Talking about Rush and CS:GO with Barry “Anthrax” Louzada

Jayson 'Trinoc' van Kerckhoven

Mettlestate, often seen as one of the core tournament organizers of South African esports, recently had the opportunity to host the main stage at Rush this year. It was little surprise they went with local favorite title, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (in partnership with Vodacom 4U). It was one of the bigger stages Mettlestate has hosted, and a lot was learned from the event. I was able to get a moment with Barry “Anthrax” Louzada to discuss Rush this year, as well as the tournament his company hosted.

A Positive Outcome

Trinoc: I believe this is one of the biggest stages you guys have worked on?

Barry “Anthrax” Louzada: Yeah, this is one of the bigger stages. We did do the Samsung Galaxy CS:GO championship, we gave away a million rand there but we have refined ourselves since we’ve done that one. But yeah, this is by far the most impressive stage. We did have some help from the guys at RUSH, but yeah this is what we did.

How does this compare to the Samsung Galaxy stage?

There are some things I’d change from a Mettlestate perspective, but I think from every event there’s always going to be things you take from it and learn about. I think that’s the most important part: that when you do run an event like this you must be open to understand that things need to be done, changed, tweaked and so on. I know one of the biggest things in South Africa is the over-ear noise cancelling headsets for the players, and going forward we will fix these types of issues.


Testing your CS:GO mettle on the Mettlestate stage at Rush 2018.

What was the issue with the headsets?

Normally you get the audio cues from the speakers and that, but a lot of the time it really doesn’t benefit the players to play off what the casters are saying. Every now and again you make the wrong call as a caster, I like to do that, so that it kind of throws them off. They only have to try and listen to you once and get it wrong and they will never do it again. We can only try as much as we can besides putting cotton wool in their ears, but these speakers are pretty loud as well.

Were you happy with the turnout of the event?

I think it was a decent turnout, considering it was the first time it has been in Pretoria like this. I’m not disappointed, the seats were full and we had an overall good buy-in from the crowd.

Were you happy with the teams and their performance?

Ultimately, as a tournament organiser, as much as I joke about no overtime, you always want those best of three, full maps – all the maps and everybody always going into to overtime. When it happens that one team dominates another team, it’s never fun for the spectators. Obviously the players want it, but that’s often just not how it works out.

Given that a number of games were those one-sided matches on the main stage, will you look at who gets main stage at the next tournament?

It’s not that we had planned for that to happen. When you seed you go top bottom kind of thing, and because it was a first sixteen teams to enter scenario, there was bound to be an unbalance. But, it’s also about giving all the teams as much opportunity to play on stage as possible. We don’t get a lot of LANs that happen in South Africa, so when there is a nice big LAN and you have a nice big stage, you want to give all the teams an opportunity game to play on it. It doesn’t mean you can predict that the games backstage will be more exciting than the games out front.


Barry and your boi GeeMax settled in for some epic casting.

How would you change the stage for next year?

I don’t want to be specific, but there are things I would change for next year. That also happens at the end of a tournament like this, the whole staff from Mettlestate will sit down and go through the procedures of what happened. Looking at what worked and what didn’t work so that we can improve for next year.

Any plans to do more of these type of LAN events?

For now there are plans in the pipeline, but I can’t really disclose them. We’re not all about the yearly thing, and we would love to have more LANS. This costs a lot of money and the truth of it is, the reality of it is, that when you do something like this, there needs to be ROI. You need the teams, the players and the spectators to get behind this. If people want more of these they need to actually get involved and put the effort in.

Closing thoughts?

Obviously I am grateful to all the sponsors and my team for all the hard work they put in, as well as the teams and players that came out and helped make everything work.

A new direction for esports

Barry did not have a lot of time to explore the rest of the event and see the variety of stages and activities Rush made available. He did, however, echo similar sentiments of how to grow esports in South Africa. He was happy with the overall new identity of Rush this year; their focus on growth and exposing new players to the world of esports is something he would like to see happen in all aspects of South African esports. In the words of Barry, “get involved, bring your parents, your sisters, everybody.”


Header image courtesy of Trinoc Games.