Be a pro, or else don't play the game. It is as simple as that.

A peek into the mind of 2016 Rookie of the Year – Sabyasachi Bose aka Antidote

In real life,Sabyasachi Bose is not quite intimidating, but give him a PC running CS:GO and this 18 year old lad will transform into your worst nightmare. Hailing from Kolkata, the City of Joy,Sabyasachi, also known as ‘Antidote’, is one of the youngest professional CS:GO player in India. He plays for Dare2Dream, a relatively new team but a formidable one. With consistent performances at various eventsthroughout this year, it came as no surprised when this youngster was crowned the ‘Rookie of the Year’ by HyperX at the recently concluded ESL India Premiership 2016 Masters hosted by NODWIN Gaming.

From An Underdog To A Giant Killer

Antidote and Counter-Strike go back a long way. He reminiscences over his schooldays recalling how he would haunt gaming parlours and watch other gamers play CS and spectate their games. It was in his 8th that Antidote began playing this game. He began playing the then popular 1.6 version of the game and slowly transitioned into the now popular Global Offensive when it was released in the August of 2012.

Following local tradition, he enrolled himself in the Kolkata Counter-Strike clan, which was known as Velocity back then. Once he was confident about his ability, he began competing in tournaments. But, he never had an easy start into the professional scene. “I lost 15 tournaments in a row, but, I didn’t stop, I kept on playing” he recalls. His winning break came when he joined the ranks of LOD, a popular team in Kolkata even till date. With him in their roster, this team went on to dominate Counter-Strike in the East India region for the next two years.

It was not long before he found the CS:GO scene in Kolkata quite stagnating. According to him, many teams in Kolkata did not have a national ambition, it was only about dominating the local scene. “Their aim was to defeat the current best team and stay in Kolkata only.” Keeping this factor in mind,Antidotewaded into the national CS:GO scene. He began playing for Invisible Wings and helped them get a place at the Challenger 1 organized by ESL India Premiership. Unfortunately, due to change in boot camps and the locations being quite unfavourable, he was forced to pull out from the team just a few weeks before his team appeared in Challenger 1 LAN Finals.

Sabyasachi& Co. winning his 2nd tournament at MSIT

Working With A Band Of Ambitious Dreamer

Antidote now plays for Dare2Dream, a renegade team to enter the Indian CS:GO scene. He previously played for Invisible Wings, one of the best CS:GO teams in India currently. He joined D2D soon after and it was not long before he got another shot.Challenger 2 arrived in November. Dare2Dream being one of the strong contenders at the tournament, went on to win it.“We are like brothers, we are not like seniors, not like professionals” he replied when asked about his team.

Antidote’s day begins with Counter-Strike and ends with Counter-Strike. His normal workday begins right after his breakfast. He plays a few pub matches in the hours that precede lunch time. After a brief siesta, he and teammates practice for a solid 4-6 hours. They usually scrim during this session, but only against Asian teams as it helps them pull up their socks and improve their game.

Like many professional gamers, Antidote also indulges in other video games in order to relax, his favourite being DOTA 2. “I have a 2K MMR, it is not so good, it is only 2K,” he states, when questioned about his DOTA 2 proficiency.

On being questioned about his team’s performance at the 2016 Masters, Antidote indicated that they performed really well as opposed to general perception. His team, Dare2Dream beat Risky Gaming, which according to him isone of the beasts in Asian CS:GO,”and sent them to the lower brackets of the tournament. Overall, he was happy about his team’s performance at the 2016 Masters.

“We entered this tournament with two stand-in players, so we were not confident to reach the top 3. But, somehow we managed to reach there because of good in-game leadership by HellrangeR as well as the crucial playsby various members of the team.”

Highest Highs andLowest Lows

When asked about his biggest achievement, Antidote quickly replies that it was at the gaming fest organised by IIT Kharagpur as part of the Spring Fest. It is one of the prestigious gaming events in West Bengal, as only the best of the best teams arrived here. “We were the dark horses back then and we won”, he states proudly. Despite the presence of other strong teams such as Invictus and Negative Evolution at the tournament, his team managed to overcome all odds and got placed first at the tournament. The first prize was Rs. 25,000 back then.

Winning the Integration Ground Zero, 2015

It took some time before he could decide on his career’s low. He finally concludes that it was the defeat they faced of the hands of Overcome at the Mountain Dew Arena. “We were very confident about winning the tournament. We were in good shape, and had a good line-up but we lost to Overcome despite winning the first game. The two games were quite close,” he recalls.

Outside Counter-Strike

Being one of the youngest eSports professional in India is not an easy task. Antidote is quite grateful to his parents for allowing him to follow his passions. He recalls that after every tournament win, no matter however big or small, his parents would always appreciate and are quite enthusiastic about his victories. “They show pictures to the relatives and everyone who comes home. They talk about it a lot to everyone,” he added embarrassingly.He believes that with more organisations taking this field seriously coupled with the increase in the number of sponsors for this niche, it will not be long for India to recognize eSports as a viable career option.

On receiving the ‘Rookie of the Year’ award, Antidote feels really honoured and believes it is another incentive for him to work even harder. But he also stated that he had “mixed feelings” about his win, since he was the only Indian player to win under the CS:GO category.I feel psy also deserved an award in this tournament, as he is a very good player and also very consistent,” he concluded. 

When asked about the dream team he would like to draft to represent in an International Stage, even though he took a while to finalize the members, he spoke out, “psy, Excali, HellrangeR, Marzil and myself,” he revealed finally. “HellrangeR will be the leader of this team,” he supplemented. “With this team we can easily defeat any international teams since all of us are young bloods and we can adapt to new tricks.”

For him, 2016 has been a very good year for Indian eSports. According to him, there were not only a lot of good quality tournaments like the ESL India Premiership and the Mountain Dew Arena, there was also attractive prize pools in place. “I cannot imagine what 2017 has in store for us,” he added.

Finally when questioned about what he loves the most in his ‘job’, he replied instantaneously and jokingly “I love to play games and I am earning money from it, it feels great!”

CS:GO,Indian esports,Dare2Dream,D2D,Antidote,ESL Premiership,ESL India

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