Carnegie take down Clarity to win Empress League Valorant tournament

The squad full of CS:GO veterans managed to claw back a huge deficit to win the first of many Empress League events.

The first major female Valorant tournament in Oceania, the Empress League, has seen a potential new contender emerge in Carnegie. Headed up by CS:GO veteran Jessica “ARTeMis” Majrouh, the team is looking to push forward in the scene ⁠— no matter the title.

There’s been a distinct rise in female-only competition with the release of Valorant. While it has always existed before now ⁠— between GirlGamer, DreamHack Invitationals, and more ⁠— Riot’s title has seen more teams come to the forefront.

Whether it’s just a coincidence of investment, or a legitimate rise, remains to be seen. But with the likes of Cloud9 White and XSET jumping on board in Valorant and CS:GO respectively, as well as successful events like the FTW Summer Showdown, it feels like more eyes have been put on female esports than ever before.

This makes the Empress League an extra special event for Oceania. It featured many of the top female players across the region, including CS:GO veterans and rising stars with no background whatsoever.

It wasn’t some low-staked, appearances-only event too. Otherwise, competitors like Jessica “ARTeMis” Majrouh likely wouldn’t have jumped onboard. The Carnage CS:GO star headed up the “Carnegie” squad that ended up taking the lion’s share of the prize pool, beating Clarity 2-0 in the final.

“Coming into Valorant, we only started to take it seriously when the Empress tournament was announced. I knew Nicole was trying to get more people on board to make it a consistent thing,” she told Snowball.

“Our biggest goal was to win it. We did play other tournaments, but we didn’t take it as seriously as the Empress tournament. Winning it was satisfactory, given we were getting absolutely smashed early in the game.”

Ultimately, the final did come down to experience. Majrouh has travelled the world for CS:GO, including attending GirlGamer and WESG and playing against the likes of INTZ and Dignitas. Those high-stakes matches really came to the forefront when Carnegie looked down and out.

While they got off to a slow 2-8 start on Haven, Carnegie clawed back a huge comeback on defense ⁠— Artemis herself put together a huge clutch in the 22nd round to keep the map alive ⁠— to take the map in overtime. On Bind, there was nothing left in the tank for Clarity, as Carnegie won 13-6 to secure the title.

“It’s all about experience and staying focused. Most of us come from a competitive background, so we knew how to adapt and figure things out, but also a lot of the nerves had started to settle in. Initially we were very tense at the start, so once we started to calm down that’s when we started to bring things back.”

Artemis wasn’t the only star on that Carnegie squad. Between the five of them, there’s plenty of international experience and talent. Such a tournament helped highlight those stars, who don’t get the limelight as often as their male counterparts.

“The obvious answer would be Emi. She’s already Radiant and has put the time into the game. She has really good mechanics, and she showed that on duelists. The most impactful player though, helping Emi get those kills, is Mish ⁠— she’s a very underrated player.”

While the Empress League Valorant tournament was a nice taster of what’s potentially on the way for female esports in Oceania, Artemis is torn. She’s been playing CS:GO for over a decade, competing at the top level since 2014. It’s her one true gaming love. However, she also wants to see where the opportunities lay.

“I would like to have a flex roster [between CS:GO and Valorant], but I’m not too sure yet. CS:GO is still big internationally, but domestically, it doesn’t have the support. It’s really hard to tell which game is going to be good for us. I’ll always love CS:GO ⁠— it’ll forever be my number one pick ⁠— but if Valorant is going to be more consistent locally, we might fully transition.”

“Valorant has aspects of CS:GO, but it has a lower skill ceiling. There’s a lot of aggravating factors where you can’t just do anything about it. Valorant requires a bit more teamwork, but in terms of mechanics, CS:GO takes the cake.”

It then begs the question, will investment come to Oceania? It’s been a long time coming for the female esports pros, who have been left in the lurch the hardest. However, the resources might still be a while away, even if the talent is abundantly here.

“It’s hard to say because America gets a lot of funding and they have a lot of resources. The Cloud9 White team already had a coach and salaries, and the game is a lot bigger over there. We have the skillset to have that in Australia, but we need the resources.”

Artemis will be riding out the wave with Empress, joining the organisation to help find new female esports talent across the region and compete. After being involved in the scene for a decade, Artemis wants to help bring new blood up to the top, and hopefully crack that barrier.

“I know Nicole, and she’s really good at what she does. With her resources, we can actually get the necessary things to achieve what we want. Nicole wants to give back to the community, so she’s doing it not just because she wants the best team, but she wants to pay back the people who have done good in this scene.”

You can follow Artemis and Empress on Twitter.

ProducerJosh Swift
Andrew Amos
Andrew Amos
After joining Snowball in mid-2018, Andrew "Ducky" Amos has fast become one of our region's best esports writers. Cutting his teeth in Oceanic Overwatch, he now covers all kinds of esports for publications globally. However, his heart still lays at home, telling the story of Aussies trying to make it big.


IEM Melbourne 2021 moves online, but Melbourne Esports Open still on

Australia’s premier esports event, IEM Melbourne, is going forward in 2021 ⁠— but not in the format many were hoping for....


ESIC bans 35 more Australian CS:GO players for betting offences

The Esports Integrity Commission has banned another 35 Australian CS:GO players over betting offences dating back to 2019. It brings the...

Related Posts

Sources: LPL partners with Riot Games to host major Oceanic Valorant events in 2021

Oceanic Valorant is set to be in the hands of LetsPlay.Live (LPL) after the NZ-based tournament organizer won Riot’s tender for...

Sources: EXO Clan signs with Soniqs in first Oceanic Valorant move to NA

The decorated EXO Clan outfit is making the trek over to North America, with the Oceanic squad joining Soniqs for Valorant...

Exxyy on Avant’s early First Strike exit: “We straight up played out of fear”

When Avant entered the Oceanic professional Valorant scene, they picked a star-studded roster consisting of Lewis "WAT" Watson, Eric "Exxyy" Do,...

Crunchy on EXO Clan’s future: “The goal is to go overseas together”

Ethan “Crunchy” Laker has grown a lot in the last nine months. He went from a middling CS:GO player in Oceania...

Rb after winning First Strike Korea: “We want to be the champions of the world as well”

Forty-seven and zero. That’s Vision Strikers’ record in 2020 as the year comes to a close, with the unstoppable squad decimating...

Munchkin on Vision Strikers: “We’re very confident we can finally beat [them]”

Cloud9 Korea have gotten their Valorant First Strike Korea campaign off the ground with a 2-1 win over Crazy Hamster, but...

Follow us