Team Zenith woke up bright and early today to kickstart the first official day at The International.
The schedule was planned so that it would not be overly hectic. Two main things that will happen today. Basically, 1) orientation of Valve offices 2) short boot-camp session for players to get used to the set up at Valve. Before anything gets done though, nothing is more important than filling up our stomachs with the famed American breakfast. Especially true for xFreedom, seeing how he always complains that he must have food before games or else he’d feed like a scrub.
Breakfast was acceptable, special mention to the great selection of tea in a country obsessed with coffee. Clearly, breakfast was as much a social thing as a physical need, as it offered all the players a time and place to mingle and chitchat. Contrary to what many of you might think, Zenith are friendly with most of the teams participating. Well, other than Absolute Legends, maybe.
Valve wasted no time. Immediately after breakfast, at an ungodly time of 7.45am, teams were ordered to assemble and were introduced to our staffer. Each team had a permanent Valve employee assigned to us who would be our guide and assistant. They would be shadowing the team for the entire event and helping in any way they could. Pretty neat move by Valve huh? Big shoutout to Marc for tolerating us and being a great help the entire day (and for days to come).
Teams were shepherded out of the hotel and thus we began our 10 minute trek in the chilly morning weather to the Valve office compound. It was a nice walk through Bellevue and I was impressed by how clean and green it was. Trust me, when a Singaporean tells you a place is clean and green, it really must be pretty damned clean and pretty damned green.
After the 18 teams were crammed into a Valve conference room, Erik Johnson began the full team briefing, which included tournament format, rules, groups as well as more in-depth information on how and where the tournament will be run. The highlight was, of course, the revealing of the groups for the group stage matches.
Teams were then split up to follow their own schedules. Zenith only had to consolidate all the equipment we needed and prepare to boot-camp at the office from 10am to 4pm to get used to the environment and computers. Half the teams would be doing this, while the other half would be at media shoots (interviews, photoshoots etc) and the schedule would be swapped tomorrow.
Zenith was assigned to a spacious room, shared by us, Orange and EG.
And so… half a day of training began. Scrims, pubs and strat discussion. At 4pm, we were promptly chaperoned out of the room to make way for the other teams who were making use of the room.
It was a relatively short day but everyone looked pretty listless after several games, still unaccustomed to the weather and suffering from jetlag. The players still decided to head to Starbucks for some warm drinks and discuss their performance for the day.
It’s close to 11pm in Seattle now and as I write this, all 5 of them are fast asleep, definitely not the norm for nocturnal creatures like hyhy, Loda and xFreedom. It’s time for Zenith to recharge their batteries for another 7am revellie day tomorrow! Hope you guys are as excited as we are as we count down the days to the actual start of official tournament games!