He went from one of North America’s best and most driven players, to one of the most underperforming figures in the CS:GO scene in the space of a couple of years. What went wrong for Spencer “Hiko” Martin and what lies ahead for him?
Historically, in a scene that has been full of ‘slackers’ and players who seemingly prefer streaming over practicing, Spencer “Hiko” Martin stood out from the crowd – establishing himself as a talent who longed to find the right team in the hopes of winning a major one day. Though the majority of the community was wishing for his endeavours to succeed, unfortunately Hiko has fallen upon hard times, currently without a team and stranded in his career.
Hiko’s career in CS:GO goes back as early as 2012, when he was part of the Area 51 team which included Kory “SEMPHIS” Friesen, Sean “seang@res” Gares, Trey “tck” Martin and Sam “DaZeD” Marine, though he rose to prominence after joining Complexity with former teammates Semphis and Seangares, as well as former CS 1.6 stars Jordan “n0thing” Gilbert and Braxton “swag” Pierce.
The Complexity lineup were able to make it to the semifinals of the first ever major; Dreamhack Winter 2013 before losing swag to Complexity’s rivals iBuyPower after the following major, IEM Katowice 2014 and picking up Shroud as they signed to Cloud9 in the summer of 2014.
Hiko was able to make a name for himself on Cloud9 as a solid player, particularly in terms of clutching rounds. However after a slew of poor performances by Cloud9 and Hiko himself in the latter part of 2014, including but not limited to their failure to make it out of the group stage of the Dreamhack Winter 2014 major, Hiko was left stunned when the Cloud9 organisation gave the team a raise. With an apparent desire to win, he left the team for pastures new, though he unfortunately burned many bridges with the C9 org.
Around the same time as his departure from Cloud9, the core of the former iBuyPower line-up (minus Steel) were looking for a new organisation as well as a new 5th player. Hiko joined them for what looked set to be a North American ‘super-team’. However a spanner was quickly thrown into the works, as the North American match fixing scandal left all of the ex-iBP players, besides Tyler “Skadoodle” Latham, banned from competing in Valve sponsored events, with most other tournament organisers following suit with similar punishments.
This predicament left Hiko and Skadoodle looking for other teams to join, initially considering themselves to be a package deal. The search for new teams took a while as most didn’t need two players or were unwilling to cut two players for various reasons. However this fell through as well when Skadoodle took what was most likely a very decent offer to join Cloud9 in May of 2015, leaving Hiko stranded once more.
After playing on a slew of different teams, Hiko eventually joined Team Liquid. They struggled at first, but after the addition of Oleksandar “s1mple” Kostyliev to the lineup and the eventual removal of Eric “adreN” Hoag, things began to look better for Hiko and his new-found team. Liquid made it to the semi-finals of the MLG Columbus 2016 major before choking to Luminosity Gaming (now SK) and faced the Brazillians again in the finals of the following major, ESL One Cologne 2016.
Yet good things never seem to last too long for Hiko, as his fortunes soon went pear shaped once more. S1mple departed from Team Liquid to return home to Europe and Hiko’s performances with Liquid began to suffer as a result. Culminating with a fairly mediocre performance at the Eleague Major in Atlanta at the beginning of this year before his departure from Liquid and onto OpTic Gaming. However, after a couple of tournaments with them, Hiko decided to call time on his brief spell with the organisation. Granted, he was only a stand in, but his departure will likely be connected to his performance on the team.
No one knows quite what fate now awaits Hiko, but given the turbluent ride and the ups and downs he has experienced since CS:GO’s inception, it’s very possible for him to come back stronger than ever before.