At the UKCSGO EPIC.LAN press desk, we’re surrounded by passionate players. Opposite us is one of those players, Alex “Byfield” Byfield. Formerly an AWPer for Endpoint, and more recently completing a three year stint in casting, Byfield has been in many roles in his career. UKCSGO caught up with him to discuss his EPIC.LAN journey, his hunger to compete at the top level, and his thoughts on CS2.
Just to start, tell me a little bit about yourself
My name is Alex Byfield, Byfield on the server. I’m a primary AWPer currently looking for a team, and I’m streaming every single day on twitch at twitch.tv/ByfieldCS2.
So you’ve just finished up your last EPIC40 game, talk me through how you felt the weekend went for you and your team
The weekend has been a massive success for us and a massive success for the organization as well. We came here to do things a little bit different. We came here with the intention of getting eyeballs for the organization, creating some fantastic content for that organization, and re-igniting the excitement for The Last Resort. And we’ve done just that, I had a very successful stream, averaging 40 plus viewers for my matches, we had a lot of attention on us, especially yesterday during the group stages with some very close games versus some of the tournament favourites. And overall, we’re really happy with the content we’ve produced.
So do you want to walk me through how that came about, it’s a bit unorthodox for an organization to send a community team to a LAN wouldn’t you say?
So initially, I got very lucky. I was speaking to The Last Resort, they reached out to me to partner with my stream. And at the same time, AliG spoke to the owner, Michael / Chefinal, about sending us to LAN, just some tickets initially. And then Chefinal thought: ‘wait a minute, I can bridge the two together, I can send these guys to LAN, I know they’re good friends outside of the game. Its going to be a recipe for some fantastic content’. He wanted to partner with me on my stream, I said I was going to stream the whole entire thing. With that, we ended up getting fully funded for the event. And we’re really thankful to the organization, The Last Resort and their title sponsor, Goat Energy Drinks.
You’ve been filming lots of content over over the weekend, when can we expect to see that coming out?
I’ve got my Twitch VOD already up. So you can watch the group stages there, had some amazing games, the entire team played fantastically. On my YouTube channel, I’m gonna be uploading the highlights from the LVN Vacancy mix game. I got 28 kills, we lost 13-10, had over 100 ADR. You can watch my past highlights there this week on my YouTube. And overall, the actual documentary of the LAN, we have a videographer here, he’s going to be recording everything and making a documentary. And that’s gonna be out next week on The Last Resort social channels.
You’ve been streaming but you’ve also been playing. Do you think having your stream and building a personal brand is going to help you get a spot on a team in the future?
Massively, there are two ways to be valuable as a player at this level. One, you’re under the age of 21. And therefore you can be sold to a tier one or tier two team on the value of potential. Or you have your own brand. You bring enough eyeballs to an organization to bring value and money that way, not through being sold on for potential. But from bringing the eyeballs on that, the sponsors need to be able to invest and sponsor the team, and therefore salary the team. So the short answer is yes, it’s been a massive help for me.
So with regards to the future and your plans, have you got any offers at the moment?
I do, I have some offers, I’ve had two offers whilst I’ve been here at LAN. I’m very fortunate that I had a very successful group stages yesterday, versus some of the best teams here. As I said, I’ve had two offers whilst I’ve been here, one from an organization and then one from a team itself. You know, this has been the start of a new chapter for me, and I’ll be turning professional soon, definitely the next year.
And say you don’t get any offers that match up like exactly how you want. Can you see yourself just continuing to stay and be a full time streamer or is being a professional player what is important to you at the moment?
Outside of the two team offers I’ve got, I’ve had two sponsors reach out to me after yesterday’s successful stream, I have money on the table. It’s the question of where do I pivot now? Do I commit to the stream more and make a part a strong part-time maybe small full-time living from that? Or do I continue playing the game full time, as practicing and playing as such will reduce the amount I can stream. As of today I am fully determined and committed to becoming a professional player. Therefore, I’m going to be putting my playing career first, especially whilst I’m so young, 26 years old. I’ve got five or more at least good years in me and the stream is only going to get bigger in the background.
There’s a lot of players in the CSGO scene that are getting up there a bit in age withof you get like your Dupreehs and such. How long do you see yourself playing CS for?
I think I’m lucky that I’m not burnt out, I took those three years to commentate. And I was able to get my life in order outside of the game. I’m also very fit right now physically, I have a boxing fight in eight weeks, I train six days a week for that. I’m doing Pilates everyday to negate being sat in a chair, I eat healthy, I train hard. And because of that, I’m only getting fitter. My reaction times are only getting better. As a player, I keep improving each year. Speaking to some of the coaches here, they see a drop off in players past the age of 25/26, which I’m at now, where they lose motivation, they lose time to be able to play full time. And that’s why they fall off. It has nothing to do with age until you’re 30/31 also.
With CS2 released now, how are you finding the game?
The AWP is not what it was in CS:GO, that’s for certain. The new movement meta is much more favorable to the rifles that can handle the jumping Mac 10s, the jiggling shotguns, the awkward up close pistols. But the AWP right now feels a bit stale and slow. It seems to be better versus the the more established and drilled teams that are played against here at LAN. Whereas playing versus the pug mixes, the AWP hasn’t felt as strong. In the past in CSGO, the AWP would destroy the mixes because of the lack of flashes and the lack of trades and cohesion. Whereas versus the structured teams, they would just destroy you with utility and team play.
Nowadays it feels the opposite, where the AWP needs to be structured and the AWPer needs to be set up for it. He needs to be put into after plants. It has to be put into strong positions on CT side. You can’t just brute force your way through it now because of the new peeker’s advantage and how fast people peek.
And so can you see yourself pivoting away from being an AWPer?
No, I’m an AWPer through and through, it’s all I’ve ever known. The only pivot that I would consider is potentially in game leading whilst AWPing. However I believe I’m talented enough, I’m good enough in order to do it full time fully focused on a top team.
No, I’m an AWPer through and through, it’s all I’ve ever known.
If you could change anything about CS2, what would it be?
I miss on CS:GO when you could move and stop and shoot with the AWP. It felt a lot more reactive to what you did in CS:GO. In CS2, it feels like I’m stopping and shooting but the bullet is still inaccurate. It feels like my bullets are going through people. And I’m not sure if that is because of sub tick.
Either way, if I could change one thing about the game, I miss how much confidence I had in the AWP in CSGO. When I stopped to shoot I knew that the bullet is gonna land when I’m flicking, I know the bullet is gonna go where I want it to. In CS2 right now, it feels like every at least once a game, one of my bullets or one of my shots aren’t connecting for some strange reason. However, I know this is very common with the AWP speaking to professional AWPers, they have the same problem. Just go on Twitter and you’ll see all of the AWPers not complaining, but having the same problem.
That’s it from me. Have you got anything else that you’d like to add, say promote?
I want to say thank you to The Last Resort for funding us and sending us to LAN. I hope we’ve done a fantastic job in providing content and exposure to you. I want to thank Goats Energy Drinks for being the title sponsor, and helping us get here to LAN. If you want to watch me on stream, learn how to improve at Counter Strike, especially in CS2, follow and watch my twitch. I’m live every single day. Thanks so much!