So far as the VCT Game Changers scene in APAC is concerned, Alter Ego Celestè was the golden standard for much of its duration. Formed after the Indonesian esports organization Alter Ego signed independent team Celeste Esports in early 2021, which in itself came via the latter’s transition from Counter-Strike: Global Offensive to Valorant, the team wasted little time before dominating the region. Propped by their past competitive FPS experience and seamless synergy, the team won every event they entered including numerous open tournaments and the 2021 GC SEA FSL Elite title.
Without question, every player contributed in their own way for AEC to produce a stellar record, but the best player among the squad has been duelist Odella “enerii” Abraham. At 18 years old, she shone as the best player in seemingly every tournament she partook in. In the 2022 VCT GC APAC Elite event, per VLR.gg, enerii was first in various categories such as average combat score, average damage per round, kills per round, total kills, and first kills. She was truly in a class of her own for 2022–so much so that she was named the best GC player in APAC by Valo2Asia at the end of the season.
Although enerii consistently displayed her best for AEC, it wasn’t enough to steer the team to victory as they lost in the VCT GC APAC Elite grand finals 2-3 to X10 Sapphire, missing out on qualifying for the GC world championship and ending 2022 on a sour note.
Despite the result, enerii is committed to ensuring AEC reaches the pinnacle of GC as the best in both APAC and the world and does not suffer the same fate as they did last season.
Looking ahead to the 2023 season, BLIX.GG spoke to enerii about her thoughts about how last season played out for Alter Ego Celestè, how they performed in the GC APAC Elite tournament, X10 Sapphire’s showing in the GC world championship, and how the region stacks up with the rest of the world in terms of playstyle. She also covers her career from when she started playing Counter-Strike: Global Offensive to transitioning to Valorant and joining AEC.
Starting in CS:GO
Pedro Romero, BLIX.GG: Before competing in Valorant professionally, you started out playing in CS:GO. Can you describe what your first encounter was like with CS and what then gravitated you towards starting a professional career in that game?
Odella "enerii" Abraham: I started CS:GO in early 2018 because it was one of the trending games back then. Everyone was playing it and I wanted to join in on everyone so I begged my parents to buy the game. Then, for some reason, I was really addicted to the game. I would skip school just to play it and it was very enjoyable to me.
What gravitated me to competing is that actually, I never really planned on competing or doing esports stuff in general because my parents were quite conservative about it. If I said I'm doing esports as my career back then, it would not have been acceptable because they wanted me to do well in school and stuff like that--but I still did it. You can say I was maybe a semi-pro in CS:GO. I didn't plan on competing actually. It's just that one day, I was offered to play in tournaments, and I never really thought of playing in them.
For me, it was just about playing the game. There's no specific reason why I started competing. It was because I really enjoyed the game and I wanted to play at harder levels because ranked and tournaments are a bit different, right? So, when I had the chance to play at a higher level than ranked, I was very happy because I was passionate about the game.
BLIX.GG: Of all the games that are popular in Southeast Asia, you selected CS:GO What about the game made you want to play? Also, why did you choose FPS games specifically?
enerii: It's because back then., before CS:GO, there were Facebook games and there was this specific game called UberStrike. That was my very first game and it was an FPS game. I don't really know why I chose FPS. It's just that I really like competitive stuff such as shooting games and those in which you need to win, unlike single-player games. I guess I'm just very competitive at heart. That's why I really enjoyed CS:GO and FPS games.
BLIX.GG: Exactly how many teams did you compete with during your time in CS:GO?
enerii: If I remember correctly, there were around three teams. The first one was an all-female Indonesian team. Then, after competing in some tournaments, my second team was Celeste. I was offered to play there as a stand-in and I took that opportunity because I was playing with better players than me. After that, I was offered to play in a Malaysian team and I took that because I wanted to experience a new environment. But then when I joined the Malaysian team, the CS:GO scene was quite lonely and bad because everyone was moving to Valorant and that's when I decided to jump there.
BLIX.GG: The CS scene is much smaller in SEA compared to other more prominent regions in the world. You mentioned how you felt pretty lonely competing in that region. What was the state of CS:GO in the female scene specifically in SEA from when you joined up until you switched to Valorant?
enerii: I actually joined the female scene in CS:GO quite late. I joined when a lot of the huge names in CS:GO were either retiring or just not playing anymore. The reason why I felt very lonely competing in the female scene is because it was very rare to find other girls playing in general. I can only count with one hand the amount of times I met random girls in CS:GO ranked or anything, whereas, in Valorant, I met countless of different girls. I guess that's the biggest difference and that's why I felt a bit lonely in CS.
BLIX.GG: So, you always competed with guys from the start?
enerii: At the start, yeah. I played with guys in small school tournaments. That's where I started. Then I was invited to that all-female Indonesian team. I was always mostly playing with guys because I joined a lot of school tournaments back then.
Switching to Valorant
BLIX.GG: Eventually, you made that move to Valorant in the summer of 2020 as a member of Celeste Esports from CS:GO. What was that moment in time in which you decided to make the move?
enerii: When I decided to make the jump, it was just as simple as like looking at my Steam friend list and seeing one or two people in CS:GO. As much as I really love CS:GO, I kind of don't want to play in a game where all my friends are already in another game and I'm still playing here alone. And I also saw more opportunities because there were a lot of joining Valorant. Een people with no prior FPS experience played Valorant too and it just felt very lively.
enerii and the rest of the Alter Ego Celeste (Credit: Alter Ego/Twitter)
BLIX.GG: In an interview with Valo2Asia, you mentioned how it was harder for you to adjust to the movement during your transition to Valorant from CS:GO. Can you elaborate on what made it so difficult for you in that department? And do you feel you have completely adjusted to movement as of this point?
enerii: What I mean is that in Valorant, the counter strafing and movement mechanics is a bit different compared to CS:GO. Though the shooting aspect, as an FPS game, is quite the same, but I feel that movement-wise, it felt very different for me. That's why I had a hard time adapting at the beginning because in CS:GO, it's a bit slippery. When you press D and then you let it go, it's still a bit slippery, whereas in Valorant, if you let go of your movement button, you just stop completely... I started adapting to it quite late, maybe a year into playing the game. That's why I said it was hard at that interview. But I feel like I'm doing better today. I feel I've completely adapted to Valorant right now.
BLIX.GG: Was that the hardest thing you had to encounter during that transition? Or was there something else?
enerii: For me, it was only the movement. Utility-wise, I didn't really have a lot of problems there. For me, it was just movement because I really like paying attention to movement mechanics in different games. I'm a bit nitpicky about the mechanics of movement and if there's a huge difference, it's hard for me to adapt.
BLIX.GG: Since making the switch, with Celeste Esports, you won various open tournaments and the like and continued that success after being signed by Alter Ego. What made this team play so well to the point in which they became the best in the region from the jump?
enerii: I feel it was because we had an early advantage because the whole Celeste CS:GO roster moved to Valorant whereas in other teams, they either had no prior FES experience or it was their first time forming a team. I feel that's why we did very well early in Valorant. But after a year and a half, people started catching up because they've been practicing with their teams for that time. I feel the only reason we did great as we had an early advantage over the others.
What happened in VCT APAC Elite?
BLIX.GG: With the region continuing to play the game and it being more popular than ever, you guys still stayed on top of your game up until the APAC Elite tournament. What did you guys do to stay on top while the rest of the region started improving and formalizing more proper teams as you mentioned?
enerii: One of the methods we used to stay on top is to closely follow the meta in CS:GO and trying out agent combinations that are not common. I think we did well because as a team, we're very good at adapting to the new meta whenever there is a new patch or agent. We adapt quite fast and we experiment around those changes very fast.
BLIX.GG: As a result of being the main dominating force in APAC, AEC was expected to win APAC Elite at the end of the year, which would then send them to the GC world championship.
Of course, that didn't happen with you guys losing to X10 Sapphire in the grand finals. What do you think contributed to your team's failure in that competition?
enerii: I guess it was because we changed how we usually played. Coming into Elite, we were playing very structure-based and we weren't used to it. We only had two months to adapt to a whole new different playstyle as a team. That's one of the reasons why we lost in Elite but there's a lot of other factors also. X10 was also just the better team.
BLIX.GG: Can you elaborate on exactly what other factors contributed to AEC's subsequent performance in that period?
enerii: I think we were just complacent in how we were doing for the past two years. Aside from that, we also changed how we play For me, that's the two main reasons: complacency and adapting to a different team play style.
BLIX.GG: Despite your team's struggles, we saw X10 in the GC world championship on behalf of APAC and finished in 5-6th place. How do you think they performed against the rest of the globe? And did their finishing in 5th-6th meet your expectations?
enerii: I feel they performed really well. For my expectations, I didn't really have any predictions but X10 did very well in Berlin. They had a lot of close games with international teams and seeing them play made me feel glad. I've always had this mindset that the regions outside of APAC are better than APAC. Seeing X10 made me feel the skill gap is not that far. I think they perfectly represented APAC in Berlin. They did a lot of stuff and almost pulled a lot of upsets. They did very well as a team.
BLIX.GG: Taking a step further from that, how do you think APAC prepares with the rest of the world in the GC scene in terms of their interpretation of the meta and gameplay?
enerii: I feel there's a lot of players in APAC that has insane mechanics. It's just that I feel they're inexperienced which is not a bad thing. Compared to G2, they have a lot of LAN experience, right? I feel maybe that's what differentiated X10 or us as a team. I just feel it's maybe APAC's lack of experience.
BLIX.GG: What do you think will be the biggest takeaway from the region out of watching X10's performance in the world championship?
enerii: I think it's just experience and how they adapt to certain situations. I feel, mechanics and aim-wise, there's not a lot of a gap. I feel it's about LAN experience and adaptability. Those are the two main factors.
On being the best in APAC
BLIX.GG: You were recently named the best GC player in all of APAC by Valo2Asia. Did you ever expect you would be named the best?
enerii: Not to be arrogant or cocky, but yeah, I kind of expected it.
BLIX.GG: What about you made you stand out from the rest of the region?
enerii: I am not sure myself. Maybe for the past one and a half years, it was just my consistency in official matches, I would say.
BLIX.GG: If it wasn't you who took that award, who do you think would have been the next person up?
enerii: It would be either SMG Kohaibi (Abigail Kong) or Alexy (Alexandria Francisco). I think it's either two of them because they're very, very good players and I really look up to them both.
BLIX.GG: You mentioned how the team wasn't able to adapt well, through the tail end of this past season. For you specifically, did you feel you didn't adapt enough to the meta throughout this year besides playing with the rest of the AEC team?
enerii: I feel I didn't have a hard time adapting to the meta because I have only played one role for the past one and a half years. I also watch a lot of VCT VODs and games in my free time, so for me, I wasn't struggling with adapting. It was because I watch different teams play and learn new metas from them, so I guess for me, it wasn't that hard adapting.
BLIX.GG: Which team and player (both VCT and GC) do you have a specific eye on in watching VODs?
enerii: For me, it's DRX, Paper Rex, and FPX. I watch them a lot and they always do a lot of creative stuff. Watching them really helps me understand metas and how to play. In GC, I watch a lot of the regions but by far my favorite is probably NA. I watch a lot of Cloud9 White and Shopify rebellion games. My favorite player who I've always wanted to meet on LAN is Sonder and Bob. Both of them are very good and I watched them a lot.
BLIX.GG: You have generally played one specific role throughout your career: duelist. What gravitated you towards playing that role from the outset?
enerii: It's because I'm quite impatient which explains why I chose to play duelist. I like to make space for my team and I'm quite impatient. That's why I really like agents like Jett and Raze because they're movement agents and I feel very comfortable paying them both.
Her read on the meta
BLIX.GG: There's been plenty of discussion about the recent changes made to the game in which basically every agent's abilities were affected. How do you think the recent patches changed the meta ahead of the new GC season?
enerii: Since they nerfed Omen, maybe Astra and Harbor would be the new meta now. In fact, it's gonna be an Astra-Killjoy meta and it's quite refreshing since we had to play the Chamber meta for a year so I feel like it's a very good change to the game. We're changing sentinels and smokers and stuff so I feel quite happy.
BLIX.GG: AEC was the only team that played Chamber throughout the APAC Elite tournament. How much was the game dependent upon Chamber before these changes were made?
enerii: Chamber was probably the most important role back then. It was a battle of who can abuse the Operator Chamber more. I guess for us it was quite a fun meta, but nearing the Chamber patch, I was very sick of him being very overpowered because he can essentially get free kills everywhere and TP out instantly. Playing Chamber is one thing but going against that type of agent is just not that great. And I guess he's very OP because you also need to waste a lot of utilities on him. The game was always quite dependent on who had the better Chamber.
Nowadays, we're seeing more creative metas with different sentinels. I'm quite happy with the Chamber nerfs even though I'm a Chamber main myself. I feel it's a refreshing update to the game.
BLIX.GG: I'd like to know what's your favorite play in your pro Valorant career thus far?
enerii: It was during the VCT Open 3 Grand Finals against X10. I felt that was my best performance ever. I performed very good in a way that made me happy. That series was probably my favorite moment in my Valorant career.
BLIX.GG: Do you have a specific play during those finals in which you gave the best version of enerii that you could display?
enerii: I feel it was during the whole Bind game because I felt I played the way I wanted to and I was quite proud of myself. There's no specific play but I just felt very like happy playing that series.
On ESL Impact in APAC
BLIX.GG: There's also another league that's been formed which features female esports: ESL impact. It's a league made specifically for female CS:GO, players. What do you think of the creation of ESL impact and how will compete with GC in the female esports scene?
enerii: I won't think of that league as a competition because I'm very happy to see CS:GO has its own female league.
BLIX.GG: With the creation of ESL Impact, do you think the game will become as popular as Valorant is right now in the female scene thanks to GC?
enerii: It's hard for me to say but maybe it'll be popular in regions outside of APAC since most of the female players have gravitated towards Valorant and a lot of them have been competing for a year or two years. I don't think there will be a lot of people suddenly making the change back to CS:GO may be in APAC but I'm not sure about the other regions since I don't really follow them or CS:GO in general these days.
BLIX.GG: Have you ever thought about maybe returning to CS:GO because of ESL Impact?
enerii: Maybe not because most of the people I know are in Valorant already so I don't think I'll be making the change unless maybe my CS:GO passion gets reignited again.
BLIX.GG: Do you think with ESL Impact, CS:GO will finally be popular in the region? Do you think it's a possibility that it might get to that particular point?
enerii: I feel it won't be the case because most, if not all, of the CS:GO pro players in APAC have made their move to Valorant. Maybe it will be the case in outside regions like Europe and NA since CS:GO is so popular there, but I feel in APAC, it won't be as popular as before even with the added league.
Looking ahead to the future
BLIX.GG: What do you think has been your biggest takeaway from competing in 2022?
enerii: Despite dominating in my region, I feel I still have a lot of room to improve. I guess my biggest takeaway is to just not stop learning and not stop grinding so I hope in 2023, I'll do better than my previous years.
BLIX.GG: With the new season upon us, which team do you have an eye out for? Is there a GC player or team that you specifically have an eye out for?
enerii: I have my eye on the new Team SMG roster. I feel it's an APAC super team. I feel they are going to be the team that will be dominating this year.
BLIX.GG: How close or far do you think APAC is from becoming the best region in the world in both regular VCT and GC?
enerii: I feel we're not very far off since ZETA, DRX, and Paper Rex have always had a very great run in VCT so I feel it's not very far. And maybe APAC will win the next Champions because there's a lot of talent here. Maybe it's just me being very APAC pride, but I really can see APAC winning this year as the champion.