Game Fist is the champion of our first-ever tournament on Valorant. But it’s not the first time they won something. The team is in fact a multi-championship holder, conquering from ESL Benelux to Game Force Masters, and more. We chat with Game Fist about the life inside a young, passionate esports team, how the lockdown is changing esports and how the future looks like for them.
It was the final round of our Valorant tournament. Game Fist was working great as a team, but each player shined during the tournament. Especially Safa, who clutched multiple times, and got the most impressive actions during the final.
The game was disputed on Haven. The play was on site C. Safa was alone on site, and had Bonek Wroc coming all around him.
Armed with a vandal and his satchels as Raze, he got himself 3 kills by switching poses in a blink using satchels as wall’s bounce pads. He won the round almost all by himself, and thank God he didn’t have any more ammo, otherwise he would probably have slayed them all!
What an impressive play that was!
Together with Safa, Sharky, Pieter Jan, JorisBE and nGL contributed great actions to registered Game Fist as our first-ever tournament champions. But it’s not the first time they won something. The team is in fact a multi-championship holder, conquering from ESL Benelux to Game Force Masters, and more. We chat with Rael – Game Fist’s team manager about the life inside a young, passionate esports team, how the lockdown is changing esports and how the future looks like for them.
Gimbl: Hi Rael. Can you give us a quick rundown of what Game Fist is and how it started?
Game Fist: Game Fist is a Belgian esports organisation currently playing Rocket League, Valorant, Hearthstone, CS:GO and Fortnite. The organisation was founded in 2017, although Game Fist was active from 2013 as a local community inspiring local gamers to meet like-minded people. We were organizing LaN Parties and other fun activities back in the day.
Gimbl: Your team has been busy these days participating in competitions. How do you prepare for tournaments?
Game Fist: There exists a false perception of what the general public thinks of esports athletes. Being skilled at a game is not enough to win a tournament. There is an art and science to practicing for esports.
First up, to compete with the best, the players have to train their mind and body. You know, as gamers, they want to have the quickest fingers and twitches. Having slightly faster reflexes could be the difference between being the champion and the runner-up. Therefore, we hire coaches to make sure the athletes receive proper training to improve their agility. We also take our players’ mental health seriously. We are following a mental program provided by someone in the Rocket League scene and it is very helpful for the mindset.
Gaming training involves a lot of solo practice time and team practice time. After that, the athletes also need to participate in “scrims” where you and your team play against another team for practice. This gives us opportunities to review after each game to better understand the issues that pop up in the game. We also have a boot camp location at one of our sponsors, where our Rocket League team prepared to compete in Rocket League Championship Series this season.
Gimbl: With COVID-19 affecting organizations in the esports industries worldwide, how is GameFist coping?
Game Fist: It was tough in the beginning as no one had any clue how to deal with it. But gradually it turned out that the pandemic has spurred robust growth in the esports scene: we are having more online events than ever; the streaming viewerbase activity is rocketing. There have been so many events to compete in that sometimes it’s hard for us to follow up on. Our schedule these days is very tight but we are trying to participate in as many events as we can.
That being said, the lockdown could take a toll on our streamers’ mental health. It’s hard for players in these troubling times to keep a positive mindset so we try to talk to everyone individually as much as we can to keep up with them.
Gimbl: What have been the team’s achievements?
GameFist: To name a few:
- ESL Benelux 2017 (1st prize)
- Game Force Masters 2018 (1st prize)
- Sporza Cup 2019 (1st prize)
- Kayzr League 2019 (1st prize)
- Rotterdam Games Week 2020 (1st prize)
- 10+ Lan party wins
- RLCS Main event (2 times)
- ESL Proximus (2nd place)
And of course, 1st prize for Gimbl Valorant Cup 🙂
Gimbl: Which one is the most memorable?
Game Fist: There’s so many things what are memorable, but if I have to choose one, it must be winning the Game Force Masters in 2018. This was the biggest stage we’ve ever competed on! It was the best feeling ever. I couldn’t help but scream in front of the stage and run towards the players as you can see in the picture below haha.
Gimbl: I think most people have no clue what the role of a team manager is and what kind of responsibilities that includes. Could you give us some insight?
Game Fist: As an esports team manager, you’ll be wearing a lot of different hats. You make sure the players’ training needs are met, their lifestyle is healthy and conductive to a winning team. Interpersonal ability is extremely needed, as it can be quite frustrating at times as you deal with fairly young personalities who are not yet professional. In addition, you are constantly on the lookout for better ways to deliver value to our sponsors, partners and fans. You have to anticipate changes and come up with the solutions before you are asked to. So it’s a very difficult and challenging job, but it’s a very rewarding path indeed. Traveling with the team to events is part of the job. I went everywhere in Belgium, Netherlands and even to France with my boys.
Gimbl: What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve encountered and overcome when managing an esports team?
Game Fist: Biggest encounters are the splittings of a line-up or the departure of a partner, and how you adapt to those situations shows how ready you are to manage a team. Imagine, if a player is getting better and better, the interest of international organisations catches their eyes. So they could leave for the international scene. It’s hard to make a team great and see them leave at their full potential. That’s why we want to expand our brand as soon as possible to grow as a team so we can be one of those teams. The hardest part is to fill the spots they leave open and make a great roster time and time again.
Gimbl: GameFist players stream as well as play competitively. How do you see the role of streaming for pro players?
Game Fist: It is great for the fanbase to watch their favourite players stream and play at the highest level possible. The fanbase is one of the most important things to us and we’ll do everything to keep them happy! We have a lot of streamers under our banner, they do a lot of community cups where we provide fun goodies as a prize pool, like keyboards, mouses, mouse pads, Red Bull and much more.
Gimbl: What most critical advice would you give to an avid gamer who wants to start playing esports professionally?
Game Fist: You can achieve the basic things without any help, but for the future of your career it’s better to look for a management/coach. They’ll give you a name in the community way faster then you’ll do individually. Also provide you with everything you need as in gear, funding and much more.
Gimbl: What have you and your team got planned for the next year?
Game Fist: As we’re growing as a team and an organisation, we have big things planned for the future. The focus now is on growth and getting the word out. Our vision is to expand to the European scene, while revamping our social media strategy and firing up our Youtube channel. At the same time, we are continuously adding new games and reaching out to new partners.