Azad “Topgun” Orami has been gracing the Counter-Strike scene with his presence since the inception of the competitive scene. From his early days with Vox Eminor, playing alongside Spunj and Azr, he’s provided endless highlights for the scene. Topgun now hopes to help the future of the region with his Buff School master class in Sydney that runs on Saturday, Aug 31.
We sat down with Topgun to discuss his career so far and find out more about what Buff School will have on offer.
You’ve earned quite the reputation not only as a top player but also as a top entertainer, what is it that has kept you playing Counter-Strike all of these years?
I could possibly say that I’m apart of the first generation of competitive gamers, there’s a fire inside me that loves to compete not just in gaming but sports as well. Ask my 2-year-old son, I smash him in everything we play. But there’s something about competing in a game like Counter-Strike that makes it very special. Especially in today’s game where I’m so far from the top of the scene, it is great to see young kids taking the game to the next level and I’m just happy to be apart of it any way I can.
In the early days, you competed with Vox Eminor and had a couple of good years which provided highlight reels both in the game and on stage, Katowice in 2015 comes to mind. What has been the biggest highlight of your career so far?
It’d be quite difficult to pinpoint a single moment seeing as I was lucky enough to have so many. I could say that my entire career leads up to the Caches at IEM Sydney in 2018. I had the chance to play alongside friends of mine after years out of the scene in front of a roaring home crowd. That was definitely spine-tingling – the roar after every kill is something that I’d never felt before. Definitely one of the most memorable moments of my career.
moment seeing as I was lucky enough to have so many. I could say that my entire career leads up to the Caches at IEM Sydney in 2018. I had the chance to play alongside friends of mine after years out of the scene in front of a roaring home crowd. That was definitely spine-tingling – the roar after every kill is something that I’d never felt before. Definitely one of the most memorable moments of my career.
You had a brief hiatus, how did it feel coming back and seeing the success Renegades was having and then being able to join Azr and the boys again, this time as a content creator?
It seemed so fitting to be a part of Renegades one way or another, so when they approached me to become a part of their content creation team it was an easy decision for me. As for the success of the boys it really is something else, what they have achieved isn’t just great for them but for the entire scene altogether. Kids can dream big now and it’s a real possibility for players, teams, and organizations to achieve greatness in this field which we all love.
Do you ever think the itch to compete professionally will go away?
The itch will definitely never go away, though my ability to scratch it seems to be diminishing… Luckily for me, I’m talented enough to be able to compete at a semi-high level still, it’d just be a matter of finding a group of fellahs (players) willing to carry an old man around from time to time. The idea of competing though is most definitely something I’d never get over, the bonds and relationships built within teams are things that can last a lifetime. Plus, there’s no feeling like getting one up on your opponents.
Australian CS:GO seems to be in good hands, what are the biggest differences between competing now and competing when you were laying the foundations for the region?
First and foremost, money. When I repped’ the country and region there was no income available even at the highest point of the game. Today it seems that at least the top 6 teams in the nation get some form of income, big or small. Which definitely makes the competition tougher and tougher. It’s great to see the game at a point today where kids can almost turn around and say ‘it’d be worth me pursuing this goal.’ Not just for the love of it, but for the possibility that it could pay me well, so long as you are apart of the elite. To add to that, it is definitely in great hands, the people in charge of the scene have truly taken care of the game and esports, in general, to allow it to become something special in this region. As for these young kids learning and taking the game to the next level, I wish they’d slow down a bit when they face me so they don’t humiliate me on my stream.
What would you like to see more of as a region?
I’d like to say support for all the top teams – but the beauty of that is, it’s already prevalent – because its so special for any team in the region to represent us, the support that follows suit is truly inspirational. So I’d have to take it back a step and say more exposure for the lesser teams and players – the ability for those players to get a ‘Pro’ experience even if they might not be at that level yet. Support of the grassroots in every aspect of the scene.
And now you have made a move to further help the region grow with Buff School and their first series of CS:GO masterclasses, how did that come about?
Buff School approached me with an idea a few months ago. “How would you like to teach in front of a classroom?” I’ve been asked for all sorts of teaching or coaching lessons online, but the idea of doing it in front of a classroom, with keen students willing to learn is definitely an idea that not only I hadn’t heard of before, but a challenge that I think I would be perfect for. It’s important for veterans of the game to share their knowledge not just in the game but life in general for the younger lads to take on and better themselves with. Like I said though, it definitely will be a challenge but one I’m very happy and eager to take on.
I have seen you coaching at events like IEM—you’ve given me a few tips myself, what can we expect from your masterclass?
If I told you it’d ruin the fun, be sure to be apart of it if you don’t want to miss out – all I can guarantee is for those that come to the class, will be A) A better gamer. B) A better human.
What is next for TopguN?
Mate, I plan on grinding away on Twitch, maybe even dip into casting a little bit. I want to continue providing quality content for my viewers and more exposure for others who deserve it. I’m really looking forward to this Berlin Major kicking off soon where I’ll be holding plenty of viewing parties for Aussie teams like Renegades and Greyhounds.
Head on over to Buff School to check out the first series of masterclasses from Topgun and the team. You can also enter this giveaway for a chance at free entry to the half day masterclass.