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Seven CS:GO pros give differing opinions on SmithZz/caster criticism debate

ESL One New York 2017 dates
ESL One New York 2017 dates are Sept. 16-17 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. The $250,000 Counter-Strike event will feature eight teams.

The Counter-Strike community was abuzz last week with a debate sparked from comments made during Northern Arena about G2’s Edouard “SmithZz” Dubourdeaux.

SmithZz has been under heavy criticism lately from all parts of the community as both he and G2 have struggled. At Northern Arena, more was made of his recent dip in form. Desk host Dustin Mouret said he apologized for “absolutely nothing” he said about SmithZz during the tournament, a clear reference to Conor McGregor’s UFC victory speech the night before.

During the final, caster Alexandre “Vansilli” Nguyen shouted “Yo les noobs!” after a particularly bad play from SmithZz, which was a reference to post SmithZz made in French responding to fan criticisms about his play — that started with those three words.

Gabriel “FalleN” Toledo from SK Gaming spoke out on Twitter about the comments toward SmithZz, and a debate with other notable Counter-Strike personalities ensued. The conversation evolved into a debate about casters’ place in the game and ended up going far beyond the original comments about SmithZz.

Slingshot’s Vince Nairn had the chance through ELEAGUE and IEM Oakland to talk to some pros — including one of SmithZz’s teammates — about their feelings about comments toward SmithZz and how they accept criticism from casters. Here’s a compilation of the responses, which were wide-ranging:

Vincent “Happy” Schopenhauer, EnVyUs: Obviously I’m not really for people slandering other players or just using a lot of (one-liners) or something. I think it should happen during a group stage game, it would have been OK. But it was definitely not OK during a final where you need more seriousness instead of fun. I was kind of, maybe not shocked, but it was out of line.

Epitacio “TACO” de Melo, SK Gaming: I think you just should respect everyone. I don’t care about criticism. I think that’s a normal thing. It’s their job. But when you lose the respect, it’s not good. And they did it with SmithZz, and I felt bad for him. He’s playing for G2, a top-tier team, and there’s a reason. He’s really good, a really good player. He’s won a lot, and I think you should just respect (him).

Mathias “MSL” Lauridsen, Dignitas: I think it’s fine that casters are saying some shit. It’s their job. I just hope in the future that there will be a bit more who come with reasons. I have heard a lot of analysts just talk about stats, but I would be really happy to listen to mistakes and rounds they lost on and why they lost those rounds. Of course they can joke about a player. That’s their job. It’s not personal.

Nathan “NBK-” Schmitt, EnVyUs: I think there is some stuff. Some casters and analysts are notorious for doing that. It’s not a surprise. There are different factors. And also that some memes being created about players, the prime example being Smithzz. It is something that went too far as in people using the meme for fame of “He’s a cool caster” while shitting on a player. I think it’s fair and completely normal to point out bad plays or being bad in the game. But to do it just to ride the meme wave, that’s too much. Some casters and analysts are notorious for that. So when you have people coming with that out of nowhere, I guess that’s when it started and people started talking more about it. Definitely on some players, it’s way too hard. Even if a player is bad 24/7 in each and every game, you can point it out from a narrative point of view that he’s bad. There’s no reason to destroy him.

Richard “shox” Papillon, G2: That’s a tough question, honestly. First of all, about SmithZz, I try to tell him “Don’t care about it, don’t go on Twitch, don’t go on Twitter, whatever because you don’t need it, you know,? You are playing for yourself and for your team and people who support you, but not people who will just critique you. You are not here for that, so don’t read it and just focus on you, and we trust you as a teammate.” Talking about the criticism, there are definitely something we can work on, like I think the analysts and sometimes commentators are too much free to speak and they can say everything they want. Sometimes it’s very annoying because as a player we know they are really talking shit and they don’t know anything about the game, because it’s not about statistics. I mean they are not in a team, and when you are not in a team or are not playing on a competitive level, you can’t have a good read about what’s going on and they should just not say bullshit.

Peter “Dupreeh” Rothmann: I think it’s somewhat of a disgrace that analysts and commentators have to go out and pick so much on players if they don’t perform. That’s not their job. I mean like, yeah, as an analyst you have to, you talk about the fact that maybe he hasn’t been himself or he’s under-performing, but you don’t have to go out there and either attack him, even when he’s playing well or whatever. Just leave it out. As a analyst, to point out that he’s been under-performing but you don’t have to attack him. I think it’s horrible. Also, I think I heard something that they compare players to other players like, “Oh this guy’s so bad, he’s like just as bad as this guy,” and like, if there’s a player that has a really bad performance, it’s like, “Oh he was just as bad as this guy last week.” It’s just like, leave it out. It doesn’t matter.

Cover photo by Patrick Strack/ESL,