Interview with GTZ Bulls player Xavier "weel" Baião
Carriço: How did you get into esports?
weel: Since I was a little boy I like to play video games. I started by playing League of Legends, then I played CS:GO, but never in a competitive way. When the pandemic started, Valorant came out and I threw myself at it, at the time I also didn't have a lot to do. That’s basically how I got into the Esports world.
Carriço: Why did you choose to become a professional Valorant player?
weel: At the time I played some qualifiers with some friends, just for fun. Then I met TOTA and gmA, and we created a team called Intensity. We played some VCT qualifiers as Intensity and then we joined EGN Esports. We spent a long time together at EGN Esports.
Then we played a qualifier, after not playing the game as regularly as we used to play. We qualified for the VCE and the GTZ Bulls approached us, they wanted us for their project. And we decided to accept their offer.
Carriço: You play as an initiator what are some things that make a good initiator player at the pro level?
weel: Using the utility in the perfect timing, not being caught while using their utility. Helping your team not only with your utility usage but also trading your teammates.
Carriço: How do you prepare for your opponents?
weel: I have tried two different ways. Studying the opponent too much, it’s good but during the game it gets a little bit confusing because in your head you are always thinking “okay they are going to do this or that”.
So I think the best way is to know some of their tendencies. What they like to do, so you can have the correct reads in the game. But preparing for opponents is preparing your map picks well, your execs, and then adapting during the game.
Carriço: What does your daily routine look like?
weel: I wake up and go to training. Then I work until 6 PM. After coming back from work, I just go play Valorant until it's time to sleep.
Carriço: What is your warmup routine before the games?
weel: It depends on how much time I have to warmup. If the game is at 8 PM and I get home at 7 PM, then I would play one or two death matches. If I have more time I go into the range and practice a little bit more, but nothing special.
Carriço: Talk to me a little bit about the GTZ Bulls project.
weel: This project started with me, Rocket, PLUCKZ, gmA, and xico. Then we needed a sixth player because PLUCKZ wasn't available to play all the games, and that is when Fragger joined the team.
Then GTZ Bulls wanted to sign us we accepted and we went with this six-man roster. People saw during the VCE league that we never played with the same starting five.
From the part of the organization, they always treated us well. Everything we needed they gave to us, and I have nothing bad to say about the organization.
Carriço: How do you describe your playstyle?
weel: At the beginning was basically ranked style. We would play and see how it would go. At the end of the VCE split, we started to train some execs and compositions. We actually had some great games at the end of the split, beating RESET, who was the second-place team at the time.
But after that, we had some bad games versus Odivelas and Boavista. I think we still haven't figured our game style out.
Carriço: How is it to play with this group of players at GTZ Bulls?
weel: In the beginning, it was really good, you can call it the honeymoon phase. But in the middle of the split, when we were having some bad results, the players' morale started to fall. One or two players started to just show up on game days. The environment wasn't good.
We had Tota as the coach at the time, and he played one or two games because we decided it was the best option, since the environment between the teammates wasn't great, and that would then show in the game.
Carriço: How important is it to have a great team environment, do you think in order to find success a good team environment outside the game is necessary?
weel: I think if you are on a team being friends with your teammates is the best thing you can have. If you are friends you will forgive some things, you can discuss things better. But if it’s a person that you are not very comfortable with, then you will not want to discuss things with him, because it’s not worth it.
I think the best way to have a great environment outside of the game, is if we are all friends and that will for sure reflect inside the server.
Carriço: What is your opinion on the rebuild that most VCE organizations did?
weel: They did the rosters, then maybe at the end of the split the player just “showed up to play”, maybe they didn't play regularly with each other anymore. I think that in some teams it makes sense. Because if the environment is bad then there is no point in keeping the same roster. So I think these rebuilds make sense.
Carriço: How important is VCE for the competitive scene in Portugal?
weel: Yes, I think the VCE was very important since it gave us a competition to play in Portugal. I think these two SPlits were great for the players to showcase their talents.
Carriço: In your opinion what are the main problems of the competitive scene in Portugal?
weel: I think the VCE schedule could be better. Sometimes the last game of the day is very late like 11 PM, so I think we should have fewer games per day so we could have a better schedule.
The fact that there aren't a lot of lan competitions. I think the playoffs could be on lan.
Carriço: Is it worth having an organization right now in Portugal?
weel: I speak for myself, and in my experience with GTZ Bulls they gave us everything we needed to play. So I think it’s a benefit, just to have a structure that worries about how the training is going, helping you prepare the scrims, trying to get tournaments where we can play.
Doing all that work for us helps us a lot. They also offered us a gaming chair, which is not something cheap. The jerseys were also very quick to arrive.
In terms of salary, it’s not a big amount but I already played Valorant as a hobby so doing some money with it is already great. Some people want to be paid 1000 euros per month in Portugal, but we have to be realistic, we don't have a league/scene for that.
Carriço: What are the main goals for GTZ Bulls for the remaining of this year?
weel: For the second split of the VCE our goal is to reach the playoffs. We were very close in the first split, and I think if we work hard now on the second split we can do it.
Even with the two new teams that entered the VCE league now, and that are really strong, I think we can reach the top four.
Carriço: What are your goals as a player for the remaining of this year?
weel: I want to be the best teammate possible and reach the goals of the team.
Carriço: Is there anything else you would like to say?
weel: Thank you for supporting me, and to the Portuguese Valorant community, let's try to be less toxic, and let’s make this scene grow altogether.
Carriço: weel thank you for doing this interview, it was a pleasure talking with you. I wish you the best of luck in the second split of the VCE, and I hope I can interview you again in the future.