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In reality, pro gaming is a job just like any other and isn’t free of the headaches, hassles, or stresses. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the "Top 10 Pro Gamers Who Quit for Shocking Reasons."
For this list, we’re looking at pro gamers who walked away from competition on their own terms, having quit, retired, or left the industry for some crazy reason. Because of this, we’ll not be including popular pros who received bans like League of Legends gamer Li "Vasilii" Wei-Jun, StarCraft 2’s Choi "YoDa" Byung Hyun or Overwatch’s Kid X.
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#10: Weh 'SingSing' Yuen “Dota 2” (2013)
After failing to qualify for both the North American and European regionals at the 2016 Boston Major tournament for DOTA 2, celebrated pro gamer “SingSing” announced his retirement from professional play and his team—Kaipi—disbanded as a result. Having never lived up to his expectations in tournament play due to frequent roster changes and internal issues within Kaipi, “SingSing” decided to walk away from the grueling world of Esports and place all his efforts on streaming, leaving his fans disheartened but also relieved that he didn’t quit gaming for good.
#9: Austin "Link" Shin “League of Legends” (2009)
This pro gamer provides us with an example of how to rage quit something if you forever want to burn every bridge imaginable and leave zero chance for a return. Tired of playing for a losing team and feeling completely burnt out from the demanding travel and schedule of Esports, “Link” didn’t just quit and quietly ride off into the sunset—oh no! Instead he wrote an 18-page screed titled “The Donezo Manifesto” decrying his teammates and even the game of League of Legends itself before throwing in the towel. Link would eventually return to the competitive scene with Team Liquid in 2017, but no one could forget his epic retirement.
#8: Michael “Bunny Fufuu” Kurylo “League of Legends” (2009)
Holder of the title for Cutest Name in Esports, “Funny Fufu” decided to step away from professional League of Legends play to focus on streaming full time, which left fans wondering if he still had what it took to play professionally, while others questioned if he sold out for clicks and advertising dollars. While we’ll never know for sure, it’s safe to assume that declining skills, an easier schedule, and money all played a role in his departure from competition. And, seeing as he’s still a part of the Cloud 9 brand while streaming on Twitch, we can’t blame him for wanting a lighter schedule and easier money.
#7: Ben “Gatored” Brewer “StarCraft II” (2010)
Gaming addicting is a growing worry in modern society, as people come to prefer the virtual realities of created worlds to that of everyday life. Ben Brewer was one of these people, finding himself at a crossroads in his life where the only places he felt safe and at ease were the online worlds of StarCraft 2, Warcraft and DOTA, calling them his “home away from home.” After playing StarCraft 2 professionally for two years, he could no longer deny that gaming had a wholly negative impact on his life and decided to give up video games altogether.
#6: Bryce “Machine” Bates “StarCraft II” (2010)
What age would you say is over the hill in professional sports? 35? Well, in professional Esports, by the time you’re 25 you’re considered to be at the end of your career, as the average age range for pro gamers is somewhere between 18 and 27. At 19, “Machine” was one of the top-ranked StarCraft 2 players in the United States, but when he was 25 he felt he could no longer keep up with the younger gamers just emerging on the scene and so he hung up his controller for a more leisurely life.
#5: Connor “Richy” Rich “FIFA 18” (2017)
Mental health issues are no joke in Esports, as demanding schedules and public pressures often wear players down. Nowhere is this more common than in the FIFA community, where pro gamers need to play 40 competitive games in the span of three days in order to become the FIFA Ultimate Team Champion. That sounds hard enough, but add continual patches and updates that constantly change the core of the game, and we can see why “Richy” walked away for good in order to protect his mental health, citing that he no longer enjoyed playing the game he once loved due to incredibly high-stress levels.
#4: “ELTA” & “Strobe” “Overwatch” (2016)
Convinced that a newcomer—17-year-old Korean known as “Gegury”—was cheating in competitive Overwatch play because she was too good, two male Korean pros vowed to quit if they were wrong. And, boy, were they wrong! Blizzard investigated the claims of cheating and found that—to the dismay of her two detractors—she was actually that damned good. In fact, to clear her name, she went to a local games broadcaster and played live, proving her skill. Good to their word, the two accusing Overwatch pros quit in shame.
#3: Marcus “Dyrus” Hill “League of Legends” (2009)
Anyone who’s played League of Legends for hours on end knows just how draining it can be. Now, imagine carving a career out of playing it nonstop? We can only imagine how tiring and frustrating pro play can be. “Dyrus” had enough of this frustration and exhaustion and suddenly stopped playing and streaming League to the confusion of his fans. After much questioning, he released a short video explaining his reason, saying that he was reaching “unhealthy levels of depression” and if he kept playing he’d “probably be dead.” And don’t ask him if he’ll be returning anytime soon either, as his answer is quite clear!
#2: Matt “Dellor” Vaughn “Overwatch” (2016)
After unleashing a torrent of racial slurs in a hate-filled rant live on his Twitch channel, there wasn’t much space left for “Dellor” in the Esports world anymore. He claimed he was having a bad day and the frustration of losing in competitive Overwatch play was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back, which led to the now-viral outburst; but, in the end, it really doesn’t matter what led him to make these comments as both his team and Twitch dropped him for breach of contract. “Dellor” took it one step further, however, and quit competition altogether.
#1: Gonzalo “ZeRo” Barrios “Super Smash Bros. for Wii U” (2014)
Being the world’s top Smash 4 player isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Just ask “Zero.” Just a few months before retiring from competitive play, he had to hire a bodyguard to protect him during a tournament in Santa Ana, as he’d received death threats online. Thus, with insane pressures mounting in his professional life, “Zero” decided to call it a day three months later, saying that he’d accomplished all he wanted to and that the daily grind was no longer worth the impact it was having on his health. He didn’t rule out a return when Super Smash Bros. Ultimate hits the Switch later this year, however. But, for now, he’s retired.