CS icon zAAz announces retirement after Valorant stint

zAAz playing CS on stage at an eventAdela Sznajder for DreamHack

Zainab ‘zAAz’ Turkie announced her retirement after almost two decades of FPS competition across multiple Counter-Strike iterations and a stint in Valorant on May 19. She started her career in CS 1.5 and is considered a legend in the community.

Retiring as a part of G2 Gozen, the Swedish and Lebanese player has competed since the early 2000s and is leaving the competitive side of esports after winning Valorant Champions Tour 2022 Game Changers Series 2.

The 30-year-old released a Twitlonger with her retirement announcement saying that she is not leaving esports entirely, and will educate young gamers about her experience in the industry in Sweden.

“Finding new talents will also be my mission,” zAAz said. “This has always been my dream to do after retiring. I can’t see myself working with anything else than esports. Esports is my passion and will always be.”

zAAz started her esports career in CS 1.5 and walked away from the Valve tactical shooter with multiple trophies including first place at DreamHack Summer 2007 – Female, Intel Challenger Katowice 2015, 2016, and 2017 – along with second place trophies at Electronic Sports World Cup in 2010 and 2012.

She has also been on multiple storied esports organizations including Fnatic, Team Secret, Beşiktaş Esports and XSET before joing G2 Esports.

In zAAz’s statement, the former CS player thanked her longtime teammate Julia ‘juliano’ Kiran. The two have been playing together since 2013.

G2 Valorant without zAAz

With zAAz stepping down, G2 Gozen also announced her replacement on the squad in Maryam ‘Mary’ Maher.

“Making her Tier 1 debut at just 16, we have strong confidence in Maryam’s abilities to conquer the international Valorant stage as a part of G2 Gozen, and to contribute to the team’s unrivaled heritage, making the championships even easier to secure,” G2’s statement about the new player said.

Mary is a young talent that has played in the European Valorant scene before this move, most prominently with free agent team ChatBanned and recently as a substitute for TENSTAR Nova.