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Azad Orami – known professionally as topguN – has been one of the mainstays of the Australian Counter-Strike scene for a very long time.
After a hiatus, he made his long-awaited return to the arena earlier this year as a member of the Sydney Roar’s CS:GO team. With Season 2 now well and truly underway, we caught up with the talismanic veteran to discuss why he decided to go around again, as well as how the rollercoaster opening fortnight went down.
The Roar: When we spoke last, you’d just lost the semi-final to Order in season one and the future was very uncertain. What was the offseason like, and why did you decide to come back to the Sydney Roar?
topguN: The main reason I wanted to come back to the Sydney Roar was; it’s a great thing, it’s a big thing the Gfinity Elite Series – I’m just happy to be a part of it, any which way possible.
The future definitely was very uncertain, I didn’t know what was going to happen, but I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to be club captain for Sydney Roar.
I gave them my gameplan and they liked it, the people at Gfinity thought, ‘yeah, it’s not too bad of an idea’. I told them, you know, I’m obviously getting ‘old’, I’m getting to that stage where I won’t be able to compete for much longer, but I do have a lot of experience internationally and all that.
I just wanted to pass that mantle down, that sort of thing, to the younger players.
I wanted to pick up some younger players, some keen players that deserve the opportunity (in my eyes, anyway), and teach them what I can in a serious setting like Gfinity.
The Roar: You lost some of your more high-profile teammates, with Havoc joining the Chiefs and destiny joining Ground Zero, how challenging has that been to deal with?
topguN: No, not challenging at all – I actually wanted to go the opposite route.
Instead of being a bunch of high-profile players, with big names behind us, I wanted younger players – relatively unknown. Most of the players [on the Roar this season] I didn’t know until I started playing with them this season.
It was more of a different route that I wanted to take for Season 2, and it’s not been too difficult.
The guys I’m playing with, they’re real keen, they’re real hungry and they’re grateful for the opportunity, so it’s made it worth my while.
The Roar: season started off super rough, did you expect that loss to Order to be as one-sided as it was? How do you get over a shellacking like that and move on to the next week?
topguN: It was a huge loss wasn’t it? 16-3.
It wasn’t just the 16-3, it was the way we lost. A lot of those rounds were pretty close, we could’ve easily made it a more respectable score like 16-8 or 16-9.
It was just more the way we lost; they just kept attacking the one bomb site, they just charged and charged – it was very disrespectful, the way they were charging us with shotguns and SMGs.
The scoreline wasn’t too bad in my eyes, because of the way we felt – we weren’t too disappointed in our performance.
They just didn’t let us settle in. I don’t know if it was their game plan to just charge that one particular bomb site and just keep us unsettled and uncomfortable, but it really worked, it really seemed to work.
We don’t need to ‘recover’ from things like that though, it’s part of the game – these things happen.
Order are the team to beat in this competition. So I just told them to take it in their stride; have fun before anything and don’t worry too much about the score.
The Roar: The commentators felt, at one point, Order were disrespecting you a bit by deliberately choosing bad weapons – was that something you noticed? Did that motivate you at all during that match or this week?
topguN: Nah, not really. Not at all.
They’re a great team, you know, they’re Australian representatives overseas.
I understand the feeling, I’ve been in that situation myself personally. I’d never do anything like that to disrespect anybody, it was more just a feelings and emotional thing so I’d never take anything in a disrespectful way.
How they did mean it? Maybe they did mean it, maybe they were trying to prove a point, but that’s definitely not how I took it.
That’s not something that plays on my mind too much.
The Roar: This week, it looked like it was getting away from you a bit when you fell 7-3 behind to Perth, how did the team stay focused and rebound to claim such an impressive win?
topguN: Yeah we were 7-3 down and won 16-9, so we only lost two rounds after that.
Again though, a lot of rounds we lost by one person. We lost a one versus three, we lost a one versus two, we just lost so many clutches and so many rounds we should have won.
So we had the advantage in those early rounds, we just let them slip away from us.
Even though, 7-3 is a rough scoreline – and if you let it slide further it definitely is – but we kinda knew it was because we were making mistakes and letting the round get away from us.
It was just a matter of calming ourselves down and locking down rounds the way we should be.
I was lucky to get a three-K and, from there, everyone just seemed to loosen and rounds just started to fall.
The Roar: You’ve got a super-important match coming up against Avant this weekend, what do you need to look out for against them?
topguN: They haven’t lost so far, they’ve won all their matches, same as Order. So, that’s a big test for us.
Saying that, I kind of expect to win. I even expected to win before. You never go in to a match thinking ‘oh, hopefully we win ten rounds and take a point’.
We go into every match expecting to win.
I don’t have many expectations from them. I don’t know what to think or what to feel about how their game plan is going to be, that’s not my task.
I don’t know what to expect from them, but I know what I expect from me and my boys. If we stick to our game plan, I’m sure we’ll come out with a ‘W’.
The Roar: Lastly, how far do you think the team can go this year?
topguN: The beautiful thing about Counter-Strike is anything can happen. I always have that mentality of ‘never give up, never surrender’.
It’s not just about a good performance, it’s about taking it all the way. It’s the will to win versus just wanting to win.
I believe we can take it all the way – that’s the gameplan.
I know we could lose the rest of our matches and miss the finals altogether, so it’s just a matter of doing what we love, doing what we know best and seeing how the rounds pan out for us.
As long we just keep winning, anything can happen.