Former IBUYPOWER player Braxton ‘swag’ Pierce is returning to Counter-Strike: Global Offensive to play competitively for the first time since a ban he picked up in January 2015.
Pierce was one of seven players banned by Valve at all competitive events. Since that time, he’s been streaming for Cloud9 and playing competitive Overwatch, but after ESL made the decision to lift the ban on the former IBP roster, he’ll be stepping up to compete in the New York closed qualifiers with Cloud9.
After a lot of rumours and discussion around the ban, ESL officially lifted it on July 24, with many speculating on what will happen to those unbanned. On his stream, Pierce stated that he’d like to play Counter-Strike: Global Offensive with former teammates Sam ‘Dazed’ Marine and Keven ‘AZK’ Larivere, however it seems for now at least he’ll be pitching up with the organisation that kept him paid during his ban. He’ll also be playing alongside his former IBP teammate Skadoodle, who wasn’t banned in the scandal.
Pierce was one of the hottest youth prospects in Counter-Strike at the time of his ban, and was just 18 when he was banned for life. Now, he’s 20, and will no doubt be looking to catch up on his career.
However, his unbanning, and the match fixing scandal that accompanied the ban in the first place, could well make sponsors and organisations a little uneasy to take a chance on him. However, esports has always had a habit of forgiving people’s transgressions if the talent is there, so a strong performance here could see him back on top again.
Meanwhile, Joshua ‘steel’ Nissan, who was also banned in the IBP incident for match fixing, has registered for the New York open qualifiers, playing with TorquedScrim. Their first match is against TempoStorm on August 14.