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Zombie Unicorns: Frauenpower im eSports

 

VIDEO: Zum Start der Kooperation gab letztes Jahr es auch ein professionelles Fotoshooting und ein Image-Video für die Zombie Unicorns. © Zombie Unicorns/Movistar Riders

Kurz vor dem Start der Qualifier für die 3. Season der A1 eSports League Austria haben wir mit Zombie Unicorns - supported by Movistar Riders eines der bekanntesten female-only League of Legends Pro Teams zur eSports Szene, weiblichen Pro Teams und der österreichischen Community befragt.

Seit knapp einem Jahr gibt es nun die Kooperation zwischen dem spanischen eSports Club Movistar Riders und dem weiblichen eSports Team Zombie Unicorns. Wie wir uns die Kooperation zwischen den Unicorns und Movistar vorstellen können? Movistar Riders unterstützt das Team nicht nur mit Bootcamps im eigenen Movistar eSports Center in Madrid, sondern stellt neben dem technischen Equipment auch das hauseigene Team mit Ernährungsberatern, Physiotherapeuten, Sport-Coaches mehr zur Verfügung. So lässt es sich optimal trainieren und an den eigenen Skills arbeiten.

Fernando Piquer (Movistar Riders CEO): We are extremely happy with this alliance, as well as proud of Zombie Unicorns, who brought us the League of Legends trophy from Dreamhack Sweden 2018! We have been scanning the scene for long, looking for a good project to support, but wanted to do it properly. […] Zombie Unicorns is that team and we are going to make big things together this year.

Österreichische Female Pro Player auf den Weltbühnen

Ganz besonders toll finden wir, dass mit Marlies Maestra Brunnhofer (Support) und Tanja Escape x3 Reither (Midlane) auch österreichische Frauenpower gleich doppelt im internationalen Team vertreten ist. Ihr bisher größter Erfolg ist wohl eindeutig der erwähnte Sieg der Dreamhack im Sommer 2018. Wie es ihnen als female-only Team geht, wie sie zur österreichischen Szene stehen und was verraten uns der spanische Pro Club, Tanja und Marlies im Interview ... Damit uns das Ganze nicht Spanisch vorkommt, gibt es das Interview auf Englisch.

Die beiden österreichischen eSportlerinnen Marlies alias Maestra und Tanja alias Escape x3 im Interview über ihre Erfahrungen auf den europäischen eSports Bühnen © Zombie Unicorns/Movistar Riders

A1: How did you get in touch with the eSports scene for the first time?

Tanja: Casually I got in touch with the eSports scene by watching LCS (now LEC) and later the German League. I was always a huge fan of the Pro Teams especially TSM and their Midlaner Bjergsen who gave me the motivation to improve my own level and the wish to compete […] instead of only watching. I started to compete in late 2015 with my team, which is now known as Zombie Unicorns. I got into through a Facebook post that an all-female Team is looking for a midlaner and I thought I give it a try - and here I am now.

Marlies: The first time I got in touch with eSports was actually when a friend showed me LCS (now LEC) in 2011, before I even started to play LoL (League of Legends) myself. I really enjoyed watching it, although I had no clue what was going on. A few months later, I started to play only for fun until I realised 3 years later that I wanted to compete at a higher level. So I was looking for a team and found an offer from an all-female one. I didn’t know that female LoL competitive scene was a thing back then, but I gave it a try and they took me.

A1: How often do you train and how does a regular training or competing day looks like?

Marlies: We always plan our schedule one week in advance […]. It’s sometimes not that easy because some of us are studying or working, but in general we train approximately 3 times a week. Regular training consists of scrims (trainings matches), where we try new compositions or strategies.

Tanja: Sometimes we have also only theory lessons where we discuss new strategies we want to try in our next scrims. On a competing day, no matter if online or offline, we usually meet a few hours before the first match starts, playing 1 or 2 warm up games, analyzing the opponent teams and preparing with our coach the draft.

A1: What are the big differences in playing within a pro team like Zombie Unicorns?

Marlies: I think the work behind the scenes is what makes the real big difference. With Movistar Riders we found a well-established organisation that supports their players to the fullest. For example, they have experienced (ex-LCS) coaches, a sports psychologist, even a physiotherapist and a nutritionist. So they built a stable basis which lets the players focus only about playing and improving.

Tanja: […] For example, Movistar Riders invited us to Madrid to their Gaming Center where they made sure we get the best preparation before our Tournament which includes for example a psychologist who helped us with our mindset and how to focus on only the game. This really helped us to win the tournament after we were down 0:1. 

Marlies als Speakerin zu Gast beim Esport Summit 2018 – powered by A1 © Esport Summit

A1: Do you still follow the development of the Austrian eSports scene – f.e. launch of emerging leagues, new festivals?

Tanja: I do since a few friends of me are competing in the Austrian scene and I work in my free times as an Austrian referee and observer, so I am almost at every Austrian event when League of Legends is being played. I think the Austrian scene developed really fast the last year especially thanks to the A1 League. I really hope it will grow even bigger in the future and will open a lot more opportunities for Austrian players.

Marlies: Yes, I am glad that the Austrian scene got so much bigger in the last year – especially thanks to the A1 league. It’s a great opportunity to let local talents compete and improve! I sometimes compare the A1 league to our female league. It’s a league made for a certain kind of people (the A1 League for Austrian players and the female league for women) and both share a similar goal: To motivate a group, that is underrepresented at the highest level. To improve and to get competitive experience, so that one day we will maybe see Austrian players and/or women competing at the highest level.

A1: What are your experiences as Female LoL Pro Players within the scene?

Tanja: The opinions are very split – the majority of the community laughs at the female scene and think it’s a waste of time to support. It is true that there is a huge gap between the female scene and the male scene but from my point of view it’s a psychological aspect. The image of women in League of Legends is characterized by a stereotype, which is that women only play support with shielding or healing and they only climb the ranking system with a much better player by their side. Of course, this cliché doesn’t come from nowhere, but more and more women try to break out of this stereotype and want to prove them wrong. […] I really hope that the scene will grow bigger and bigger and motivate even more female players to show the world that its worth to support us.

Marlies: They are kinda mixed – lots of people criticise that female leagues in eSports exist and I understand this opinion because there aren’t any differences that could explain the gap between men and women in eSports. But from my point of view, the reason for the gap is psychologically. I experienced that most women only play league of fun and only a few really strive to improve and have the urge to compete. […] The goal is to motivate women to compete and get better so that maybe in some years there will be some women in LCS and female only tournaments are not needed anymore. I am not a feminist or anything, I just don’t like stereotypes and clichés, that’s why I want to motivate everyone to follow their dreams and get rid of old-fashioned stereotypes […]. So if we, or women in LoL generally, get better, it would contribute to the fading of clichés over time and there’d be less obstacles for women who want to work in eSports - be it as players, managers, journalists or whatever they want.

Hartes Training, Ausdauer und Motivation machen sich bezahlt – Zombie Unicorns holten sich im Sommer 2018 den Sieg bei der Dreamhack. © Zombie Unicorns/Movistar Riders

A1: If I want to become a female pro player, what would your advice be? Which skills do I need? How should I proceed?

Marlies: In general, you need similar skills as the male pro players: competitiveness, good in-game communication, big champion pool, good concentration, good mindset and good mechanical skills. […] But you’d arguably need a thicker skin to ignore all the mean comments.

Tanja: I would say you need to be at least platinum or diamond for the start but honestly the elo (competitive skill level) doesn’t matter that much […] It comes more down to your attitude, how fast you can adapt to the new meta and learning new champions and how good of a team player you are. One of the best advices I can give: Always have a big enough champion pool and different playstyles so there are more strategies available for your team. The easiest way to get into female scene is to create or join a team. There is a Facebook group The League of Legends Girls for female League of Legends players where constantly Players and Teams search for new Teams and Players. 

A1: Is there anything else you want to add for the Austrian Community?

Tanja: I really hope the Austrian Community supports us for our upcoming tournaments.

Marlies: Just keep going! For the organisers: Keep launching leagues, tournaments & public viewings, for the players. Keep improving and setting yourself high but reasonable goals. For the journalists: Keep writing more and more about eSports. Together we can be part of a bigger eSports scene in the future! Also at this point big shoutout to the guys from Barcraft Graz and my team in Graz.

This is your moment: Join the eSports Community

Wir sehen also, die LEC kann schon einmal die Leidenschaft für League of Legends entfachen. Übrigens habe auch ich damals meine Liebe zum eSport mit den Finalspielen der Spring und Summer Splits entdeckt. Wen die Lust auf kompetitive League of Legends Action gepackt hat, kann sich noch für die Open Qualifier zur A1 eSports League Austria unter A1eSports.at anmelden. Vielleicht sieht man ja dort künftig auch ein all-female Pro Team? Wer noch nicht ganz so weit ist, kann ja einen Blick auf A1now.tv werfen und sich die Übertragungen der vergangenen Seasons anschauen, die neuesten eSports News by VeniCraft genießen oder in Kürze die brandneue VLOG eSports Serie von Decamp Gaming entdecken! #GameOn

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