I am grateful to have had the chance to interview Mohan “launders” Govindasamy. He owns the brand boxr, which has a clothing range that you can check out at the bottom of the interview, and he is known now as a caster and streamer. He has recently been behind the microphone at BLAST Pro Series Istanbul and Copenhagen, along with EPICENTER 2018. Enjoy the interview!
To start the interview, let’s talk about boxr. Specifically, what was the company’s experience in sponsoring ex-Splyce? Did the move aid you in understanding the hard work put in by esports organisations?
We didn’t have ex-Splyce under contract so it’s not as if we sold or had to manage the players very closely. We just had Taylor who works with BOXR as Splyce’s analyst and found out they needed a bit of support to have FejtZ fly in and stay somewhere so that they could play qualifiers and some matches.
We did nearly sign a Fortnite team though, had contracts written up and understood what it would mean to properly pay players and work on a company as an organization and yea that was eye-opening. It’s a ton of work and effort to think about the number of things that a team needs on an individual basis to keep the team happy and then you have to think about how it’s going to make money which seems nearly impossible at first. Org owners have it hard because people who don’t have any money will always feel as though a player or individual is getting ripped off but in reality, they’re usually trying extremely hard to keep players from complaining and making money simultaneously.
Would boxr sponsor a team again? Is it something you’ve been looking into?
At this point, if we were approached by a sports team I would love to pursue becoming an org again but I use sports team as the example because we learned its not only money that is important but infrastructure and experience as well. We also know how so many organisations have built themselves up incorrectly and want to be sure we do it right if we ever do it again.
Your casting partner Scrawny is someone you’ve been working with for a while now. Do you find him enjoyable to cast with?
Yeah as I think it’s been pointed out my voice isn’t as expressive as his and so it feels like we balance each other out well. He brings solid play by play and I have all the room I need for analysis and then to top it off we get along in and out of the game. He takes everything equally as seriously as I do as well and I think that’s what makes it the most fun.
Do you think Scrawny has a bright future in casting? How far does his potential go?
I wouldn’t want to speak for him so much as an individual but I feel like as a duo we’re only about 30% as good as we could be. I think our voices need work, our chemistry on the broadcast is still coming along, our casting lexicon is still improving but in general, I see nothing but potential. In terms of a bright future, I think he’s one of the best play by plays so absolutely, I think he’d succeed in any game he picked.
This year, you’ve been working at Blast Pro Series tournaments in Istanbul and recently Copenhagen. They are known for their unique format – What is your opinion of the format? Should more tournaments adopt it?
I think it’s nice to have a different format from other events, and that’s really Blast’s angle. As commentators, we only have 5-6 maps to cast in the entire event which is great for consistently good quality commentary. Also, because there’s only one stadium day they really can go all out and not burn out the audience which I think is a cool feature of the format. My only hope is that they continue to be avant-garde about their approach because that’s something very few established esports have to offer and we might not have a totally open circuit forever.
Certainly, drawbacks are situations like where in Istanbul it was solidified that MiBR and Astralis would be in finals early into day 2 and at both events, the decider match (round 5) didn’t actually matter. Also, points systems can get a bit hectic and it’s sometimes hard to even know where a team stands unless you do a bunch of math but it can work for sure.
Something else which is discussed about Blast is the high quality of their events. Is this something you stand by? Do you think they should see more prestigious tournaments in the future?
I’ve never worked at an event that felt so well thought out in the past. They have some real heavy hitters behind the scenes and as much as it shows to the audience it’s honestly unreal the amount of thought and attention that gets put into every detail. Maybe they up the scale of the events in the future but I’m sure that’s basically up to them- they have the power.
FaZe Clan’s star player, Nikola “NiKo” Kovac, has assumed leadership of the team over Finn “karrigan” Andersen. Do you think this is a sustainable move for FaZe?
In my opinion no. I’m sure NiKo is a very decent IGL but that’s not a role for someone who frags as consistently as he does. Currently it works and he has been consistent but I think the sample is too small. I expect someone else takes the role over in the next few months. Honestly though as an individual karrigan has been outstanding recently as well but I think his position will always be more at risk.
In this interview with TV2.DK, karrigan hints he is on the chopping block for FaZe should things go wrong. If this were to happen, who would you replace him with and why?
Ropz, coldzera, EliGE are 3 names that come to mind. Smart players that are individually comparable to FaZe players that may or may not be happy/set on their teams.
Astralis are at the forefront of CS:GO right now. Of their five players and coach, who is the most important member and why?
gla1ve I suppose. His calling won Astralis their first major and always frags really well. As an IGL you deserve so much more credit than any other teammate. In reality, that job is by far the most difficult and requires an insane amount of preparation as well as execution, while some top riflers/entries etc. don’t even watch demos.
Who will eventually stop Astralis? What must that team do to reach that point?
Seems like teams are close at this point. Astralis just have no weak links mechanically and then have the best game plan but NaVi still managed to take Overpass off them at Blast and you wonder if sheer force of will and enough knowledge of what their gameplan is can be enough at times. This game is highly individualistic at the end of the day. I’m sure they’re still in a comfortable place for a while and I honestly hope they come back to form because I really felt like they solved the inconsistency issues of 2018 by introducing more utility-focussed teamplay to the meta.