The Intel Challenge Katowice will take place at this year’s Intel Extreme Masters, where four female CS:GO teams will face each other and fight for a share of a US$30,000 prize pool. After a series of online qualifiers, the following teams have earned a spot in Katowice:
- ALSEN (Poland)
- Bad Monkey (Sweden)
- Ubinited (USA)
- TBA.Female (Germany)
We got a chance to speak with Izabela "Vorti" Partyka from ALSEN and Christine "potter" Chi from Ubinited to talk about their preparations and expectations for Katowice as well as the future of the female CS:GO scene.
ESL: Hello! First of all, congratulations on qualifying for the Intel Challenge Katowice! Tell us: how did you and your team prepare for the qualifiers and how did it feel to actually get through?
Izabela "Vorti" Partyka: Hi! Thank you! Before the qualifiers, we had a few changes in our lineup, but when we heard about the tournament we got to work - we spent all of our free time practicing. Sadly, six days before the qualifiers one team member had to go to the hospital and we didn’t know if we would be able to participate. Thankfully, Ariina managed to come back just hours before our first match. After the finals I felt great happiness but at the same time huge responsibility to represent Poland the best I can in front of a Polish audience.
Christine "potter" Chi: We have been practicing online since the Electronic Sports World Cup (ESWC) and participating in leagues as well. Our practice has been very difficult, with a lot of roster changes and IGL changes, so we’re extremely thrilled to have qualified.
ESL: How are you preparing for Katowice? Do you have any bootcamps or similar planned?
Vorti: We’d love to have a bootcamp but we live far apart from each other and everyone has their own private responsibilities such as school or work. Aside from individual training, we are also spending a few hours a day playing together and practicing.
potter: The team, our coach and our manager will all be traveling to Montreal to compete in the LAN ETS, and afterwards we will also have a short bootcamp there!
ESL: Did you see or hear about the fans in Katowice yet? What are your expectations regarding the crowd?
Vorti: I watched Katowice 2014 and I was amazed by the crowd. Being able to experience it live is what I’m especially looking forward to. I’m sure this year is going to be even bigger in regards to audience as Intel Extreme Masters gets more popular every year.
potter: I’ve heard about the Polish fans and we’re all really excited to travel to a new country and be able to experience the Intel Extreme Masters world finals. This is a new tournament for the female scene and it should be a real treat for everyone!
ESL: Katowice is a massive event with thousands of viewers. Do you think it will be difficult to perform under such pressure?
Vorti: I’m sure of it. I get stressed just by thinking about performing there. I hope the crowd will be nice to us!
potter: We do have new team members but we also have veterans and I think their experience will be valuable for all of us. I hope we will be able to perform under the pressure. It’ll be a test for sure!
ESL: What does this tournament mean for you and other fellow female players?
Vorti: Intel Extreme Masters Katowice is a really big esports event, and it’s being organized in our homeland which gives us an advantage. It’ll be something that I will never forget. Moreover, I can test myself by playing against some of the best teams in the world. For me and my teammates, it will be a lesson that will make us more experienced and confident for future events.
potter: This tournament means a lot and is definitely a step in the right direction. CS:GO is growing faster than anyone ever expected and it’s great that the female scene isn’t forgotten! I think it’s important to remember that any exposure for the game and community is positive and should be taken as such, and we should all embrace the opportunity.
ESL: Do you follow the male CS:GO scene? What are your predictions for ESL One Katowice?
Vorti: Of course I do! My heart is with Virtus.pro - I hope they will be able to defend the title.
potter: We absolutely follow the male CS:GO scene! I’m not sure what the rest of Ubinited predicts, but my predictions for the top three are EnVyUs, Fnatic and Virtus.pro in no particular order :)
ESL: Do you see yourself competing in a major tournament? How do you think your team would do?
Vorti: I never expected to take part in a major tournament such as Intel Extreme Masters Katowice. Other teams that qualified are much more experienced than we are, so I can't say we are going to win but we will definitely give it our best.
potter: Ubinited has always been a top contender since 2004, and I think our past speaks for itself. I think that this year we are looking stronger than ever, and I believe we will be able to take back that number one spot :)
ESL: What do you think the future holds for you and other female players?
Vorti: Nowadays, the female CS:GO scene is really narrow. There are only a few clans in Europe that play regularly as girls never had a reason to try competing in teams other than proving who's better. All that can change thanks to tournaments such as the Intel Challenge Katowice. You guys are giving female gamers purpose and motivation to stay strong and keep practicing. Give us more female tournaments and expect stronger, more professional female teams. Our future depends on you.
potter: The female scene has seen its ups and downs, and with the introduction of this female tournament at Intel Extreme Masters I hope it goes up from here. It’s really tough for a female gamer to be able to handle all the obstacles as well as male gamers can. The males have power in numbers, and there are just a lot more incentives for them to enjoy the community, practices and competitions. It’s easier to find the best players and select them for top-tier teams whereas the number of female players is very low and it’s tough to find the biggest talents. With that being said, it’s up to the community - and us - to see what the future holds for the female scene!
ESL: Thank you for your time! Anything else you’d like to say or shoutouts you’d like to make?
Vorti: I’d like to make a shoutout to all my fellow teammates and the whole Alsen Team. Big thanks to Kamil for the support and help throughout the past months.
potter:I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of the ESL staff and Intel for making this possible and allowing us to experience the Intel Extreme Masters world finals! Also a shoutout to the Ubinited sponsors Intel, Ubisoft, Steelseries, Nvidia,Twitch and all our supporters and fans out there! Thank you guys so much for believing in us and stay tuned for a great 2015!
ESL: Best of luck in Katowice!
Team ALSEN and Ubinited will be battling it out along with TBA.Female and Bad Monkey in Katowice on the 15th of March starting at 13:30 CET.