Our first part of the ‘History of Hiko’ covered his early days and how he found his way to esports in the first place. After a hectic early career, which saw multiple losses to NiP and fnatic, and then the worst of it all, seeing teammates being banned, Hiko stayed at home, streaming. But soon things would change for the good.
The Almost Golden Age
After being without a real, top-tier team for 9 months, he found a home in a roster that is, on paper, still one of the best lineups the NA region has ever produced: Team Liquid. This roster had the potential and talent from end-to-end to win top-tier international tournaments and give Hiko the success and recognition he had always deserved. They started out strong, defeating key teams but always coming up a little short. And then their first Major came along: DreamHack Open Cluj-Napoca 2015. And as it was in the last Major of Cloud9, it turned out to be another disaster. After losing to VP, Hiko faced a familiar demon: NiP. It was the Ninjas who sent them packing again, as Liquid ended up last in their group.
Internationally, Team Liquid’s wheels had completely gone off the trail. Their star-studded roster’s raw talent meant that regionally, they kept winning but on the international stage, they never really recovered.
And then the event happened that changed the course of CS:GO history, a move that still reverberates its sounds to this very day. On the back of being one of the most unexpected moves yet, Team Liquid shockingly signed a certain Ukrainian that had just started setting the world on fire. That Ukrainian is simply so insanely good, that even non-CS:GO fans know his name. Team Liquid had signed s1mple. In the 8 nomadic months prior to the move, Hiko was in CIS’ Flipside Tactics for a while where he had played with s1mple. He had bonded with him well and gladly welcomed him to the US. The caveat was that for all his superior talent, s1mple had serious attitude issues that had seen him being forced out of multiple squads.
For all the finals lost and for all the trophies missed out on, one thing Hiko did not fail to do was create an absolute monster that would go on to ravage the CS:GO world. Hiko bonded deeply with s1mple and for all the fundamental misalignment between the prodigy and the rest of his “lowly” teammates, Hiko was their intermediary. If there’s one reason that s1mple has successfully stayed in NaVi for so long and has his team as one of the frontrunners for the Major, it’s Hiko and his guidance.
“He helped me so much in Liquid and he was always ready to help player he could.” “I think he is one of the greatest teammates and one of the smartest guys.“
2016 had rolled around. Liquid had entered the year with high expectations. A slew of regional wins and the addition of the future-GOAT of CS:GO to an already star-studded roster only demands international trophies. The talent is there. The potential is there. The hunger is there. It was March 2016 and the first Major of the year had arrived. And Team Liquid seemed ready to take it all. They shared a group with fnatic, the only other team besides NiP to have knocked Hiko out of ALL of his Majors. It took a double-overtime but Hiko finally slayed his nemesis. Liquid topped the group and soon reached the semi-finals in s1mple’s first Major with a real top-tier team. It was the semi-finals against LG, coldzera’s team. Liquid were comfortably in a 15-9 lead. And then disaster struck. Pulling off probably the greatest ever play on Mirage, coldzera got a crazy jumping AWP 4k on Apps that basically spiraled Liquid off their heads. An intense choke saw Liquid lose 10 rounds in a row, with the first map being closed 19-15 in LG’s favor. Maybe there was a chance for redemption, as Liquid rushed to a 15-6 lead on the second map. But this time, it was an even heavy fallout to lose 19-16 in overtime. The impossible had happened. Liquid, despite being 15-6 and 15-9 in the lead, had crashed out of a semi-final where there was no NiP, no fnatic. None of their past demons. But a newer one had just been born.
To have the strength to go on after such historic loss is heroic, to say the least. And whether Hiko is a hero is a question that could only be answered in Part 3 of our History of Hiko!