Interview : Zaaz


I am here with zAAz from Team Secret who just won the ESWC 2016 Women CS:GO tournament. First of all, congratulations for your title! You had quite a flawless run throughout the tournament up until the finals. Were you expecting your run to be that dominant, coming into the event?

I mean, we were so confident when we came in the tournament. We all expected it to be… hmm I don’t want to say easy, but rather fast matches and with great confidence. Yeah, we did.

You were pitted against Selfless in the finals, a team that you already encountered and beat convincingly in the group stage. Then, on Overpass, they managed to actually win the map. Was that an unexpected map loss, or did you thought about this possibility?

No. We were actually expecting them to choose Overpass against us, to be honest. I know that all teams are aware that we haven’t been practicing Overpass that much, and they know it’s a pretty weak map for us compared to the other maps, on which we are very strong in comparison. And we didn’t have that much time to practice Overpass. I think we just played that map five or six times, and that’s it. We didn’t have time because we were practicing so many other different maps, so I wasn’t surprised that they took this one. But after this map, I was a hundred percent sure that we were going to win Train, because it’s really one of our strongest maps.

Following up on that, you’ve been pretty dominant on LAN this year and very rarely dropped maps. When you lost Overpass, you went backstage looking quite upset, but then managed to come back and play Train with a very strong performance. How did you reset your mindset and went into the next map like that?

We went in, and I just told everyone like, “Ok, fuck this map, this is not our map”. And that’s it. We weren’t surprised that they won of course, but we just talked about Train and were a hundred percent confident that we would take it. That we would have it. And we just went in and.. yeah, won.

Coming into this tournament, you had a couple tournament where you fell to Reason Gaming, when they still had Ant1ka. And now you’ve picked Ant1ka, and she’s been tearing it during this tournament, playing very well. Did you think about sniping Reason Gaming somehow with that move, or did you just pick her up without any thought about that ?

I have been watching Ant1ka for a while, like for some months, to be honest. And I always thought about having her in my team, And for a moment we agreed on changing one player. We all thought about Ant1ka, and, hmm, I don’t really know what to say, we’re all so happy to have her in the team because she’s doing great.

Let’s move on to the team itself. You’ve been competing in a few tournaments that aren’t in the women’s circuit, like Operation Kinguin #3, Global Grand Masters, or Hitbox Challenger Cup #2. Unfortunately you didn’t have much success during these tournaments. Are you working on something to start getting an edge in these tournaments, to climb the next step?

Right now we’re just thinking about doing it because, I mean, we really want to be the only female team in the world that does that. But it’s not that easy, it’s difficult because there’s so many players that are so so good, I mean male players. We learned from the male players, we didn’t learn from the female players, you know. So yes of course, with some time, who knows? In the future, we will try at least.

Also, Team Secret is the main story of this tournament, with your dominant run and very strong performance. But there’s also another big story, and that is CLG Red, who won the last one, dropping out so early. What’s your take on this?

I actually said that, before we came to the tournament and we saw CLG’s group, I said to the team that I thought they actually wouldn’t even go through their group and make it to the semifinals. They had actually a strong group where everything could happen, and I know that all these teams were around the same level. So everything could happen, and I really thought that they weren’t even going to pass that. Also, they were playing with a standin.

So you didn’t expect to see them in the finals?

No I didn’t. But what I also know is that they have potter and missharvey that are very experienced players, and that they can be down 14-1, they can still come back, you know.

I see. Before ESWC, you had a bootcamp, at Inferno Online in Stockholm. Do you really think this kind of practice gave you an edge over the other teams?

Yeah actually. We were all playing together, sitting next to each other every day, and it helps a lot. You can go through stuff more easily, you can come up with better tactics, you can talk. I mean, you’re doing everything together, it’s much easier.

Alright, that will be all for me. Any last comment?

Well, I want to thank everyone for the support, and thank you for the interview!