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MiracU: “The scene is still young and trying to figure out what works best for PUBG”

MiracU: “The scene is still young and trying to figure out what works best for PUBG”

Just south of the Georgopol bridge, we sat down with Justin “MiracU” McNally before the opening games of PUBG Global Invitational 2018.

Parting ways with their sponsor, Team Kinguin, didn’t do much in terms of stopping MiracU and his team. Welcome to South Georgo (WTSG) entered PGI Europe finals in Leicester, UK, as one of the favorites to win.

The subpar performance on the first day, where WTSG finished outside of Top 10, seems to have motivated them even more. The team picked up two chicken dinners on the second day and remained consistent throughout to secure themselves a second place in the overall rankings. Together with Team Liquid and Pittsburgh Knights, they qualified to represent Europe in PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS’ biggest tournament ever.

Starting 25th of July, some of the world’s best teams will gather in Mercedes-Benz Arena in Berlin, Germany, to battle it out for $2 million dollars in prize money over four days of competition.

But before that, we chatted with MiracU about his team, their journey to the finals, and the future of PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS.

Vie: How did you get into competitive PUBG?

MiracU: I have always been a competitive person so in the early days of PUBG I played a lot of duos and always got really high on the leaderboards. When the esports scene started to develop my duo partner at the time and I made a team with some other friends.

Vie: Is your family OK with you competing?

MiracU: My family and friends are very supportive, they think esports is great, I get to travel a lot which they also see as a bonus.

Vie: The growth over the past few months has been insane. And now there’s actual money to be made from the game.

MiracU: It’s incredible how the scene has developed over the last six months, there has been a lot of tournaments and it’s great for the game. A $2 million dollar tournament is huge and it gives us players a lot of belief that PUBG is going in the right direction.

Vie: So the pressure is on now?

MiracU: I don’t feel any extra pressure just because it’s the biggest tournament to date. We will play our game and do our best, same as we always do.

Vie: PGI is just another day at the office for you guys?

MiracU: We are approaching this tournament like any of the others we have attended. We have done our research on other teams and we have practiced a lot individually and as a team.

Vie: How much of your prep time is dedicated to TPP?

MiracU: I have not practiced a crazy amount of TPP, a few hours every day, just to keep myself familiar with the playstyle.

Vie: What did you think after first seeing PGI will feature both TPP and FPP?

MiracU: Europe has been playing FPP for months now but I do see why they decided to give TPP a go as it’s still a major thing in Asia. I think it’s safe to say that FPP is way more suitable for competitive play.

Vie: You guys played out of your minds in the PGI quals. What changed in those few weeks since DH Austin, where you finished 8th?

MiracU: At DreamHack Austin we made a lot of mistakes, individually and as a team. We failed to close out some games that we could have easily won. We did not make any crazy changes, we just played our game, didn’t make the same mistakes, and got the best result out of most of the games.

Vie: PGI is just days away now. Which teams are you most concerned about?

MiracU: We know all of the teams here are capable of winning. We are not worried about anyone in particular, but I would say Liquid, Knights, and NAVI are some of the best teams at PGI.

Vie: There has been some criticism towards the slot distribution between the regions. Do you think it’s been handled fairly?

MiracU: Hey look, I know what you’re getting at. But we also need to remember that in tournaments, especially tournaments that span worldwide a la a “World Championship” of some sort, both in esports and sports, very seldom — if ever — all the best teams are actually at the tournament. You are always gonna get the geographical spread, heck you even need it. PUBG is huge in Asia.

You also have to remember that the scene is still young and trying to figure stuff out, what works best for PUBG etc. In time we will hopefully see a more well-weighted list of distributed spots, but there will always be some kind of geographical spread and that’s just something we will have to accept, it’s in the best interest of the game.

Vie: Parting words, MiracU, which region will win PGI 2018?

MiracU: Europe or CIS will take the crown.

You can follow MiracU on Twitter @MiracUfps.

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devoduvek: “Some people fail to understand that losing is a part of the game”

devoduvek: “Some people fail to understand that losing is a part of the game”

After a disappointing exit at FACEIT Europe Minor qualifier, we sat down with LDLC’s David “devoduvek” Dobrosavljevic to talk about his career in esports.

When the French-Serbian player first picked up Counter-Strike: Global Offensive back in 2014, he quickly rose through the ranks within the French community. By the time he played in his first Gamers Assembly, all eyes were on him — he was a guy with 400 hours to his name and he was keeping up with the best players in the country. It was only natural that suspicion arose.

The cheating accusations followed him for the next few years, up until his big break when he was invited to join Team EnVyUs. After that, he joined Sean “seang@res” Gares at Misfits, where he competed in North America for nearly a year and even qualified for his first Major at ELEAGUE Boston.

Since then, the 23-year-old player returned to France together with his teammate François “AmaNEk” Delauney to compete under the LDLC banner. Although being eliminated from the FACEIT Europe Minor qualifier by Aleksi “allu” Jalli’s ENCE eSports was a tough pill to swallow.

devoduvek opened up about dealing with cheating accusations, handling the pressure, wanting to return to Europe, and learning from the mistakes.

Vie: How did you start playing the game?

devoduvek: I’ve always been passionate about CS when I was a kid. I played the game for the first time when I was about 8 years old in a local cybercafe in Serbia during my summer holidays and I’ve been playing it since. I just couldn’t regularly play it because of school and stuff like that but I’ve always had the mindset to become really good when I was playing.

That being said, when I started CSGO in November of 2014 after buying a PC that could run it, I was getting pretty good really fast and people started accusing me of cheating almost every game. This combined with my passion for the game made me believe I had the potential to make it to a pro level, especially that CSGO was really blowing up in popularity at that time.

Vie: Were the constant cheating accusations upsetting? 

devoduvek: Actually yes, but in the beginning, I was having a lot of fun, so it didn’t bother me that much because it was getting me a lot of publicity. After a year, when I started playing more and more competitively, it was a bit sad seeing people not acknowledge my skill, but just simply say that I’m cheating, instead. It never demotivated me, honestly, I just kept playing my game and that’s it.

The only thing that changed is that I had a really “shaky” aim, similar to that of Kjaerbye. I had a lot of confidence in it, but I knew it made people doubt if I was legit when they saw me play. After some time, it just got to my head and I started forcing myself not to shake my aim that much. That lead me to change my way of playing and stuff like that. Now I’m trying not to care anymore. I think this is how I should have dealt with it from the beginning.

Vie: Looking back at someone like ropz, who nearly quit the game before his career even started because of all the cheating accusations. Was it like that for you as well?

devoduvek: I think after the ropz drama people really understood how terrible it is for an upcoming player to be called a cheater like that. It was even worse for him than it was for me because he was playing in FPL and some of the accusations where directly coming from pro players. Hats off to him for handling it as well as he did honestly, look at where he is now!

 

Vie: And you chose to go pro either way. How accepting was the family of your newfound hobby?

devoduvek: It wasn’t really hard, I was just playing it and that’s it. When I was telling them I might become a pro and make some money out of it, they weren’t really believing it until it really happened. I’m still far away from what a “real” pro is, but they are being really supportive now.

Vie: You don’t think you’re a “real” pro?

devoduvek: I might be exaggerating a bit when I say “real pro”, but I haven’t achieved anything close to the G2, FaZe, SK etc guys. Having your name on a sticker is only the first step towards it, but winning tournaments or at least making it to the finals is what would define you as a real pro in my opinion.

Vie: Minor quals didn’t go so well for you guys. You entered every match as favorites but then it was like you never showed up in the first place. What happened? 

devoduvek: I think our mental preparation and discipline was just really bad for this qualifier. We have been playing together for only a month and we didn’t really have a lot of official matches together yet, it was also our first qualifier as a team. It helped us to fix a lot of the problems and I think that these kind of defeats are something needed to progress as a team. We could have qualified, sure, but it just wasn’t meant to be. I just see it as a part of the process if you want to become a better team.

Vie: And then you turned that around and won PMU Challenge the very next week. 

devoduvek: The games that we lost at the qualifiers helped us realize what we were doing wrong. Like, you can’t really see what is wrong in your game if you don’t lose meaningful matches, and since the minor qualifier was really important for us, it helped us fix a lot of the stuff during our bootcamp the next day. Also, the 2-13 comeback against REFLEX in our first match was really important because we showed a really good mindset during the game which helped us for the rest of the tournament.

Vie: Do you still find yourself frustrated over what happened a few rounds ago? Or maybe over a game you’ve lost a while back?

devoduvek: I think I have a good mindset on how to take a loss. Some people fail to understand that losing is normal and it’s just part of the game. Of course, there are different ways of losing a game, and some might be more tilting than others. But in my opinion, if you believe in your teammates and in your team, you need to be patient and believe in the work you are putting as a team. Constant work is what is going to fix the mistakes that make you lose.

 

Vie: Before you joined LDLC you were playing in North America. Was returning to Europe something you wanted to do all along? 

devoduvek: Yes. I had the option to stay in the US and I was going to but the will to play with French players was really strong. Playing with French people is really something that was motivating me at the time. I knew that playing in the US was just temporary.

Vie: Do you find either of the two regions better or more competitive?

devoduvek: That’s exactly how I differentiate the two regions — the overall player skill. There is just less good teams in the US. The good NA teams are equals to their European counterparts, but there are just less good teams to practice with etc, so that’s why the scene is weaker overall in my opinion.

Vie: About AmaNEk, you have been playing together for as long as I can remember. What’s the story behind it?

devoduvek: I know AmaNEk since the 1.6 days, even though we were not playing that much together back then we were good friends. So back when I started playing CSGO, a friend that we have in common told us that the game is good and we should come and play it. We have been playing together since then.

Vie: So you just approach teams as a package deal now? 

devoduvek: It’s just that we both believe in each other I think. When we left the US, we planned to make a team together with the French guys, and we happened to end up in Team LDLC.

Vie: Thanks for taking the time. Any shoutouts?

devoduvek: Thanks for the interview! I’m happy to be in LDLC right now, so I would like to thank them as well for all that they are doing for us!

Follow devoduvek on Twitter @devoduvekk.

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BIG Acidy: “Playing in a team that expects you to play well is pretty stressful”

BIG Acidy: “Playing in a team that expects you to play well is pretty stressful”

The up-and-coming Estonian top laner Markus “Acidy” Käpp shared what it’s like playing for his first professional team — the German BIG.

The young talent joined Berlin International Gaming (BIG) earlier in May, one month before turning 18. Since then, Acidy helped his team take second place in Premier Tour 2018 Summer Hamburg where they finished behind the reigning German champions EURONICS Gaming and ahead of mousesports, SPGeSports, SK Gaming, and others.

With the goals set on the European Masters 2018 Summer Split, BIG isn’t pulling any punches.

Käpp told us about breaking into professional gaming, competing at the highest level, learning to deal with the pressure, his roots in the Baltic League of Legends scene, and sharing the top lane with his teammate Juho “NilleNalley” Janhunen.

Vie: How did you decide to pursue the path of a pro player? 

Acidy: I spent most of my time after school playing League. I’ve always loved the game and competing. Winning as a team is so much better than winning alone, so I decided to join a team to improve my team play and communication to become better as a player.

Vie: How hard was it to explain it to your family, friends? Were they accepting of your choice, or was there mistrust?

Acidy: My family didn’t like it at first because my grades in school were dropping and I wasn’t doing any physical activities. When my grades improved and they saw me going to some Baltic LANs they realized how much I like doing this. After that, they were pretty supportive of me. My friends, on the other hand, have become a small fan club now, they are always asking when I’m going to play or how I’m doing in soloq.

Vie: Speaking of the Baltic scene. Do you think there’s any hope for it yet?

Acidy: The Baltic scene currently in general is pretty bad. There are lots of good players from the Baltics such as Puszu, HeaQ, Sirnukesalot etc. but not enough for the Baltic scene to be strong. They recently announced that Baltics will have a spot in the EU Masters, so maybe in a few years there’s hope for it but I doubt it.

Vie: What’s your opinion on the professional play so far? Is it exactly what you thought it would be like? How do you feel about the overall level of teams in the German league?

Acidy: In the professional play the most important thing is communication. I’m quite talkative in-game, so I didn’t have that problem when I first started out, but playing in a team with four good players that expect you to play well is pretty stressful.

Early on I would be so nervous that I died a lot to ganks because I was so focused on not dying in the lane that I would forget to ward or watch the map. Professional play has a lot higher highs and much lower lows. Beating a good team is such a great feeling and losing to a bad team just has you depressed for the whole day thinking about what went wrong. The Top 4 teams in Germany are at a pretty good level, but we’ll have to wait for the EUMasters to know for sure.

Vie: You have two top laners on the roster currently. How does that work?

Acidy: NilleNalley plays in the ESL Meisterschaft matches and in the upcoming LANs we split the games. I play blue side games and Nille plays the red side because of our different champion pools. I didn’t go to the Premier Tour LAN because I massively underperformed in important matches. So I benched myself so that the team could still go to LAN.

Vie: Isn’t it hard for the rest of the team as well, having to play with two different top laners every other game?

Acidy: It’s definitely hard, but [learning to adapt and] playing different styles is important for a team to succeed and do well.

Vie: There has been some talk about the Korean imports lately. Where do you stand on the subject?

Acidy: Europe has players from very different countries and cultures, so importing Korean players doesn’t really change much in a team, as long as they are actually good players. Being able to speak English well isn’t that big of a problem in my opinion since it can be learned pretty fast. For example, Huni and Reignover, they didn’t know English that well when they first came to Europe, but they are good players so the language barrier didn’t stop them from succeeding.

Vie: You just turned 18 a few weeks back, are you done with the school yet? What are your plans for the future?

Acidy: I still have one year of school left and I don’t have any big plans after that. At the moment competing in LoL is what I enjoy doing the most, Io i want to give it a real shot and see what comes after that.

Vie: Thanks for taking the time. Any shoutouts?

Acidy: I’d like to shout-out to my interviewer and all the readers of this interview.

Follow Markus “Acidy” Käpp on Twitter @Acidy_

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Climbing the ladder in 8.13

Climbing the ladder in 8.13

Navigating your way through the latest patches in League of Legends can be a daunting task these days. Here’s a who’s who on the Summoner’s Rift right now.

With the ever-changing metagame, it can certainly become hard to keep up with what’s what on the Rift and where’s the most direct route to the top ranks. So if you’ve been wondering which are the best champions in League of Legends as of patch 8.13 brace yourself — you’re in the right place.

Top Lane

Although meta is constantly evolving, over in the top lane champions that don’t get many changes usually tend to stay the most worth picking, at least early in the new patch. Garen would be a good example, not only because he managed to become one of the most stable champions in the game, but also because he’s a very strong contender in the top lane.

Garen’s nearly infinite durability is increased considerably with Resolve path, making him a real nightmare to face in the lane for many other champions. Not only is it increasingly hard to deal any damage to him, his ultimate ability — Demacian Justice — is a source of pain for his opponents as well. The Might of Demacia can punish the mistakes of his enemies with high true/magic damage, ending their lives in an instant.

Similarly, Fiora remains unchanged in 8.13, which combined with several nerfs on her opposition in the lane, makes her a feared champion over on the top side of the Summoner’s Rift.

Her strongest point still is her true damage dealing ability, in the eyes of her enemies making her a nuisance at best, and an unstoppable force at worst. With Conqueror rune converting damage to true damage, Fiora can amplify her damage even more, making her an unparalleled opponent in the 1v1 fights. For now, she remains a true duelist of the top lane, as well as a worthwhile pick.

Jungle

With no doubt, Nocturne became the big star of this patch. He managed to remain in the spotlight since patch 8.5, which would be a feat on its own, if not for the constant buffs applied to this champion. The changes made to his ultimate ability, Paranoia, make him one of the scariest (literally) junglers in the game. And now, for even longer duration. Even more so, considering the nerfs on other top-tier solo q junglers Xin Zhao and Graves.

The 8.13 patch may also open doors for the big return of Kindred. His big re-entry was marked in the Korean pro league, LCK, namely picked by KT Rolster’s jungler Go “Score” Dong-bin.

Kindred is best known for dominating jungle for a period of time after his release, followed by a massive nerf-hammer dropped right on top of him. Even though he’s been getting constant buffs in the recent patches, he wasn’t quite ready to resurface as the top tier jungle champion. Not until patch 8.12, that is, because as of now, Kindred is back to being one of the best jungle class champions in the game.

Mid Lane

Zed, while not being a popular choice in the competitive scene, remains one of the biggest champions in ranked solo q. And that’s for a good reason.

Almost every game you will see Zed getting either picked or even more likely, banned. For one thing, The Master of Shadows is really fun to play, and even more than that, he is immensely powerful. So much so, that he is likely the single best middle lane champion on the Rift currently. At least when it comes to solo q.

As an assassin, Zed provides high single-target damage, which combined with his inane sneaky playstyle and high mobility make him especially annoying to play against. Not only can he go in, deal an insane amount of damage and retreat virtually unharmed, he has incredible roaming potential, making him a threat all over the map. Considering that marksmen put more stress on farming as of the last patch, Zed can put his skillset and playstyle to use, take advantage of that and punish the greedy ADC’s.

Another good pick that will let you win games from the mid lane is Zoe. Even considering the changes we’ve seen to her recently, Zoe remains a constant threat inside and outside her lane.

Marksman

Draven always was a popular pick in the bottom lane, especially in the solo q and that remains to be true in the current patch. The fiery champion, that is best known for his aggressive playstyle is favored by many veterans in the bottom lane.

He’s very powerful during the laning phase. Draven can easily suppress his opponents in the lane with not just his abilities, but powerful basic attacks. That, combined with his passive ability, League of Draven, allows him to farm faster than any other champion in the lane, making him the best marksman on the Fields of Justice.

Similarly to Kindred, Jinx is looking to make a return to the top levels of the game. Even though she was considered to be one of the best hyper carries in League of Legends, she faded away for quite a while. With her Q ability, Switcheroo!, seeing a buff in this patch, its rocket crit damage getting increased to 220%, Jinx will be taking her rightful place as of the best champions in her weight category.

Support

Fiddlesticks went a full circle as a champion in League of Legends. It started off in the jungle, then moved to the bottom lane, even had a brief (and not very welcome) stint as the top and mid lane champion. And as of 8.13, it’s ready to return to the support position.

With plenty of control under its belt, Fiddlesticks can be painfully annoying to play against. Not only can he punish his enemies for making mistakes or overextending, but paired with a high damage partner, they can bully almost any other duo pair.

And if being a supportive support isn’t really your thing and you’re looking for the strongest support champion to play right now, don’t look any further than Brand. Not only can this support deal plenty of damage, but he can legitimately carry his team. Even though originally made to be played as a mage in the middle lane, The Burning Vengeance is now most viable in the bottom lane.

But don’t let that fool you, he’s as strong as he ever was. Fireballs make for an easy and effective way to harass your opponents, and a strong laning phase for support Brand could lead to an extra carry for your team in the mid/late game. Just like Fiddlesticks, paired up with a high damage output champion like Draven, Brand can keep his enemies under their own turret for the entirety of the laning phase.

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PGI: Team Liquid, WTSG, Knights en route to Berlin

PGI: Team Liquid, WTSG, Knights en route to Berlin

European, South American, and Japanese teams join the list of attendance for PUBG’s $2 million tournament later this month in Berlin.

Overall 20 teams will participate in PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS biggest esports tournament to date, where they will compete for the lion’s share of $2 million. Nine teams joined two Chinese titans Oh My God and Four Angry Men, and MetalHogs PUBG League winners ahq e-Sports Club last week. After another hot weekend of PUBG action, only two spots remain.

All eyes were on Leicester this weekend, where PGI Europe qualifier took place. Twenty of the best teams in the continent fought tooth and nail for three spots in the PUBG Global Invitational and $100,000 in prize money. The biggest surprise of the qualifier became the unexpected loss of heavy favorites FaZe Clan, who couldn’t recover after a subpar second day of the competition.

Team Liquid, who barely made it to the offline portion of the qualifier, took the event by storm in a convincing manner. Jim “Jeemzz” Eliassen and his team started the qualifier on the right foot, taking three chicken dinners on the first day and collecting 33 kills on their way there. More importantly, the boys in blue managed to overcome their curse and maintained the momentum throughout days two and three. This victory secured Liquid a first gold medal for the team with the new star-filled roster.

Photo via ESL

Welcome to South Georgo (ex-Kinguin) too managed to work some of their long-lasting issues out and qualified for PGI 2018. Although considered to be one of the best teams in the world, WTSG consistently struggled to perform at their level, finishing 12th at IEM Katowice 2018, 11th at GLL Season 1 finals, and 8th at Dreamhack Austin 2018. Impressive performance by the team secured them $16,000 in prize money and put them in the prime position to find new sponsors ahead of PUBG Global Invitational.

The third and final PGI spot was up for grabs until the very last game, where teams like FaZe Clan and Blank were gunning after Pittsburgh Knights for the Top 3 finish. In the end, Knights managed to secure their position, thus forcing FaZe Clan to sit Global Invitational out. Consistency was a key to victory for Dylan “Krama” Catalano and his team, as this marks another great result for them after finishing second at Dreamhack Austin 2018 in June.

Over at LATAM qualifier in São Paulo, Brazil, the Uruguayan-Argentinian Savage Esports managed to secure the top spot in the controversial event. One of the favorites coming into the tournament, Team Secret, was penalized by annulling all of their Day 1 scores after an incident involving communication with their coach via Discord between matches.

In Japan, both Crest Gaming teams — Xanadu and Windfall — managed to secure the top spots for the organization. Whether this will be deemed to be a conflict of interest is yet to be seen.

The remaining two teams heading for PGI 2018 in Berlin will be decided in South Korea on 7th of July. Currently Gen.G Gold and Afreeca Freecs Ares are in the lead after months of competition. With Gen.G Black, ROCCAT Armor, and ROCCAT INV just 400 points behind and gunning after the top spots, anyone can qualify for the most prestigious PUBG event ever.

PUBG Global Invitational 2018 will take place from 25th to 29th of July in Mercedes-Benz Arena in Berlin, Germany, where 20 teams will battle it out for $2 million in prize money in both FPP and TPP tournaments.

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