The Curious Case Of Bence Böröcz - The Misunderstood, Much Maligned Cult Hero
Updated: Dec 17, 2018
“Stats don’t matter, winning matters” is as close to a cliché as exists within the Counter-Strike sphere. We as mere viewers are bombarded with this concept whenever we dare to criticise a misfiring player, and whilst we all begrudgingly agree, we all sort of deep down think that actually, the guy going 9/1/27 probably isn’t the most important player on that team. The poet George Watsky once said “It's gonna suck hearing that over and over as you get older, but as stereotypes start with a grain of truth, cliches begin with a boulder”; maybe Bence ‘Deadfox’ Böröcz would have been better off posting that than his eminently meme-able Facebook post which can only serve as a metaphorical salt shaker to shake aggressively at the open wounds of a defeat.
Deadfox is a likeable player - the type who would be classified as a ‘willing runner’ were he a footballer, a ‘hard-working employee’ were he a white collar worker - a ‘Clubman of the Year’ type of guy. The Hungarian suffers from the lack of cult hero-ism that exists in CS; with changing rosters, small fanbases and little room for teams who don’t succeed, the concept of a ‘cult hero’ is lost on the oft painfully logical fandom of Counter-Strike. Were Deadfox a footballer, he’d be the left-back who hasn’t missed a game for 10 years, known as ‘part of the club’s fabric’, a hero to the 20-something population whose eyes, blurred from Dutch courage, could barely tell him apart from the new right-back but are convinced by his willingness to run and sweat for the badge.
“Without me there would be no Hellraisers” - a statement that seems to be a self-mantra, as though he was trying to convince himself, escaped the lips of the Hungarian. It’s easy to mock the statement - Issa ‘ISSA’ Murad and Özgür ‘w0xic’ Eker have been instrumental in the teams rise this year and Kirill ‘ANGE1’ Karasov has been credited with so much of the team’s success as the veteran in game leader - but ‘cliches begin with a boulder (of truth)’. It’s not so much that HellRaisers wouldn’t be as good with a better player in place of DeadFox, more that without DeadFox, they aren’t HellRaisers. He’s the cult figure of HellRaisers, the misunderstood protagonist of Hungary, the unsung hero of that team.
Not only that, but he’s a guy who comes up big when HR need him most. Any HR fan will tell you he seems to win clutches in OT more than anyone else on that team. It’s that feeling of hope, the intangible comfort feeling of seeing Deadfox - a man who has been on so many iterations of HR - in the line-up, and I think deep down we’d all really like to see the guy succeed.
The idea of team identity is somewhat alien in esports, but as someone who comes from traditional sports, it’s that that often defines a team and a fanbase. Cult worship is part and parcel of fandom - Liverpool fans love Mohamed Salah, the prolific goalscorer, the king of Egypt, and so forth, but not as much as they seem to love Andrew Robertson, the stone-faced engine that powers their left hand side from full-back. Everton have had some extremely good players down the years, but they famously loved Tony Hibbert, a less-talented trier, a unabashed work horse who famously never scored a goal despite the never-realised threat of Everton fans getting ‘on the pitch when Hibbert scores’.
Maybe comparing Deadfox to Tony Hibbert is a little unfair - he’s not totally unskilled and he certainly has his highlight plays. He’s a surprisingly good clutch player and a strong secondary AWPer (lest we forget he was the primary, before w0xic’s rise to power). But admiring Deadfox is about him being a cult figure - if I were a HR fan, I’d love Deadfox. He gives everything he has, plays the ‘despicable positions’, goes in first, and yes, goes negative a lot. He’d be a cult hero to me, the guy you want to succeed, the guy you want to win you the game with a sick ace even if it’s unlikely - because he’s Deadfox and he’s ‘Mr Hellraisers’. Being a cult figure isn’t about being the best - it’s about being loved.
That’s where Deadfox suffers - HR are not one of the most well-supported organisations in CS. When was the last time you said something bad about Deadfox and a HR fan came in to back him up? When Skadoodle was in the biggest slump of his career, he had C9 fans defending him in every corner; when FalleN drops off, even the mention of his name will have vaguely threatening Portuguese tweets clogging your twitter feed; hell, when aizy was in a slump he had me defending him.
Deadfox doesn’t have that. Nobody sticks up for Deadfox - except Deadfox himself. He’s not perfect, but it’s true that his stats take a hit from the fact he plays for his stars rather than himself. It’s amusing to watch him die with the bomb, or mess a round up when he shouldn’t, but he doesn’t seem to have a dedicated fanbase, the way he should.
He really does embody Hellraisers - he’s a long standing member of that team and it’s not despite him they’ve improved, it’s with him. For that, he commands at least a little bit of respect.
Without Deadfox there is HellRaisers, but it’s a HellRaisers with its soul ripped out.