GooseBreeder: "It makes more sense for women to play in female teams right now because they have a lot more opportunities"
For Dust2.us' fourth interview of Fragadelphia 15, Jeffrey "Mnmzzz" Moore sat down with CLG Red's Mounira "GooseBreeder" Dobie to discuss the state of female CS in North America, VALORANT's support of female players and what CS could be doing better, the pros and cons of joining a mixed roster, and CLG Red's long-term goals.
To start, CLG Red went out of Fragadelphia 15 in day one following losses to Third Impact and Touch Point. Do you think the team met expectations after not playing on LAN for more than a year?
We played the Denver LAN right before this but besides that we haven't played a LAN in a while. We try to set realistic expectations, obviously there are a lot of good teams coming into this tournament, so we didn't expect to crush it. The expectations for me personally was the type of gameplay we were showing, and there were moments where we were meeting that and moments where of course we were struggling. So, I'd say yes and no, of course I'd like to make it further in a tournament but at the end of the day I'm happy as long as we are playing proper Counter-Strike and showing the work we are putting in behind the scenes. I'm looking forward to more events where we can have another shot at proving ourselves.
Since CLG Red were last on LAN, there have been a few substantial changes to the lineup including the signing of flashie as coach. Can you discuss what he brings to the team as a European player and as an outside influence?
Yeah, he brings a lot to the team. He's a very mature person who has a good work ethic and brings a good environment to the team. He's good at holding us accountable which is important with growing as a team and as individuals. He brings strats to the team and he critiques us at the end of games. Basically he tries to fix our mistakes and bring new stuff to the team.
The other key new addition to the team is Juli, who was a relatively new player when she came into the project. How did CLG Red find her and what does she offer the lineup?
With the female CS scene there's not a lot of options so girls who have potential usually you can find them pretty easily. So I already knew of Juli from mutual friends, and she's competed in different female events before. So she's not a stranger to the scene, we were somewhat familiar with her. We did a lot of different tryouts and we thought Juli fit the best with our team in terms of her attitude and as an overall player. We thought she'd fit well and that's why we picked her up.
You earlier touched on the overall state of the female CS scene and how there's not a lot of options currently for new talent. A large number of female players have been making the move to VALORANT including Dignitas fe who were in some sense your rival in North America. How did it feel for CLG Red to lose their longtime rival?
Having a rival is important, but I honestly don't think Dignitas fe matched up to us so at some point they were not as challenging a rival as they used to be. For us what challenges us the are the EU teams in female CS. Not getting to play those teams was losing a challenge. But, we also have mixed CS that challenges us on a day-to-day basis so it's not like we lose all of our challenges by losing Dignitas fe. I do think it is a hit on the CS scene obviously because there's no more NA teams besides us. That kind of takes away competition when we do tournaments and stuff. They were the other best NA team, so we do lose that, and losing any female teams right now is a hit to CS.
I know that when VALORANT was in the beta CLG Red played a few tournaments and show matches. Was a long-term transition to the game ever considered by the team?
We tried it for fun to dip our toes into it. At the end of the day we decided to stay in CS. VALORANT is something that lurks on the side that's a bit of eye candy. But everyone who wants to stay is staying and I do like CS better as a game. What's enticing about VALORANT is that it's a new game but what's most enticing is the scene and how many competitors there are. There's so many opportunities and that's what the most enticing overall and not as much the game. For example, if I had to choose between gameplay I'd stay with Counter-Strike but at the end of the day like you need a scene and if the scene dies then what choice do you have.
Riot has put a lot of work, especially in North America, into nurturing the female VALORANT scene. How do you feel about Riot's efforts in VALORANT, and do you think it is something Valve or another TO should emulate?
It is impressive and there's a lot of reasons women are migrating to VALORANT. Riot is doing a really good job and they're very proactive about the women's scene and growing their players which is very smart for many reasons. One you're growing out the other half of the population it's very good to get that player base into the game so it's beneficial for them. It's also beneficial for women who want to get into gaming, now they have figures they can look up to. They're doing a really good job and there's so many teams in VALORANT that are women's teams and that's good for long-term development of skill in the women scene. You're going to find more women and they will eventually be better, and you might start seeing women who can compete at higher levels.
Focusing back on CS:GO, DreamHack hosted two all-female Showdown events in 2020. These events were met with criticism by certain parts of the community who thought DreamHack could've invested the money elsewhere. Do you have a rebuttal to this viewpoint?
Yeah, I do. Sponsors choose how they want to spend their money, there's a reason they're spending it on female tournaments and it's not going to go to some other tournament if that's how sponsors choose to spend their money. People are directing hate for no reason, if that money wants to go to female CS it's going to go to female CS whether you think it's fair or not. People want to develop the scene and there's a reason those tournaments exist. There's not a lot of females who play the game so there needs to be some sort of incentive to create player over time. That is true for any undeveloped scene, not just female CS. Women in CS is an underdeveloped scene just like any other scene. So there needs to be some proactive actions taken to grow those scenes or they're going to stay small and they're not going to get better like anything else.
One development I found interesting in VALORANT was Evil Geniuses' decision to enter the scene with a mixed gender lineup. Do you think that this avenue might be valuable in CS to help develop the female scene and is that a possibility right now?
Mixed rosters are cool. I play with mixed rosters from time to time in ESEA Cash Cups or other sub tournaments. I would love to see mixed gameplay in the future but to grow the female scene out to the point where you can have women who can compete at higher levels there needs to be that stepping stone. Right now with female tournaments you're going to have female teams and with that opportunity it doesn't make a lot of sense for me, for example, to join a mixed team when I'm losing the opportunity to play female tournaments as well. We play against guys all the time on CLG Red and if I want to go play with a mixed tournament with a PUG I can do that as well.
Have you personally ever considered joining or forming a mixed gender team?
I personally have considered it. The thing is if I join a mixed team there's pros and cons. When I left Dignitas fe I was actually seriously thinking about joining a mixed gender team but again there's opportunity that's lost and it's not like I can't go grow on another female team. For example, when I joined CLG Red I still had a lot to learn regardless so it's not like I'm hurting my development by playing for CLG Red. Even now, I'm still learning so much even though I'm part of an all women team. It's still a challenging team for me, there's still a lot of things I can grow by being on this team. And again, we compete in a division where there's other players who are really good as well. There are things to gain by playing mixed CS, but it really depends on what division you are playing in. If I'm a player who isn't good enough for Premier then it doesn't really make sense because no Premier team is going to pick me up anyway so I can still play Advanced with an Advanced team.
If a women wants to go play in a mixed team then she is again losing the opportunity to play in female tournaments and have a backing by an organization that allows them to play full-time. Because of the pros and cons on both sides it makes more sense for women to play in female teams right now because they have a lot more opportunities that way. It doesn't mean you can't grow and learn either.
What are CLG Red's goals for the remainder of this season and moving forward?
CLG Red is a long-term team. We're just going to keep thinking long-term and that's all we've ever done. The progress we have to make is usually a long-term project and our goal is to make Advanced playoffs and we're pretty much trying to figure out what does it take to do that. We're still figuring out the answers ourselves so yeah. We've made improvements but we have to figure out the formula to making our work show up in matches and be able to have that performance.
To close, are there any female players here or abroad that you'd like to give a shoutout to that might be the next generation of talent in the scene?
It's hard because we lost so many players to VALORANT so there's really not a lot of players in North America. The two subs we have, Bouchard and jaro, are both good players. I know of other players but they're in VALORANT. I know of players in Europe but I don't know enough about them to comment on them but it's hard to say because a lot of players went to VALORANT but there are a lot of players there that have a bright future as well.
CLG Red currently have a 3-10 record in ESEA Advanced Season 38 meaning they will unfortunately be demoted to Main for Season 39. Their final match of the season is against Infinity tonight at 9PM EDT. In their match last night CLG Red played with jaro and Julie "Bouchard" Bouchard in place of Jennifer "refinnej" Le and Emma "Emy" Choe.