The past, the present and the future: An interview with Rahul 't1to' Sridhar

In this interview, we spoke with Rahul "t1to" Sridhar, a veteran in the Indian Counter-Strike scenario. Tito has played for famous organizations such as 2ez Gaming and Global Esports. However, recently, he has undertaken his own project under the Phoenix Esports banner. Rahul "t1to" Sridhar is the IGL and Captain of Phoenix Esports.

Soon after ESL India Fall Premiership, Rex and you were benched from the starting Global Esports lineup and Antidote and DeathMaker were roped into the team. Can you shed some light on that incident?
The discussion about roster changes had begun in October according to my knowledge. On 20th October, HellRanger had shared his vision regarding the roster. I think from that point because I disagreed with him on a few things, I started being too combative during practice. Soon enough, there was a point when I just knew that post-ESL-India Fall Premiership I cannot play with him. I spoke to Tejas "Rex" Kotian about this and both of us shared the same train of thought. So then, I decided to talk to my teammates, Norbu "karamil" Tsering and Sagnki "hellff" Roy about this. They said they'll think about it and let me know. A day after ESL India Fall Premiership, they decided they wanted to stick with HellRanger. This is my version of the events leading to the roster changes made by Global Esports. However, if there were other discussions behind my back I am unaware of them.

What are your views on the current Global Esports team? Would you say the team will show success at the national and international levels in the future?

Their lineup is individually pretty skilled and is strong on paper. They've had an upward projection ever since they were formed and have shown success at the national level. On the International level, they've qualified for a LAN in Sri Lanka where I would say they are the favorites to win the event based on the other teams attending the event. I wish them all the best.

After being benched from Global Esports, you started Phoenix esports with fellow Global Esports players, BadMan and Rex. Can you tell us about that process?
As soon as the decision to replace Tejas "Rex" Kotian and I from the starting lineup was made, I called up Sabyasachi 'antidote' Bose first, to understand what is he doing and what are his plans moving forward. He informed me that he could be joining the starting lineup of Global Esports. That proved to be a dead-end for me. Hence, I decided to build my own lineup from scratch with Tejas "Rex" Kotian. The first person who came to mind was pashasahil. A strong talent who's never really been in a "pro" team as such. And badman was an obvious pick for me since I know what he is capable of. The main issues I had with him, he's worked on and had improved. So I'm really happy with BadMan right now. The last piece of the puzzle was an AWPer. My first preference was KnightRider, but due to certain reasons, he couldn't play with us. With roster lock approaching within a few days, Rex suggested firedup. I met with him and decided to go ahead and take him into the team. This completed our team with the following players:
  • t1to
  • Rex
  • Pashasahil
  • BadMan
  • Firedup

It's not something everyone knows but you have taken up the IGL role at Pheonix. How has the transition been from a support player to someone who has to lead the team on the server?
Yes, I've switched back to the IGL role in Phoenix Esports. I've never had a stable role in my entire career so far. This could be attributed to unforeseen circumstances or due to sacrificing for the team. I've done everything but entry frag till now. Maybe that's coming soon? I've learned a lot of things to do and not to do under Kamil and HellRanger. So I'm grateful for that.

What are the few, but important, lessons you've learned while playing Counter-Strike at the highest level in India?
One main thing is you cannot let your emotions take control of you. Apart from that, I've learned life lessons in my time in the GE active roster whose details I do not want to dive into.

What are your views on Entity moving out of the Indian Counter-Strike scene? Do you see more Indian organizations talking the same path as them and exploring lineups in the SEA region?

It's honestly sad that Entity Gaming is moving out of the Indian CS scene. Even though I've always been an opponent. I have huge respect for them since they've always proved they're the best. Additionally, no, I don't think all Indian organizations will explore SEA talent. But again, I can be wrong. 

What are your views on imports in the Indian scene?

They're all amazing players. Raph and cara have been good friends for a long time and I was happy I could meet them in person. The funny thing about Kamil is that under his leadership I was totally fazed. But after he left, I realized what he used to tell me was for my own good. He was a complete player tbh. I'm happy I got the opportunity to play with him. Zorineq? Man, that guy would've sh*t on the entire SEA region. His aim was probably 10000 times nuttier than the "best aimer" in India. 

If you could go back to the beginning of your professional career, would you make a change to it?

One thing I would love to change if I had a chance to would be to never to take on the IGL role. I sacrified my own game to take on the IGL role very early into my "pro" career. I lost touch of what I was known for. I'd love to see what I would've done if I stuck to focusing on aim primarily. 

What does the future hold for you?

As of right now, I am taking life as it comes, I'm just going with the flow, but yeah one thing for sure- I'm going to do whatever it takes to win. The competition in India is extremely high right now and winning during this phase would be an amazing feeling. Additonally, I look to socialize more. I have lost touch with a lot of my friends since I started playing Counter Strike. 

One word to describe your current teammates?

On a lighter note, they are all lazy f***s, but they're my teammates and only I get to say mean things about them. On a serious note, they're all players with great potential. I am extremely happy that we made LAN within a month and with very little practice. 

One extremely underrated player in the Indian and International scene?

Indian? Chinmay "PoKI" Mehta. I have a soft spot for him, but he is really talented.

International? Umm, Nicholas "nitr0" Cannella? Like I've idolized him since the beginning. I think people don't understand how good he is. 

Your breakout Indian player for this year?

Superk1d. He has some insane raw skill and I can see only good times coming his way. 

One player in the Indian scene you would love to play with but never have had the opportunity to do so?

There are 2 actually. Amaterasu and Rite2Ace. I've heard a lot about Amaterasu and I'd be honored to play with him. Rite2Ace, on the other hand, has been a role model for me before I joined 2ez. 

One fact about you that not a lot of people know?

I'm super possessive of my teammates.I don't know, there are many things.

Something you would like to tell your fans?

I am thankful to each and every one of you. I have received immense support and love from each and every one of you despite the ups and downs in my career. It means a lot. I hope I can repay you guys.

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