As a team without an organization, Saints were perhaps a surprise inclusion to the lineup at ESL Impact Katowice. Defeating Evil Geniuses Gold to make the event was no small feat, and IGL Anna “buhnny” Cheung is hoping it will be the spark for organizations to look at signing her roster.
After being handed a tough group in Katowice, we sat down with the driven buhnny to discuss her team’s time in Katowice, as well as her outlook on being the leader of her team.
Sam “AN1MO” McKenzie, BLIX.GG: You started in Katowice against Nigma Galaxy. When we were talking beforehand, you said you wanted to get five rounds. You got that so are you happy with your performance?
Anna "buhnny" Cheung: They are the first seed for a reason. It's unfortunate that we had to go up against them, a team with tons of experience and talented players. But, we got our five.
BLIX: Is that something though that you end up looking forward to because it's something you can learn a lot from?
buhnny: Definitely, I was very excited to play them, but also, I knew the outcome wasn't gonna be the best in what I wanted. I wanted to win, obviously, but being realistic, I was just excited to play people that understand the game more. I have a demo now and can learn a lot from it.
BLIX: So, is that going to be the next process? How much do you think it will help you in the fact that you got to play here?
buhnny: Definitely, from the three maps we played at this event, we will be studying the demos. There is a lot to learn because you have Asia and Europe and their different playstyles. You can learn a lot and kind of mix a little bit of North America [in their playstyle] and maybe play like a super team.
BLIX: Yeah, because you guys kind of struggled today. What happened in the game [against HSG]?
buhnny: Honestly, it's everyone's first LAN besides KiKi. Also, it was just nerves, and we all work and go to school so...and we're orgless.
BLIX: Is having jobs and school a big thing that's holding women's CS:GO back?
buhnny: I do believe in North America at least. I see more orgs are getting more teams which is great, but I do believe that if North America invested more into female CS, you'll have teams that are ready to compete. We obviously tried to prepare for this, but the results didn't really show. We didn't really get to showcase what we have but we're hopeful. We're gonna hopefully make Dallas and put on a better showing next time.
BLIX: Do you think your performance here will convince an organization that you're a team that should be backed?
buhnny: We beat Evil Geniuses Gold to get here. We are a part-time team beating a full-time signed team, who train eight to ten hours a day and have so many resources in comparison. That shows we have something in us.
BLIX: Did you ever expect to be playing here?
buhnny: No, never. I never expected to make something like this. I would like to make Dallas, but being here in Katowice, it's a whole other experience. There's nothing that tops going to a European event.
BLIX: What was it like playing on the stage for the first time?
buhnny: Nerves, definitely nerves, but since I'm IGLing, I have to keep cool, calm and collected, so my other teammates can focus on their game, but it's definitely an important experience to have.
BLIX: On IGLing then, what would you define the role of the IGL as?
buhnny: Besides being an In-Game leader, you have to be a team leader outside as well. You have to be the support and you have to have that strong voice. You could show weakness, but in order to keep a team together, strong, and hopeful, I think the IGL needs a really strong personality where they support their teammates even if they're feeling down.
That's because, at the end of the day, Counter-Strike is a team game. If one person performs badly, let's say this person is me, but I have my four other teammates supporting me, then I could live with that.
BLIX: How would you define IGLing in terms of percentage between in-game and outside of the server?
buhnny: I think, outside the server, I will say it's maybe 60-40 in my opinion, because if your team has a strong mental and can power through things. I think my team has really good chemistry. We've been together and we all like each other and that's very important in a team environment.
During the qualifiers, we got stomped on Inferno [by EG Gold] and then we came back winning 16-8 on Overpass, and although we were down 9-14 in Mirage, we played together, being like, "Okay, we got this. We have the same goals" and we fought back and won 16-14.
BLIX: What's your general preparation and approach to IGLing?
buhnny: I definitely look at our strat book. I rely on my AWPer to let me know what she wants to do, and I'll make a plan around that. That's because my AWPer is very impactful. Our AWPer is paula, she's a great player and rifler too so if she can activate with the AWP, it would make that round so much easier for us.
Feature Images: @GrimyRannarr