As a personal brand, Skadoodle doesn’t leap off the screen with charisma or hold your attention with a string of witty one-liners. He is unique, but by virtue of the contrast of his quietness to the more overt, forward characters he’s had as teammates throughout his career. Ever the straight man, there isn’t necessarily the same energy around his presence as other much-loved figures in the space. But this isn’t a bad thing, for it is intensely representative of why North American’s fans have always loved Skadoodle in the first place.
North America has always lacked a deep pool of high-level AWPers to pick from. In terms of internationally proven top NA AWPers, there really has only been jdm64, nitr0 and Skadoodle. The likes of koosta, ShahZam, SEMPHIS, Nifty and adreN struggle to post the resume to compare on the same level as the big three. This is in-part why we see NA sides forced to take chances on everyone from s1mple, to ceRq, to rickeh from the wider international pool of AWPers.
Skadoodle in this sense, has been a rock for the NA scene - and Cloud9 for that matter. In a space devoid of top AWPers, Cloud9 were fortunate to have at-times its best on-hand. Fans, likewise, could feel at least some security in Skadoodle’s place on the roster, or at least, more-so than the likes of Slemmy or shroud. That quiet demeanour in interviews seemed to pair well with being in a tough-to-replace role for navigation of fracturing team dynamics.
Skadoodle’s record, like Cloud9’s, however, isn’t a spotless run of consistent performances as we might wish to think in hindsight. He has always been a stable presence in the on-paper roster, but in-game his form has oscillated with the success and failure of the team.
Jumping back and looking at the aftermath of their historic EPL S4 Finals run in the pointy end of 2016, Cloud9 struggled immensely to post meaningful results and in this period Skadoodle was consistently one of the lowest ranked players. As supposedly the star AWPer, he was just barely edging out a disparate n0thing and Shroud statistically. He received much criticism for not being active enough making plays while also failing to have the consistent round-closing power in its place.
When roster moves came after bombing out of groups at Krakow 2017 though, Skadoodle despite his consistent underperformance remained a familiar face on the new-look C9 roster now featuring RUSH and tarik. He may not have represented a peak international AWPer, but looking around options were limited and skadoodle at least brings experience.
But he was not immune to the change of direction that the tarik-led system would bring to C9. Forced to become more active but in the context of role-balance Skadoodle started to find new life. With Stewie2k as a volatile secondary AWPer, skadoodle was afforded more space, but allowed to maintain his more mid-range, positional style. On CT-side he could remain the traditional base he’s always been characterised as, or often would help structure aggression on key maps like Inferno. Often his veteran support play as an AWPer was overlooked as well, in-part due to how seamlessly it flowed in his game, and in-part because the plays he was setting up took all the attention.
Skadoodle on that C9 roster, while familiar on the roster as a supporting, position-based element, had a new look and swagger to his play as well. His performances with this similar, but evolved game alongside each of his teammates culminated in Boston at the ELEAGUE Major. The details of their run and grand final performances are forever etched into CS:GO canon.
He was a huge impacting force on Cloud9’s win, undoubtedly. His clutches and consistency with the AWP was an integral part (of many) as to how Cloud9 did the impossible. It was on the grand finals stage afterwards though where we saw the real attraction to Skadoodle as a figure in NA CS:GO. With the major trophy claimed and being interviewed in a stadium full of fans, Skadoodle’s first words are:
“Thank you, I don’t really have much words to say, as you know. [...] Not much to say, I can’t really say too much. Just really proud of the boys.”
It’s one thing to remain quiet and humble in the squalor of defeat. Skadoodle though, after being criticised for so long, proving that he could change and transcend his issues, winning the first major in NA CS:GO history and in-front of a dense audience of supporters remained consistent with his demeanour. Lacking words, full of emotion, and that underlying sense of authenticity. Others might have looked to play into the crowd, hype up their own stock value as a player or dismiss the haters, but Skadoodle did what Skadoodle does.
So while he mightn’t have posted 1.0+ ratings since joining Cloud9 and without fault, people don’t love him for the actual event-to-event in-game play; for better or worse. He gets love because of that consistency of character and presence which remains in-spite of roster, results or form. His step back from active play is a huge blow to Cloud9 in this sense of out-of-game presence, and depending on their attempts to replace him, maybe in-game as well. But with a stream now being the portal we can observe his play though, one can imagine that same stable persona will not go amiss, even if it mightn’t magnetise big viewership.