When the Souzern Lions League (GLHF: Technically there’s more than one league, but we’ll get to that in a sec.) was first announced, it promised to “help ensure competitive esports in South Africa grows and attains success”, a goal even a passing fan of esports can get behind.
The idea was to host multiple concurrent CS:GO leagues over month-long seasons that grouped players of similar skill levels with each other, incentivising them to play, win prizes, and get promoted through the leagues as the seasons passed. Currently in Season 3, there are four different leagues on the go: Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Pro; with players able to move from Bronze all the way up to the Pro League, where they can win real world cash dollar dollar.
We spoke to one such player who has worked his way up through the ranks, Calvin ‘Enigma_X’ Pedersen, on his experience of operating within the Souzern Lions League(s), and what he feels makes it stand out from other hosted leagues.
“I think the best thing Souzern Lions offers compared to other outfits is a very good progression system, which forces people to play for the win in every game, and not just attempt to pad their stats, like their kill-death ratio.”
Enigma_X recently earned a spot in the Souzern Lions Pro League when he topped the Gold League Season 2 leaderboard during the month of July, where he won 59 of the 97 matches he played and came out a massive 95 points ahead of second place (GLHF: For some much-needed context, that’s 7 wins, at 14 points a win.).
“The leap from Gold League to Pro League is a big one when looking at all the players’ understanding of the game, and their individual skill. I do think it will take some time for me to get used to this level of CS.”
What Enigma didn’t mention is that he’s currently sitting pretty in 4th place (out of 42) in the Pro League, and the season is already halfway through. Maybe when he said “take some time”, he meant, like, a day or two.
Not only is he now duking it out in the Pro League, he began his journey in Season 1 of the Silver League, and fought his way through to Gold League status by earning enough points to top the leaderboard. So it’s safe to say he knows a fair bit about how to keep movin’ on up.
“The best advice I can give to players wanting to get promoted is to accept all criticism towards them, and look past how they are criticised.
Putting in as much effort as possible is another thing people should be doing, because you get out what you put in.”
If you want to be a professional, semi-professional, or even mildly-serious gamer in South Africa, you need to be good at digging for the value in criticism (GLHF: And perhaps digging really, really deep.). A quick look at certain posts in some local Facebook groups dedicated to big-name games like Dota or CS:GO can reveal just how toxic the communities can be at times. A thick skin and a keen eye for the nugget of truth in a few harsh words will be your closest allies.
That second point is something we often raise, the issue of commitment. Whether it’s time in the game, watching videos with the pros, or doing some weird finger exercises to improve your stamina and reflexes (GLHF: We totally don’t do those, we swear.), you have to put in the effort. In esports, like in life, what you put in really is what you get out.
Even shroud, when asked on stream how he’s so good at games, said that it’s because all he does is game. It’s what he does for work and it’s what he does for fun. The amount of time he’s put into honing his craft is insane. And, therefore, he’s insane at gaming.
But it’s not all about progressing to the top echelons of the League. There’s still a ton of value to be gained from signing up and battling in the Gold, Silver, Bronze and even Casual Matchmaking leagues.
“Lower league players get to play on what I believe are the best CS:GO servers in the country, and on top of that they get to play knowing that they can progress to the point of playing with the best players in the country.
It’s super easy to get started in the leagues, and the price of a one-month subscription is only R60.”
We started off this article by talking about Souzern Lions’ big, shiny, audacious goal of growing South African esports. So, let’s wrap this up by hearing, from the player’s mouth, just how well they’ve done so far at achieving that target.
“I do believe Souzern Lions has helped and will continue to help with the growth of the South African competitive esports scene. My experience with the League has been positive overall, and it’s given me the motivation I needed to progress as a Counter-Strike player.”
You’ve made it through the whole article saying Souzern Lions in your head – with a z. But how would you actually say it out loud? According to the organisation, it’s pronounced “Southern Lions”. But we’re proud Capetonians who love our taxi guardjies, so it’s definitely “Suzzern”.
If you’re keen to start building your CS:GO esports career, or you just want a little bit of competition in your life, go sign up for the Souzern Lions League here.
[Featured image borrowed from the Souzern Lions Twitter profile.]