One week after his competitive ban was lifted, one of America’s brightest Counter-Strike talents returned in appropriate style.
Braxton “swag” Pierce made a triumphant reappearance to competitive Counter-Strike at Fragadelphia, an event featuring many of North America’s best young and rising talents. Swag played with mix team Ownage, who defeated Rise Nation in the final.
All eyes were on swag fresh off of the decision by ESL to lift bans against a group of professional Counter-Strike: Global Offensive players, including swag, previously found guilty of match-fixing. The 20-year-old couldn’t have been blamed for showing a little rust, but instead he was his team’s top performer throughout the event.
That leading performance was highlighted in the final versus Rise Nation. Swag was the only Ownage player to post a positive ratio in the series, delivering 26 and 28 frags during his team’s two map wins. Swag was similarly dominant in the winner’s final match against Rise Nation, and ranked first and second in frags contributed during the team’s quarterfinal and semifinal matches respectively.
Swag has bigger goals than cleaning house at domestic tournaments, however. It has already been confirmed that he will soon be teaming up with former iBUYPOWER teammates Sam “DaZeD” Marine and Keven “AZK” Lariviere. The question of which organization the trio will represent remains unanswered, as does the question of which two players will fill out the active roster.
While the trio are eligible to compete in ESL events, such as ESL One tournaments and the ESL Pro League, they remain banned from competitions officially partnered with Valve. This includes all Counter-Strike majors.
For all of the attention he received, swag wasn’t the only player to take note of at Fragadelphia. Among the young talent on display was swag’s 17-year-old teammate Jacob “kaboose” MacDonald, who also made healthy contributions to the team’s success. Third-place team Bee’s Money Crew prominently featured 15-year-old Jason “neptune” Tran, and CLG’s academy team managed a top-six placement after a respectable win over Denial Esports.
Yet for all of that promising talent on display, it was a returning star who ultimately stole the show. Swag’s next goal will likely be to repeat this kind of performance on a much bigger stage.