Netcompany is a proud sponsor of the new all-women’s Astralis team. This is the first in a series of portraits of the team members.
»I’ll play Counter-Strike for as long as I can. Then I’ll be an astronaut«
16-year-old Marie Toft is the entry fragger on the new all-women's Astralis team. Her ambition is to win ESL Impact, the biggest women's Counter-Strike tournament. Then she wants to be an astronaut.
»It’s fun to see more women appear on the scene«.
The words are from Marie Toft, the 16-year-old entry fragger (entry fraggers go for the first kill, ed.) on the new all-women’s, Danish Astralis team.
She’s entered the professional ranks of a game typically played by men: the first-person shooter game Counter-Strike.
For the first time, she plays with only women, but the game is the same.
»I just shoot them«, she says confidently.
A pivotal event
Marie grew up in a small town in North Jutland called Skørping. Her brother was gaming incessantly, her mother worked as an IT consultant, and Marie herself was attracted to games from a young age.
»I played a ton of Minecraft when I was little«, Marie says.
Certain advantages grew naturally from spending so much time in English language worlds.
»I did not understand why the others could not understand English while I understood everything easily«.
And then came a pivotal event in her life.
»My dog died when I was eight. I stayed with my brother for an entire month, living in the basement. After a while, he asked me a question: "Would you like to try to play some Counter-Strike?"«
The newest addition to Marie's wardrobe: The official Astralis shirt.
Marie lies in bed at her home in Hadsund.
From then on, Marie’s gaming life advanced quickly.
When Marie turned 9, she got a Steam Account with Counter-Strike pre-installed as her birthday present, and, in boarding school, she played in the Power League as the only girl among 20 boys.
»When Søren Geertsen from Astralis wrote to me on Twitter, I was like…. I must be pretty good at this game«.
Today, with a traditional education swapped out with a career in gaming, her life has changed.
»We pracc (practice, ed.) from 10-15. And then I go to the stable and see Roy«.
Roy is 1.80 tall and of the Oldenburg varietal. He’s 20 centimeters taller than her previous horse.
»When I’m gaming, I’m in the zone, constantly worried about winning. But when I’m on my horse, galloping through the woods, I detach. I’m in my own world, far away from gaming. And I can get to that other world very quickly«.
That doesn’t mean horse riding is easy.
»Sitting trot is really hard«.
»You must drive with the horse and push forward. And make sure to not be a potato couch. That’s hard with a horse as big as mine«.
Marie riding on Roy.
In the evening, Marie returns to gaming, re-invigorated, and ready to pursue her career goals. When she’s in front of the computer, she knows what to do.
»I’m the entry fragger, which means I’m the first player to enter the field«, she says.
»My job is to make space for the other girls«.
Marie’s aim is very good – even with an AK-47, her favourite choice of weapon.
»If you shoot an opponent in the head with an AK-47, he’s instantly dead. The trick is to master the spray pattern. If you hold mouse 1, you can observe the direction of the shots. You then have to point the mouse in the opposite direction. If the shots go up, and to the right, you need to point the mouse down and to the left«.
Preferably, Marie is running around with the AK-47 in the bright, open Vertigo map, perfect for her role as a fragger. And preferably, she’ll do so in a game in the female CS:GO tournament, ESL Impact.
»I want to win that tournament. I have to. And then I’m going to be an astronaut”.
The woods where Marie rides Roy.
Marie with Roy.
To the stars
»When I look up at the stars, it’s so pretty. And if you’re lucky, you can see the Northern Lights. I’ve always loved how, when travelling in a rocket towards space, it gets darker and darker«.
In 2015, Andreas Mogensen was the first Dane to travel to space. On August 28, 2023, he was sent to outer space once again. So far, only one woman has travelled to space – the Russian engineer Valentina Vladimirovna Tereshkova.
»I would love to go to space at some point. But not right now, it’s too dangerous. I hope we find a safer way to travel to space at some point«.
Right now, her place is on Earth, and in virtual worlds, and there are plenty of earthly problems to deal with before reaching for the stars.
»Ugly words are uttered all the time. And it hasn’t changed over the years. They’ll tell me to go to the kitchen, or that they will rape me, or kill me. But I’ve reached a point where those words do not matter to me anymore. Now, my response is, “Sure, see you in the kitchen”. That’s my way of showing them that they’re wrong. That I’m here to stay«.
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