In-conversation with Mr Giang 'Rambutan' Pham

Aditya Singh Rawat

16o, Jan, 2019

Welcome to the third episode of ‘MewMents with Catslayer’. 

It has been quite some time since the previous episode came out featuring an 'Interview with Team FrostFire' from Malaysia. This time around we got in touch with Mr Giang ‘Rambutan’ Pham, who is a senior player in Team Revolution from Vietnam.

I discussed with him the esports scene in Vietnam while addressing the problem that the team is currently facing, a lack of sponsorship to back them up with considerable funding so that the team can practice for their upcoming matches and also attend the upcoming WESG – World Finals to be held in Shanghai later this year.

We had quite a serious conversation which got Rambutan a little emotional as well. So, let’s get down it.

Q - When and How did 'Team Revolution' form? Is it your own initiative?

Team Revolution was initially called Team GameTV while having two small sponsors in the form of GameTV and Ultimate. On August 2018 their sponsorship contract with GameTV expired and at the same time Ngô ‘CrazyGuy’ Anh Công left the squad, officially joining Team nxl. 

The rest of the players stayed back as we picked up Tu?n ‘Jaybk’ Anh Tr??ng as the fifth player to complete our line-up. It was mutually decided that the team will be renamed to ‘Revolution’, as we wanted to make a CS:GO revolution in Vietnam.

Team Revolution

Q - Has the team ever been sponsored previously?

The team under the banner of ‘Revolution’ has never had any sponsors. But used to have sponsorship deals with two small companies, GameTV and Ultimate. 

Q - Are all the players full-time CS:GO players? If not, how do they manage to find the balance?

No, none of the players in the current line-up are full-time players. In all honesty, we want to play full-time but this is not possible because we don't have any sponsors or partners at the time.

We only manage to practice for around 4-5 hours every day, as the rest of the time goes working a full or a part-time job. If we want to continue playing, we need to have money and till the time we are not able to attract potential companies or organizations to fund us, we will have to continue this way. 

Q - How would you describe the Esports scene in Vietnam?

I would simply state that the Vietnam esport scene is quite strong. The best example for this are titles such as LOL, PUBG, & AOV, which are doing really well within the country. 

Talking about CS:GO, I would like to shed some light on a team called Skyred that had made quite an impact within Asia in 2015. They had quite an impressive line-up (CrazyGuy was a part of it as well) which gave other teams a bit of a scare as they defeated big teams like Tyloo, MVP Karnal and Team nxl. They had some quality sponsors like G2A and Azubu to provide them with financial support.

This shows that Vietnam has an abundance of talent while also having a strong audience to back them up, what lacks is the unavailability of local sponsors to provide them with a boost to participate in international events.

Q - How active is the local CS community in terms of events being conducted? How big are these events in terms of prize pool and sponsors?

Till now there has not been a lot taking place in Vietnam when it comes to local events. There are random occasional events that take place every year without there being an annual league or event as such. 

I think 2019 will be a great year for CS in Vietnam with ESL Vietnam set to arrive shortly followed by organizations like Vikings and 500Bros set to host a plethora of amateur, semi-pro and pro-local events. The prize pool is really low, usually around $1000 and it is uncertain whether this will go up or not.

Q - What is the current financial standing of the team? (Does the team operate from a gaming facility, everyone gets a consistent salary, etc)

As I stated earlier, we have no sponsorship or partners at the moment. So no budget to afford constant salaries or even rent out a place to practice. We all practice online from our own homes. 

Q - What has your personal experience to follow and play CS:GO been like so far?

I don't actually have a very dramatic backstory. Since I was young, I have had a liking towards fps games. Along the way I got introduced to CS:GO and since then there was no looking back. 

I have been playing professionally for about 7-8 years now, starting way back in the 1.6 era and am still grinding at it pretty hard. For me it is more than just a game, it has given me an identity, it is a part of me. 

Q - What transpired in the recently concluded Vietnam Pro League? Was the loss the reason behind the change in the line-up?

For us, it was nothing more than a practice tournament, so the loss was not a big deal. But after the tournament, I realized several problems occurring because of the two young players Differ3nt and Tal3nt. So we opted for a change and they were replaced by Hoàng ‘Hoag’ Hi?p ??, as the new IGL. I will now be shifting my role to that of a Lurker, which is also my favourite.

Q - What kind of sponsorship is the team looking for?

Our main goal is to partner up with an organization or find suitable sponsors that will represent us for the upcoming and future events. 

This is all that we could talk about in the short yet intense conversation that took place. But Rambutan has a small message for everyone supporting them and to potential sponsors. 

“Before going I would just like to say that, we will try our level best to make CS:GO Vietnam great again. Hope everyone supports and helps Vietnamese teams. We are giving it our best and will not fail to disappoint those who put their trust in us.” 

Guys apart from the interview I would also like to highlight that Team Revolution although from a small country, Vietnam, have proved their worth as an upcoming team in the Asian region. They qualified for ZOWIE eXTREMESLAND 2018 earlier last year and have also managed to qualify for the WESG – World Finals through the WESG – SEA Qualifier.

They are not able to find a local organization to sponsor them as the influx of esport has still not penetrated deep enough but if any other potential company or organization is reading this, at least reach out to them to access the situation.

You can connect with them via the following E-mail address [email protected] 

Until next time, this is Catslayer sighing off. Peace guys!

In case you missed out on the earlier episodes check them out now.