So far in the 2023 VCT Game Changers season, a variety of teams have emerged from within their particular region to become part of a group of major contenders to win the GC title in early December.
Such teams include new faces such as Version1 of North America, Team SMG of APAC, LOUD of Brazil and ZETA DIVISION GC of Japan. Simultaneously, there are also those who maintained their top spot at the helm of the GC scene; like Latin America’s KRU Blaze, Team Liquid Brazil and, most certainly, G2 Gozen.
Looking at G2 Gozen specifically, following their 2022 GC world championship victory in Berlin, they won both EMEA GC Series 1 and 2 tournaments in consecutive fashion. Even after the team experienced massive changes to their lineup. Which came in the form of Julia "Juliano" Kiran and Maryam "Mary" Maher’s retirements from competitive Valorant and the subsequent addition of Vivian "roxi" Schilling and Sarah "sarah" Ahmed. They remained stout in their pursuit of obtaining a second consecutive world title while also continuing their dominance of EMEA.
In the lead up to the EMEA Series 3 group stage, BLIX caught up with G2 Gozen controller Anastasiya "Glance" Anisimova for an interview about the team’s Series 2 triumph, how she and the rest of the squad dealt with the lineup changes throughout the year, how she views her individual progression and contribution to the team and more.
On EMEA Series 2 main event and playoffs
Pedro Romero, BLIX: Let me start off by saying congrats on winning EMEA Series 2. This is your fourth domestic GC title with G2 so far and things continue to look well for yourself and the team. How do you view the team’s performance in Series 2 (group stage and playoffs) after Series 1?
Anastasiya "Glance" Anisimova: Overall, our performance improved a lot during Series 2. We started very slow in the group stage, lost to teams who didn’t qualify in the end and had a lack of team play, but then, coming into boot camp, we managed to fix those issues and went pretty strong in playoffs.
BLIX: On an individual level, what significant adjustments did you make to your game within your role that counteracted against your opponents like Vania [Aleyna Keskin] and Joliinaa [Tina Agéli]?
Glance: I had to change the way I was playing in general. I used to support players with my utility and "follow orders" basically, but when we got sarah, she didn’t have the experience and we had to step up to help her with team play and initiatives. I tried to give my team as much overview as I can and take space and make decisions to take the area when we needed to.
BLIX: We’re seeing new teams in the EMEA region emerge throughout 2023 to try to dethrone G2 Gozen after more than a year. Which EMEA team has presented the biggest challenge to you and your team and why?
Glance: Probably BBL. They were the one defeating us in groups in the first split (actually twice) and they have players with good aim.
New year, new G2 Gozen, new Glance
BLIX: The biggest storyline that followed G2 in Series 2 was the addition of sarah to the lineup after Mary stepped aside to pursue her studies. What was the most important thing the team had to adjust to in playing with Sarah during those early days?
Glance: We knew that sarah was coming into a team with no experience and it was gonna be a lot of pressure and comparison between her and Mary, but we were supporting sarah by helping her be confident and she was taking feedback really well which made it easier for us to improve as a unit.
BLIX: In what way is Sarah different from Mary as a duelist and as a fellow G2 teammate?
Glance: sarah is listening a lot and she likes doing things together. She is not going thoughtlessly into a fight and she is very smart. Mary was just different. She had huge confidence and was consistently winning her duels, bringing positivity into a team. it’s hard to compare those two since their playstyle is so different.
BLIX: Of course, it wasn’t just the switch between Mary and sarah that affected G2 Gozen in 2023. Earlier this year, Juliano left the team to return to pro women’s CS so she was replaced by roxi. Also, the IGL role moved to Petra [Petra Stoker]. How has it been playing under Petra as the IGL?
Glance: Petra has huge experience and she is confident, also her aim is insane, so I personally think it’s easy to trust her call, with proper overview from a team we have a good read and everyone knows what to do. Also she is always open to try new/random rounds that people suggest and open to give/take feedback. I can trust her with my life to be honest.
BLIX: Early on in your career, you were mostly playing initiator but once you joined G2 Gozen, you switched to the controller role. Two years have passed since then and it has definitely bred success for you and the G2 Gozen squad. Which aspect to your role game do you think has helped the team the most over the past two years?
Glance: At the beginning I was playing Astra. She was stronger back then and I think I supported my team quite well with smokes/pulls/stuns. Also, I was playing Viper a lot especially on Icebox and Breeze (which were our best maps back then) and I learned how to lurk, combine utility, use my walls, etc.
I really like playing lineups since it’s the easiest way to win you a round not relying on your duels and taking a risk of losing them and building your economy. Now I enjoy playing Omen a lot. He is different as a controller. You can do a lot of aggressive plays (flash + tp, ult) and you can survive long enough (dancing around your smoke, tp).
BLIX: Do you feel you’re a better controller player now than when you were formerly maining initiator? Why or why not?
Glance: For sure, but also because I changed as a player and thanks to my teammates' experience and consistent feedback I had a chance to improve faster than some other players.
BLIX: What makes you stand out from the rest of the other controller players in EMEA GC?
Glance: I'm hungry to improve and I will never give up easily. I had a chance to learn from the best teammates with insane experience and I’m grateful for it. I can definitely use this in officials.
Competing in co-ed events, 2023 GC Championship
BLIX: I talked to meL [Melanie Capone] a while ago about how she views the current state of GC teams and how they fare in co-ed events. I want to deliver that same question to you. Nowadays in EMEA, what is the gap like between the GC and men’s teams and why do you think the gap is as such?
Glance: I think the gap between the GC team and the men's one is still big enough. We are consistently practicing against male teams, and despite the fact that we are winning against some of them, we still can’t compare ourselves and tier 1 teams in VCT.
I do think that the GC scene has huge potential especially with talented aimers such as G2 Mary, V1 sarah [Sarah Simpson], BBL Vania and smart IGLs like G2 Petra and V1 meL but having mechanics and good calls is not enough yet to achieve the goal to compete in male pro scene. We still have to learn a lot about the game: strats, comps, reactions to certain scenarios, reading the game etc. But for sure we are getting closer.
BLIX: What do you think has been the biggest obstacles G2 Gozen had to face this year so far? Is that particular issue born within or outside the server?
Glance: We were consistently changing our roster first when Juliano left we found Roxi and then when Mary had a hard period in her life so we had to find someone with very little time so we took sarah and helped her to get through her first officials, boot camp, team experience, etc. It was not easy for her and for us as well but Sarah did great so big props to her. Also, we are lucky to have Roxi as an experienced player with a lot of understanding in the game.
BLIX: Has there been a GC team outside of EMEA that has caught your attention so far this year? If so, who are they and why?
Glance: Not really, we were following GC in Brazil and NA, but it’s pretty much the same story as last year, but now it’s V1 dominating everyone. In the Brazil region I was watching LOUD, they seemed like a good team.
BLIX: Where do you see the current level of this iteration of G2 Gozen in relation to that from the 2022 GC Championship winning squad?
Glance: We are definitely better at some aspects but also it’s a fact that we lost some time with a changing roster and adapting to each other once again cost us some problems. Overall I think we have definitely improved.
BLIX: If you can single out one thing that you feel the current team must do to reach the same level as the 2022 team, what is it and why?
Glance: Not a thing, but just keep going, our hard work always paid off in the past, we got this.
BLIX: As someone born in Russia, I’d like to know your upbringing in the country. Where were you born in Russia? Also, how do you describe your childhood and first moments with gaming?
Glance: I was born close to Siberia, in a town called Tyumen, I moved to Moscow when I started playing professionally. I had to finish university while having a half-time job, so I couldn’t play as much as I wanted, but I was playing since I was 7 and got my first PC, first with single-player games, then Team Fortress 2, DOTA 2 Overwatch.
BLIX: When and how did you start playing Valorant?
Glance: I got the beta key pretty early and since then never stopped. Overwatch was dying so I decided to put everything on VALORANT. I knew Riot was not gonna mess up and also I didn’t want to just play for fun, but compete.
BLIX: Where does the name “Glance” come from?
Glance: I just saw a random Japanese word, decided to translate it on Russian, but I didn’t make any sense, so I translated it to English and saw "Glance", which sounds nice and you can pronounce however you like. I didn’t have a nickname back then and my name is very common in Russia, so I picked it up.
BLIX: Who is your role model in pro Valorant and why?
Glance: Petra, mimi [Michaela Lintrup] and s0m [Sam Oh]. All of them have very clear goals, strict schedules and great personalities. Plus, all three have a perfect sense of humor.
BLIX: If you could choose one term to describe the early days of your career, what would it be and why?
Glance: Struggle. I had to learn so much in a small amount of time plus I didn’t have any experience back then and I wasn’t that talented as some other players out here.
BLIX: What term would you use to describe your current self, having won the 2022 GC title and 4 other EMEA GC main events?
Glance: I’m in balance with myself.
BLIX: What is the number one thing you like about competing?
Glance: Winning of course, feeling when you know you did your best and you deserve it.