Exclusive: di^ Talks Playing With Guys; Future With CLG Red

by Steven Cropley

Diane MDL
(Photo: MDL)

Following the ESEA Mountain Dew League LAN event, WWG caught up with Muffin Lightning stand-in and Counter Logic Gaming player, Diane "di^" Tran. di^ plays for CLG's Red division, an all-female team that competes in the ESEA Main division as well as in larger international female events. Do they aspire to reach the top? Read further and find out.

WWG: So let's get it out of the way first, what is your take on the LAN dodge situation with arKimonday? I'm sure you have a better knowledge of the situation than most so let's start there.

Diane: My initial reaction to arki dodging lan was just so shocked. It’s not like this was his first LAN or anything - he went to the e-league minor qualifier, and to find out that he dodged a premiere lan was just weird to me. It’s honestly such a slap in the face to your teammates and the community to dodge a lan. Regardless, at the end of the day I'm glad to have helped Muffin Lightning beat Rush. I don't think they were able to do that online with arki.

WWG: Were you excited for the opportunity or was it just more of an I'm going to help a friend out kind of thing?

I'm not 100% on this, but I feel pretty comfortable saying that may be the highest level event a female has played in CS:GO to date in a mixed-gender setting. How does that feel, to not only have been one of, if not the first female to play in a premier LAN event with all males outside of yourself and handle it quite well might I add, as you did post a better kill-to-death ratio than a majority of the North American players and quite a few Europeans as well.

Diane: Well the day before the LAN silent was telling me that arki might dodge because he wasn’t answering his messages. So I jokingly said “I’m ready to fill in for him, I got my gear Sam” and then later that night he messaged me and asked if I could actually ring since he couldn’t find any others. So I felt pretty excited and honored to play in the LAN since it was just for fun with friends. It feels pretty cool to be the first female to play premiere LAN, but it was just gifted to me at the end of the day since arki lan dodged. So the real thanks is to the Muffin Lightning guys for letting me stand in! You guys are the real MVPs.

WWG: Going off of that, I have to comment on how calm, cool, and collected you played your clutch situations in that event. The casters and viewers were talking about how slow and precise you were when left as the last player for your team. How do you manage to stay that way when the pressure is on? And did you know you were actually tied for the most 1vsX wins in the event?

Diane: Thanks! I guess I felt no pressure on my shoulders because nobody expected much coming from me when I was announced to ring for Muffin Lightning anyways. When you have people who have 0 expectations of you already there’s no way you can do any worse. And honestly I had no idea that I was tied for the most 1vsX that’s actually pretty cool!

WWG: Let's switch gears and talk about your home team, Counter Logic Gaming's Red team. You guys have been off the grid a little bit since the ESEA season was over and I believe outside of a show match against Team Secret, there hasn't been a whole lot going on with you guys. Correct me if I'm wrong of course. How are things with you guys? Is Klaudia fitting in nicely with the squad and what are the plans coming up if there are any?

Diane: Everything is going pretty well. We just had our first day of practice after our holiday break and it feels good to be back practicing with the squad! Klaudia fit in right away with our team she’s an awesome person and one of the biggest trolls in and out of game. As for right now nothing is set in stone, all we really have is our ESEA Main online season coming up and then the vegas qualifier!

(Photo: CLG Red)

WWG: In the future, would you like to be able to compete in a mixed LAN such as ESEA's Premier or even ESL Pro League finals as the all-female team you currently represent? And do you think it's possible?

Diane: Our next goal as a team is to make premier but with that huge goal comes a lot of baby steps. Such as making main playoffs first, then winning it. In the future I would love to make premier LAN finals with my team, and I do think it’s possible. I’m there to succeed with my teammates no matter how long it takes.

WWG: Well I think regardless of anything that comes to be, you earned a lot of respect with your performance and may have helped to increase the confidence of female gamers around the world to step into the ring with the guys and give it a shot. Keep up the good work and thank you so much for taking the time to talk with me.

Diane: Thanks for the chat appreciate it!

di^ has done well to prove her ability to compete at the premier level as a stand-in but this promotes several questions. Does this show with more practice and cohesion she could have done better in an all-male event? Will more females follow suit and join mixed rosters or will we continue to see the divide between sexes? With teams like Selfless and CLG competing in mixed leagues and qualifiers, is it only a matter of time before an all-female team takes home first place? Only time will tell.