While many South Africans were agonising over whether the Lions would actually win a Super Rugby final, the more cerebrally endowed among us were enjoying a Saturday afternoon of professional Counter-Strike.
Tech Girl, in partnership with Evetech and Mettlestate, held the first ever Valkyrie Challenge at Evetech’s gaming arena in Centurion.
An invitational featuring Energy Finesse and Amaryllis Gaming, the Challenge saw two teams composed entirely of young women battling it out for a R50,000 cash prize.
Sam Wright, the founder of TechGirl and organiser of the Valkyrie Challenge, said that she decided to put the event together following the success of a more casual event aimed at ladies which they held at The Nexus earlier this year.
“We were fully booked within 24 hours of announcing the event. Seeing so many ladies gaming and so interested in trying new games as well as eSports was overwhelming,” Wright said.
“We had more than 150 ladies in attendance and many requests for more events,” she said.
Wright said that she believes there is tremendous opportunity in all-female eSports for South African gamers internationally.
South Africa’s all-male professional teams have been competing on the back foot due technical and funding limitations.
Our physical distance from countries where other top teams compete means our players have to contend with latency — a killer in competitive gaming.
There has also not been enough money in the space for teams to travel overseas to train and compete against the best, making it difficult for local teams to compete at a global standard.
Female eSports leagues are more nascent, and Wright said she hopes that South Africa can tap into that, allowing our all-girl teams to compete and develop at an international level while the opportunity is there.
“Long term, I want to see a female-led team win one of the big competitions,” Wright said.
The Valkyrie Challenge kicked off at 15:00 with the Energy and Amaryllis banning the maps Inferno and Nuke.
Each map has a maximum of 30 rounds, and Energy Finesse took an early 14–0 lead on the first one, Mirage. Amaryllis fought back in the fifteenth round, putting 3 round wins on the board in a row before Energy took the eighteenth and nineteenth rounds to win the map.
Cobblestone was the second map and Amaryllis opted to play Counter Terrorists first. They came out strong, with Energy Finesse fighting tooth and nail to keep the scores tied to 7–7 before swapping sides.
As Counter-Terrorists, Energy Finesse picked up momentum and finally took the map with a much tighter 10–16 victory.
Overpass was the last map of the match, as Energy Finesse dominated and wracked up a 15–5 score, setting themselves up with ten worry-free match points.
Amaryllis fought back hard, bringing the score to 15–12 before Energy sealed the deal and took the R50,000 prize.
The Valkryie Challenge was well attended, with over 150 gamers and hangers-on making the trek to Centurion bright and early at 13:00 on a Saturday.
Evetech’s facility looked professional and guests were treated to excellent hospitality, including great free food, and Monster energy drinks on tap (water and other soft drinks were available for the weak and feeble).
Here are a few photos from the event.Forum discussion