Following her switch from VALORANT back to Counter-Strike, Adham "Adi" Al Kharouf and Sam "AN1MO" McKenzie from BLIX sat down with Julia "juliano" Kiran from G2 Oya to discuss her return to CS:GO, her dominance in Valorant and who she thinks are the biggest threats in the ESL Impact scene right now, among other topics.
juliano's Time in Valorant
BLIX: You were one of the best women's pros in the world before you switched to Valorant. What made you put that to the side and make the switch?
Julia "juliano" Kiran: We felt like we needed a new challenge, as we were standing still with the scene development in CS:GO and we were lacking a lot of tournaments. Most of us in the team had played Valorant slightly and enjoyed it, eventually when we heard of the new tournament format and that there was a dedicated system with a world championship coming up, we got tempted to just make the switch. There were a lot of different reasons for it but those are the main ones.
BLIX: The women's scene was very different before you switched. How would you describe it back then compared to now?
juliano: I would say now there is ESL impact which has made an extreme impact on women's CS. It has created a space for women to engage more and get more support from organizations, which is more valuable when you actually have an insight from the start of each year when you have the events, which we have never had before. Since we left a lot of new talents have had the chance due to that to come forward and dedicate themselves to becoming better as well.
BLIX: You dominated Game Changers in Valorant. What was that experience like?
juliano: With the lineup we had we knew we would eventually become the best team, as we had so many years of experience not just individually but as a team too. It was really so much fun to prove to ourselves that we were the best players and team that had ever existed in the women's FPS scene in history and that I can say very proudly now looking back at it.
BLIX: What are your views on Valorant as a whole? Are there things about the game you prefer to CS?
juliano: Valorant is tactically such a good game with so much to offer, CS is as well though but there is always something new happening each round and each game that you never get bored of the "same ways" that maybe could happen in CS. I would say that was the best part, to play with some insane tactics and try them out, you never really get tired of doing the same thing over and over again.
Returning to CS:GO
BLIX: What inspired you to make the switch back?
juliano: In the end, I love both games and if I could choose I would play both. But soon going into my 30s I decided that for the last maybe five years or however long I'll keep going, I want to do what I love the most and that's CS.
BLIX: You've played together with kr4sy and zAAz in XSET, both in CSGO and Valorant. Was it always the case that you wanted to return to CS together?
juliano: Yeah, we wanted to get Anastasiya "kr4sylya" Khlobystina back when coming to CS, that was the discussion we had going into it.
BLIX: You've stayed with G2. Do you feel comfortable calling the organization home? Were they already looking for a team or did the idea come about when you said you wanted to switch?
juliano: G2 for sure is my home, I've never loved and had an organization dedicate themselves to making us feel at home like they have, there was never really in my mind to go to another organization at that moment due to the amazing treatment and time we have had already. When I decided to switch it was clear to me to stay, as their faith in us is exactly what we need to become champions again.
BLIX: Did you have trouble adjusting to the meta when you returned to CS?
juliano: I feel like every day I play I keep learning how to play cs again, it really is strange after playing Valorant for almost two years and coming back to it. Everything was off in the beginning but I really got into shape more and more with time and more will come with everything to how to peek, spray, think, IGL. All of it is so different from Valorant… I would say I'm not fully used to the current meta, but I just need time to adjust for that to 100% do my best, but I'm getting there!
BLIX: How long do you think it will take you to get back to your best in CS and to a competitive level as a team?
juliano: I think that all we need is time, time as individuals, and as a team. Our biggest flaw right now is not having the basics and the fundamentals fully figured out. There are a lot of flaws in that, but we are going to work so hard to make this good and it always takes a lot of time to build a strong team from scratch. So I guess we'll have to wait and see!
Discussing the Women's Scene
BLIX: ESL Impact is a new concept since your switch. What are your impressions of it? What are your goals for Impact?
juliano: I think Impact is great, they deserve so much praise for finally creating a more competitive space for women. Something we've never had in the same way before. We used to just sit around and wait for announcements, with impact we always know when the year starts what the schedule will be like. and that's so important.
BLIX: Which team are you most intimidated by at the moment and why?
juliano: I don't think anyone intimidates me and never will, but I think a lot of the teams right now have really put in work and I think that's so much fun because it also becomes a challenge for us to grind back to where we were. I always preferred having competition, it makes winning so much better.
BLIX: Ana "aNa" Dumbravă and Olga "Olga" Locatelli are two incredibly strong competitors. What are your thoughts on them?
juliano: Honestly, I can't say much about either because I haven't played any of them competitively or on pracc since we came back, obviously, Olga would be hard to pracc though haha. But surely they're both great players since they've done so well in impact events.
BLIX: Nigma Galaxy has been the dominant force in Impact since its inception. Do you think you'll be able to knock them off the top spot?
juliano: I don't know if it will be us or any of the other great teams. I feel like soon enough it will be someone else to take that spot. And for the moment that looks like NAVI to me.
BLIX: Who's your favorite team to play against?
juliano: I would say BIG, we never played officials but we have practiced some and they have great teamplay I enjoy playing teams who have a good structure rather than some of the teams who rely so much on individual skill which is basically make or break for the moment, and it's not fun to neither win nor lose against in my opinion.
If you're looking for more CS:GO interviews, be sure to check out BLIX's landing page for CS:GO. There we have a plethora of interviews from the recent BLAST.tv Paris Major European RMRs.