steel will be allowed to compete in CS2 majors, is brax next?

steel playing valorant for 100 thieves

In a shocking move, Valve is set to unban veteran Counter-Strike pro Joshua “steel” Nissan and allow him to play in CS2 majors moving forward. Braxton “brax” Pierce may be in line for similar treatment.

In a historic move, Valve will lift a ban after a decade of punishment for one of CSGO’s most tenured players. steel was part of the infamous iBuyPower team at the center of the infamous North American match-fixing scandal in 2014. Despite being banned from Valve-sponsored tournaments, he continued competing in CSGO esports but was forced to compete in smaller events and largely played with sponsorless teams.

After 10 years, this decision will allow steel to return to playing in official Valve-associated tournaments, particularly CS2 majors. Though it’s unclear if he will be able to climb his way to the top once again, he will soon have the opportunity to actually do so.

When will steel’s ban from CS2 majors end?

steel’s ban from participating in Valve-partnered Counter-Strike 2 events will be lifted in January 2025. On October 26, steel took to Twitter to announce the expiration date of his ban.

“On the 10-year mark in January 2025, I will be allowed to participate at Valve partnered events,” steel said.

steel’s ban from participating in Valve-associated events came after reports that he had participated in match-fixing. The CSGO player was part of iBuyPower, one of the top North American teams at the time and the heavy favorite to win the CEVO Professional League. Despite that favorite status, iBP lost and reportedly did so after betting against themselves with skin traders.

Ibuypower Csgo Team

On January 26, 2015 Valve released an official statement about the scandal, which included the immediate and indefinite bans of steel, brax, and two other members of iBuyPower. Valve has now decided to unban steel on the 10-year anniversary of the ruling.

Steel has been able to continue playing CSGO and now CS2 professionally, even with the ban. The ban was strictly for any event that was partnered with Valve, which allowed him to participate in most events. The inability to compete in majors likely undermined his ability to find long-term homes, something that led him to compete in Valorant esports for 100 Thieves and then T1.

With the ban lifting, it will give steel the opportunity to qualify for CS2 majors which could open the door for him to land with a premier organization. That’s far from certain with the Counter-Strike professional scene still extremely competitive and set to undergo significant changes, but he at least has the chance to do so now.

Will brax be unbanned as well?

brax has not announced whether he will be unbanned alongside steel.

There is no word if any other members of iBP will be also receiving their own unbans. Fan-favorite brax has made no mention of his own ban steel’s announcement. Brax left professional Counter-Strike in 2020 to compete in Valorant, jumping to the hero-shooter in the early days of the game. He signed with T1 and played with them until being dropped in 2021.

Despite primarily focusing on Valorant, brax recently played Counter-Strike 2 on-stream. This could just be the big-name CSGO player trying out the new game, or there could be more to it.  

There is no official word from brax or fellow banned teammates Keven “AZK” Larivière and Sam “DaZeD” Marine. Valve has yet to make an official statement regarding steel’s ban being dropped.

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Written by Cassie Gardner

Cassie Gardner has been playing games since she was but a child, starting with a Game Boy when she was 5 years old. The discovery of Pokemon led to a lifelong interest in role-playing games of both the video game and tabletop varieties.

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