Free agent British CS:GO sniper Owen “smooya” Butterfield will temporarily replace OG’s star player Abdul “degster” Gasanov, who is recovering from an illness, at the quarterfinals BLAST Premier Spring Showdown Europe today against Ninjas in Pyjamas at 9:30am CT.
This tournament will see just one team qualify for the $425,000 BLAST Premier Spring Final in June and alongside OG and NiP, other top teams such as Fnatic, Cloud9, and BIG are fighting for the spot. Smooya has been in free agency and dedicating his time to streaming since June 2022, when he parted ways with Into The Breach. The AWPer is most known for his time with BIG between 2018 and 2020 and for a short but successful stint with Fnatic between October 2021 and February 2022.
During his time in free agency last year, smooya formed the team Benched Heroes and successfully qualified for IEM Rio Major Europe RMR after defeating Illuminar 2-1 in the open qualifier. Benched Heroes, however, had to forfeit their spot due to Buğra “Calyx” Arkın and Eugene “Aunkere” Karyat not securing their visas in time and the players disbanded afterward.
Smooya played his last professional match in February 2023 at ESEA Winter Cash Cup Four Europe under the tag Benched Heroes, but with four different players. He made headlines recently after securing a key for Counter-Strike 2 limited testing on March 22 as his live stream peaked at nearly 192,000 concurrent viewers, setting an all-time record for his Twitch channel.
Given how smooya has way more experience than NiP’s AWPer Danyyl “headtr1ck” Valitov, it’s possible that he helps OG knockout the Ninjas. It’s unclear if degster will be healthy enough to come back for the semifinals on Friday, March 31, should OG advance, or if smooya will have to stand in again. The grand finals of BLAST Premier will be played on Sunday, April 2.