What does it take to prepare for an international esports tournament? We ask local esports stars Bravado as they prepare for the Call of Duty World League.
From 3 to 5 May, South Africa’s Bravado will be competing against top esports teams from across the globe at the Call of Duty World League. The official league built around one of the biggest video games in existence. More than a hundred teams will gather in London and compete for US$75,000 in the tournament’s open bracket. This takes place alongside the main event, where the world’s top Call of Duty (COD) 16 teams face each other for US$325,000.
For Bravado’s COD team, this is a golden opportunity to match skills with other competitors – not the least because this will be their debut at an international competition. But they are ready, said team captain Dillon “Lithium” Charalambous:
“We have been working towards this opportunity for as long as I can remember. It is one of the biggest Call of Duty events in the world with the most stacked line-ups. Our motivation to grind and put in all the time we do into the game is for this opportunity and we are excited to see what the future holds for us.”
Getting in match shape
COD is a fast-paced action game where competing teams must outwit and outshoot each other. Each team is represented by a group of virtual soldiers, pitted against a rival team. There are three types of game modes played in COD, all requiring great teamwork, fast reactions and various level of strategy.
To get ready for this, Bravado has been practising for hours every day. Between eight and ten hours are spent honing their skills, Dillon explained:
“Our preparation for a CWL event is similar to professional Call of Duty teams overseas. The schedule must remain consistent to produce results.”
A lot of the practice is focused on creating good team dynamics, which is crucial when playing at this level. Winning at COD is not only about being the best but playing together better than the other team. It’s all about consistency and creating trust in each other. For this reason, up to half of the practice time can be spent on reinforcing team dynamics.
Taking the pressure in stride
Fortunately the team – which consists of Dillon, Rahil “Rahil” Bux, Robert “Kohvz” Levkov, Alton “Inferno” Coetzee and Jordan “Scorpio” Cupido – is ready to handle the pressure. In fact, because this is their first overseas tournament, it actually makes things a little easier:
“It is something that we take into consideration, but do not think about it a lot because we are the first South African team that will be competing at an event like this. So instead of putting pressure on ourselves or having high expectations, we will prepare as well as we can, go into every game as hard as we can, and not take anybody lightly.”
But this doesn’t mean Bravado is being complacent. Their terrific work ethic and focus already speak for their ambitions. They are not about to roll over on the competition and know they have something to prove:
“Our biggest obstacle is the fact that we have not played overseas and experienced playing in that type of environment and playing against those types of teams. We will need to adapt to their playstyles. But we have an extremely talented line-up and we are as prepared as we can be. So we are excited to see what we can do.”
Changing South African esports
This attitude is typical of Bravado, a collective of esports teams that have been working hard to establish professional gaming in South Africa. Sponsored by Dell Alienware and Intel, it has several teams breaking new ground.
This past year Bravado’s Counter-Strike: Global Offensive team competed in several global tournaments, beating some of the best in the world, and Bravado Finesse is gaining renown as the best all-female Counter-Strike team in the country. For Bravado it’s about community and its players are always on call to help other aspirant esport athletes, meet them at events and interact with them on social media.
“Bravado was created to build esports in South Africa and to help elevate our players to global competitive standards,” said Andreas Hadjipaschali, CEO of Bravado Gaming. “We’ve had a lot of success in the past year and the COD team going to London boosts that momentum. If our players can serve as inspiration for new esporting talent, then we know we are winning.”
The Call of Duty World League, hosted by GFinity, will take place in London’s Copper Box Arena from 3 to 5 May 2018. Here Bravado’s Call of Duty team will match wits with the best in esports for thousands of dollars. But they didn’t get there overnight. It has been a journey of focus, dedication, pride, humility and teamwork, making sure that they are ready for a milestone that we all can take pride in.
Learn more about building a big match temperament at https://youtu.be/W-KlNbGhE8g where Bravado athletes talk about the discipline and passion that goes into aiming for the top. Also be sure to visit http://bravadogaming.com/news-article/bravado-gaming-attends-cwl-london/ for an in-depth interview with Dillon.
Watch the video here: