Taking to Twitch to answer questions following his recent decision to step back from Cloud9's starting roster, Sean "seangares" Gares answered community questions and spoke on leaving the team, his time as in-game leader, who could possibly replace him, and more.
On his choice to step down, seangares made it clear that the decision was not sudden and that everyone, including his teammates, were prepared for his departure and that steps were already in place to ease the team through the loss of their in-game leader.
"I actually told the boys that I wanted to step down a couple months ago maybe," he explained. "Shortly after the major is when I tried to get in touch with Jordan ["n0thing" Gilbert], Jordan got in touch with me and basically we talked about how a transition would happen...That’s when we tried to outline a plan for Jordan to get used to calling. Even though he’s played with me for years, he just needed some guidance...he’s really done a great job so far. Even though he was technically 'calling', I would take over a lot and do a lot of the mid game stuff. It’s just in my nature to do that. I helped him out over the last months...he really has pretty good control over the team, so I think he’ll continue to grow as a caller. He just needs to continue working on it."
Adding further detail, he said that he would stick around the Cloud9 organization to help as needed, but that coaching the squad was not in the immediate future and neither was a return to pro play.
"I told Jordan if he has any questions or help when it come to in-game leader or stuff like that, I definitely want to help him with that. I’ll remain active as far as helping them out, for sure, until they don’t need me anymore."
"I’m not closing the door to coaching, however I definitely wanted to sit back for the next month or so and really evaluate my options. I had some plans that I kind of want to go through with the next month or so...if everything settles into place I may consider coaching at that point. But, I did tell the team that it’s not something that they should bank on. However, if they don’t have anything in place and enough time passes then yeah I’ll definitely coach for them."
As for who could possibly replace him, seangares said that although the decision was ultimately out of his hands, he left his team with a few suggestions as to what kind of player would best fit the team.
"I think that the best fit for the C9 team would be like a super good lurker. I mean there’s like several in the world...keep the format of the team the same. Get a coach that can get behind and really help Jordan out. If not, then I guess an in-game leader, and have Jordan do the hard lurking. Either way would work fine."
Addressing community rumors that Cloud9 would consider importing a player such as Ninjas in Pyjama's Christopher "GeT_RiGhT" Alesund, seangares didn't dismiss the possibility, but said that there were hurdles in the way.
"I don’t know to be honest," he said. "We have talked to him about it because GeT_RiGhT and I were close. But he’s contracted by NiP, and he doesn’t really want to move forward with anything. I’m the only one who asked him kind of as a joke. If he wants to, I’m sure they’re up for it."
Another rumor is that Cloud9 would consider former analyst Braxton "swag" Pierce, who on Jan. 26 received a ban for match-fixing that makes him unable to attend Valve sponsored events. However, seangares explained that although swag's ban was a problem, other factors could potentially still make him an option moving forward.
"We've talked about Swag. They have their ruling on the thing, and that’s it. There’s no new news about it. We’re not holding anything back from the public; the public knows just as much as us...I love Brax as a teammate. Brax was awesome, one of my favorite teammates ever."
"If I were them, I would consider playing with Brax even though he’s banned from Majors — I’m not sure if Valve would allow that — but there’s so much to look forward to in CS:GO next year that the Majors are just a small part of that. The problem with that is you’d have to find a good enough player to be a fifth at Majors and no one would want to do that, right? That’s why playing with someone like Brax would be a problem. With that being said, I think there’s going to be way more money outside of the Majors next year, from what I've heard, so I’m not sure if it would be a bad idea, you know?"
That being said, he made it clear that his former team should take their time in selecting a replacement, and consider all the options.
"I’m sure they’re going to tryout a lot of people...this is the one time they have to go through a lot of people, try them out. They could get European players if they wanted to," he said. "C9 has the pick of the litter. It’s all about doing it the right way, making sure you don’t just get someone because you think they’re going to be great."
As for his more immediate future, seangares said that he would be taking the rest of the year to stream, and make videos, but that working as an analysts or commentator was certainly not out of the question.
"If those companies want to hire me for analyst stuff and casting I’m always open to that," he said of possibly working for broadcasters such as ESL or DreamHack. "It’s not necessarily my primary focus, but if [they] wanted to hire me as a contractor for certain events I would definitely be open to it...I didn’t exactly step down to plan on doing that, but at the same time I’m very open to doing that in the future."
He also explained that his game knowledge led him easily into casting, which he did a little bit of at the recent IEM San Jose.
"Casting is definitely fun, it’s something I enjoy doing because I know a lot about the teams, so it’s easy for me to just talk about stuff I know about."
As for streaming and videos, those would be coming sooner rather than later.
"A lot of people have been sending me messages on Twitter about doing stuff to help out in game leaders and help out teams, making my thoughts a little more public now since I’m not on a team. I am going to do that...I’m probably going to start sometime this week. I already have some ideas that I have outlined that really there’s no videos out there about. Stuff that a lot of people don’t think about when it comes to in-game leading, and I’m going to do a several piece series on my YouTube or something...I think a lot of people will learn a lot of stuff from that. Maybe break down some strats."
Reflecting on his time with Cloud9, he said that his favorite part of playing with the team was the general atmosphere of humor and camaraderie which surrounded the players.
"We've had so many good times. Everyone on the team was like really good friends on these trips. It was a really different environment than most teams I’ve been on," he said fondly. "This team gets along really well....Something that I loved as a leader was that we could get along — I could bitch someone out, and the next sentence be laughing."
The full streaming session also dove into questions about Counter-Strike: Global Offensive as an eSports, seangares' experience within the scene, specific moments from his career and his philosophy as a shot caller, among other things.
Nic Doucet is a News Editor for theScore eSports. You can follow him on Twitter.