Get to know Cloud9's newest Counter-Strike star, mezii
William 'mezii' Merriman might be a surprise signing for Cloud9's CS:GO squad, but the 22-year-old British player is ready to step-up and help the team win on the world stage.
William 'mezii' Merriman isn't a well-known name in the world of professional Counter-Strike: Global Offensive... yet. Compared to the superstars who've built themselves into global brands, he's a relative newcomer, certainly to the very top tier of CS:GO. He's spent the majority of his career in the UK scene, jumping around a few teams and picking up some smaller LAN events in the country, but now he's been given his big break.
The 22-year-old British player is one several new additions to the Cloud9 CS:GO roster, which is being put together in a unique way by caster-turned-general-manager, Henry 'HenryG' Greer. Instead of looking to sign the biggest free agents in the world and hope they fit well together, Greer has looked to find a mix of superstars and supporting players that should, on paper at least, form a well-balanced team.
Despite being a bit of an unknown quantity to most of the world, mezii seems to fit that mould perfectly and he's under no illusions about how big of an opportunity this is for him.
"As you can imagine, it feels amazing to join Cloud9," mezii told us. "To be part of an incredibly talented bunch of players and be backed by one of the best organisations in the world, it's a dream come true for me to get an opportunity like this. I didn't really have any other offers whilst playing in my previous team, but as soon as I knew Cloud9 were interested in picking me up, it was pretty much a no-brainer to join them."
For fans questioning the move to sign mezii when there's a wealth of more high profile players and free agents out there right now, there will be little that the man himself can say to change those minds. The real test will come when he starts to play with the new look roster on a regular basis and see how results work out. He does have an impressive resume and a surprisingly long history in Counter-Strike, though, so while he may not be too well known just yet, he does have a lot of incredibly valuable experience.
"I first started playing the Counter-Strike franchise when I was nine-years-old, where I just played Counter-Strike Source for fun," said mezii. "I then started playing CS:GO at the start of 2014, competing in a few UK LANs with my first 'serious' team. After I competed at these LANs, I got noticed and started to improve further with some bigger names within the UK scene. I've won a few UK LANs in the past few years and they're my biggest achievements to date, but it will be nice to change that and achieve much bigger things with Cloud9."
The fact that HenryG is also publishing financial details of all the signings he has made for the new-look C9 CS:GO team has also raised eyebrows online. While mezii doesn't quite hit the same numbers some of the bigger names on the team, it did still cost $83,000/£64,338 to bring him to Cloud9 and he's on a significant three-year contract worth $426,000/£330,230.
"I personally feel it's a good thing that the deal value is made public," said mezii. "You see it in most sports and it's pretty much an unknown within esports, which can create a lot of gossip. Now that it's public information, it stops all the speculation and questions on this topic. I think it will become pretty normal in the coming years and that's a positive, as it determines market values and trends. For me, not having to stream a certain amount of hours a month, for example, is a great thing. With how Henry has set this up, it enables me to just completely focus on the game and improving as an individual and in a team."
After significant roster changes in the Cloud9 CS:GO division, it's starting to feel like the organisation is on the right track and has built a team capable of returning to a major final. Mezii is a key part of that and certainly has the potential to be a vital member of the team. He recognises that he may not always be topping the scoreboard alongside Özgür 'woxic' Eker, but he knows how to play his role and is ready to learn from the superstars that surround him on the team. It may take a while, but given time mezii can become one of the best in the world, he believes.
"I'm a pretty unknown player to the tier one CS scene, but I know I can learn a lot within Cloud9 and they can mould me into the player they need me to be, so we can become the best team and win tournaments," said Mezii.
"I would say I mostly play a more passive support style within teams, but I have played various roles, which has made my game a lot more complete and has enabled me to learn a lot more about the game. I would say this has helped me transition into this Cloud9 lineup a lot easier, whilst being able to learn an insane amount from the other experienced players in this team."
The new Cloud9 CS:GO experiment is without a doubt one of the most interesting things to have happened in the scene for some time and mezii is right at the forefront when it comes to the intrigue factor.
Will this moneyball approach work? No one knows yet if mezii can handle this massive step up, but from speaking to him it's clear that he's ready for the challenge and will give it everything he has – always a sign of good things to come.