Swayambika "Sway" Sachar is a name that resonates with many fans of Valorant and CS:GO in India and beyond. She’s one of the most talented and accomplished female players in the country and has made her mark in both games with her skill, leadership and passion.
Sway has been a focal part in the creation of Indian women's teams such as Asteria and Orangutan X. Being the IGL for both of her previous teams, her leadership skills have been on display for her fans in India. During her career as a professional Valorant player, she was part of the mostly male-dominated tournaments in her region. And she’s won plenty of titles and accolades, like the ROG Showdown Series Women Tournament #3 and the VCT 2022: Game Changers APAC Elite.
She’s one of a handful of players who have represented India in international tournaments in both games, and she’s set to do so again for the IESF Female Asian Championship 2023 qualifications rounds, scheduled to take place from July 10 through July 17 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Ahead of the tournament, Bryan "Dracorexia" Francis of BLIX caught up with Sway to talk about her career so far, and the upcoming games against other national teams from the APAC region in Riyad, Saudi Arabia.
Bryan "Dracorexia" Francis, BLIX: How would you describe your journey in Esports? Do you feel it was quite a bumpy ride?
Sway: It was in 2018 that I decided that I wanted to play as a professional player. During that time, I didn’t have the best PC to support my ambition. As such, I used to rent my PC, which I used to play on and stream during lockdown. As such, with COVID in 2020, it hasn’t been quite the smooth journey but one that I am grateful for.
BLIX: You also for the organization True Rippers in their main roster. Do you remember how that transpired?
Sway: The story behind my playing in the roster of True Rippers was due to my friends being a part of the team. At that point, I believed a player of theirs couldn’t be available at that time. As such they approached me and agreed. Since the start, I have always had the goal to be able to be the best player on the server. The main goal is to prove to everyone that a girl can also do well in male-dominated tournaments. It's rare to see any all-female team take part in the tournaments that take place within our country. Even though there aren't any restrictions on gender in the main tournaments as well.
BLIX: Looking back at your first CS:GO Tournament and your upcoming CS:GO tournament, do you feel the focus you have is the same or it has changed in some respects?
Sway: It was a female tournament under the name of Lenovo Legion. So, before that tournament, I had never played professionally, and I never even considered playing professionally. This was back in 2018 or 2019. A few girls approached me to play in the tournament, and I agreed. I don’t remember if I was laser-focused at that time, but I had that fire to win.
BLIX: In your time with Asteria you and the team were faced with a lot of difficulties. Were there any fond memories that you have that you look back at and just be grateful for happening?
Sway: I think when we used to like our practice used to be fun. Honestly, everybody used to have a lot of fun, we used to joke around, and just us enjoying the game was the best memory.
BLIX: What led you to join Orangutan? At that time they were just an upcoming organization. If I am right to believe that you were one of their major talents signed at that time.
Sway: After Asteria ended, I knew I wanted to make another team try for the FSL tournaments and Game Changers in the future. As such, when I approached Orangutan, the founders and I had similar goals with the female Valorant team. Knowing this, I was assured that with the goals being the same, we could build a roster that would be one of the best in the region and compete internationally as well.
BLIX: How does it feel to represent your nation of India at the upcoming LAN Tournament in Riyadh Saudi Arabia?
Sway: As I said before, I have always wanted to represent my country internationally, and going to Riyadh to represent India is the one thing that has got me a little closer to my dream. We obviously won't stop until we qualify for Romania by coming top two in Riyadh. I am proud of myself and my team for doing so well in this tournament and representing India.
BLIX: Do you remember the team building process and as the captain could you share what criteria you set while selecting your team members?
Sway: The first thing I kept in mind was how familiar the players were on a personal level. I truly believe that trust and understanding are quite crucial. Following that would be their game sense and mechanics in-game. While assembling, I could think about who the players are who I can complement due to their playstyle and vice versa.
BLIX: You have been a vital part of all your teams. Do you ever feel like you’ll be able to give up that leadership role someday?
Sway: I don't think I can play under some other IGL because like then if they are giving out a call and I have something else in my head, it's going to clash right? I would prefer not to, but I surely can adjust if required.
BLIX: Before going to a major tournament, major athletes feel some form of anxiety about making the wrong decision at a key moment. Do you feel anxiety, and if so, does it make you want to work harder than ever before for anything because of pressure?
Sway: Okay, see. That's where the experience part comes in. So, it depends if you've just started playing professionally, you are going to have that anxiety. Some people don't. Some people are just built differently, but most people, if you're just starting, you're going to have that anxiety. But slowly, like, I see people say practice makes a man perfect. And if you want to be confident in something, just keep doing it repeatedly until you're confident.
So, if there's a player who has played enough, the anxiety will eventually stop hitting you. If we talk about me, I think I don't feel that anxiety anymore. Because I see it as an IGL If I have that anxiety, it's going to cloud my decisions. I cannot afford to have that anxiety.
BLIX: Since the start of your journey. fans have seen your evolution. For this tournament, do you feel like there's a new form or another evolution you’ve undergone?
Sway: As a CS player, I've improved a lot in CS, like I am better than before. Evolution just takes place with time. It's part of everyone's life, and eventually, if you keep practicing, you are going to evolve into a better player or a person.
BLIX: Are there certain tendencies or certain traits you’ve had to learn to get better at in esports? Any that you’ve had to let go of?
Sway: I think when I started, I used to not communicate with my teammates much. So, I have improved in that aspect. So, I was noticeably confident from the beginning because, luckily, I have such friends who themselves are pretty confident, and as they say, you are the sum of who you hang out with the most; I ended up being a pretty confident player as well. There was this time when I had a PC with lesser specifications than my usual PC. I wasn't able to perform as well as in Valo, and at that time, my confidence went down, so I had to stop undermining myself because of not performing at that time.
BLIX: Each professional player has a routine they follow daily. Was it tough to shift to a new routine during your transition from being a competitive player to a content creator?
Sway: Initially, I did miss practicing and everything. I never stopped doing my routines. I never stopped working on my skill, except when I started playing CS:GO, then I had to focus more on CS:GO. When I had just switched to content creation, I did not stop any of my individual training, but yes, I had stopped playing practice matches. So with that time, I dedicated myself to content creation and college work.
BLIX: How did you manage your social life and your professional life? Was it difficult for you to find a balance between both?
Sway: Honestly, when I was playing Valorant professionally in Orangutan, I didn't even walk out of my house. I just dedicated myself to the game, and that's unhealthy to a huge extent. One should definitely Take a breather like honestly, I feel like I play better when I take a breather when I actually go out to chill with my friends and everything and but the thing with me is that when I dedicate to something, I just go crazy about and I'll keep grinding I'll have practice from like let's say 6-7 hours a day and after that, I would continue grinding ranked, or I would do my aim routines until I feel sleepy.
BLIX: In the previous question you mentioned you didn’t feel like going outside your home when you were practicing. How important do you feel the mental health aspect is to this as a professional player?
Sway: So, I think it's indeed very, particularly important, because if you see the most like the top organizations in any region they have, I don't know about SEA, but in Na and EU and even Orangutan our owner had a mental coach. That is particularly important because a player is mental during the game. No matter how good you are, it doesn't matter if you’re Tenz.
If you're the best player in the world, if you believe that you're not good enough, you're not going to give your best. If There's something that's bothering you, you can't give your best. You need to have an extraordinarily strong mind to be able to, like, flourish in esports.
BLIX: What is the one trend during practice or while making strategies that you don’t like or don’t resonate with a lot?
Sway: Being honest it is the idea of focusing too much on making Anti-strategies against your opponent's tendencies. This is mainly because then people overthink. People overthink what they're going to do instead of focusing on their own game. I agree it is exceptionally good at an extremely prominent level and it is super viable against really good teams, but in the end, I prefer just keeping their tendencies in my mind while focusing on your own game plan.
BLIX: Last year, you were a part of Orangutan X alongside another Indian player, Casper. What do you feel led to your team not being able to win that tournament?
Swayr: Looking back at that time, the pressure did get to us which led to our downfall. We were focused too much on doing our best to win each match. Our mind was like, "We must win this, and if we don't win this, God knows what will happen," and that is bad because if you're too focused on the goal and you're not focusing on the present. You are playing under too much pressure, and you're thinking if I make this decision, I might mess up my team, I am going to let our team down, we're going to lose.
BLIX: Looking back at the second map against Sri Lanka, your team won with the score of 16-0, Do you feel that the scoreline is going to bring more pressure and expectations to the team?
Sway: Um, if you're talking about expectations, people are going to expect positive. Some people are going to expect nothing from you. There was this guy on Twitter who said that the minute you play against a good team, you're going to get 16-0ed. So, if you keep listening to such people, you're not going to get anywhere in life. So, I think the best thing would be just to focus on your game and don’t think too much about any expectations, whether they're good or bad.
BLIX: You say your friends are particularly important to you like the people who are close to you. How crucial have they helped in molding you into the player you are with your leadership mentality?
Sway: I think Paradox played a huge role in this. I mean, I was already noticeably confident. But luckily, I have such friends who have always, like they've never said anything negative to me and have a positive mindset themselves. I believe in this theory that you will compass certain traits from the people in your friends' group. As such being around people who have leadership traits within themselves has allowed this trait to grow and evolve within me.
BLIX: Is there something you’d like to tell your fans who’ve supported your journey both in CS:GO and Valorant?
Sway: I want to thank them for always supporting me, no matter what decision I make. If I'm doing content creation, if I'm playing well and professionally, if I'm playing CS, go professionally. They've always supported me. None of my fans doubt my choices. I don't get any hate for any decisions.