The Search Continues…
Soon after speaking with Juliane and Jasmin I needed to get in touch with a few other members that helped The Banshees get off the ground. They were very kind in providing me the best way to contact them.
Through this story, I made it a point to personally get in touch with the individuals to get a sense of who they really are and understand them better on a personal level; something that I will never forget.
During my time interacting with The Banshees, I have learned so much about not only myself but just how wonderful humanity can be. Seeing the traits of dedication, passion, determination, friendliness, and hard work come to life is what drove this write up forward and has become my fuel for future endeavors of this publication.
The Host: Jessica “ZombieGrub” Chernega
Founder of “The Banshee Tournament”, casting from North America, and around the world is Jessica “Zombiegrub” Chernega. In speaking with her, I asked how she came to playing StarCraft?
“ I bought the game because I had played a bit of StarCraft 1 on the N64 when I was young and played the campaign on the computer by like…2008, so I knew the game was good, and a lot of people were excited. I had no idea about e-sports or the prestigious history of the game.”
From picking up the game and discovering the eSports scene, Jess would go on to become widely known in the realm of StarCraft. By 2014 she would do commentating full time which would lead her to many events such as DreamHack, Nation Wars IV, IEM Season X, WCS Montreal, WCS Global Finals, and much more.
Along the way she would encounter other individuals in the scene who shared the same passion such as, Jared “PiG” Krensel, Geoff “iNcontrol” Robinson, Kevin “RotterdaM” van der Kooi, Leigh “Maynarde” Mandalov, Ravi “Feardragon” Pareek, and the forever legendary John “Totalbiscuit” Bain, just to name a few.
Jess had known about Juliane due to her presence on twitter and inquiring about an all-female group of players on twitter. It was only a matter of time before she would run into Juliane and it was at Nation Wars V where they would properly meet. It would be here that she would ask Juliane to incorporate “The Banshees” name into her all-female tournament. I asked what was it that sparked the idea?
“I had been planning on making a women-only tournament for a while and was going to pull the trigger soon anyway, but thought it would be a good idea to combine the two. The tournament would be a good way to get the word out that there was a safe place for those who thought the scene would be toxic to them.”
Determined to put this idea out into the world, she wanted to let the women of StarCraft know that there is a place for you, a place that you would not have to worry about toxicity, and a place where other women share a common interest. Putting that idea into action, taking to twitter, and The Banshees fully behind her, “The Banshee Tournament” is born.
The tournament was a success with female players coming together from all places and showing everyone around the world their skill. Places such as Croatia, Spain, New Zealand, North America, Russia, Germany, Norway etc. The tournament even had lots of support from people outside of The Banshee community to raise awareness of what was taking place:
That last tweet from Aleksy “Psinsin” says a lot in just how much of an impact The Banshee Tournament has. So much that people were willing to translate the events taking place into their native language.
Jessica did not set out to create any ordinary tournament, she created something that was able to transcend into different countries, breaking down the language barriers, and unite female players from around the world. As of writing this, The Banshee Tournament has had its sixth successful event with Jess waking up at 7:00 AM to properly accommodate for the players. Earlier than usual for most but for very good reason:
“…to me it means a lot in that it means a lot for other people, you know?”
The Designer: Alejandra “LexGrizzly”
Coming out of Guadalajara, Jalisco is Alejandra “LexGrizzly”. She has been playing video games since the age of three and has never fallen out of love with them since. Her love for games would eventually lead her to StarCraft.
“ I started playing StarCraft back when the first game was released. I fell in love instantly. I never played competitive back then because landline internet connections were trash but I used to play a lot vs AI and campaign. It was when StarCraft 2 was released and Wifi became a thing that I really took a plunge into the competitive side of StarCraft.”
Alejandra was motivated even more to jump into eSports when she came upon a few StarCraft 2 promo videos. Instantly captivated, Alejandra learned just how massive, popular, and extremely competitive StarCraft was in Korea; She could not believe it:
“It was like watching a dream unfold before my eyes”
It was not until the release of, “StarCraft 2: Heart of the Swarm” in 2013 where she began to take the game seriously and started competing in LAN tournaments. One of her friends would eventually tag her in Juliane’s twitter post asking if anyone would be interested in an all female discord. The rest would be history:
Eventually Juliane would take to twitter and inquire for a designer; Alejandra immediately responded and went to work. Unfortunately, the day she responded, Alejandra was dealing with a severe cold:
“ When you’re a designer, there are projects that just speak to you. ‘I just have to try and make something for this’, even if in the end someone comes up with a better idea and your logo ends up in a drawer; I just knew I had to make something. so, in my bed, surrounded by kleenex and pills, I drew the sketch for the logo”.
Alejandra said that after Juliane had a approached her, there were a couple ideas that instantly came to her mind. The whole sketching process was very unique for her and unlike anything else she had experienced before. It was as if inspiration itself came to life and guided her hands; everything was flowing very naturally. It all came together quickly and once done she was finally able to present an early sketch to The Banshee a community:
Alejandra was welcomed with so many positive responses from The Banshees that it motivated her even more. She would go on to create the following logos:
With options to choose from, The Banshees would take a poll of which logo they liked the most and which best represented them. It eventually came down to “Titanium” and “Myth”. The community came together and decided to combine the top two voted logos which would create:
“Good logos should be like flags but better. You don’t need to explain them or live with them for years in order for you to want to rally behind them. It’s something that is very hard to achieve, but once in a while one makes it happen. It’s the best feeling.”
During our conversation, you can hear just how passionate she is when we went over the design process. Alejandra is one who takes great pride in their work and unafraid of the challenges that stand in her way.
Learning how logo came to be and how she brought The Banshees together shows what a positive community can bring out in us. It can push us through the toughest of times, offer us understanding, find meaning, and inspiration in ways we could have never imagined.
You can find more of Alejandra’s work in her portfolio and see the wonderful projects she has done.
What does it mean to be a “Banshee”?
It means being part of a great community for one of the best games on this planet. It means to help each other and just try the best I can to support others.
I’m not sure if being a Banshee means one specific thing to me. I’m extremely glad to have the possibility to get to know all these amazing ladies from all around the world. If it wasn’t for The Banshees, I think I wouldn’t have been able to get in contact with most of them.
I guess being a Banshee is just being a woman who is accepting. To actively encourage those who feel actively discouraged, and to promote the atmosphere in the entire SC2 scene.
I take a lot of pride in being part of The Banshees. For me, being a Banshee means helping others get into StarCraft, being a practice partner, a friend, a student and a teacher for other players. In regards to female players, I think there’s also a commitment to being there for each other in tough times. Not just in game but outside of the game. Like a group of friends who support each other
-Juliane, Jasmine, Jessica, & Alejandra
Juliane, the founder of The Banshees, hopes to one day have an eSports team that is exclusive to support female players around the world. One that is safe, comfortable, and an enjoyable community for all the women in the scene. If you would like to get in touch with The Banshees you can find them on Twitter. If you identify as female and want to join an all female community, join their Discord here.
I want to give a big thanks to the individuals who took time out of their schedules to answer my questions and help along the way. Without you this write up would not be possible.
Thank you to:
My wife whom has been my source of motivation, inspiration, editor, and believing in what I’m.
Trang Le ( @TrangLe92) for pointing me in the right direction as to whom I should contact.
Matthew “EvilLittlePanda” Zwick (@kciwzlm) for being my rock and editor during all of this.
Jasmin “Neridan” Pärkkä (@ENCE_Neridan ) for providing awesome community insight.
Juliane “Saeria” (@saeria_) for giving me the complete history of The Banshees and its humble beginnings.
Jessica “Zombigrub” Chernega (@ZGGaming)for being prompt and quick in answering my questions.