The Middle-East Qualifier for ZOWIE eXTREMESLAND 2019 came to an end with Demise securing their slot for the main event, to be held in Shanghai.
Demise hails from Turkey and has experience playing in the EU region, making the team a major contender this year. In an attempt to know more about the squad AFK Gaming spoke with Beyazit "beyAz" Körpe - IGL, Canpolat "hardstyle" Yildiran - Coach, and Engin "ngiN" Kor - AWPer/Rifler.
The conversation that followed talks about their experience playing in the EU and Middle East regions, who they are, what to expect from them in Shanghai and more.
Hello everyone! Thank you all for joining us. Tell us how about your experience here at the Extremesland 2019 Middle East qualifier.
beyAz - Hello everyone! It felt really good to be here, everything from the staff to the PCs provided, match admins present, and the venue itself are all top-notch. Our journey has been quite pleasant and we are really happy to have qualified for the main event. Honestly, the first day was a little bit difficult because we had to wait for a bit as only ten PCs were available but otherwise, everything was perfect and the PCs were smooth as well. We hope to come again here for other qualifiers and events.
Was this your first time playing in the Middle-East region or have you played other tournaments here before?
ngiN - Paz, hardstyle and I have played before in the Middle-East region, but it was the first time for beyAz. We certainly felt confident coming into the qualifier, but never did we underestimate any of the other teams. We played against everyone with respect, and gave our best in each and every game we played, not slacking off even once by thinking "this team is easy to defeat".
NgiN sharing his thoughts during the interview
What did you expect the competition would be like out here? Did the teams stand up to your expectations?
ngiN - We didn’t have any expectations or such because we didn’t know anything about the teams that we were competing against in the qualifier. Most of the times were playing in the EU region, competing against teams from that region, so we had no idea of what to expect in the Middle East qualifier. We came here with a set mind to just play our own game and utilise the strategies that we normally practice, adapting a little bit as we observe the other teams.
One thing that I noticed is that these players have great mechanical skills but they lack experience.
How do you as an IGL handle high-pressure situations?
beyaZ - Whenever we face a pressure situation the very first thing that I do is calm the team down and then immediately bring down the pace of the game, slowing it all down in a bid to understand what the opposition is up to. Finally, I try to come up with a counter strat by micromanaging the actions of each player. Sometimes it works out and other times it doesn’t, but I keep learning from each attempt so that I don’t repeat the same mistakes if I face a similar situation in the future.
Are you the one always calling the plays or does everyone have the freedom to call what needs to be done?
beyaZ - Suppose we are playing T-side and one of us sees a gap, then they pass that information onto me, I think about all the possible plays that we can run, along with the counters that they can hit us with. After I have analyzed the situation I give my call, but this is not always the case.
For example, if at the beginning of the round there is no call and we have very limited information on the enemy, then anyone is free to give a call in order to pull out some information. After provoking a reaction from the opposition, the players pass on all the information that they can gather to me and then we repeat the process of me analyzing the situation and giving a call.
Have you faced any SEA or Asian teams before in any tournament?
beyaZ - We haven’t faced any teams from those regions but yes, we do know about Tyloo and know for a fact that they are a strong team. They play really well, but recently they underwent a few changes in their roster and have hit a bit of a rough patch. Hopefully, we can use this to our advantage. But I can say this with confidence that we are not scared of Tyloo or any other team that we will be facing in Shanghai and if we stick to our game we can definitely knock them down.
Do you have any particular game plan or strategy for use in China?
hardstyle - For Shanghai, we will first have to see the teams who will be qualifying for the event and then watch their demos to learn their play style. But mostly, we will stick to what we know, while trying to force them to bend to our game plan. That is it, keep it simple and let’s see what happens there.
Hardstyle - The man who comes up with the strategies
Can you tell us a bit more about Demise as an organization?
hardstyle - Demise is an esports organisation based out of London, UK and we have three board members. We are working remotely right now with our bootcamp back home in Turkey. We signed an agreement with Demise to represent them with our CS:GO roster. The org has teams in other esport titles as well and also operate a full CS:GO Female roster.
It is not a very big organization for now but is expanding to other titles. With time it will become bigger, as we don’t have many esport organizations from the UK and Demise seems to be on the right track. It is good to have them on our side and we are thankful to them for trusting us. So far, we have been doing a fabulous job working together.
What does the future look like for the squad?
hardstyle - For now, we are not thinking much about the future and are only concentrating on winning as many tournaments as we can. Of course, there will be a time when we will be looking to re-evaluate things but the day to settle those things is still a good distance away.
Factors like how well we have managed ourselves during these times, how successful has the roster been, how far could we reach with this line-up, are all things that need to be looked upon, and for that, it is necessary to be consistent, which is what we are concentrating on at the moment. We are trying to play good Counter-Strike and climb to the highest level of the competitive circuit, and as far as I can tell we are doing well together.
What are the key differences that you have noticed between the European and Middle-East regions?
hardstyle - The playstyle over here is completely different than what one can observe back in Europe. Over there, we have more structure in the competitive scene, so an upcoming player learns the game step-by-step in a proper manner as he climbs up the ladder. But here like beyaZ said, the ME players are mechanically skilled but lack in experience, making it easier to read and predict their game plans.
I am sure that with time they will improve but they need more experience and for that, they need to find a way to break out of the region and practice with teams from other regions. CS is not just a game where learning to know how to shoot is enough. From my point of view, it is like a game of chess, where one side makes a move and then the other team reads it, analyzes the move, thinks about all the options they have to counter it, and then make their move.
You have to play with logic, a solid game plan, and those are the things the ME teams are lacking as of now. My answer is based on just this one tournament because I haven’t seen or followed these teams before this event.
The teams we faced in this qualifier lack in terms of having a proper structure, a solid gameplan, prepared strategies, and relied on reaction-based gameplay, which is not enough at a high level.
Demise - The winners of ZOWIE eXTREMESLAND 2019 - Middle-East Qualifier
What kind of playstyle does Demise follow?
hardstyle - For now we are trying to build our own structured game. We are trying to create our own strategies and executes because most of the tactics that are followed by bigger teams have been broken down enough and are available on YouTube, rendering them useless against experienced teams.
The beauty lies in adapting those tactics and bending them to suit your playstyle, because you have a different set of players with a varied skillset, so you have to understand how you can modify a tactic according to your team's capabilities. You have to put your players in specific positions and see how it works for you.
As feedback I would like to point this out for the less experienced teams, they just find a tactic that runs perfectly for them in one game or tournament and then they keep running it in a continuous loop over and over again in every game, which is not ideal. Instead, they need to see the positives and negatives in running that strat and keep modifying it according to different situations and needs.
This is exactly what we are doing at the moment, we are not copying tactics or executes but are trying to understand them and then rework them all according to our capabilities and playing style.
With this, our conversation came to an end, as they seemed to be quite confident about how they will perform in Shanghai. Demise and YaLLa esports have both qualified for the ZOWIE eXTREMESLAND CS:GO Asia 2019 main event via the Middle East qualifiers. They will be flying to Shanghai, China to compete against 14 other teams for a total prize pool of USD 100,000.
For more information about the tournament, click HERE.