Interviewing Anthrax about the Mettlestate Valkyrie Challenge
Michael 'axtremes' Harmse
After the highly successful one-off Valkyrie Challenge showmatch at the Evetech Studios last year, we saw the ultimate evolution and expansion of the concept in 2018. The Asus Republic of Gamer (RoG) sponsored Valkyrie all-female CS:GO league is into its fifth week. Stage One started on April 4 and is broadcast every Wednesday night, with it set to draw to a close on June 3.
Hosted by Mettlestate, the competition saw nine teams sign up for the inaugural season. A rather enticing total prize pool of R50,000 will be split between the top three teams. That should offer some strong motivation to the participants for the first season, as if the historic nature of the tournament itself wasn’t enough.
Further good news is that Stage Two has been confirmed for this year, although dates have not yet been released. Barry “Anthrax” Louzada, the Supreme Overlord of Mettlestate and lead Valkyrie commentator, took a few minutes to chat with me about the tournament so far.
axtremes: Going into the very first season, what were your goals for the Valkyrie league?
Anthrax: The goal for Valkyrie is a simple one. To uplift and encourage female players to take the plunge and jump into the esports arena in a safe, encouraging space.
Have you been happy with the response to the tournament by fans and viewers?
The response so far has been incredible for the Asus RoG Valkyrie League. To see whole families, including mothers and fathers, out there supporting the ladies on stream and through social media is great. It goes to show how supportive the esports community can be if we put our minds to it.
Has the viewership been what you were expecting? The numbers have certainly looked very respectable to me.
The viewership has been great. We’ve averaged over 100 concurrent users on all our streams so far, even beating out some other local CS tournaments happening at the same time. The support has been truly incredible.
What do you think of the level of play on show by the competitors so far?
The girls have shown that they have as much grit and determination as their male counterparts. The thing currently separating them is experience.
Who would you say are the players to watch in Valkyrie Stage One?
There have certainly been a few players that have really impressed me so far. LeetPro’s Karla “Scorpz” Grewer threw out some disgusting AWP shots in the opening week, with Omnius Gaming Sphinx’s Chandre “Scaramoo” Buys and Michaela “KaylaBearQ” Taylor also getting some impressive clutches. Kira “Starlight” Allen from Nemesis females has also showed impressive resolve in her matches, and is definitely improving with each week. Last but not least, you can’t overlook the sheer talent that Rachel “Raychill” Van Dyk of Bravado Finesse has shown in every game she has played so far. Any team would be lucky to have her. A special shout-out must go to Jana “Saltymonkey” Du Toit, also of BVD Finesse, for her shotgun antics. She’s managed to get the final kill with an XM-104 two weeks in a row!
Which team are the favourites to walk away with the title in Valkyrie and who do you think will be their closest competition?
Now that we’re reaching Week Five we’re beginning to see who may get through to the double-elimination playoff bracket. So far, LeetPro Female (Eds: or LeetVrou as they like to call themselves) and the Bravado’s Finesse Academy side both looked primed to get through. As for the rest, it is going to be a tough fight for those other two slots, so it will be interesting to see who rises to the challenge over the next coming weeks.
When are the playoffs set to start and will they be on LAN or online?
The playoffs will be held online on the weekend of 2 – 3 June. They will be played online, but we will be sure to bring you all the action from the Mettlestate Studio!
Anyone you’d like to thank or give a shoutout to etc?
A huge shout-out to ASUS for making the RoG Valkyrie League a reality. Without them this would not be possible. Other than that, I think the ladies taking part also need all the praise they can get for getting out of their shell and showing them that “sisters can do things for themselves”, even in the esports arena!
Make sure to check Esports Central for updates, fixtures, results and everything else Valkyrie.
Images courtesy of Mettlestate.