bLacKpoisoN moves to Sweden
While many in the CS:GO scene will be turning their eyes toward Katowice, Poland next week for the glamour and prestige of ESL One, another player from far far away is undertaking an equally momentous Counter-Strike journey.
For the 22 year-old blackpoisoN, it was also an opportunity to display his skill on a much larger scale than he had previously been used to.
DHW 2014 was Robby "blackpoisoN" Da Loca's first major
Unfortunately, despite apparent good results during bootcamp before the event, Bravado ultimately crashed out in the group stages by scoring a total of three rounds—two versus fnatic and one against Cloud9—a disappointing performance which no doubt continues to influence perceptions of the South African scene abroad.
Apparently in his consideration even before DreamHack Winter 2014, the South African player will be moving to Sweden in order to focus solely on improving his game.
Already secured of a place to live and with a plan in mind to start learning Swedish, blackpoisoN will be entering the world of a Northern European climate and CS-scene this coming Tuesday, the 10th of March, when he flies to Stockholm from Johannesburg.
Bravado at DreamHack Winter 2014 with bLacKpoisoN in foreground
HLTV.org has sat down with blackpoisoN—albeit figuratively—and obtained an exclusive interview as he prepares to undertake what could be a defining journey in his life, and give his all to CS:GO.
We last saw you in action at DreamHack Winter 2014. Back then I perhaps unaptly chose the headline “We feel prepared” when publishing your interview. Do you feel that your team were not given much of a chance to accurately portray yourselves given the results that followed? What would you have done differently?
Well at Inferno Online for the DreamHack Winter 2014 bootcamp, we basically went over quite of lot of adjustments in our strats and positioning. We scrimmed against a few top teams at the bootcamp and had some close scores so we thought we did pretty well and honestly thought that we wouldn't do too badly against fnatic.
I think there's not much that we could do differently because we only bootcamped in Europe for a week. South African game style is a bit different to the International style so I feel in order to actually win games against top teams we'd have to bootcamp in Europe for at least a month or two.
Perhaps as a follow-up then, do you view the current group stage format at the majors as limiting, especially to teams who travel from long distances to compete?
We did have a very tough group stage, also having to play fnatic on our first match of the day of DreamHack. Some of us knew that we were going to get smashed, especially on mirage with JW's AWP and those quick rotations! I suppose Bo1 is quite harsh...Especially for a team that travelled a long way but none of us had an issue with it.
At the end of the day we were grateful for everything. Yes we did get a lot of flack from people in South Africa and around the world after our results but we can't get offended as we don't have the opportunity to scrim against these teams.
Let’s move from the past and talk about your current plans. When did you decide you were going to move to Sweden in order to play CS? Was the decision influenced by any other factors?
I've been told many times by many South Africans that I have the potential/skill/experience to play for a European top team. This all happened before DreamHack Winter 2014, so it was sitting on my mind for some time but I thought to myself, let me play at DreamHack and see how I perform. I didn't do too badly.
I noticed that the International pro players that we practiced against had very similar individual skills but their team strats were just more advanced than ours so that got me thinking.
I've also been told a few times from another ex-Bravado member Dane "racno" Friedman that I should definitely move to Europe for CS. He is a possibly the most experienced CS Player in South Africa, so to hear that from him got me thinking even more.
After Sweden I got back to South Africa and I just felt depressed as I wasted many years playing CS in South Africa. I then started doing research on pricing in Sweden on rent, food, transport, health care, you name it, then put numbers together and thought to myself for a week or two.
After a few days I pulled my parents aside and told them my plans. I was expecting some negative comments but they were very proud of my decision and offered to help me out which made me very happy.
What has motivated you to continue playing CS competitively and to take such a large step in that direction?
Aside from being told that I have the potential to compete at the top level of CS, as I mentioned above, my friends and family have in general been very supportive and so have a lot of local and international players. I will work very hard to reach my goal!
I also told Nathan "NBK-" Schmitt my plans on moving and he was very surprised and offered to help me out if any help was needed which I thought was extremely nice of him.
Does the CS scene in South Africa hamper people with such motivations? Or would you say it is growing like in many other non-European regions?
I am actually the first person from South Africa to take this step (in the CS scene). When a few people heard my plans about moving to Sweden, they were very impressed as I am taking a very big step. Eventually everyone found out and a lot of them motivated me even more and will be supporting my decision.
South Africa is still developing, surely but slowly. The Do Gaming League, which is South Africa's biggest league which currently has more than 120 teams entered which I think is pretty good numbers especially from a country that is very far away from all the action.
We don’t have to go into too many specifics but was making the move to Sweden happen difficult/easy? How were you able to facilitate such a journey? Did certain people help you in finding lodging and occupations?
It was pretty difficult. Finding an apartment, without a doubt was the hardest part. I am an Italian citizen so an EU Passport wasn't an issue. I had a few friends in Sweden helping me out searching for apartments. Adam "friberg" Friberg also gave me advice on areas to look for an apartment, which helped me a lot.
Let’s answer some of the basics about your move. Where will you be staying? How will you spend your days aside from training?
I will be staying in Stockholm about 5 mins away from Central. I managed to find a lovely apartment which took me very long to find. Aside from training, I will be browsing the city and other areas in Stockholm as I would like to get to know the place better.
The last thing I would want to do is annoy my friends by asking for directions all the time. It will be an amazing adventure for me. Oh and I loooove that cold weather.
What do you eventually hope to accomplish with this move? Do you have something already lined-up in terms of a team? If not, are you looking to learn Swedish and integrate into the scene there or perhaps join up with an international conglomerate sort of team i.e. mousesports?
I have nothing lined up as of yet but to play for a top International team is my main goal so once I get to Sweden I will be practicing a lot. I have already started learning Swedish and I will be taking Swedish language lessons every week. Once I feel that my Swedish is good enough, I will then be able to play for a local team.
The 22 year-old South African is determined to return to the main stage
You listed yourself as “entry fragger/carry” in our DreamHack interview; do you hope to continue playing in the same role in Sweden?
I have been practicing a lot more over the past few weeks and watching a lot of live games on Twitch of the top teams. Preferably I would like to play entry fragger or lurking or even both would be possible but honestly I wouldn't mind playing any role in a team, because at the end of the day I'm practicing/working on the role that I've been assigned.
Also, while playing for a team, the team members will notice what roles I am good at and then adjustments can be made.
Aside from the variance in talent between South Africa and Sweden, what other differences do you expect to find upon moving there, be they cultural or personal?
Not having my family and friends there will be tough but I'll get used to that. I've noticed the sky gets very dark in Sweden from about 3PM where in South Africa it only starts getting dark at around 6PM.
Another one is the weather, although I enjoy the cold weather I'd still have to get used to it. I remember seeing some young kids walking around the city with only a t-shirt on and it was like -1 degree's. I was like NO WAY!
From what I understand you have Italian family and are already somewhat familiar with the general cultural landscape of Europe from visiting, but is there anything you already imagine will be harder/easier from living in a Northern European country?
Well Stockholm Central reminded me of Rome, the streets are very busy and beautiful buildings all over. I don't think it would be hard at all, especially as I have friends living there that will be guiding me step by step.
Do you have any players with whom you would most like to practice and train?
I honestly don't mind whom I practice with but preferably with some of the boys from the top tier teams like Wiktor "TaZ" Wojtas, friberg, NBK-, Filip "NEO" Kubski, Paweł "byali" Bieliński and many more.
I was playing some matchmaking games with some of these guys but my ping from South Africa is a nightmare :( Once I'm in Sweden I will definitely be warming up on some FACEIT and ESEA PUGS! I will also be streaming a few times a week.
Thanks for your time. I always value people who take big risks in their life plans so it’s been an honour interviewing you. Any final comments/shoutouts?
Thank you very much HLTV for the interview! I'd like to also thank the friends, fans & family for all the support. I will definitely keep everyone updated on a daily basis through my social media.
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