The first of the five regional events for ZOWIE eXTREMESLAND CS:GO Festival 2020 came to an end a few days back on 20th December with the Australian esports organization VERTEX Esports Club becoming the Oceania region champions.
We got an opportunity to engage with the champions from the land down under as we spoke about their journey through the tournament, the challenges they faced, and what lies ahead for them in 2021.
Interview With VERTEX Esports Club
Q. How about you introduce yourself to everyone?
Hello! We are a relatively new team formed by friends, with the goal to become one of the best teams in the Oceania region (OCE). We put lots of emphasis on the environment of the team and ensuring everyone is happy in the team environment.
In the team we have Toby 'Brace' Barnes who is the IGL (in-game leader) for us, he makes the calls for the team primarily. Then we have the primary AWPer of the team Jordan 'Pz' White. Benny 'Tensai' Phan is a rifler/rotator for the team. Christian 'Addict' Pendleton is a rifler/anchor for the team. Lastly, I am James 'Roflko' Lytras another rifle/anchor for the team .
We represent 'Vertex' an organization based in Australia. They place emphasis on content creation and competitive play. Their values include respect, integrity and honesty, an organization we couldn't be happier to represent.
Q. How would you guys describe your journey through the tournament?
We began the tournament as direct invites, which always helps as the open qualifiers for events in Australia can be extremely stressful, cause they are usually single elimination best of ones, where anything can happen really.
We played our first two games of the tournament with a substitute Kaylyn 'kayoh' Tran who brought great vibes and game play to the team. We really appreciate him stepping-in when we needed him and performing to a high level. Our journey wasn't too stressful we had a couple of close games but once our backs were against the wall we seemed to close them out with confidence. The vibes and the energy within the team was positive and high so there was always a chance for a solid comeback even when we lost out the first halves.
Q. What was your best player or team moment from the tournament?
One of the highlights from the tournament was Pz and Addicts 'A-Site' hold as CTs on Overpass. It is always super enjoyable watching them play off each other on that site and they both put up large and crucial numbers which enabled us all to play with confidence and close out all our overpass games in the tournament. Another highlight was Kayoh's spray transfer to close out overpass '16-14' against R!OT.
Q. How important do you think such regional tournaments are for the Oceania region?
We all believe that regional tournaments such as 'ZOWIE eXTREMESLAND' are very important for the Oceania region. As they give young new teams outside of the top four a chance to perform and show teams in the region what they are capable of. As many events are invite-only or only one spot can qualify to the main event through the qualifiers, therefore many teams with lots of potential don't make deep runs in open qualifiers. So these events are always a pleasure to watch and play in
Q. Apart from ZOWIE eXTREMESLAND 2020 what other big CS:GO tournaments took place in Oceania?
A notable one for us was IEM Beijing 2020 that took place a couple of months ago, where we were lucky enough to play against the best teams in Australia. ESL ANZ Championship has always been a very well run and prestigious tournament in OCE which gives teams a chance to play against some of the best teams from the region, through open qualifiers for the main event. IEM Melbourne was suppose to run this year however due to COVID it did not, which is a shame as it always delivers to be one of the best events in OCE.
Q. Which team was the toughest to beat this tournament and why?
Bizarre was probably the toughest team to play against in this tournament. Mainly due to there individually aggressive plays that they make, as they can be quite unpredictable resulting in deaths you wouldn't usually expect. That being said we were not afraid to faceoff against them in the finals as we were prepared for the aggression we know they like to have.
Q. What are your takeaways from this tournament?
We are all on player break now so we pretty much just played this tournament and tried to have some fun and keep the vibes high. The main takeaway would be to ensure we always try to play cohesive counterstrike as a team. As we focus on playing percentage CS:GO rather then a more gambly style, we know other teams tend to move towards. As our focus in this tournament and all the other tournament that we play in is to be consistent as a team.
Q. Tell us a bit about the CS:GO scene both casual and competitive in the land down under.
The CS GO scene in OCE casually is pretty laid back as you would expect people to play matchmaking/FACEIT and just grind through the ranks. Competitively the CS:GO scene in OCE is quite behind other regions, mainly due to the constant roster moves/teams dying every season, due to various reasons.
This band aide approach of always disbanding/kicking players never fixes the actual issues that are riddled within the teams. However there are still some very solid teams in OCE such as ORDER who have held the same roster for some time and continue to improve greatly with every event they play. And Renegades who dominate OCE competitive Counter-Strike, they are a league above the competitive scene in OCE and are something special to watch.
Q. Have you travelled internationally for any CS:GO tournament so far? If not, where would you like to travel to for a CS:GO tournament?
I and my teammates have not travelled internationally for playing a CS:GO tournament. However, it is something we would all love to do. I believe Sweden would be a beautiful place to travel for a CSGO event. However, we would be extremely grateful to play at any international event.
Q. How does it feel to be the Oceania regional champions and where does the team go from here on?
It feels very good to have won this event, it's a shame we didn't get to go up against some of the higher up teams (Top 3 - We are better than the Chiefs, tactically, individually, spiritually and mentally) such as Avant, ORDER or Renegades.
However, it was still a solid run from the boys and we are all happy with how we performed. We plan to enjoy our player break then come back strong for next season. Our goals are to push these top four teams in OCE CS:GO and really do damage this upcoming season.
It was great having a chat with all the VERTEX ESC players who are the Oceania champions for the 2020 season of ZOWIE eXTREMESLAND. With four more regions still left to be played out the competition is just getting started.