The first day of the Gfinity Elite Series playoffs saw some of the most gripping CS:GO action of the calendar year. Among the four teams on stage were the Sydney Roar, a newly-created team who defied all expectations and held their own against some of Australia’s very best.
Their incredible run throughout Season 1 came to an end on Saturday after a tough loss to Melbourne Order – the tournament favourites. We spoke briefly with crowd favourite Azad “topguN” Orami after the match, discussing his team’s tough loss, amazing run to the playoffs, and future.
The Roar: Commiserations on a tough defeat, but I think you guys really held your own for large stretches of that match. What do you think was the difference between the good rounds and the bad rounds in that one?
topguN: For us, it was just a matter of not knowing what to do mid-round. I think the experience showed where they had a deep structure. Both the CT and T, they knew what they wanted to do, whereas we were still guessing, still going off the fly.
In some rounds that worked and in some cases that was the advantage for us, but most rounds it’s hard to go up against a team with so much structure and just individual skill with not enough strategy.
The Roar: Of the two maps that you played on, which did you think you had a better chance on?
topguN: I thought we got more rounds on the second map [Inferno]. The first map [Cache], I felt like a lot of rounds were tight, very crucial rounds, silly rounds to lose. You know, eco-rounds, pistols, things like that and the rounds were tight.
It was a thrashing in the first one – both of them were if you go by numbers – but I felt like on both maps we really took it to them and both maps were hard. For us that’s something to be proud of, I think. To take it to a team like that with so much depth and structure, to make it hard for them at least.
The Roar: Just backtracking one week, it looked almost certain like you’d been eliminated after the loss to Avant last week and then you made it through after Perth’s shock loss. What was that day like for the team?
topguN: It was a must win. It was high emotion. We were keen, we were hungry, we were ready to win. We played well, we started well, but we ended up losing so it was devastating.
On the way home, I got a message saying we still have a chance to get through, but it means Brisbane Deceptors have to beat Ground Zero and I thought, “Ah, well, I don’t even want to know that because I’ll just get my hopes up for nothing.”
But I saw Brisbane Deceptors were up like 8-0 or something ridiculous, so I just stayed out of it and then I just heard at the end that they’d won. I think we owe them a drink or two.
The Roar: It was a pretty vocal pro-Roar crowd anyway. They have been for most of the season. Does that have much of an effect when you’re on stage?
topguN: Only a positive one. It does help. It’s nice to think that people are out there and they want you to do well.
You know, I played competitively for many years and I was always playing overseas, so we didn’t have that home crowd support. Even though there aren’t thousands of people here, when you hear a crowd cheering for you, it’s always a good feeling.
So yeah, definitely, it feels good and it’s always sad to let fans down.
The Roar: Before the season, not many people had you making the playoffs. How did it feel to prove the doubters wrong and land in the top four? Did you guys always believe you could do it?
topguN: Yes. I know we were underdogs for most of the matches, but we still believed we had enough individual skill and talent to just carry us there, especially on a stage environment, on a LAN environment, where the pressure will tell against some of the younger players.
Look, I know we lost to the top team but, you know, I’m still not happy. I don’t think anyone would be pleased with that result, although realistically thinking it was a big ask to get past the Melbourne Order.
The Roar: So where do you guys all go from here? What’s next for you and the rest of the boys as far as CS:GO goes?
topguN: It’s something we haven’t really spoken about. It’s something definitely we need to get on top of and have a chat about with the group. There is a season two so, what happens there, we’ll just look to be better and be more prepared for season two and the next series.