After having chatted to a member of Vox Eminor’s Battlefield 4 team last week, today we have an interview with Chad “Spunj” Burchill, captain of the organization’s Counter-Strike team and in-game leader, about their recent qualification victory, the Counter-Strike scene and what’s to come at gamescom.
ESL: Congratulations on winning the Oceanic qualifier! How does it feel to be once again qualified for one of the US$250,000 tournaments?
Chad “Spunj” Burchill: We couldn’t be happier to be heading back to another major so soon. For us, getting the chance to play in these events is a massive privilege, something we as a team value as our greatest CS achievement.
ESL: You’ve been representing Oceania in the last few tournaments – how do you feel the scene is evolving over there?
Spunj: It’s a slow but steady growth in Oceania. We have a decent player base with talented individuals who are gunning to take out our number one spot. Getting the required experience to compete under pressure is what our scene is lacking – LAN events are a dime a dozen and players rarely get a chance to compete under high pressure circumstances. Every event we have come back from in the last year has seen our opponents in Australia get stronger and more prepared for what we have to offer, which is keeping us on our toes in the domestic scene.
ESL: Cologne will be the third community funded tournament. How do you like the US$250,000 tournament system?
Spunj: From our standpoint, the US$250,000 tournaments have opened a lot of doors and given us a lot of exposure on an international scale, so all in all I think they are great for CSGO and the growth of the game. However, I’d like to see more teams from all around the world involved as the funds are pooled from players all over the globe buying in-game items.
ESL: The International for Dota 2 is a massive yearly tournament – would you like to see something similar for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive?
Spunj: Of course – a CS:GO version of The International would be the dream! We already had some ideas for Valve about how you could do a CS compendium as something of a sticker book where you could progressively acquire team stickers as they qualify and add them to your compendium to unlock team-specific game items like loading screens, etc. It would be a huge thing for CS as the CS community has lived hand-in-hand with Valve since day dot, almost.
ESL: Looking back at Katowice, you guys had a difficult group with Ninjas In Pyjamas and LDLC. Do you feel that you could take these teams on a lot easier now?
Spunj: Each time we have competed overseas we learnt an awful lot – sometimes it was hard to process everything while we were there. The problem we are going to have is what we learnt strategy-wise a few months ago is no longer relevant in the European scene. We are going to have to play our own game like we did in the early stages versus LDLC, and hope that we have enough depth to secure the win this time around. I definitely do not think it will be easier – if anything, it will be harder as these types of teams are constantly pushing the bar higher and higher.
ESL: We recently announced that an Indian team will be joining the competition – do you have any experience with the region?
Spunj: We haven’t had any direct experience with the Indian CS:GO scene, but it’s great to see a team from a different region getting a shot at playing at ESL One. We wish them the best of luck (unless they’re in our group :D)!
ESL: A lot of changes have been introduced over the last couple of weeks. What do you think of the way CS:GO is going right now?
Spunj: Personally, I am happy with where the game is at and where it is going. The community is always going to be nostalgic about CS1.6 and CSS, so the team at Valve are going to cop a lot of criticism for decisions they make that vary from what people grew so familiar with over the years. A few little things I would like to see amended/added would be more wallbangable areas on maps, the radar showing if teammates are below or above you (see 1.6’s radar) and maybe a smoke fix.
ESL: What do you expect to experience at gamescom?
Spunj: Massive, massive crowds – there was 340,000 attendees last year? It’s somewhat intimidating for a smaller team that doesn’t have that long a history of large events behind us, but it will be amazing to cruise around gamescom and take it all in while we’re over there. One hell of an experience to say the least, and hopefully a lot of the Europeans who have been ever so supportive of the team come up and say hello!
ESL: Thank you for talking to us, and good luck at gamescom!
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Images courtesy of readmore.de.