By winning both of their matches at the offline qualifier, Vox Eminor secured their ticket to their third CS:GO major, and for the first time they have not only been invited to but qualified for the main event. We got the chance to speak to Justin “jks” Savage about the qualifier, the event and what he has on his mind coming up to ESL One Katowice 2015.
ESL: Congratulations on earning a spot for ESL One Katowice 2015 at the offline qualifier! You’re back at a CS:GO major after having missed out on DreamHack Winter. How do you feel about this?
Justin “jks” Savage: Thank you! It’s unbelievable, really – I cannot express enough how excited I am to be attending yet another major, especially after earning our spot rather than just being invited. I think I can speak on behalf of all the guys and say that we’re extremely happy to be attending this event. I believe we showed a lot of people that we’re not just a team who can only attend these types of tournaments by getting direct invites and that we can challenge the best.
ESL: Together with Keyd Stars and the two NA teams, you are the only participants from outside Europe. Do you think this ratio of three to one represents the balance on the top of the CS:GO scene right now?
jks: The big events will always be dominated by European teams and less so by teams from NA or Asia, so there’s no surprise there. I think everyone misses teams from countries like China or South Korea causing damage at big events, like TyLoo or project_kr in 1.6, for example. I hope that a team from one of those countries begin to stand out – then I think we will have a pretty balanced scene.
ESL: Vox Eminor is a regular guest at ESL One events, whether it’s CS:GO or BF4. What other plans do you have for 2015? Will we get to see you in Europe more often?
jks: It’s a privilege to attend ESL One events as they host some of the biggest events of the year with the best teams and a very large amount of prize money. Attending an event with such prestige really is awesome and it’s definitely a dream come true for us. We will be attending every event possible in 2015, domestic and international. Of course, our number one priority is to attend as many international events as possible to gain more experience and exposure.
ESL: You are up against the best teams in the world once again. How are you going to prepare for this event? Is there anything special planned?
jks: Like everyone else, we will be practicing as much as we can with the time given. Attending the qualifier and winning both games has definitely helped us tremendously. We are feeling a lot more confident both individually and even more so together as a team, and I feel that our chemistry has improved a lot. On top of that, we practiced very hard to improve our gameplay as a team before the qualifier, and we should be able to build on that for the major.
ESL: During the qualifier you left no doubt about your skills, beating 3DMAX and Team Dignitas to advance. Are there any teams in the main event that you would love to play against – or avoid – in your group?
jks: I know myself and some of the guys would love to play a team from the CIS region as we haven’t had any matches against them before, so a team I would love to play against would be Na’Vi or HellRaisers! While it would be fun, I’d like to avoid playing against Fnatic or EnVyUs as I think they’re the two strongest teams in the scene at the moment. Playing them in a best of one at a major is something I don’t want to do.
ESL: The only Australian teams that are really known in the western scene are small ones. Do you think yours is a kind of role model motivating more teams to challenge the rest of the world?
jks: I’d like to think that we motivate other teams with our performance, especially now that we’ve won games internationally. I hope that this brings a lot of new people to CS:GO in Australia to populate the scene. Additionally, teams in Australia are getting a lot better and they’re making us practice harder to stay on top, which is a good thing for us and healthy for Australian CS:GO.
ESL: Soon you’ll be able to see your team’s logo as a sticker in-game again. How much does this mean to you?
jks: To me it means quite a bit as it will be the second major that I have attended since joining the team which will be producing stickers. To have your team essentially immortalized with an in-game item is pretty cool if you ask me, and having three different types of stickers after this event is beyond awesome! 😀
ESL: At past events we remember the fans really backing your team and supporting you. Do you already have plans for how to win the hearts of the crazy crowd at the Spodek arena?
jks: I think the reason that a lot of people like us is because we bring a different atmosphere to the event. We show a lot of emotion when playing the game, and I’m sure the Europeans are not used to a bunch of loud Australians! We also put in a lot of effort and attend every event possible, despite having to fly from what is essentially one side of the world to other. Other than playing to our potential and hopefully causing some upsets, I’m not sure if we have anything special planned. You’ll have to wait and see 😉
ESL: At the majors you’ve played so far, your team didn’t make it out of the group stage. What are your goals for ESL One Katowice 2015?
jks: Our goal is to definitely get out of groups and into the top eight, there’s no questioning that. With the best teams in the world at the event this will be very difficult, and past results have clearly shown this to be the case as you have said. Saying that, after travelling all the way to Katowice and going 2-0 to qualify for this event, our confidence has skyrocketed. Compared to our results from Katowice and Cologne 2014, if we’re drawn a good group and everyone has a good day, I think we have a very good chance of making it into the top eight.
ESL: Thank you for your time, Justin. The final words belong to you.
jks: Thanks to you for the interview! A very big thank you to our sponsors MSi, BenQ and Mwave, of course, for making a lot of this happen. Thanks to my teammates SPUNJ, Havoc, AZR and topguN for picking me up last year and giving me the chance to show myself on an international level! Lastly, the team and I would also like to thank everyone who supports us as you’re one of the main reasons why we get to attend such big events like these.
Don’t forget to follow my teammates and I on Twitter and Facebook for Katowice updates! Hopefully we can show you some more exciting wins at the major 😉
From March the 12th to the 15th you’ll be able to see how jks and his team do at ESL One Katowice 2015 – make sure to follow ESL Counter-Strike on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date before, during and after the tournament!