With Insomnia 69 now underway, it’s clear to see that EKO are the favourites and this is their tournament to lose. After securing the win in their first match (having had a bye in round one), UKCSGO’s Dafydd Gwynn was able to talk to Jack “Gizmy” von spreckelson about their expectations for the tournament, competing internationally whilst sitting his A-levels and the reason behind 1PIN’s meteoric rise to the top of the scene. It will be interesting to see if EKO can fulfil expectations and prove that they deserve recognition as a top UK team.
You’ve never won a UK LAN before, is that going to give you some extra motivation to win this one?
Not really, it will be good to win it if we can but we’ve already won the international LAN in Austria so I’ve like jumped a step, so it would be good to win this one.
Do you have expectations to win this event?
Yeah. Yeah. If we don’t win then it would be something we would have to discuss as a team, because it would be very embarrassing to not win.
What are you trying to get out of attending this tournament, what are you trying to achieve?
Well obviously the standard stuff of winning a tournament but maybe just really cementing our name a little bit because we haven’t been that active in the last season. So we just want to reinstate our team’s name to everyone basically.
Would it be fair to say you guys have something to prove?
When you look at the other teams here would you say there’s a rival team here?
I wouldn’t say we have a rival here. I know a lot of my teammates class Into the Breach as the rival, or maybe even 1PIN now. I do think we’ll see JackB’s mix in the final, and I think they will beat Temperate.
What will it take to beat those guys and how confident are you against them?
Yeah very confident, if we just have good comms, good teamwork, standard gameplay then I think we are just better pound for pound.
You’ve only recently started playing with this team, how’s the transition of joining been?
It’s not been the perfect transition, I joined the team in the middle of my A-levels so it was a tough start at the beginning but I’m starting to settle in now. I’m feeling good in pracc when we do that and just kind of waiting to play the rest of the games in the season and see how it goes.
As you just mentioned you’ve just done your A-levels, you’re just 18 years old. How much does CS mean in your life right now and what do you hope the future holds in terms of CS
I want to continue to play CS throughout uni, just see where it takes me really. I’ve been grinding FPL-C a lot, so focusing both on individual and team CS and just improving as much as I can. I’m taking it day by day.
As a young CS player who is now going to University, would you say that the uni esports scene has a place in esports?
I think I’ll join the uni CS if it is there, but I don’t think uni CS teams will ever get out of the university leagues. We’ve seen it in America a bit with the Davenport team but the talent is too spread in the UK for the number of uni’s there are, so you can never really get a good team.
Would you say it’s a good pathway into esports or would you say it’s just not worth it if you are trying to get into CS?
I think if you are a beginner it can be good to play against people and get your name out there a bit but obviously, if you are actually good at the game you would have gotten your name out there before uni CS basically.
Just to move on to EKO as an org, how do they compare to other org you’ve played under?
I think EKO has very solid communication compared to other orgs, they are very helpful and they don’t shy away from problems or anything like that. They are also happy to discuss all of the different things you want. They are also putting work in to find tournaments for us as well which is quite helpful, and yeah they are a pretty solid org to be sure.
EKO has preached in the past about doing content, and it’s an important thing that a lot of UK orgs don’t do. What content do you wish there was more of in the UK scene?
I’m happy to do all types of content, I don’t have a favourite but the ones I have seen on streams that are cool are the ones that are on stream at like halftime. they play mini-games, the one I saw recently was like a 2v2 but one of them is blindfolded and the other one is directing them. stuff like that is just cool to watch in the game.
You’ve now been playing under artist as an IGL would you say his calling style suits your playstyle?
Yeah mostly, I would say his calling style and dox, my past IGL, is quite similar. a slightly loose playstyle. Like you have the freedom to make decisions for yourself and you feel yourself getting better every day. You never feel stuck or limited to anything.
We have already seen a couple of problems at this LAN what would you say the biggest thing is that these UK LANs are missing, obviously having gone to the alpenScene LAN what do you think the key differences are?
I don’t have much experience but obviously, it’s a different size, the Austria one was much smaller. There’s a big difference between the admins there, not saying the ones here are bad, but the ones there were super helpful and attentive and stuff. Obviously, this is a much bigger scale but I’m sure it could be a bit better, like I heard from someone an admin didn’t know how to restart a round.
What’s next after this for EKO?
There are two UK tournaments we hope to do well in and challenge Into the Breach and 1PIN. Just see how we do against them because we have had good games against ITB in the past and I want to play my old team because we have beaten them in a BO1 already. Wolfie doesn’t believe that we are better than him.
So is that the rival team for you then?
For me it is, definitely, for my teammates its ITB.
You mentioned 1PIN, they’ve recently made a massive surge. You’ve played with some of these players, how do you think they’ve managed to hit this stride?
Without insulting my boy dox, as soon as he got off the AWP the team has definitely got a lot better. I guess me leaving was the best thing for the team because it meant shyyne could come in and take the AWP role and obviously IGLing on the rifle is much easier. So then everything just clicks from then on. So their success, I would say it’s expected and I’m happy for them.
Would you say you are a top-three UK team at the moment?
Definitely top three, it’s quite clear ITB are the best right now and I think there is a debate between us and 1PIN because of their recent performances, they’ve been really good.
Where do you think your ceiling is?
In the rankings?… I think in the next month we can challenge ourselves to be the second best and re-assert that. In six months to a year, too many things can happen that i can’t really predict but I hope to be challenging ITB but like challenging as a UK team wouldn’t be our main focus. Getting into a higher HLTV ranking would be as we lost all our ranking points when mad and I joined.