The electrifying energy at the Intel Extreme Masters (IEM) in Rio, Brazil, brought together some of the world’s best esports teams, featuring intense competition and extraordinary gameplay. Among the elite contenders, team Heroic stood out, captivating audiences with their awe-inspiring performance. As a premier global gaming event, IEM Rio provided a thrilling spectacle, showcasing the remarkable talent and skill that defines the ever-evolving landscape of competitive esports.
Heroic is one of the most successful and consistent teams in the competitive Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) competitive scene. With an impressive win over NAVI at IEM Rio 2023, the team has solidified its position as a top contender. In an exclusive interview with CGMagazine, Heroic’s coach Richard Landstrom, known as Xizt, shared insights on the team’s journey, preparation, and the future of eSports, especially as they head on to IEM Dallas June 2-4th.
Celebrating their recent victory over NAVI, Xizt expressed the team’s elation, stating, “It feels incredible. To beat a team like NAVI on a big stage is just amazing for us as a team, and it feels very good”. The team has been building its roster over the past few years, with the current lineup having played together since last July and the core members having played together for three to four years.
Xizt says that Heroic approaches every game with the same degree of importance in terms of preparation. “It doesn’t matter if we’re playing NAVI or a lesser team. We’re going to prepare our map and their map choice and as much as we can, basically.” The team also maintains a serious attitude during practice to create a tournament-like atmosphere. This dedication to preparation and practice has undoubtedly contributed to Heroic’s success.
“Heroic has proven their mettle, navigating through the group stages and playoffs with remarkable success.”
The IEM Rio 2023 tournament featured a gruelling schedule and format that tests the skills and endurance of competing teams. With a $500,000 prize pool and 16 top-tier teams participating, the competition is fierce. Heroic has proven their mettle, navigating through the group stages and playoffs with remarkable success. Their recent win in the semi-final round against NAVI was a crucial step towards the coveted Intel Extreme Masters Rio 2023 trophy, demonstrating the team’s ability to perform under pressure.
Xizt and his team are true gaming enthusiasts, having started playing video games at a young age. He says, “I think all of us basically started when we were around seven to nine years old. So yeah, we’re gamers to the core.” The players’ passion for gaming has naturally led them to CS:GO, which Xizt describes as “the ultimate FPS game.”
Discussing the future of esports, Xizt acknowledges the current challenges faced by the industry due to the global economy but remains optimistic. “It’s been growing more and more ever since it started… it’s growing more and more, and the viewerships are very good. So yeah, bright future, I hope.”
Indeed, esports has seen exponential growth over the last decade, with a global audience reaching nearly 500 million in 2021. Esports events like IEM have captured the attention of fans worldwide, with millions of viewers tuning in to watch their favourite teams compete.
As esports continues to rise in popularity, the players and teams are increasingly thrust into the limelight. Xizt touched on the celebrity status that comes with being part of a successful esports team. Although recognition abroad is limited, he enjoys the occasional acknowledgment in his hometown, describing it as “pretty cool.”
The rise of esports has also created new opportunities for businesses, with sponsorship deals and partnerships becoming essential components of a team’s success. Heroic’s sponsors, including several well-known global brands, have played a vital role in supporting the team’s endeavours and enabling them to compete at the highest level.
Heroic’s journey to the top of the CS:GO world has been far from easy. The team has faced numerous challenges, including roster changes and setbacks in various tournaments. Xizt shared some insights into the team’s mental fortitude and resilience, saying, “We try to keep all our practices very serious to get the feeling that we’re playing a tournament all the time. That’s how you improve the most. But of course, we also have a lot of fun, especially when we’re winning.”
Balancing fun and focus has allowed Heroic to remain competitive and foster a positive team environment. This camaraderie has been instrumental in the team’s ability to bounce back from losses and continue their pursuit of excellence.
In the ever-evolving world of esports, teams like Heroic are pushing the boundaries of what it means to be a professional gamer. As the industry grows, the opportunities for players, coaches, and organizations will only increase, paving the way for a new generation of esports talent.
Through their dedication and skill, Heroic has emerged as a beacon of success within the esports community. Their journey serves as an inspiration for aspiring gamers around the world, proving that with hard work, perseverance, and a true passion for the game, anything is possible.
As we follow the progress of Heroic and other teams in the world of esports, it is clear that the industry is experiencing unprecedented growth and shows no signs of slowing down. With new tournaments, larger prize pools, and a global fan base, the future of esports is undeniably bright.
Although Heroic lost to Team Vitality in the final match, they still managed to put on a strong performance, taking second place against some massive teams and showing how determination can take a team to the top. With the support of their fans, Heroic will continue to make their way in the eSports world and strive for victory. As Xizt and his team stand on the cusp of greatness, their journey serves as a testament to the passion, dedication, and determination required to reach the pinnacle of competitive gaming.