Image credit to Fimm, on Vox Eminor's Facebook page. CS:GO

Katowice Bound: An Interview with Vox Eminor

Vox Eminor were kind enough to have a chat during their busy schedule this week, and talk about their background, training schedule and preparation for this year’s first major tournament; ESL One Katowice.

Can you tell us the story about how Vox Eminor was born?

Vox was primarily born as a means for me (Talnoy) to get something more out of gaming. I have run dozens of tournaments/lans and after a while it gets pretty draining so I wanted to have something of my own that I could just retreat to for some fun. So me and a friend (Scott “Boomser” Bednarski *credit where due) got together and hammered out the concept of a team where we would try and raise the bar and set an example to other teams about how a team should operate.

Not really sure how successful we have been as only the community at large has the answer to it, but the team was founded around a principle of selecting gamers for the type of person they were and not just how talented they were. We took off relatively quickly as we both had a lot of experience in the scene. However, after Scott departed the team at the end of CS Source, we had a big shake-up. We’ve since refocused our team around CS:GO have been slowly building up to where we are today.

Tell us a little about the team and what everyone’s roles are.

The heart of the team is probably Chad “Spunj” Burchill, he does a hell of a job as the in game leader for the team but even more than that does so much non-in-game work to push the team forward.

You also have Luke “Havoc” Paton who is our primary awper and probably one of the most passionate gamers you will find but also very passionate about the team as well. Incredibly versatile player, that whether AWPing or rifling does just as much damage but plays with incredible game sense.

Azad “topguN” Orami is probably the comic relief more than anything, he looks big and scary but he is really a genuine good guy that you call yourself lucky to know. He is the secondary AWPer but also just that guy that lifts the team with big plays when we seem to need it the most.

Justin “Jks “ Savage is simply the prodigy; there is just no other way to say it. He looks young, but he has such a complex understanding of the game and imparts so much knowledge from just watching his play. He is something of the lurker in the team but is also really our linebacker when it comes to CT sides.

Aaron “AZR” Ward used to be the prodigy but in the last year or so has really come into his own. He is the pure rifler in the team and when he is on he can turn the game around by just shutting down the opposition with some critical headshots.

Chris “Gomez” Orfanellis is the team’s manager, he plays with and for the guys. He holds their hand as they travel the world and makes sure they have everything they need. A really strong mind for the game, he also does a lot of analysis of our opponents and while not officially named a coach, really is a coach for the team as well.

Do you all have full-time jobs? How do you allocate time towards playing CS:GO?

We have two full timers, a contractor and two that are studying. It’s basically a case of finishing work, which comes at any time as we span every time zone in the country and just cramming as much practice in before people have to go to bed for early starts the next day. It’s a really tough balance as these guys are working all day, trying to play all night but also maintain relationships, family commitments and also jobs which they borderline compromise having to ask for time off to travel so often. A special mention has to go out to the guys’ partners too. We allocate time to the game because they give our guys the freedom to do what they love and for that we are really thankful.

Currently you’re in boot camp in the lead-up to ESL One Katowice in just a matter of days. What exactly does boot camp entail?

Boot camping is all about preparation, we spend so much time online practicing online, talking on TeamSpeak, but the big events are all live. It’s a different level of play when you are all sitting beside each other and hanging out together that is really important when it comes to going into an event with your chemistry and gameplay as good as it possibly can be.

The boot camp gives the guys time to sit down and watch each other and iron out flaws in their individual gameplay and the team’s gameplay as a whole. It’s basically get up in the morning, eat, get dressed and practice your strategy over and over again till it’s time to go home and get some sleep.

Can you describe how you secured your spot to ESL One Katowice?

At past majors the team had been given a slot to compete, so this year ESL held an offline qualifier to finalize the remaining spots for the major and we had to fly in to qualify. We still got a sole invite from OCE but this time we had to compete against 16 teams from around the world to secure one of the final 8 spots.

We had to win two games to make it through the double elimination bracket and fortunately we won both, defeating 3DMAX and Dignitas to make it through to the main event. It was a truly great feeling to win both of our games to get into the main event. Sure it doesn’t say to the world, “We are the best” but it does say that, “Hey, if you need us to prove we are worthy of a spot, we are more than willing to play anyone to prove it.”

Having some experience competing at live international events, are you used to the pressure and distractions they bring? Do these factors affect your play?

Once you are there, set up ready to go, all the distractions disappear. The game and the moment takes over. If you let it, all the people, pressure and cameras can get to you. But personally I get in the zone, keep my team’s mind on the game. When the adrenaline starts pumping, everything else becomes irrelevant and the game takes over!

Image from Vox Eminor's Facebook page

Images from Vox Eminor’s Facebook page

Do you see many Vox Eminor fans while competing internationally?

We have made more fans recently. With our matches being broadcasted at Katowice to the world, they saw our passion and love for the game first-hand. I feel we made a lot of fans at that event and we even had locals come up to us saying how much they liked our play and that they will be supporting us in the future. So going ahead I feel we will see a lot more Vox support in person :D! We get a lot of support from the AU public! It’s great.

What is the experience like for an Australian team like yourselves to attend these amazing international events with huge crowds and other highly talented teams?

It’s quite a unique experience as no other team in CS:GO has attended any international event from Australia. Obviously in 1.6 and Source other teams went but not in CS:GO, so it’s quite a privilege to be the team from Australia that everyone thinks of when these events come around. The events in Australia are much, much smaller so there’s not a lot of pressure, however the first event internationally (at least for myself) I felt the jitters a bit!

How do you expect you will perform at ESL One Katowice?

Versing our good friends and arguably the best team in the world, Fnatic, first up is a rough straw to draw. However we have the shock factor and I think if we play A game Counter-Strike on the day, we could cause an upset. Realistically we will probably be in the lower bracket facing off against Na`Vi or FlipSid3. Both teams I think are 50/50 competition. They should be even games but I think we could edge either of them out!

Good luck in the upcoming PeetyG nationals this weekend and of course at ESL One Katowice. We here at EGN will be supporting you guys all the way! Thank you for taking the time to speak with me during such a busy schedule.

Thank you for taking time out to chase us down for questions, EGN has some great content and we hope our interview does your site some justice.

You can follow Vox Eminor on their Facebook page and Twitter, and follow their updates from ESL One Katowice (March 12-15).

-Interview by Lamill

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