Team Liquid star Jakey ‘Stewie2K’ Yip has hit a major career milestone after his team’s loss against Astralis in the ECS Season 8 Finals, becoming the first North American Counter-Strike player to hit seven digits in earnings.
The North American roster faltered at the final hurdle against Danish superteam Astralis during the tournament’s finals, after pulling out a shock 19-15 overtime win on Vertigo in the opening map of the decider.
Stewie’s side couldn’t get the job done in Arlington, however, as Astralis rolled over them in the next two maps, 16-11 on Nuke and 16-8 on Dust 2, to clinch the 2-1 comeback and make sure Liquid collected the runners-up prize of $100,000.
The second-place haul in Arlington may have been $125,000 short of the top spot, but the cash bundle still fired Stewie into the upper echelons of the game’s historic prize earnings, only sitting behind the entire modern Astralis roster.
All five of the Danish squad’s star-studded roster are European, however, making Yip the highest-earning North American player on the CSGO circuit, and in the game’s long competitive history, with his seven-digit receipt of $1,006,090.
Stewie isn’t the only Liquid player currently hovering around the $1 million mark either, with Keith ‘NAF’ Markovic closing in on the massive milestone after the ECS Season 8 Finals grand final loss clocked him up to $904,565.66 in earnings. US stars Nicholas 'nitr0' Cannella ($861,851.73) and Jonathan 'ELiGE' Jablonowski ($852,496.42) come in at 12th and 13th in the esports' overall highest earners.
It’s perhaps most fitting that Stewie leads the way for the star NA roster, considering the 21-year-old playing a key role in keeping Liquid in the fight in their back-to-back map losses in the series.
It wasn’t enough, however, to get TL across the line.
Their Arlington run may not have ended in golden success thanks to an unstoppable Astralis, but Liquid’s calendar year has been fantastic nonetheless.
The North American roster took full advantage of their Danish rivals’ drop-off at the start of 2019 to claim the Intel’s Season 2 Grand Slam, winning majors in Sydney, Dallas, Montpellier, and Cologne to bag the circuit’s $1,000,000 prize pool.
Stewie and the team continued their success in Chicago, winning Intel Extreme Masters XIV to open the third Grand Slam season, before Evil Geniuses, Fnatic, and Astralis all claimed victories to blow Season 3’s race for the $1m wide open.
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The team also bagged a further $250,000 from their wins at the iBUYPOWER Masters IV and BLAST Pro Series: Los Angeles 2019 events, all of which helped Stewie march on towards the historic prize earnings for a North American player.
Now the 21-year-old has the chance to add to his mountainous 2019 haul at the ESL Pro League Season 10 Finals, which boasts a $600,000 prize pool, and the BLAST Pro Series Global Final, which has a $500,000 payout.
Liquid start their EPL finals campaign against North in just 48 hours. They sit in the same bracket-side as European rivals Astralis and G2 Esports.