I think that, in order to grow South African Esports, we need to get more teams competing and competing well overseas. We need top 3 finishes. The gap between the top international teams and our local guys is huge. Unless one of the local players is picked up by an overseas team or an entire team relocate, chances are slim that they’ll close that skill gap. However, there are a host of all female invitational competitions on offer internationally. Don’t get me wrong, I think Esports is an even playing field for all genders BUT to grow our local scene I really believe sending an all female team to one of these invitationals and them doing well is how we pull eyeballs to South Africa.
Most think I’m wrong. Many think I’m crazy. But I don’t care.
And that was how the Valkyrie Challenge came about. It was a silly little idea, a thought that I shared with my incredible family at Mettlestate who announced they’d make it a reality. Mettlestate is the South African Esports production company I am contracted to. The team there set the ball in motion to turn an all girl Esports invitational into an actual thing in South Africa. I presented this idea to a host of brands but none nibbled. In fact one told me “no one will watch”. I remember sitting in the Evetech offices (Evetech sponsor my YouTube channel) and mentioning this crazy idea. They immediately offered up their studio space. The rest is covered in the original article.
Building up to Valkyrie last week I went through some personal life chaos that meant I’d barely slept come the Friday before, never mind the Saturday of. I was exhausted, emotionally drained and not sure what to expect on the day. But the Mettlestate team just picked up the slack, the Evetech team handled the studio and, despite a few hiccups, everything went off so well.
Evetech launched their incredible Vertagear chairs at the event (I want one of those babies BADLY) and also had an ASUS set up so fans could jam some 1v1 Counter Strike as well as test out VR. My incredible sponsor, RAZER, not only made sure there were a stack of goodies for giveaway on the stream and at the venue but also made sure everyone had a little something on their chair (along with Reflex Warmers, thank you!). RAZER also assisted by supplying Amaryllis Gaming with headsets for the event. I cannot believe how lucky I am to have the support of incredible brands like this who blow me away every time.
The amazing team from XOXO Hair Studio made sure any traces of my hard time were gone and I was camera ready. The Valkyrie Challenge kicked off. Amaryllis gaming, an all female MGO that is owned and run by Ashley ‘Brinker’ Groves faced off against Energy Finesse, the all female team under the Energy Esports banner. During the first map is was clear that Amaryllis were struggling with nerves but in the second and third they definitely took the fight to Energy. It was a little too late with Energy Finesse taking the victory and the R50 000 cheque home.
The response to the game, the support from the community and the general rad atmosphere was just incredible. The Counter Strike was entertaining, the food delicious and the day just a fun one. My friend Golz was too sick to join us on panel so I got to hang out with the awesome Anthrax and Sharon ‘Shazz’ Waison, who is one of the best humans I’ve ever had the opportunity to work with and hang out with. She is funny as hell, super clued up on Counter Strike and is going to let me start playing with her because despite being small in size, her shoulders are more than wide enough to carry me.
Valkyrie was amazing. It was far more than I could have ever imagined. I didn’t have a chance to video or grab all that many photos. But I’m excited to go through all the coverage today and tomorrow. To every friend who arrived, who tweeted and who supported – thank you!
And to every female Esports player in the country: I promise. This is only the beginning.
I usually send out a weekly mailer with a recap of blog posts but also some personal anecdotes. If you want to know about competitions or just catch up in a more personal setting then you might like to receive the mailer.