Royals returned to their roots at the late end of this year, with a full roster under the banner of Chetz, they vanquished the titans that are Endpoint in ESL Premiership, resulting in a 4-1 group stage finish, granting them a place in playoffs. Their run ended at the quarterfinal stage, however, after falling to Viperio in a narrow 2-1 performance. Before the game was played, Freddie “GrimyRannarr” Pritchard sat down to talk with Kyle “Swaggy” Wilson and Timothy “tvs” Sjöberg about the skewed seeding system, their ability to get effective entry kills compared to Endpoint, their plans for the rest of the year and what they want to achieve going into the new year as an unorged squad.
What were your original expectations going into ESL Premiership this season as you had just formed?
Swaggy: I think from my standpoint, from someone who knows the teams, I looked at what Edgaras “entz” Luksas and I were building before. We knew that the line-up was going to be inexperienced, so, therefore, didn’t have many expectations, but we knew that we should be making playoffs on paper. We believed that we were at least a top 6 team and most likely should be getting top 4, so coming into the group games knowing we could beat anybody and have shown that since we passed our initial expectations.
Take Endpoint out of the equation for a second, they are the top figures in the scene notably, who did you think your biggest rivals in the group were?
Swaggy: There are two ways to answer this question. Firstly, you mentioned with the exception of Endpoint and I don’t agree with that. Our biggest opponent in the group would be obviously 1PIN, even with Endpoint there, 1PIN is a much harder team to beat. Endpoint is playing with a sub and has had roster changes recently. But 1PIN are solid, have always been solid, and play a very sound and astute way of Counter-Strike. I respect Ryan “dox” Young a lot for creating this system.
Our main team to beat getting out of the group would be BLVKHVND. We knew if we get a win against them, then playoffs is secured, no disrespect to Shuaib “Shoobie’s” Saddique team and Adam “AdamJC’s” Colwell team, that is how we looked at it.
Now out of the group, looking at rivalries, we have a bit of a thing against Viperio from when they farmed us in Kayzr League, so we are looking to set the score straight.
TVS: 1PIN is certainly our biggest rivals, but for me personally I want to beat Into The Breach because William “draken” Sundin plays in that squad.
How does it feel to beat Endpoint after you were voted the seventh-best team in the UK and were seeded ninth coming into ESL Premiership. Also, you won this game after losing both pistols and both second rounds.
tvs: Honestly, it felt kinda good to beat Endpoint after having such a bad start, which we are known for at this point. We always start games out down 7-0, but we managed to keep our calm and get back into the game. We just showed what we are capable of and it felt really good to show the UK scene, especially the ones that thought Endpoint was going to stomp us, that we are a contender for the title and therefore one of the best UK teams.
We just showed what we capable of and it felt really good to show the UK scene, especially the ones that thought Endpoint where going to stomp us, that we are a contender for the title and therefore one of the best UK teams.
Swaggy: I just want to touch on the seeding part of this question as well. I think as a team this win is really big, it shows our potential, and it shows that we can push any team to the max and even beat them when they are “the Juggernauts”. I also need to get out there that; Chetz is Endpoint’s kryptonite.
Regarding the seeding, I do believe that it needs a rework. ESL Premiership seeding and the UK Power rankings are more or less the same whereby other captains chose where they ranked each other and that was how the rankings were done, I believe this is a very flawed system. Especially in ESL Premiership where we somehow got ranked ninth seed, below a mix that had four retired players in it. We need to look at the seeding and rework it, it feels like if anybody wants to mess with the seeding they can just put Endpoint 12th or a mix first, which can heavily mess with the seeding. You cannot stop them from doing that and so there really needs to be a rework of how the seeding is done.
How do you think it should be changed?
Swaggy: It is hard to say exactly, you could look towards EPIC.LAN where they get a panel of coaches, and casters like Joshua “Dweg” Nathan who has a good knowledge of UK CS. It is hard to say but the current way is too flawed. Personally, I think we should have never been ranked ninth, and this seeding system messes with the groups.
Personally, I think we should have never been ranked ninth, and this seeding system messes with the groups.
Looking more at your game at Endpoint, Guy “Nertz” Iluz has gotten the most entry kills throughout this tournament, but tends to lose those rounds, why do you think this is the case after playing them?
Swaggy: For me, they get a lot of entries because he is very talented individually, but the quality of his entries is not safe like other players. Nertz’s is a very aggro player, gets a lot of entries but is traded very fast. I think that plays a big part but not 100% sure, it could also be down to underperformance from the rest of the team and complacency when they get an entry and lose a 5v4. It could be any of those factors.
On that note, Xavér “Xavi” Hebők, tvs and Swaggy have some of the best ratio of entry kills to rounds won in the league and tvs on the AWP with kills to rounds being converted. How is your system set up to make it so when you get an entry, the rounds are much more favored to be won?
tvs: I think personally, the way we play and the way we get the entries are a bit different from the other teams. We can get an entry and then fall back and play on those entries. Our team let the enemies make more mistakes. For instance, Chetz have played a bunch of Ancient, and let’s say I get an entry towards B long when I am boosted up on the box, after this we slow down, chill and they push into us, when we are holding the angles, trying to get an advantage back. We just keep on punishing them on that, and with that, we convert the high entry kill percentage to wins.
Swaggy: Even when the opponents don’t make mistakes, we just execute together, not to overplay and take space that isn’t there, we don’t want to give the other team a way back into the round. Once we get an entry and it is safe, we can chill on it, we like to secure the round and not keep going unnecessarily, playing the numbers advantage.
The season is just about to end, we are recording this the day before Group B has ended, are there any teams that could have performed better?
Swaggy: The obvious one is BLVKHVND. A lot of people including myself, when they got Kirk “Tadpole” Stephens and Matas “Extinct” Strumila, should have performed better than they have. It is unlucky the group that they got, I think in the other group they might have gotten out easier. Overall, I think they should have performed better and not lost to AdamJC‘s mix which they will say themselves. Next season they have something to prove and I think they will improve on everything.
Are there any teams that have surprised you?
Swaggy: Arctic Raptors 100%. I wouldn’t have put my money on them making out of groups, the games I have watched them play, have been impressive alongside having a good performance in Main. I really hope they managed to make it to advanced and keep pushing forward and improving. Last ESEA season they were really impressive, and this has continued coming into ESL Premiership, showing that they can make playoffs here and that the high win percentage not being a fluke last season. When it comes to the BO3’s in Main now, I hope they can manage to hang in there and actually win the games and make advanced.
tvs, being Swedish and playing regionally within the Swedish scene, how does ESL Premiership compare to playing in the Svenska Eliserien. Are there any key differences that you have noticed after playing in both regions?
tvs: First difference I can plainly point out is that in the Svenska Eliserien, you face every team in the entire league, and here it is divided into groups. Playoffs are the same, top three in ESL Premiership from each group make playoffs, and in Svenska Eliserien it is the top eight. There are just different playstyles and it feels refreshing a new playstyle in which I can learn more new and exciting things than I would have been able to back in the Svenska Eliserien.
Do you prefer it being groups or everyone playing everyone to both of you?
tvs: I prefer playing groups.
Swaggy: Same I prefer groups. If you had to play all 11 other teams it would just be so long.
tvs: The Svenska Eliserien when I played it in Spring you had to face every team twice, and it just took so long to play all the games. Here it is eight or so weeks to finish groups, not a lot of weeks at least that you play these games in. It is so much faster and refreshing not being stuck and playing a certain league for too long.
Swaggy: I remember in ESL Premiership they used to have 12 teams in groups of six, same format as now, but you would play every team twice, they had that one season and it took so long. They instantly changed it because everyone complained.
Looking at the new update, with the M4A1-S being nerfed, do you think the M4A4 is going to be used more or do you think people will stick to the M4A1-S?
Swaggy: Used more yes, however, I doubt most players will switch due to the economic factor the A1-S provides.
tvs: The price difference is way too impactful, it is not worth switching back to the M4. Even though the A1-S is being nerfed, I feel that the price value is so much better for the CT that it still is played the most.
Swaggy: With the economical factor, you see a lot of players take an MP9 or a FAMAS to have full utility, so there is an argument that the M4 should be played where utility isn’t as important, however overall the A1’s price is a defining factor to why it will be continued to be used. You will obviously see some players change in positions such as connector on Mirage, and places like outside on Nuke, where utility is not as important, but you will still see the A1-S dominate. The A1-S is also not nerfed I don’t care, it is the exact same. It’s 1 in 100 fights I notice the nerf.
The A1-S is also not nerfed I don’t care, it is the exact same. It’s 1 in 100 fights I notice the nerf.
Starting to round off, what is the future for you guys? What is the impact of being an unorged team and trying to compete against top teams within Europe?
Swaggy: Currently, there is non. One small issue is that John “Holland” Holland is still in college which means some days we are limited, but it isn’t that limiting. In general, it does not limit us at all currently. Obviously, there has to be a point where we need to be making money from this and have some sort of salary, for now, it is fine and we knew this would happen when we started the project. Everyone was willing to put time aside to grind towards our goals, make advanced, make ESL Premiership playoffs, get HLTV presence and find an organisation with the results that we get. Right now it is fine but in the future, we will be needing that backing and stability an organisation brings.
And with that in mind, what is the end of the year looking like for you, and, what are your aims going into the new year?
Swaggy: Domestically, we just need to be competing for the top four, looking to cement ourselves with ITB, Viperio, and 1PIN. Internationally, we just want to be making regular events on HLTV. We have ESL Premiership playoffs coming up, Beyond Winter Invitational that we qualified for, we just need to be constantly grinding out qualifiers and getting invites here and there. Grinding through the HLTV rankings really.
Next year we just need to start strong and keep at it both domestically and internationally.
Finally, you guys have had a pretty strong start with the roster, do you think there is any element of a “honeymoon period”, or are you confident this success will continue?
tvs: We have already had that honeymoon period. At the start when we made the team, everyone played super well, however, a couple of weeks ago we fell off really hard and are working past that roller-coaster now, slowly going uphill.
Swaggy: Right now we are just lacking a bit of consistency, having high highs, and low lows. Beating Endpoint is a prime example of this, we can compete at that level, and then the next day struggle against an ESEA Main team, literally. We just need to iron out the consistency and find the level where we can be consistently playing at our best, it might take a while but that is all part of creating a new team. We still have inexperienced players compared to a lot of teams we are competing against and is not something we should necessarily be worried about.
I believe that entz, Andy “Mythix” Shek, and myself have a plan and we know how to get to this level, we know how to start succeeding and competing at that level, just takes more time to get to that level.
Right now we are just lacking a bit of consistency, having high highs, and low lows. beating Endpoint is a prime example of this, we can compete at that level, and then the next day struggle against an ESEA Main team literally.