EHOME might be best known for their legacy in DotA and Dota 2, but their foray into CS:GO includes a female squad acquired on October 2016, a first for the Chinese region.
The team intended on competing at Intel Challenge Katowice 2017, but the tournament unfortunately did not offer an Asian qualifier. Their efforts have been redoubled as they look ahead to Copenhagen Games 2017.
Ahead of the team's first international event, theScore esports reached out to the all-female squad to get acquainted with EHOME, talk about the Asian CS scene and female CS:GO.
First off, I’m sure not many CS:GO fans here in the West are familiar with you guys. Could you tell us a little bit about yourself and why you got into CS:GO?
Valen: Hello, this is Valen, I am the captain and the shot caller.
In 2003, when I was 15, I was obsessed with CS 1.6. From 2004-2007, I was on three Chinese female CS teams playing on an international stage, New4, Swan5 and Hacker*Victory. I spent all my energy to build Swan5 from zero to a championship team. We sponsored ourselves to play in CPL Spain 2005 and won the championship, New4 got 3rd place in ESWC 2004, while Hacker*Victory won the championship at DreamHack 2006. So my childhood dream came true. After that, I went to Australia and U.S. for school.
I did not know CS:GO until the beginning of 2016, when I partied with my old friends in the CS community. Truly, CS:GO is definitely more fascinating than CS 1.6. Meanwhile, the esports industry is booming in China and the atmosphere is so much better than before. So, I decided to come back as a player, to fight for another round of glory for Chinese female CS on international stage.
Alfard: My nickname in-game is Alfard, I am a lurker and 2nd AWPer in game. I love to fight alone.
I played CS 1.5 several years ago. At the end of 2015, every day I played CS:GO for a while when I was off work. Gradually, CS:GO became a part of my life, no longer simply a kind of entertainment in my leisure time. So, when Valen and Simmo invited me to join EHOME's Female CS:GO, I did not hesitate at all.
Simmo: Hello, I am Meng Zhang, nickname in-game - Simmo. I am a cute girl, a little tomboy-ish, but sometimes shy. I am a also Pisces.
When I touched CS 1.6, there was no more tournaments for 1.6, so I moved to CS:GO in 2013 and fell in love with it. As my enthusiasm piled up day by day, I was not satisfied with playing just for fun, streaming at home or teaming with some boys. I wanted to be a pro-gamer in a female esports club.
However, the esports atmosphere in China was not as hot as in foreign countries. By coincidence, former world champion Valen built EHOME Female CS:GO and I joined this team — the first female CS:GO team in China — without any hesitation.
129: Previously my teammates called me "pig’s feet," because I liked this food (pig’s feet is edible in China); now they call me "distorting mirror," a kind of Chinese spicy food, because I like this food now.
When I saw many people around me playing CS, I just followed them. Later, I carried my husband into CS and played with him together.
720: Hello, this is 720, I began to play CS:GO in January 2015.
I really loved the Classic: Competitive mode because I could communicate with many foreign fellows. At that time, I was most skilled at P90 and you could even say I was a PRO90.
After playing Classic: Competitive mode for a year, I picked up rifle training and teamed with some female players online for fun. In August 2016, I was officially a member in EHOME Female CS:GO and started my pro-gamer career. Now TEC-9 is my most skilled weapon.
People always get astonished by my APM when I use TEC-9 on stream. I tell them that is not a pistol, that is a rifle.
You guys will be attending the Copenhagen Games 2017 female tournament, likely a first for a Chinese female CS:GO team. What are your thoughts on this?
Valen: I paid close attention to CPH GAMES when I came back to the CS community in 2016. I believe it is a precious tournament for female CS:GO.
After we missed the Intel Challenge Katowice 2017, I had a discussion with EHOME. We must do some changes, closed training is not a wise choice. We should play more international tournaments and show all event committees that there is an outstanding team in China, otherwise if we have no more tournaments domestically or internationally, we will obviously break-up.
Simmo: It is very troublesome to play an international tournament. For Chinese citizens like us, getting a visa is a tough issue because it takes a longer time than foreigners getting a Chinese visa. Valen caught this chance and she is busy working on the visa issue every day. So, a heartfelt thanks for Valen.
Personally, I have never been abroad. Thus, I already have many troubles in my mind. Where do we live in CPH? What do we eat every day? How to deal with jet lag? What if we do not perform well in-game? I am a little mentally stressed out. Anyway, I hope we can play our best in this tournament.
720: This CPH GAMES is a hard-won chance for us. We were preparing for ICK 2017 [Intel Challenge Katowice 2017] in Poland for more than six months, so it was a pity that we missed it. So we truly cherish this CPH GAMES and we will go all out. Good luck for my team.
What are your thoughts on the state of CS:GO in China, specially female CS? Are there enough events, are you able to scrim often?
Valen: Just several months earlier, Perfect World — a Chinese gaming company — partnered with Valve to operate CS:GO in China. In April 2017, there will be an official CS:GO server for Chinese players. With the effort of all players and staff, once CS:GO attracts more young guys, there will be countless talented players. We need some time.
In China, there were many CS:GO events for male players, but nothing for female CS:GO and heard that it would be the same situation in 2017. From my own perspective, I sincerely hope international events like WESG, which is an Olympics-level event held by Alisports, could be a pioneer in adding some tournaments for female players.
The SL i-League events have played a big part in exposing Asian CS:GO to the rest of the CS world and for Season 3 we will see a Korean team (MVP Project) and two Chinese teams (TyLoo & 5Power Club) competing against the best teams in the world.
Do you believe more tournament should give a slot to an Asian team? Do you believe the same could be done for female teams?
Valen: China is doubtless the number one in Asian CS:GO, but considering TyLoo and 5Power can't find teams at the same level for training, it is a hard task for them to play against teams like Astralis, SK, Na'Vi or VP.
Europe is the best soil for professional female CS:GO. I hope they could expand their events to Asia and give an impetus to Chinese organizers to hold some tournaments for female player. If so, EHOME won’t break up.
All in all, it is never easy to build a team.
Simmo: I have to admit Asian CS:GO teams are not as good as top tier teams globally, but there are some talented players here. Thus, I wish all Chinese teams the best in SL i League.
About tournaments for female players, there is nearly no such thing at all in Asia, let alone China. Faithfully, I expect more CS:GO tournaments in Asia and more female players could join this game.
In China there is an old saying, “women hold up half the sky.” You do not need to be a man to win a championship.
Do you guys follow the CS:GO pro scene, if so, who are your favorite teams and who are your favorite players, both male and female teams/players?
Valen: My favorite male player is gla1ve [Lukas "gla1ve" Rossander]. He has a calm head in-game. I really admire his shotcalling. My favorite female player is zAAz [Zainab "zAAz" Turkie] because of her master-level individual skill. She can always break her opponents’ lineup by herself.
Alfard: Male player - NiKo [Nikola "NiKo" Kovač]. Female player - mimi [Michaela "mimi" Lintrup]. They are amazing, I love the way they play.
Simmo: Of course we watch big events. My teammates all know I love NEO [Filip "NEO" Kubski] from Virtus.pro because he is my god since CS 1.6 era and at WESG 2016, I met my god. For female players, I like juliano [Julia "juliano" Kiran] from Team Secret.
129: I like zAAz and mimi from Team Secret. zAAz’s wildness, mimi’s shot and smile impress me a lot.
720: My favorite male player is f0rest [Patrik "f0rest" Lindberg] from NiP. I am always a NiP fan.
How are you guys preparing for your first international LAN at the CPH Games? How many hours are your guys practicing? How often do you guys watch demos?
Valen: We just practice as usual: warming up, running the map, playing together and discussing after the game. Recently, we shifted our focus to the improvement of personal mechanics. So we watched a lot of demos and videos to better understand the map and polish our skills.
The most important thing is to expand our map pool because Dust 2 is no longer available in tournaments.
Alfard: My team would run our strategy together and play solo in the time left. We practice about 10 hours every day and watch demos about three times a week.
129: Practice and watch demos to find our mistakes. In demo analysis, I would re-calculate how to play in different circumstances and make comparisons with other players’ play.
What are your goals for 2017?
Valen: I do not want to miss any international tournament. I hope to play all matches with my team. We will be champions one day if we keep fighting.
Alfard: Hope we can play well and let everybody know there is a team called “EHOME Female CS:GO” in China.
Simmo: My goal - to be a top tier female CS:GO team.
129: Hope to perform our best and try to win a higher prize.
720: Champion! I know it is not gonna be easy, but we will try our best.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Dennis "Tarmanydyn" Gonzales is a news editor for theScore esports who enjoys whiskey, D&D and first-picking
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