Pro Gaming Comes Of Age Down Under With Team Curse

Call of Duty pro Issei “Iskatuu” Chimura, captain of Team Curse Australia, discusses the rise of eSports in the land down under.
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Issei “Iskatuu” Chimura, captain of Team Curse Australia (formerly Trident K1 Dotters) steered his Call of Duty team from obscurity into relevance at this year’s Call of Duty Championship.  Australia wasn’t even on the eSports map until both COD teams performed well in Los Angeles this year, with Team Curse placing fifth overall in the global $1 million tournament. Chimura talks about his own journey into competitive gaming in this exclusive interview.

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Gameskinny: How did you get involved in eSports?

Issei Chimui:  I started in Black Ops I.  Some people from school introduced me to it.  I’m a very competitive person, so when I found out about it I really wanted to get good at it.  It was just in my nature to be really competitive at it and I got good quite quickly.  But in Australia it’s mainly Search and Destroy oriented, so I didn’t play 4 vs. 4.  We started playing at different events until Black Ops II.

Gameskinny: How does the eSports scene in Australia compare to what we see here in the U.S.?

Chimui:  The Australian community is great. They’re very passionate about us and Immunity and other top teams, but we’re quite small.  I don’t think many people in the public know how small our community is compared to the ridiculously big fan bases of Optic, Envyus and Faze.  Those players have so much support from their fans.  In Australia we have support and we love it, but it doesn’t compare to what’s over here.

Gameskinny: What impact do you feel how both Australian teams did at this year’s Call of Duty Championship  will have in getting you noticed?

Chimui:  Immunity made it out of their pool and they beat Envyus, so they can definitely compete with the top teams.  But with our placement, people had no clue about us before that event and now they’ll know about us so in the future if we compete in other MLG or Gfinity events.  They’ll see us as a threat, definitely.  We’ve done a pretty good job at exposing Australia.

Gameskinny: What’s your favorite match that stands out when you look back at your career thus far?

Chimui:  The match that we had against Rize.  I clutched one V2.  I thought to myself when I was clutching I really didn’t have the gun for it.  I was using a Remington and I was in a small area, so I knew I had to really like take my time and aim everything up, but I clutched it and it’s a great feeling when you do something like that.  The adrenaline pumps through, especially if it’s a difference between it being 4-4 or 5-4 and you need only one more round to win in a Search and Destroy it makes a massive difference.  It’s very demoralizing losing clutches, especially if it’s 1 vs. 2 or 1 vs. 1 or something like that, so that’s probably my favorite moment.  All of us love clutching.  You get a massive thrill.

Gameskinny: What’s your favorite map and why?

Chimui:  My favorite map is Sovereign.  It’s just a map that I’m consistently very good at.  I don’t find myself going bad at it or going negative at all.  We can play it to perfection in Domination and S&D.  I don’t think we struggle with it at all and we know how to work the map.  We know how people play it.  So if it comes down to the crunch, we can always pull through.

Gameskinny: What advice would you give to someone out there who’s playing that map? 

Chimui:  For Domination I’d definitely say controlling, always being around the middle of the map and also watching our bottom coms because that’s the way most teams push through, through bottom coms.  We call it snipe.  A lot of people will appreciate the word snipe guns.  That’s what the pro players use, they call out, but that’s probably the main thing you need to do, rotating from, if you spawn on the other side, you’ve got to go back around and cover snipe otherwise the other team can just push through to your home flag.  With S&D, I think baiting people with smokes and breaking glass and things like that is a good strategy.  Because if you break glass that means they’re going B because you’ve got to get out of the glass to go to B bomb.  People need to slow it down because getting perks or splitting up say 2, 2, putting H bomb aside works as well.  But you definitely need a lot of cover at B, especially if you’re planning because a lot of teams use live machine guns and armor piercing rounds, so it’s quite easy to die while playing B.  You always need someone covering you for trophy systems and things like that.

Gameskinny: What’s your go-to weapon and why?

Chimui:  My go-to weapon if it comes down to the crunch would have to be my Bizon.  There’s a gun in Modern Warfare 3 called the PB90.  They’re very similar and I loved that in Modern Warfare 3.  When the Bizon came out in Ghosts it reminded me of how good it was.  It’s very good at close range.  It’s not really that good at long range, but you need to tap to fire it.  For Sovereign it’s really good because most of the rooms are indoors so you can just kill people instantly.  If you’re agile with it and you know how to use the map, it could be very dangerous.

Gameskinny: What do you feel differentiates the way you and your team — and maybe Australians in general — play that took a lot of people by surprise at the COD Championship this year?

Chimui:  We didn’t really win that many Dominations and we didn’t really win that many Blitzes, but if we worked on our respawn we could have placed a lot better.  But the thing that took most people by surprise would have to be Search and Destroy.  We only lost one map, which was to Envyus.  We didn’t drop an S&D in the tournament.  If people in the future wanted to bait us, they’d always have to make sure that our S&D was shut down because S&D wins championships.  I guarantee you we’ll go to the fifth map for the grand final in S&D, but S&D is only two games.  If you win two, you only need to win one Blitz or Domination.  So I think a lot of people will study our S&D and a lot of North American teams will take note of what we’ve done and how we plan.

Gameskinny: Last year Riot Games sold out the Staples Center for League of Legends.  What are your thoughts about this convergence we’re seeing between eSports and real sports playing in soccer stadiums and arenas?

Chimui:  It makes the atmosphere a lot better.  It’s very theatrical.  It’s very dramatic.  You see a lot of emotion, especially if you have such a big audience.  If you could have an event like Call of Duty Championship with 32 teams from around the world and have it in a venue like that, it makes it a lot more special.  Obviously, Call of Duty isn’t up there with League of Legends in terms of how big it is in the world like Asia, America and Europe.  They all compete in League of Legends, which is massive.  But Call of Duty will get there because everyone has Xboxes in PS3s these days.  Teenagers love them.  Call of Duty is going to grow a lot.  Every year we gain a lot more support from the community, so these events just make it all the more special.  This is our first international event.  It’s the first time we’ve qualified and we found it fantastic.


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John Gaudiosi
John Gaudiosi has been covering the video game business for over 20 years for outlets like The Washington Post, Reuters, Fortune, AOL and CNN. He's EIC of video game site