Today we are featuring one of the best players in the MENA region; Shalaby. Shalaby had won numerous tournaments in the region and he is considered one of the pioneers of the Egyptian Valorant scene. We have asked him a few questions to know more about him.
Muhammad – (KG): Let’s start our interview with the question; Who is Shalaby? Can you please introduce yourself?
Shalaby: My name is Mohamed Shalaby, I go by “Shalaby” in-game, I’m 20 years old, from Egypt and I am currently playing for team Geekay eSports. I have started playing Valorant since it was released in the beta, and I felt that I am kind of good in the game therefore, I decided to compete in tournaments and thankfully, I managed to go pro.
Muhammad – (KG): How did you first start gaming? And what brought you to Valorant?
Shalaby: That’s a really interesting question for me. When I was five years old, my mother got me and my brothers a computer, as I am the youngest brother here, my brothers wouldn’t let me play on the PC most of the time, so I used to watch them mostly, and then when they go sleep, I get to play. During this time, there were no online games so it was really old games. I got introduced to online games at 9 years old, my first FPS game was CrossFire, I got in love with the idea of shooter games and realized that it is my thing.
Sadly, at those times, CrossFire was not that competitive. When I was 13, a friend of mine introduced me to CS:GO, and I was amazed by the eSports scene and how thrilling and competitive it was. I participated in a few LANs in Egypt and Insomnia Egypt was the last event I played CS:GO, we placed second. Unfortunately, the CS:GO scene was not growing in Egypt and there were no chances to compete in big events.
in 2020, Riot Games announced an upcoming FPS game called Project A (which is now Valorant), I decided to give it a try, I quite enjoyed the game. There was an upcoming tournament at this time, I gathered some of my friends and we won the tournament. Later this year, Riot announced First Strike as its initial official Valorant tournament, we got signed by a professional organization and placed second in the tournament. And that’s where I kept going.
Muhammad – (KG): What are your favorite agent, map, skin, and weapon in Valorant?
Shalaby: My favorite agent is Raze, I also very much like Spilt, I love playing with Vandal and my favorite skin is the Prime Vandal.
Muhammad – (KG): What was your feeling after winning Red Bull Campus Clutch?
Shalaby: It was a feeling that words cannot explain, Redbull Campus Clutch was the first international tournament that I get to represent my country; Egypt, and thankfully, we won it. Egypt was not recognized before Redbull Campus Clutch, but after winning, the MENA region, in general, got more recognized, which is something that I am very happy about.
Muhammad – (KG): You were a Vitality stand-in, give us some words on how the experience was
Shalaby: It was an exceptional experience as I got the chance to participate in tier 1 events with absolutely super skilled-players. Not to forget that it was a very different experience with a different playstyle. Initially, it was quite hard to adapt to that playstyle but with time I got used to it. I’m thankful to team Vitality for the opportunity.
Muhammad – (KG): You beat Fnatic in the group stage of Superdome – However, they still managed to bring back the revenge in the playoffs with a 2-0 scoreline. Can you give us some insight into this?
Shalaby: Fnatic is definitely a good team. During that group stage game that we won, we felt that they were not playing with their full potential after we got the win, Fnatic took the rest of the tournament seriously, it definitely wasn’t easy playing against them again in the playoffs, they played like how they always play, they beat us to advance to the finals against Team Acend and they won the whole tournament.
Muhammad – (KG): Is there a significant difference in philosophy or play style between the Egyptian players and the European players?
Shalaby: Absolutely, Egyptian players tend to depend more on their individual skills than the strategies. Throughout my experience with European players, they take every aspect of the game to the max level and that’s the reason why I think that European players are very successful.
Muhammad – (KG): What are your hopes for the future?
Shalaby: My hopes are that I want to spend as much time as possible playing Valorant in the upcoming period, improve myself, play with and against big teams and compete in big events.
Muhammad – (KG): Before closing out this interview? Can you give us final words?
Shalaby: I would like to thank you for featuring me today, thank my fans for their support throughout the whole journey and I’m very excited for the future, Inshallah I will make everyone proud.
Muhammad – (KG): We are very happy for having you today, Shalaby. Thank you for your time and good luck in your future endeavors.