ESL One Cologne on July 10—the highest placing of any North American CS:GO team at a Valve Major since the competition’s creation in 2013. But beneath the team’s successful run at the $1 million event, the roster was in a state of turmoil, according to former Team Liquid rifler Spencer “Hiko” Martin.
During a livestream on April 25, the CS:GO veteran recounted his time with the organization— revealing that internal conflicts within the team almost reached a breaking point on multiple occasions. Hiko’s monologue lasted for nearly two hours, providing a rundown of the team’s eventual decline, as well as a rare glance into the stressful environment top CS:GO teams experience.
The 27-year-old revealed that the team’s former Ukrainian superstar Alexandr “s1mple” Kostyliev and former in-game leader Eric “adreN” Hoag were butting heads constantly. On one particular occasion, a confrontation between the two was so heated that it almost lead to one of them leaving the squad—mere days before the MLG Columbus Major in March last year.
The team’s internal issues remained throughout 2016, despite their continued success, and gradually began affecting Hiko as several of the players began discussing the team-related issues with him in private. This caused Hiko an incredible amount of stress, he said, as he had to act as an intermediary for all of his teammates own problems.
While some of the statements Hiko makes throughout the video are certainly damning towards certain parties close to the situation, the player didn’t shy away from placing blame on himself. Towards the end of his time on Team Liquid Hiko entered a deep slump, and failed to perform up to the standard expected of him, a fact he acknowledges throughout the video.
The full video is an intriguing behind-the-scenes look at one of North America’s most successful CS:GO teams—and certainly shows that consistency and longevity in esports is a rare occurrence.