CLG Red's missharvey: 'My life is gaming. My life is CS'

by Navneet Randhawa Dec 8 2015
Thumbnail image courtesy of Navneet Randhawa / theScore eSports

Counter Logic Gaming Red branched out into the CS:GO scene this summer and got off to a strong start, winning their first major tournament at ESWC's women's divisional tournament. Since then, the team has participated at various offline and online events, including Fragadelphia 6 and RGN Pro Series.

After getting knocked out of the Northern Arena during Group B's round robin, theScore eSports sat down with Stephanie "missharvey" Harvey to talk about the tournament, her team's plans for 2016 and CLG Red's new team house.

Your team has been playing in a lot more male events over the past few months. Is that something that CLG has allowed you to do or is that just something you guys have wanted to do more?

It is a little bit of both. When we joined CLG and combined that with the support of Intel, it allowed us to attend way more events than previously possible. That was definitely a game changer for us. And second, it was also the fact that we wanted to attend more male events so that we could compete versus the best. This was really important for us. However, as you might have seen in the last two to three months, our results have been pretty much similar so we want to take a step back and work harder, and then continue attending more events in the future. We're going to do a one month boot camp before we attend another male event. Maybe near the end of January or early February, but definitely not before that.

Speaking to your results over the past little while, have they been about what you expect or have you been frustrated from the fact that you haven't found an extreme amount of success?

Again, it is a little bit of both. I think we're unsatisfied with the results, but at the same time I think they are the results that we worked for. We didn't work hard enough to have better results in my opinion. I have a full-time job so I was dragging the team down a little bit with my time involvement and other goals and priorities. That is something we want to change in 2016 so that we don't waste our time when we go to events. We want to work very hard and have a good work ethic. Also, every tournament we are happy with our performance in one match, and think that if we had worked a bit harder we would have probably been able to win. At the same time there are always two matches that we are always disappointed in and that was a lot rougher than we thought it should have been. So I think that is when the preparation will make a difference.

Just speaking to your performance at this event, one thing we noticed between your three games was that you managed to have a fairly decent T-side for periods of each game. Why do you think you struggled harder on CT-side when you compare it to your T-side.

Yeah, we worked on our T-side a lot over the past couple of months because it was out main issue and our CT-side was fairly decent. But when we play versus these amazing teams i think our CT-side is way too weak. I think we focus a lot on our individual skill and our individual skill is not there yet because we don't work hard enough. At that point the guys can just pick us off and win rounds. That's when we need to work as much on CT-side as our T. We dry run a lot for our T-side, but not for our CT-side, so that is something we are going to have to work on a lot. We are not also used to playing these super high level teams on CT-side, while T-side it's something that we do more often because we 10-man and play versus these caliber on our T-side a lot more. It was really weak throughout the whole weekend.

Just to combine a couple of the ideas, you mentioned that you scrim against these teams a bit, and also the stress of having to work. How much time have you been able to put in week-to-week on practicing your game over the past few months?

We have worked like four to five days a week around three to four hours a day, which I think is ridiculously small if we want to compete with the top teams. We are going to improve that to six days a week with close to six hours a day. It's going to be a game changer because we're talking about nearly tripling our hours as a team. So that's not even individual work. So hopefully it will make a huge difference at the end of the day.

You mentioned that you would be increasing your hours by a huge amount. Will you be stepping back from your full-time job at all to make time for that or will you just be adding on the workload?

We're actually moving in together to create the first all-female gaming house in the world starting in a few weeks. Everything has been confirmed, we have a house near the CLG main office in Los Angeles, all six of us. The five players and our manager. I am taking a step back from my job at Ubisoft even though it is an amazing job, it's not my life. My life is gaming. My life is CS and we're all doing the same thing together. We are putting in the maximum work and focusing 100% on CLG Red for CLG.

Looking ahead, what are you looking to achieve over the next year? What are your goals now that you are going to be putting in more time?

My personal goal is obviously to get out ESEA-IM, which is ridiculous that we didn't get last season. It's mostly my fault — lost a lot of clutches. But definitely, get into ESEA Main. A real stretch goal is to make it into ESEA Premier. Also we're going to play CEVO seriously, which we didn't do in the past. It was mostly just a practice for ESEA, but now that we're doing this full-time, we're going to take that seriously as well. We're in CEVO Main, but the goal for me would be to make it to Placement, not necessarily make it to Professional, but at least making it to Placement would be an awesome goal. We want to continue competing versus the guys. I think the one real goal is just to have a successful first year. If we look at the past year, everything fell into place. We found the right players, won the world cup. It was one piece at a time and no we all want this and we weren't going to achieve it the way we are now. So we said we're doing this, are you in or out, and everyone was in. So for the next year is just about focusing on the team and making every minute count. Hopefully finding an amazing coach to help us reach the highest level.

Do you think that what you're doing will be replicated by other female teams in the near future?

I would say that it would depend on our success. Our goal for the last year was just to get better and next year I would say that we will be even more focused on that. If we just crush the competition in female events, versus if it is still pretty tight, these teams might start doing it too if we're really far ahead. I don't know how they're practicing a lot in Europe. We have no view month on their skill level for the whole year. We haven't played over the past 4-6 months, but from the past years what we see is that they do improve. But we're moving in together for a year, so what I would think is that we should be better than we were in the past and that these teams will have to work extra hard to get to our level. I would think it is even easier in Europe to get close because the barriers are more open. For us, we need visa's and a bunch of things to make it possible. Hopefully they do that so the female level can go up all around.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Jacob Juillet writes about Counter-Strike for theScore eSports. Follow him on Twitter.

Navneet Randhawa does stuff and things at theScore eSports. She is part of the crêpe crew, you should join. You can follow her on Twitter.