Making mature decisions
When you compare the South African esports scene to some of the more established ones around the world, we’re still relatively young. But now the local scene is entering a more mature phase – where more mature decisions need to be made. And Ashton ‘Golz’ Muller has made one of the most mature decisions a person can make. He’s retiring.
Not from playing video games (GLHF: He’s getting old, he ain’t senile.), just from playing Counter-Strike competitively. So, why’s he decided that now is the time to call GG? Is it because he just doesn’t understand kids these days? Or he’s taken one too many flashbangs to the face? Nope and nope. Once again, he’s being mature.
“Comic Con was one of the last big competitive esports LAN events for the year, so it felt fitting for an exit. I have thought about taking a step back for some time now, to be able to put all the focus I can behind the scenes in terms of the organisation. I want to put together a powerful squad of players, across multiple titles, to represent Goliath Gaming at the highest level possible – with their goals in mind. And this demands my full-time attention.
It’s been a wild ten years, if you think about where we actually are now as a scene. We have seen all kinds of extremes recently, both high and low, but I think the next few years are going to be the most exciting, so I would rather think about how best I can contribute to the next five. I definitely see things changing for the better going forward, and one thing that can be noted, I think, is that the scene in general has matured over the last ten years, and tended towards becoming more professional on all levels – players, MGOs, tournament organisers, etc.”
Didn’t we tell you we were more mature?
Playing it forward
“The entire reason I got into this scene, on this level, was because of how much I enjoyed it as a player. Awesome MGOs have taken care of me and helped me reach my respective goals as a player whenever possible. I want to be a part of that for future teams of Goliath Gaming.
Regular tournaments and good MGOs are the best thing for the players right now. The more they succeed, the more the players will succeed. This starts with how the MGOs and competitions on that level are starting to really take shape on a brand level. It’s awesome to see full stands of fans at big events, but, more noticeably, we are finally starting to have some consistent tournaments both online and offline, which really goes a long way for all the brands involved. And that ultimately creates a platform for players to succeed.
I think everybody needs to just try get as many eyes, ears and fingers to be talking, watching and supporting esports and the industry in its entirety.”
Golz has benefited immensely from the MGOs that have helped guide and shape his career. It’s incredibly admirable, some would say mature, that he now wants to return the favour to the next generation of players.
With ten years experience carting his PC around South Africa, we thought Golz might have some insight into what the scene needs most right now. He did. And it involved more carting of PCs around South Africa. (GLHF: Although, ideally tournament organisers will provide those. Otherwise, insert gaming laptop sponsor here.)
“LANs – We don’t have enough LANs.
I’m not talking about the fancy one million rand events, im talking about 32 teams playing in a tournament and aspiring players getting the chance to play against the highest calibre in the country. The chance that one of the best teams watches you clutch a round, or better, you clutch a round against them and make a name.
It’s obviously money and return on investment and all that jazz, but if I could snap my fingers once every three months, all the CS players in the country would gather together for some massive tournament where everybody gets to play and its viable, and enjoyable for all involved.”
That sounds like heaven. If snapping your fingers isn’t working, maybe try clicking your heels together? Like three times.
Golz’s memory palace
In his time as a player Golz has had some ups and downs, just like everyone ever, but he’s been fortunate to have some incredibly high ups during his career. But what’s his most memorable moment of all?
“Taking a map off of LDLC in front of their home crowd in Paris (ESWC, 2016) was quite an insane experience, considering how many people were watching us on stage. You could not hear a thing, but you could FEEL the vibrations of the crowd as clutches unfolded in the round.
But as a highlight, I think it must be where we took nine rounds in a row against Na`Vi at ESWC in 2014. After a really tough tournament, in our last match, we were 14-1 down at the half on Nuke. We managed to actually win nine rounds in a row. It felt pretty epic with all things considered.”
Golz even dug around and found the video from the game for your viewing pleasure. We say dug around, but we suspect he has it playing on loop at all Goliath Gaming get togethers. And now he gets to say things like, “Back in my day…” to the Goliath Gaming youngsters.
And locally, what was his favourite event of all time? Well, the last ten years.
“The Samsung Galaxy Mettlestate Tournament was the best just simply because it was the closest to a top tier international event (from my experience) that I had competed in locally as a player.
I felt all aspects of this tournament were really well organised. The production was professional, the players were comfortable and the calibre of CS matched the above and it made for a really memorable event.”
Taking a step back from something he’s been so heavily involved in for such a large portion of his life is undoubtedly going to leave Golz feeling nostalgic. But what’s he going to miss the most?
“That raw intense feeling of competing to be the best in that moment, in that round, in that match, in front of that crowd to win that tournament, to be the best. That’s why we are all here, and I’m definitely going to do my best to facilitate those experiences with every team that I work with going forward.”
To compare that feeling to something more realistic for us and our fellow plebs: That feeling of being above average for one moment, in one match, in front of…er…your pet or cactus to win a game and be not terrible.
The Golzen Boys
Now on to our favourite segment of this article: Who Golz has enjoyed playing with the most throughout his career. He’s had had the good fortune to play with some of the best Counter-Strike players South Africa has to offer, but a few have stood out in even that illustrious company.
“That’s a tough question – but I am happy you asked. There are so many qualities I’ve admired in players over the years so I’d have to give it in categories to make it easier.
1. Coach/Doctor/Support (Because there’s only ever been one.)
It was shocking how many map vetoes he got right, and how many times he predicted anti-eco rounds. T.C is just simply one of the smartest individuals I have had the pleasure of knowing and when it’s applied to CS, he becomes an unrivalled strength for any team.
Sonic and blackpoisoN.
On a mechanical level, against international competition, I had never watched anybody delete professionals off a server quite like these beasts did at WESG and ESEA MDL in 2016 – really insane talent at the game – enough said.
Detrony and zerOchaNce.
Iconic rival captains throughout the CSGO early years and I had the pleasure of working alongside them both.
zerOchaNce – The only guy that could make five people believe without a shadow of a doubt that anything is possible just from the raw fire in his eyes for CS, but most importantly, how much belief he placed in his teammates. And how much that belief filters through in and among the team. It allowed for some of the best performances from all of his players throughout the years.
Detrony was the strongest leadership figure I had ever came across in my career and always put everything into the team. Nothing else mattered outside of it and he consistently lead by example in doing whatever it took to improve in practise. And lead by an even stronger example on the main stages and big matches.
4. The “Sonic” Category
Sonic & massacRe.
Sonic gets his own category as he really has shown for quite a while that he is, somewhat, in a league of his own. I was very lucky to work with Aran in his early years and he has grown as a person from strength to strength and that also echos through in his CS. It was always a safe call to say he was going to be the prodigy of SA and considering how far he has come, I still place high bets on the fact that he will win major tournaments, it’s just a matter of when.
Another player to fall under the “Sonic” category is somebody that I personally feel is on a similar trajectory to Aran, and that is massacRe. I really look forward to working with him for years to come.
5. Favourite Teammate
The most consistent, the most well-rounded and versatile player, in combination with being one of the most genuine gents on the planet. From calling, to communication, practices and performance, I honestly cannot think of a better teammate. Anybody that knows me, or has asked that question before, can tell you that my answer has always been the same throughout my career. With it coming to an end, it still remains without a shadow of doubt in my mind, the best teammate I have played with is Ruan ‘Elusive’ van Wyk.”
If anyone ever tries to tell you that gaming is anti-social, you just point them to this article and let them read about Golz’s bromance with Elusive. Also tell them the ‘90s called and want their lame stereotypes back.
This is the kind of article you never want to end, as you can see from the extremely long length that we made it, because once it’s over, then it’s over. And it’s always sad when things come to an end, particularly a long, illustrious career like Ashton ‘Golz’ Muller’s. But in the immortal words of Semisonic, “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.”
Golz starts a new beginning as he steps more into the running of Goliath Gaming and mentoring younger players in various stages of their esports stories. And no doubt there are many new beginnings for the young players hoping to follow in the digital footsteps of the likes of Golz, who had some advice that might help with that.
“The best advice I can give is just try and compete as much as possible in all available tournaments, engage with the community and put in the effort to improve and anybody can be there on that stage competing with the best. But also make sure that you find a balance with your time, be it with the way you practise or watching professional players and actually just playing the game, as well as school and other aspects. It’s key.”
Oh, and he’ll be writing an autobiography, obviously (GLHF: Or he can just use this if he wants. It’s probably long enough.). Well, we forced him to try come up for a title for one at least.
“I definitely need to read a few more books before I am ready to write my own. But hell, I’ll take a stab at it: ‘Golz – 20k Hours down, 20k to go!’ or ‘Golz on esports – A David and Goliath story.’”
Okay, maybe not just yet.
Golz might be retiring from competitive Counter-Strike, but it’s not game over for him. More, the start of round two. Hopefully it’s as successful as round one.