Michael "shroud" Grzesiek has always been a legend in the FPS community. Known for his top-tier mechanics, thousands on thousands of people tune into his stream to see just how he is so amazing at every game he touches. However, most of the younger community has never seen Shroud play competitively as he stepped away from the scene in August of 2017 to go full-time with streaming, ending a four-year career in the game. But now the legend himself is back, this time in VALORANT for Sentinels in the LCQ.
After their lower-bracket win against Shopify Rebellion, Shroud sat down and discussed his comeback to the competitive scene, joining Sentinels, and his future in VALORANT.
BLIX.GG's Zain Merchant: Shroud, you're coming off of your first best of three win in about five years. How are you feeling?
Shroud: It feels good. It feels like, you know, feels like 2014. Again, you know, it feels exactly how I left it. You know what I mean?
BLIX: For sure. What was the main thing that kind of drew you back into competing? Was it that itch to compete at the top level?
Shroud: Honestly, no, it was just timing, as weird as it is. It was very convenient timing. Right Place, Right Time. They needed a fifth, so I threw my name in there. Just for fun, because I would be down if they were down. And they said yes. That was it, literally. It's not like a crazy itch or anything. It was just, that sounds fun. I like fun. Let's do it.
BLIX: You said the opportunity came up over dinner, right? How did that conversation go?
Shroud: Yeah, so my agent brought up that Sentinels are looking for a fifth, and we can throw your name in the list of potential players if you're interested. And I said, "Yeah, let's do it." Obviously. I didn't expect it because I have no experience in the game professionally. But they said yes. Let's go. I'm ready.
BLIX: Now that you've competed and got your foot back in the door, is there any desire to keep competing?
Shroud: Yes, absolutely. But mainly because of the rumors of franchising. It's all in the rumors of franchising, and the rumors are that franchising is going to happen. It's going to be similar to League, maybe in Santa Monica or somewhere in LA, which is great because I live in LA. So if that was to happen, absolutely. Franchising is something that I was always jealous of competing in Counter-Strike. I always wanted something like League of Legends and the way they did their weekly matches. So if that was a thing, Sentinels was in, and they still wanted to play with me, yeah, it's a possibility.
Shroud on competing in VALORANT if franchising if it isn't in LA: "If I had to go with my gut right now, I would say no. It's very contingent on the rumor being LA"
BLIX: If the franchising is in another city, are you still interested? Or is the whole thing contingent on it being close to home near LA?
Shroud: Honestly, that would be a really, really difficult call. If I had to go with my gut right now, I would say no. It's very contingent on the rumor being LA. I don't want to move. I live in LA. I love it there. And that's why I wanted to be there.
Check out the full interview:
BLIX: When 100 Thieves approached you to become a co-founder, you said you didn't want to attach yourself to brands; what was different here with Sentinels?
Shroud: To be honest, the whole 100 Thieves and Nadeshot reaching out to me to potentially be a co-owner was too much of a commitment and too much of an investment of my time. I knew that I would have to apply more of my time to really, really make this work. That's just not what I was looking for at the time. I was still in my chill stream, doing my own thing, my own schedule, and not worrying about anything else. So that's why that didn't happen. And I don't think it has any correlation with what's happening currently with Sentinels.
BLIX: Let's go back to your first match. What happened that threw you guys off? Were there any nerves in that first match with you?
Shroud: I would say yes, and not just for me; I would say for everybody. We were a brand new team, pretty much. I mean, two new players is a lot for a team that is pretty much like a new team. And I don't think it was just me, you know, I think it was the whole team. And if we played again today, I think it'd be different, very difficult.
BLIX: You obviously topped the leaderboard in map one with 21 kills. Did you feel like you were kind of sticking it back to everyone that thought you didn't have what it takes?
Shroud: Oh yeah, I would say I kind of it kind of felt like I still got it. Like nothing's changed. Same me, new game, you know? I hope I can play like that every match, rather than just one though.
BLIX: How confident are you guys in your ability to complete this lower-bracket run?
Shroud: I think we're super, super confident. We have five days till our next match. I believe five days is a lot of extra prep time. A lot of people would actually love to be in our position to have five days of practice. One thing that I thought was weird about the last match is Shopify actually played yesterday. So they were the first team that played back to back while we had a day to study them. I thought that was a little weird.
BLIX: Not trying to undermine your win or anything, but did that give you a big advantage in your match?
Shroud: Absolutely. We knew exactly what they were going to do. We knew their tendencies. When we saw certain things happen, we knew what was going to happen after that. They could have faked us out. and they did a few times, but it definitely gave us an edge on Fracture.
BLIX: With Sentinels having such a giant supporting coach staff, does that kind of help you guys prepare for the matches?
Shroud: Yeah, I mean, absolutely. It's just it's any extra eyes, right? The eyes can be from the players or the coaches. It doesn't matter. Any extra eyes. Even as crazy as it seems, people who aren't professional players might have caught something that you didn't because you're looking at it one way, and a casual player might be looking at it a different way. But still, any extra set of eyes helps.
BLIX: Thank you so much Shroud, and best of luck in the rest of the tournament.