We heard Agneya “Marzil” Koushik on the current situation of CS:GO in Asia, particularly with the South Indian scene. We discussed BL4ZE Esports‘ progress going into 2021, and expectations going forward.
BL4ZE have won the 2020 edition of eXTREMESLAND CS:GO Festival South Asia, beating their local rival 2ez Gaming in a fierce 2-1 battle despite competing with a stand-in, Ritesh “RiTz” Shah. After the game, we sat down with the BL4ZE’s captain to get his thoughts regarding the team’s performance in the past year, and the hope for the scene in the new season.
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CSGO2ASIA: How are you? Has 2020 been a good year in terms of your personal life and career-wise? Are you satisfied with the results of BL4ZE last year?
Marzil: I have been pretty good, thank you for asking. I do not think 2020 has been a good year for many with the pandemic. Relationships with friends and family have been strained due to not being able to meet – but it has given me the chance to connect more with my fans on social media and live streams, so it has sort of worked out. I am not very proud of BL4ZE’s results in 2020 as our goal was to be among the top 5 in SEA by the end of the year. With a limited number of tournaments in the Asian scene, the opportunities to the top have been fewer, and we have choked in all the ones we have entered. Hopefully, we can accomplish that and more in 2021.
CSGO2ASIA: Let’s go back to 2020 a little bit. With Rossi & SkRossi’s departures, did it affect the team performance in a big way?
Marzil: Every time a player leaves the team, it hurts as it is more time wasted to find a suitable fifth and help him adjust to the system. Right when we started getting our groove back after adding RvK and spending a few months with him, Rossi left. For the longest time, it felt like we are just patching bullet holes. It really affects the morale of the team. Hopefully, the same issue will not happen again.
“Every time a player leaves the team, it hurts as it is more time wasted to find a suitable fifth and help him adjust to the system.”– Agneya “Marzil” Koushik
CSGO2ASIA: We have seen RiTZ in the BL4ZE roster for eXTREMESLAND. Will he become a permanent player for BL4ZE?
Marzil: For now, RiTZ is just a stand-in for BL4ZE. We’re just playing Indian tournaments and ones that require a minimum of 3 Indians in the roster. For our other SEA tournaments, such as ESEA S36, we are playing and practicing with a 16-year-old Singaporean player who goes by the IGN of dzii as our fifth.
CSGO2ASIA: From what we’ve seen about the Indian scene from the outside view, there are only the same teams competing at various tournaments. For instance, it is the same eight eXTREMESLAND teams that are going to compete in ESL India Premiership Winter soon. Can you elaborate on how’s the Indian/South Asian scene at the moment?
Marzil: Some people would blame the cause to be VALORANT, but honestly, this has been the case since the inception of CS:GO in South Asia at least. There would be the same 20 players you’d see in the biggest events and tournaments with infrequent occurrences of new and fresh talent for years on end. I would like to believe that a raw talent exists, but lack of proper mentoring from senior players has led to a player base’s saturation. This, I believe is also responsible for why we are unable to contend with better teams from SEA. To top it all off, when almost 90 % of the best players from CSGO in the country switched over to VALORANT, it has left a vacuum for the next best players to fill. As I mentioned before, the problem is that these players aren’t as good because of the lack of good mentoring. In a way, you could say the scene had regressed from a point where it was at a standstill and is now trying to work its way back up slowly
“There would be the same 20 players you’d see in the biggest events and tournaments with infrequent occurrences of new and fresh talent for years on end. I would like to believe that a raw talent exists, but lack of proper mentoring from senior players has led to a player base’s saturation.“– Agneya “Marzil” Koushik
CSGO2ASIA: How significant is the presence of ESL India & TEC in terms of developing local talents in the region?
Marzil: I think the existence of any premier tournaments helps keep the scene alive domestically at least. It gives players a reason to keep playing and practicing. But like you mentioned before when it’s the same teams that keep playing in the top. Players’ attitude sort of turns into, “Oh but Team X is going to win anyway, so why do we try.” Truth be told, no tournament organizer or any prize pool can change that attitude. All that can be done is for the best teams to compete and beat the best teams of the next tier – in our case, the best teams in Asia – and inspire the younger players and teams to keep trying and develop a never-give-up attitude. To sum it up, tournaments like TEC and ESL India help keep local talents entertained, but development only comes when they’re inspired to go to the next tier by teams and players they look up to.
CSGO2ASIA: Do you miss playing on LAN? When was the last time you competed in a LAN environment?
Marzil: I miss LAN events more than I miss my Deagle shots. The last LAN I played was ILG Indian LAN Gaming – Season 3 in the last week of February. I miss meeting my friends and rivals from other cities and duking it out on a game we all love.
CSGO2ASIA: What is your hope for the 2021 Asian Counter-Strike as a whole?
Marzil: To reward the teams trophies and success who play tactfully and commit long hours in the game. And to punish the ones that rely solely on individual plays to win rounds and tournaments (you all know which teams I’m talking about 😉 ). I truly believe that if Asian CS is to be respected as much as other regions, we need to cultivate a more reliable team on playing as a unit rather than relying on individual brilliance.
CSGO2ASIA: Is there anything else you’d like us to know?
Marzil: For all those reading this, remember that CS:GO will not “DIE” anytime soon. For a game to die, it has to be at a point where you are not able to find any games if you queue in the official matchmaking system. That is definitely not the case with CS:GO yet. Do not be forced to make choices between games if you are playing it casually. Play what you enjoy and let others play what they enjoy. Live and let live. I would also like to thank all my fans who have been supportive of my team and me. Our goal is not limited to just being the best in India/ South Asia. It’s a rocky road, but we will try our best to…be the best.
CSGO2ASIA is an official Global Media Partner for the ZOWIE eXTREMESLAND CS:GO Festival 2020.