Optic Nadeshot: The Inspiring Story of a Gaming Entrepreneur

ESPORTSREPORTER.COM / FRANK FILIPPAZZO – STAFF WRITER / JULY 29TH, 2021 /

*Disclaimer: The thumbnail is an edited photo that Nadeshot posted to his own Twitter account*

Success is not final; failure is not fatal; it is the thrive to continue what matters. This motto of perseverance has been embedded in the DNA of every entrepreneur who has ever existed. Nobody knows this better than the self-made gaming entrepreneur Matthew “NadeShot” Haag.

Nadeshot is one of the greatest well-recognized competitive players of Call of Duty, but it was not always so. From his humble beginnings as an average gamer, nobody knew who he was or what kind of gamer he would turn out to be, not even his parents. Ironically Nadeshot’s first gaming experience was with Call of Duty 2. After playing for a short time, he got frustrated and gave up on it. Fortunately, the future owner of Thieves 100 could not stay away from the COD world for long.

Like most utmost triumphant entrepreneurs, Matthew Haag’s story starts from the bottom, eventually miraculously leading to the top. When he was fifteen, his mom made him get a job at McDonald’s, fearing that he was playing too many video games. Nadeshot managed to juggle a job, school while also playing video games full-time. Personal tragedies make him empathetic and serve as a beacon of inspiration for other gamers to look up to. 

Nadeshot’s Gamertag derives from “Grenade shot,” a Halo term when a player would throw a grenade and finish them off with a gunshot. Before COD he would play first-person shooter Halo 2, and third-person shooter Gears of War, where he competed in a Chicago tournament in 2007. In 2008 he entered his first Call of Duty tournament. Nadeshot’s life changed when he joined Optic Gaming in 2010 and met his future mentor and lifelong friend, Optic Hecz.

The Mentor

We all need a mentor, somebody who just seems to have all the right answers and guides us in the right direction. For Nadeshot, that mentor was Optic Hecz, the founder of the Optic Gaming clan, who took a liking to Nadeshot and saw the potential he had to offer. Optic Hecz was not a major league gamer, he could barely pick up a controller, but what he did have was a strong business mindset that led Optic Gaming to international stardom.

2011 was a prosperous year for the young Nadeshot. He quit his job at McDonald’s and competed in many tournaments. He competed with Optic Nation at MLG Columbus and with Envy at MLG Anaheim but never won first. His first major win that solidified his career was at COD XP 2011, Activision’s first annual Call of Duty gaming competition. Along with Optic Gaming, Nadeshot won the first-place prize of 400,000 dollars.

After not doing as well as before Nadeshot was pushed to the side lines, but his old friend Optic Hecz would create a secondary team Optic Nation for Nadeshot to lead. When Call of Duty Ghost came out In 2014 he became a team captain.

After a seventh-place finish at the 2015 Call of Duty Championship tournament. Optic fans turned against him with hate making him step down from Optic Gaming. The same fans who praised and supported him turned their backs on him in the blink of an eye.

100 Thieves

After Optic Gaming, Matthew would do what any good entrepreneur would do, continue pursuing his dream. This setback would not hold him back. It would only propel him forward toward his next endeavor in starting his gaming team, 100 Thieves.

Luck struck in November 2017 when 100 Thieves received a multimillion-dollar investment by Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert. This new transaction meant Gilbert was now a co-founder of 100 Thieves. 

Nadeshot worked hard to build up the team’s reputation on YouTube as well as the competitive arena. The team would make revenue from selling merchandise apparel, sponsorships, competitive gaming tournaments, and YouTube. Although they started as a call of duty team, they have expanded their roster to Fortnite Battle Royale, League of Legends, and Valorant.

Youtube Branding

One thing Hecz instilled in Nadeshot was the belief you don’t have to win every tournament to be a successful gamer. You can be successful by growing an audience on YouTube. Optic Gaming would always post Call of Duty gameplay footage which inspired Nadeshot to grow a gaming channel. Optic Gaming was well known for publishing online content to get audiences to grow, Nadeshot took this right out of their playbook for his own YouTube channel.

Conclusion

Matthew went from being a fry cook to a team manager to a co-owner to a gaming entrepreneur in such a relatively short time. His COD team, 100 Thieves was a testament to see if he could live up in the competitive gaming arena. Although his mother passed away when he was just starting to see success, she would’ve been proud. 

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