With the rise in popularity of the Valorant esports scene in India, we have seen a mass exodus of CS: GO pros, leaving their established careers behind to seek a completely new one in Riot’s shooter.
Personalities like Simar 'psy' Sethi, Anuj 'amaterasu' Sharma, Tejas 'Rite2Ace' Sawant, and Sabyasachi 'Antidote' Bose are few of the many names who have chosen to shift base to Valorant.
But even with the Indian CS: GO scene seemingly crumbling and dissolving into nothingness, there is one final member who remains completely loyal and refuses to abandon the ship just yet.
Debanjan 'Deathmaker' Das - India's most celebrated CS: GO player, is not ready to call it quits, and in an exclusive conversation with Sportskeeda’s Abhishek Mallick, the nation’s ‘Frag God’ talks about why even though he loves the competitive aspect of Valorant, he is not ready to quit CS: GO at the moment.
Debanjan 'Deathmaker' Das speaks to Sportskeeda about his CS: GO loyalty
Here is an excerpt of the conversation.
Q. You are often hailed as the best CS:GO player in India, and your story from rags to riches is an inspiration for the current as well as the future generations of esports talents to come. Can you talk to us about your journey and the struggles you faced on your road to becoming India’s top fragger?
DM: I started playing Computer Games when I was 6-7 years old. I didn't have family's support and everyone thought I was gambling but I never left hope and played at different cafes. I never had family's support but I was sure that I wanted to do something in CS:GO. I joined JMD Gaming, my first professional esports team and started grinding from there with the dream to become India's best and I'm here now.
Q. Growing up in “The Island of Peace” Silchar, what was your childhood like? How did your path as a young boy cross with that of Valve’s Counter-Strike?
DM: My childhood was extremely normal but I was crazy for this game. I saw someone play CS at a cafe and I decided there and then that I would learn it and do something in it no matter what. Slowly I began rising and started loving it.
Q. Before shipping off to Mumbai, as your professional career took off, you had originally established yourself in the Kolkata CS:GO scene and had been a part of multiple lineups. It's there that you met your longtime friend Sabyasachi “Antidote” Bose. What were the major differences that you noticed between the Kolkata and Mumbai CS:GO scene.
DM: Before shifting to Mumbai I had only been a part of JMD Gaming but that lineup kept changing. At the end I met Antidote before disbanding and I was happy I got to play with him. Mumbai is the hub of gaming, so while I learnt a lot in Kolkata, I couldn't do much because of the ping. But, when I shifted to Mumbai I got the chance to practice with good Asian teams and improve myself. I learnt a lot because of the players I played under.
Q. When it comes to being a part of the star-studded CS:GO rosters, you have literally been all over the place. From JMD to Entity, to Signify, Orgless, and finally Global Esports, you were in a lot of squads. Which team was the most fun for you? Where were you feel like yourself as Deathmaker?
DM: My heart would always say Team Global Esports but I would also say team Signify because I had a dream to play with Tejas "Ace" Sawant which came true there. All 5 members had a lot of fun inside and outside the game. We were unbeaten for 6 months till Signify disbanded. The main part was that I was lucky enough to learn under Lukas "yb" Groening who became like a mentor to me. He taught many things to me and I'm in this position competing against the best Asian teams because of him.
Q. If you don't mind me asking, from which team did you start receiving a stable salary? And was it tough in the beginning to sustain an eSports career?
DM: I have no hesitations answering this question. I received a stable salary after joining Signify and that was enough for me for the time as I managed my finances and could also send money back home. Before that, the salaries that I received couldn't suffice for even my personal need but my dream was to become big in this game, so I never complained and remained happy. I knew that with dedication and hard work, I would reach a good place in life.
Q. How do your parents feel about your rise to stardom as an esports personality? Initially, it must have been quite hard for them to accept your career choice.
DM: At the start, no one from my house was supportive except my grandparents. Everyone else was unhappy with this decision as I left studies before giving 10th board exams which caused a lot of unease and trouble within my family. I took the gamble, left studies, and played CS:GO. I began inching towards stability which led to my parents to realise that they were wrong and became super happy with me when I started getting called an esports athlete now.
Q. You had a small stint with Paper Rex as well. The professional Singaporean CS:GO team who loaned you from Global Esports for the ESL Pro league earlier in June this year. How was your time on the roster?
DM: I had a great time at Paper Rex. I was lucky enough to become the first Indian to play in ESL Pro League's Closed Qualifier and I am thankful to Paper Rex and Global Esports for making it happen. My experience was nice as I got to play with the top Asian players and gained a lot of experience being the main Entry Fragger for Paper Rex.
Q. Now moving onto Valorant a bit. In a previous interview with me Dr. Rushindra Sinha, CEO & co-founder of Global Esports talked about how incredible your raw talent is when it comes to tactical shooters. But he also threw some light on the fact that you aren’t exactly keen on transitioning to Valorant as a professional player. Why is that?
DM: I'd firstly like to thank Dr. Rushindra Sinha for those kind words. I loved playing Valorant tournaments under Global Esports and liked the game too, but with so many years in CS:GO itself, I first desire to achieve what I've set out for in CS:GO, which I haven't yet. First that, then anything else.
Q. Even though you aren’t going to be permanently transitioning to Valorant, you still played with Global Esports during The Esports Club Challenger Series 2 and did manage to give Velocity Gaming a run for their money. Going as far as to single-handedly winning rounds and securing multiple aces. How was the transition for you from CS: GO to Valorant?
DM: I don't find much difference between Valorant and CS:GO. I personally just prefer loving the competitive nature of games and I am thankful to Global Esports for giving me the opportunity to play under their banner. I am an Entry Fragger, so, I prefer playing Duelists in Valorant making my only work killing people on my aim, which is the best. My experience with Valorant has been good but after these events I'm inclined to switching back to CS:GO.
Q. What are the major differences in gameplay you find between CS: GO and Valorant, both as a team Sniper and entry fragger?
DM: I don't find much difference between the games as I was AWPer/Entry Fragger for the team but in general, Valorant games are like a mixture between CS:GO and Dota 2, where aiming and abilities both make a difference. As an AWPer, I felt like I was in CS 1.6 since both 1.6 and Valorant have similar AWP peek styles. As an Entry Fragger, some movements and peaking style were different, but I adapted to it.
Q. During the Grand Finals The Esports Club Challenger Series 2, I couldn’t help but notice that you weren’t exactly dependent on the Operator. On many rounds, you picked up the Vandal and the Phantom. So what do you feel about the role of the sniper in Valorant especially after the nerfs that the gun received in patch 1.09?
DM: After the OP received nerfs in 1.09 patch, it became difficult for AWPers to go and peek enemies on their crosshair, so I preferred Vandal the most, because everyone knows that I'm only known for my aim and my advantage is that my main Agent, Jett, also easily peeks and takes down people and can then run. I honestly preferred OP and Vandal only from the start.
Q. How big do you think Valorant will be growing in India? And will it be co-existing beside CS: GO making two completely different esports ecosystems or do you feel one will completely consume the other?
DM: When Valorant had just launched, I felt that in both places it would be the same, but as players shifted from CS:GO to Valorant, slowly the Indian CS:GO scene started dying. I feel that Valorant will consume CS:GO in India in the near future.
Q. During The Esports Club Challenger Series 2 you had the opportunity of facing-off against some of the players whom you have previously faced innumerable times in CS: GO. Now going up against them in a completely new game must be a very unique experience. So what was going through your mind when going up against the likes of Velocity Gaming and Noble Esports?
DM: It was a really good experience and I was glad to face old friends in a different game, but I dreamt of facing Noble Esports in Valorant before I left it. Simar "psy" Sethi is a good friend and I wanted to defeat him before I left the game but that didn't happen.
Q Pros and cons between sniping in CS: GO and sniping in Valorant? Which would you prefer and why?
DM: It's hard to snipe in CS:GO because you've to go inside an enemy's crosshair to kill him. Valorant's sniping was easier before the nerf because you can easily go in an enemy's crosshair and peek because of the peeker's advantage. CS:GO's unzoom kill is easier than Valorant's. I'll prefer CS:GO's sniping since I've played the game for 5 years and was a primary awper but both are the same for me.
Q. Who is your favorite Agent in Valorant? And you’re not allowed to say, Jett.
DM: I like Cypher even though I primarily play duelists. The skill set of Cypher allows the player to change the momentum of the game that's why I prefer Cypher, after Jett.
Q. Who do you think is the best professional Valorant player in India? And why is he number one on your list?
DM: For me it's Anuj "Amaterasu" Sharma because during his time in CS:GO, not only was he a consistent fragger, but he played the role of the IGL as well, and it's the same in Valorant. I played under him twice in Entity Gaming and I respect him as a player and gamer.
Q. Any message you have for the young homegrown talents of the nation who are going to be tomorrow’s esports stars?
DM: It takes a lot of hard work, dedication and love for the game to become a professional esports player. But nothing is unachievable. I believe that young India loves gaming and the gaming scene excites them. To become an esports star, one has to believe in himself/herself and this is the most important thing on the road to becoming an esports star. Watching young talents of India come forward with the dream of making India proud in esports worldwide fills my heart.
Published 12 Oct 2020, 21:08 IST