"SmithZz should be here!"
At the ECS Season 3 Finals at Wembley, I saw a G2 fan seemed to be disappointed the coach wasn't at the signing session. People murmured in agreement as they move down the line, getting their caps and mouse pads signed. G2 had just been eliminated and the team had emerged for their signing SmithZzless.
After all, SmithZz was an ECS Champion last time the event was held in London the previous year. Since then, the infamous 'Yo Les Noobs' statement was made, SmithZz slipped further into a slump and eventually saw himself moved to G2 coach as the French 'superteam' formed.
By the time ECS returned to Wembley, SmithZz would be on the lineup again, if only for a matter of months.
This isn't the first time I have written about Edouard "SmithZz" Dubourdeaux. It will likely be my last time dedicating an entire feature to him as it is fair to assume the 29 year old will probably retire from top tier competitive play. If you want to read a more detailed story about SmithZz's career, this article from July covers everything up until that point in time.
In the 2300 days since the official launch of CS:GO at the time of writing, SmithZz has been on a team as a player or coach for 2268 of them. Nine of the absent days were the days before VeryGames switched from Source to GO, two were the time spent as Mercenary between Titan and LDLC, 18 were as ex-Titan before being signed by G2. The other days are now after he has been benched and replaced by G2. Not many players can boast of such a tenured career.
In a Twitlonger at the time of his benching, SmithZz spoke about his time on G2 and the experience of returning to competitive play after being out of the game for over a year.
"I was driven by an urge to compete again and convinced this lineup had a future. Good team atmosphere has always been important to me, and I had the chance to play with four players I consider as friends. The role I had was different from what I was used to during the end of my career. It turned out to be too big of a task for me to catch up skill wise, on top of learning those new positions. Much to my disappointment it never really clicked for me and I can’t say I enjoyed the time I spent playing again."
When shox was benched, and in a podcast with G2 CEO ocelote, explained he wanted to rebuild the team by bringing back both SmithZz and Ex6TenZ. To say the community met the suggestion with scepticism would be a massive understatement. In the end, it was clear the current roster lacked the firepower needed and changes were made after six LAN events in six months with no truly deep runs.
SmithZz was sniper of the year as voted by readers of VaKarM.net in 2008, 2009 and 2011, before the rise of kennyS, and was one of the best snipers in Counter-Strike Source. While many other French players could have challenged for the title of best player in France over the years, SmithZz consistent place in top French teams finding success left him the 16th highest earner from Counter-Strike Source. To compare this to some other notable names, NBK is 19th in the list, shox 28th, apEX 98th and kennyS back in 168th.
The struggles that came for SmithZz saw the community, analystsandeventalent mocking him publicly for his poor performances. As the criticism got more vicious and consistent, the pressure was rising and nothing seemed to be changing.
The emotive retaliation didn't land with the impact intended. Instead, the statement became a meme forever attributed and eventually embraced by SmithZz. In many ways, it helped to humanise a figure who had been relentlessly torn apart for too long and brought some relief on a personal level, even if SmithZz's showings in the server remained shaky at best.
From his Twitlonger, SmithZz seems to suggest his belief that back at the start of 2017, his move to a coaching role was the end of his career as a player, but from his time coaching, his horizons seem open for future opportunities in the scene. While some of the legends from 1.6 and Source continue to stumble on in their endeavours to recapture past glories, SmithZz taking a step back allows him to keep his legacy still relatively intact and his future bright.
With so many years of experience, time spent in top teams, positive presence and unique insights, any team in need of coaching or analyst desk would be lucky to have him on board.
Post your favorite SmithZz moment in the comments below!