The Story Of Swanny - Europe's Forgotten Superstar
After beginning his rise to prominence on Call of Duty 4 in 2010, Callum "Swanny" Swan quickly earned a name for himself in the scene being picked up by once-prestigious organisation TCM gaming.
However, such was the nature of Call of Duty esports at the time, roster moves were almost inevitable after every event, leading to Swanny bouncing around multiple rosters throughout the MW2, Black Ops 2 and MW3 seasons, with his most notable success coming from finishing fourth at CoD XP 2011 and earning his share of the $100,000 that his team earned. At the time, this was an astounding amount of money for competitive Call of Duty, dwarfing all other prize pools, and was just a taste for Swanny of what was to come for him in the future.
The Turning Point
Heading into Black Ops 2, it was now widely recognised that Swanny was one of the best ARs Europe had to offer, consistently placing first at the EU event, Insomnia 48, whilst competing alongside Europe’s elite in players such as Gunshy, XLNC, and Tommey, all of whom are considered legends to EU fans. However, after playing with mainly UK players for most of the season, Swanny found himself in an unusual position leading into the biggest tournament of the year, Call of Duty Championship 2013. Having played the qualifier earlier in the year with an Italian roster, Swanny was forced to rejoin the roster for a one-off tournament with his team using Clayster in his place due to the majority of Unite Gaming being under the age limit of 18. Due to the obvious issues such as a lack of practice and the language barrier, expectations for the roster were basically non-existent.
As luck would have it Swanny would find himself placed in a group against his teammates and shockingly, mainly due to his insane performance, the majority Italian roster found themselves taking second place in the group and making it to the playoffs. Eventually, the team would finish eighth place taking home $25,000. Individually, many argue that this was Swanny’s best event of his career, achieving an unthinkable 1.48 K/D over 22 maps, the highest for any player making it out of groups.
A Rollercoaster of Results
Following COD Champs 2013, Swanny found himself in what would be the organisation he would spend the majority of his career with - Epsilon Esports.
After a couple of impressive second-place finishes towards the end of Black Ops 2, Epsilon found themselves as a clear top-two team in Europe alongside long-term rivals TCM Gaming. This would stay the same for most of the next year in COD: Ghosts. However, whilst regional success was easy to come by, international successes were few and far between. This clearly frustrated Swanny, as he was no longer happy being the big fish in a small pond. This inspired him to once again try his luck playing overseas, becoming the second European player to make the big leap and play for an NA team. Although this time he was not in luck.
Whilst his individual performances weren’t necessarily poor, his OpTic Nation team built with the intention of challenging for titles, instead found themselves always looking from the outside-in on the top-eight and the game’s elite. After a string of mediocre results and a rule change, Swanny jumped ship on the OpTic Nation project and once again rejoined Epsilon Esports, where he played with a string of different rosters for the org for the remainder of the Advanced Warfare season.
Black ops 3
Finally, heading into the newly reformed regionalised CWL for the Black Ops 3 season, Swanny finally found himself on what many considered the best EU team of all time, Millenium. The roster featured former teammates Madcat and Tommey, alongside SMG all-star Jurd. Millenium spent the season as the clear number-one team in Europe placing first in both the EU CWL playoffs season 1 and 2 and earning the #1 seed from Europe for the years Call of Duty Champs
Finally, fans were excited to potentially see Swanny and the EU juggernaut challenge for the title. Then it happened….out of nowhere it was announced just before the biggest tournament of the year that Swanny was stepping down from the roster for apparent health issues, however, many rumours suggested that this may have not been the case. This came as a major shock in the scene, with many left to wonder 'what could’ve been' for the Millenium roster?
After teasing potential returns in recent years, playing some online tournaments at the beginning of game cycles, his ever-anticipated return has never happened and looks increasingly likely that it never will.
Tragically, new fans to the game will never have experienced the prime years of Swanny’s career and will likely never see him compete again. The story of Swanny started off as one of immense potential and ended as a big 'what if?'
What would have happened had he played at CoD champs? What was the real reason he retired to never play again? Unfortunately, these questions are unlikely to ever be answered, which is where the story of Swanny ends, as one of CoD’s finest players, who left the game in his prime.
Images via Activision | Epsilon | Millenium