British CSGO professionals Rory 'dephh' Jackson (pro player for Complexity) and James Bardolph (caster and FaceIT Media VP) were interviewed on the ECS stage at Wembey's SSE Arena last weekend.
Esports News UK editor Dom Sacco sat through the interview and transcribed some choice quotes in this article.
Stage host Pala Gilroy Sen asked dephh and Bardolph about their thoughts on competitive CSGO, the UK scene, opportunities for players, oBo's potential as a 15-year-old pro player and more.
On UK CSGO: 'Players aren't coming through like they are elsewhere'
dephh said: "I think the issue of UK Counter-Strike in general is it's so complex. I don't think there's an answer. I think the grassroots maybe needs working on. I think the opportunities in this country are lacking, the orgs can't offer the players what they want. I'm not sure, I don't have the answers, but it seems the young guys aren't coming through like they are in other regions."
"[On pro British players] We've got one going to a German team, one playing in a French team and one in the US. I'm not sure why that's happening."
Currently, in the UK, there are a host of different amateur tournaments like epic.LAN, Insomnia and more, and ECS hosts its finals here each year. Of course, last year the FaceIT CSGO Major took place too.
The ESL Prem is the most prominent UK CSGO tournament, offering players a path through to the higher-tier Mountain Dew League.
On opportunities for players in general: 'I don't think there's been a better time to play CS'
Bardolph said: "I think it's pretty awesome, the opportunities players have these days. I don't think there's been a better time to play Counter-Strike. You get unique challenges especially with all these young players.
"A lot of the time people don't understand gaming and esports, so we've gone to visit people and talk to their parents and so on and show them what this world is. It's a good ecosystem, it benefits everyone."
On self-motivation as a pro player: 'It's about winning and improving'
dephh said: "I think you have to really love the game to chase it like this. It's about winning and improving that makes me want to play every day.
"I think every player has moments when they question if it's for them any more, but in general it's pretty much just about working hard and the results coming. For me that's the reason why I play."
On dephh's career and being on Complexity since 2016
deph said: "My career started from a Twitter message from Matt [Dickens], the current Complexity manager. It's still surreal, every day I'm living the dream and I have to pinch myself.
"You realise there's a lot more that goes into a team that what's on the surface, and on Complexity our results haven't been the best, but I feel like we're on that trajectory now where we can start winning some tournaments, and win some shit."
"I think right now it's one of the most comfortable times on the team for me. I've obviously been on Complexity a long time now, and bringing oBo in has been a breath of fresh air."
On the chances of oBo becoming the world's best CSGO player
dephh said: "The way he dealt with pressure at this event and the way he is, he's been competing in sports even at a young age, he just gets it. He had no pressure, he was killing people... he might become one of them where he's competing with ZywOo and s1mple as one of the best players in the world, for sure."
Bardolph added: "It's obviously early days, but his raw skill for such a young age is fantastic. He has a lot of good game sense and there's plenty for him to learn as well, as his career continues.
"I wouldn't be surprised if he ends up being one of the best players in the world, just because of how young he is and how skilled he is already. All he can do is get better."
Elsewhere at ECS
The finals were won by Team Vitality, who beat FURIA 2-0 in the grand final. Team Vitality have a British player, ALEX, who joined them late last year.
I don't know if we're cemented as a top 4 team because so many amazing teams haven't found their groove yet, but boy if you want to take it away from us you're going to have to fight for it.
— Alex (@Vitality_ALEX) 10 June 2019
There was also a showmatch between two mix teams: Team UK and Rest of World. This finished a tie at 1-1.
Doesn't matter who wins, what matters is the friends we made along the way 🌎🇬🇧 (but it was 1:1)
— ECS (@ecs) June 9, 2019
GG’s to team rest of the world. Was amazing to play with all my friends in front of our home crowd. Thank you @FACEIT & @ecs for the chance. Much love to everyone who waited for me to sign things too, you’re all awesome❤️
— Owen Butterfield (@smooyacs) June 9, 2019
— Alex (@Vitality_ALEX) June 9, 2019