We first chatted to Pulse Gaming more than a year ago after they picked up a very promising CS:GO team in the form of SSG ShocK. They’d just placed second in the Telkom DGL Pre-Season Cup and had set their sites on the Masters teams.
Fast forward one year and four months and they’re a VS Gaming Masters Multi-Gaming Organisation sporting (GLHF: Or should we say esporting?) a completely different CS:GO line-up that just won the Mettlestate Matrix Maverick Challenge.
We suspected that a team as well established as Pulse would be a strong contender in an amateur competition and they didn’t disappoint, taking down Pixel Hunters in the final with a dominant 3-0 victory.
After the event we started asking ourselves what separates the top teams in South Africa from the amateur teams and whether or not the difference is insurmountable. We very quickly realised we didn’t have the answers, so we turned to a far more reputable source, Pulse Gaming’s Sharon ‘ShazZ’ Waison.
“There is definitely a big gap between the top teams and amateur teams.
I think any team can close the gap, any team can become a top team, it’s just about putting in the time and practice. The problem with the CS:GO scene in South Africa is that people always jump ship when a team is going through a slump or results are not being made, instead of working out the kinks and fixing the problems as a team and progressing as a team.
As a player you always want to be the best and play with the best, but unfortunately it doesn’t get handed to you on a silver platter. You have to work for it.
The mentality of ‘it’s always greener on the other side’ breaks up a lot of teams. This is why teams like BVD, eN, and DC are still considered top teams, as they keep the same line-up until they get to the stage where they only make changes if they have to.”
This raised an interesting question for us: Are players in lower tier teams trying to reach the top with their team or are they just waiting for a better team to come along and sign them up? It’s a question of loyalty and your investment as a player in your team or MGO. We’ve seen so many teams in the local scene begin climbing the ranks, but never quite make it because a top player or two have left for the aforementioned greener pastures.
That’s where an MGO like Sinister 5 has done so well. They wanted to be a top tier team, so they behaved like one long before anyone took them seriously. And they expected their players to behave like professionals even though they were still amateurs. It was a two way street and everyone involved was committed to the cause. Now their Dota side is one of the best in the country. Obviously with Sinister 5 it helped that they paid their players. It helped a lot. Can’t stress that enough.
Moral of the story: If you give people money, they will do anything you want.
Just kidding. Kind of. But MGO’s should seriously consider trying to get their players some sort of financial compensation. Even a nominal amount will change the mindset of players and prevent the greener pastures effect.
Amateur events, or as Mettlestate dubbed their Matrix Maverick Challenge, ‘Road to Pro’ events are an essential building block of the local esports ecosystem, helping teams make the leap from amatuer to semi-professional and, hopefully one day, professional.
To treat amateur players like they’re professionals and give them a taste of what it will be like if they ever get to that level is invaluable to their mentality and confidence. ShazZ sums it up perfectly.
“I think events like the Matrix Maverick Challenge are important as they help grow the community and also motivate players and teams to better themselves to compete in the bigger tournaments.”
Pulse Gaming now automatically qualify for the next Mettlestate CS:GO event, which tells us that there is definitely going to be a next event. Naturally, we tried to pry some details out of ShazZ. But alas, she had none.
“But I’m very excited for the next Mettlestate CS:GO event, they never disappoint. 🙂 ”
That optimism and smiley face does nothing to ease the crushing disappointment we feel about not getting a tasty scoop for our loyal readers. But we’ll bravely soldier on, because we’re professionals.
Google tells us that in Israel, Sharon (GLHF: ShazZ’s IRL name. We mentioned this at the top.) is still used as a man’s name, so if you have some Israeli blood in you we’ll forgive you for reading this entire article and thinking she was a guy. She might not forgive you though.
Inevitably we asked ShazZ about her experience playing in mixed teams. Her answer was pleasantly unexpected.
“I’ve been playing in mixed teams for about 10 years now, so for me it’s kind of normal in a sense. It was more weird for me playing in an all-female team when I went overseas 😛
At the end of the day we are all gamers. Whether you are a girl or a guy shouldn’t affect the way you play a game.”
Words to live by. Or to kill by. Depends on the game you’re playing.