• Ashlynn "Valkenn" Brady

Interview With Refrezh From Fragsters

Ismail 'refrezh' Ali is a professional CS:GO player for the up and coming Danish team Fragsters. I got the privilege of interviewing him a few days after his very successful run at the StarSeries qualifier (which Fragsters placed first at). In the interview we discuss his history in the CS:GO scene, starting with the beginning of his career in 2016.

You yourself have been playing with competitive teams for about 3 years now. When you first started out, what (or who) do you think really helped you get going?

A danish player called "xanzir" really helped me out by teaching me a lot inside the game and about how the scene works. He really took me under his wings and if it wasn't for him my career could be totally different. I was playing with him on my first serious team, even though we were pretty bad in the beginning. I think my work ethic and kindness has helped me a long way, sometimes people don't get on teams or get cut from teams because of their attitude, which in my case was never a factor.

In 2016 you jumped around between several different teams (Optimum, Seven11, Aquiver) for a majority of the year before finally finding a more permanent home in CPH Flames. Why do you think it took so long for you to settle into one team, and how did you get involved with CPH?

Mostly it was players leaving the team for several reasons and the teams just went down, but when we formed Copenhagen Flames we were under a contract and I got my first salary with that team. The other lineup didn't have contracts to hold on to players or pay them, so it was easier to leave for another team if they wanted to. One of my friends "doktizh" asked me if I wanted to form a team with him and slowly we were looking for players suiting us (IGL, AWP, etc) and when we tried different players over time, we finally settled down with Aquiver and shortly after signed with Copenhagen Flames. Aquiver wasn't paying us any salary so we left when we got an offer from Copenhagen Flames.

CPH decided to drop their CS:GO team after roughly 5 months of competing. Why do you think they decided to let you guys go?

We decided to kick "neon" from the team and we had a hard time finding a perfect fit for the team, so we tried different players and it didn't really worked out. I got an offer from a team called "ajukreizi" which I couldn't say no to. I decided to leave Copenhagen Flames and that was when they decided to drop the CS:GO division.

Well I guess that actually kind of answers my next question, so to shorten it. Was the new contract with ajukreizi the reason you also didn't decide to continue playing with Andkilde and doktizh (the two other members from Aquiver).

“ajukreizi” wasn't an organization it was just players formed together under a "fun" name. We were looking for an organization but we had to deliver results before we could demand anything. There was no contracts only good and experienced players who made the choice easier.

alright, well moving forward to your Tricked days; After a short stint with Singularity, you (and your teammates) got picked up by Tricked. What was it like finally having a real shot with a solid team? Did you enjoy playing with Inzta, Ryxxo, console, and Lukki?

When I joined Inzta and the rest of the guys I felt a huge pressure since they just won Copenhagen Games and in general played really good. Their best player AnJ had just left them and I had to fill his shoes. I could feel the difference from all my other teams, that this one, was way more serious and ambitious. It was really fun playing with these guys aswell, they really tried to make things easier for me, but in the end it didn't work out.

Before joining Fragsters, you had a three month trial period with them. Obviously they ended up signing you, but why do you think they chose you over everyone else? Besides Bubski who was on trial before you, was there anybody else that Fragsters had their eye on (to your knowledge)?

I think they chose me, because there wasn't any other obvious choice for a strong rifler and I have played against them many times, so they know what I can do. I actually asked them about who else they we're looking into and they said no one else. Of course they would have to say that but they were sincere and I believe that is the truth.

Now that you’ve been with Fragsters for a while now, what are your impressions of your teammates? these are all new players for you besides Bubski who you've played with a bit before.

Everybody on the team has a lot of firepower which I haven't tried before, usually the IGL is the weak link on the team, but torben is a strong aimer in my opinion. They are all really good at making individual plays and react mid-round, usually young and inexperienced players wouldn't be good at adapting to a mid-round call, but this team certainly is. I think we have a lot of unlocked potential, which I hope can be released after we're able to play full time after the player break.

And what about yourself, has your role as a player changed since joining Fragsters? Do you think you’ve improved a lot while playing with the team?

I have always been a versatile rifler who could do many things, but I have always done what's needed for the team. I don't have a specific role or specific spots I need to play, on all my other teams I just took what was left over for me and sometimes it was shit spots. But to answer your question I was more of an entry player on Tricked, but I entry less on Fragsters and lurk a bit more now. I don't really care about it because in my opinion every rifler should be able to lurk and entry for his team when needed, so I don't really got a preference. My time on Fragsters has helped me working on my individual level and my mentality. Sometimes if I didn't hit my shots I would keep making taking duels and keep dying. But I have found other ways of helping my team rather than gettings kills I'm getting information, going in first to get traded and not trying to get my team in a disadvantageous situations.

Looking forward, what are some of your biggest goals or things you would like to achieve in the next year or so?

My biggest goal is of course to be in the major, but before that, we need to qualify for the minor, which is pretty hard in EU. Other than that, I would love to lift up a trophy someday in a huge tournament and beating the best teams in the world.


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