Following the conclusion of the eXTREMESLAND 2018 – Japan Regional Finals, we sat down with Laz from the winning team SCARZ Absolute. He shed some light on his goals for the eXTREMESLAND Asia Final and the state of Counter-Strike in Japan
CSGO2ASIA: Firstly, congratulations on the winning the Japan Qualifier. How does it feel?
Laz: Thank you! As it was a Japanese tournament, of course, I was glad. But mostly, I felt that I was released from the pressure of winning the tournament. It gave me a lot of relief
CSGO2ASIA: That must have been such a relief! Can you tell us how you prepared for this qualifier?
Laz: We didn’t do much in preparation of the qualifier. We just mostly focused on our individual skills. We had almost no information about the other teams, so we could not study or prepare for the opponents.
CSGO2ASIA: The Japan qualifier was not just for eXTREMESLAND, but also for the IESF world championship. Do you think it was a good idea to combine the two qualifiers?
Laz: For us, we are really grateful for it. But at the same time, there are some downsides to it. As the amount of Japanese tournaments are few are far between, I think it should be good for other teams if eXTREMELAND and IeSF qualifiers are separated.
CSGO2ASIA: That makes sense. So, When did you first start playing CS? Tell us a bit about how you got started and how you got a position on SCARZ?
Laz: I started playing CS 1.6 since 2010, about 8 years ago. The reason I started playing CS 1.6 was that I heard CS was the most skilled game. After that, I switched to CS:GO. When my team started winning Japanese tournaments, SCARZ invited the team and we joined.
CSGO2ASIA: Do you all live in Tokyo, and do you have a gaming house?
Laz: Yes, we do. But it’s not in Tokyo, it is at Kanagawa. We all moved into the gaming house since this August.
CSGO2ASIA: We have been following the rise of SCARZ Absolute for a long time, and you guys have seriously improved a lot. So first of all, well done! What do you think is the reason for your team to be so successful in Japan and now making it to the top 5 in Asia?
Laz: Thank you! However, I still doubt we deserve top 5 in Asia as the Chinese teams are extremely strong, but I think we are doing well as a Japanese team. However, we are not satisfied with the ranking and we feel that we do not practice as much as we like. The reason we succeed in Japan is that we picked the most talented Japanese players one by one since the team was formed, and we practiced for a very long time with each other. We all know what each player is good at and we all know the things we need to do in order to show our strength. In addition, we all are also very experienced. I think we can use the experiences to our advantage.
CSGO2ASIA: Can you tell us a little bit about Japanese CS:GO scene? Why is CS:GO not so popular in Japan?
Laz:There are many reasons why it is not as popular, but I think that there are not as many teams in Japan that can compete with the top tier teams in Asia. And I feel that some players cannot overcome the huge hurdle in competing and some players do not find playing the game fun. However, these days, more companies, casters, and tournament organizers are coming to CS:GO to contribute to the scene – I think it has a possibility to be more popular in future thanks to them.
CSGO2ASIA: Do you think because your team is starting to find success internationally, this will change the attitude of CS players in Japan?
Laz: I have no idea, but I hope it has good effects even if it is a little bit!
CSGO2ASIA: Well, to be honest, We were very impressed by the Japanese fans at this qualifier, a lot of people came to watch. Is this normal for CS:GO tournaments here?
Laz: This is not normal at all! I was also surprised like you! This must be the biggest tournament in Japan. I am really glad they are interested in CS:GO. And I really appreciate the company and tournament organizers who held the tournament.
CSGO2ASIA: That is really cool. Lastly, what are your goals for the eXTREMESLAND finals?
Laz: Personally for me, I hope that we get the keys to improve the team as much as possible and come back to Japan. For the team, we haven’t set a goal yet. However, we do want to secure a playoff spot. And of course, we want to win the entire tournament if possible!