Known for their impressive LAN performances and failure to convert that good form online, eMasters came in to EPIC.LAN 38 as a question mark. Would they continue their LAN run from 2022 which included an Insomnia 69 win and a finals appereance at EPIC.LAN 37, or would their 6-5 ESEA selves appear in the halls of the Kettering Conference Centre?
eMasters silencing every doubt that had been thrown their way. The experienced team swept through their group without picking up a loss before heading into their first upper-bracket match against Clique where they won 2-1. After a successful day Harry “moshi” Raines spoke to UKCSGO’s Dafydd Gwynn about their LAN buff, the role shift after Jack “DeXter” Hepple moved onto the AWP and his tradition of beating Rory “cryths” Ursell on LAN.
You’ve made it to the upper bracket, coming into the tournament was that your expectation?
Yeah, the expectation for us. Especially when we saw we got pot one, because I thought we were going to be pot two, I even heard we might have been pot three. The expectation was to 7-0 groups and then just go uppers. We never win uppers so it was a nice surprise, so now we get the late start. We just want to do last time, we want to win it to be honest. It’s a goal, but if you are not there to win it then there’s no point.
Yeah a hundred percent, that leads on to my next question which is were you shocked when you got pot one?
Not shocked, because I feel like we are really respected among teams. People see how we do online, obviously we are not great online, I don’t know why we are so bad online, but when we come to LAN we play so much better. I don’t even know why, I can’t even tell you why, but playing on LAN we play so much better and I think it’s shown. I don’t think we would have beat Clique online.
You guys have been struggling in Main, coming into EPIC.LAN 38 did that put extra pressure on your shoulders?
Oh yeah, me and Hui (mrhui) we have been… Not dreading the LAN, because you don’t dread a LAN at the end of the day it’s a fun event, but we were really really worried because we’ve dropped some really bad games in ESEA. We lost two ESEA games on the bounce, Tuesday and Wednesday, and then Thursday was LAN. So I’ve put in the group chat “let’s just forget about ESEA, it doesn’t matter now, just focus on LAN” and then we’ve come here and it seems like everyone’s had a good mental reset. We just enjoy the games.
In ESEA we put a lot of pressure on ourselves because every game matters when you are trying to make playoffs, but in LAN, obviously every game matters but you play a lot of games. So there’s no point putting pressure on yourselves otherwise you play scared or you don’t play how you should and you lose. I feel like we’ve been playing really well, nobody is hesitating, everybody is going for plays and it feels really good actually.
Even when this core won Insomnia 69 they were known for their ability to reset mentality and the resilience even when they went down. How are you guys as a team able to do that?
I think it comes down to eMy and Manho (mrhui), they are very experienced and they are very good at just ignoring the, well not bad things, but say you’ve lost a map they just ignore it. It just doesn’t really affect them. In the game at least, when the games over I look to Manho (mrhui) and he’ll be pissed off, but then when we are in the game he just forgets about it and just plays. eMy is really good at calming everyone down and getting everyone to communicate and turn on. Yeah I feel like it comes down to them two. Obviously now we have DeXter who is very experienced as well, he’s like another voice in the team and that really helps when you are surrounded by so many experienced guys, it helps the mental reset.
The shift of the AWPing role, how has that changed the dynamic and roles within the team?
Obviously we had eMy on the AWP before, which was good, and we got Jack (DeXter) in to rifle. Jack is a really good rifler, I think at one point when he was playing advanced back in the day he had 90 ADR as a rifler. He came into our team, he agreed to rifle, we tried it for a season, it was good, but then he comes to us and he doesn’t enjoy it, he doesn’t find fun in rifling.
eMy can do anything. He might be the most versatile player I’ve ever seen.
So I said “what is the point of having someone who doesn’t want to do a certain role play that role” because all that will lead to is him joining another team where he can AWP. So I said let him AWP here, and it’s been working out so we just let him do it. eMy can switch off of that very easily, eMy can do anything. He might be the most versatile player I’ve ever seen. He can do any role; anchor, rotate, AWP, lurk, anything. He’s just so experienced so he just knows how to do everything. It actually has an effect on us so much.
Speaking of roster moves, you played cryths at this LAN. He was with you at the last EPIC, was there a certain joy to beating Rory on LAN?
Rory is unbearable, absolutely unbearable. He’s made this RMR and it’s the only thing I hear everyday, how he’s going to Copenhagen. He’ll join the TeamSpeak channel, he’s been doing it for weeks, he’ll join the channel and say “anybody want a signature.” The thing about me is that I’ve beaten him on LAN, this is my second time now because I did it at EPIC34 in a best-of-three, it’s the one thing I can hold over him. Everything else he wipes me, he can say anything, but he’s never beaten me on LAN. So it’s good to carry on that tradition of beating him on LAN.
Speaking of beating people on LAN, are there any teams you want to beat here?
There’s one big one, I want to beat Arctic Raptors or at least contest them because every time we’ve played them they’ve absolutely wiped us. I think it comes down to how they play. They are such an explosive team and we struggle against that and I think if we get to play them and get to take them close both maps or I just want to beat them. If I can show myself that we can at least contest them then I’ll be really happy. We have to play Coalesce tomorrow, it will be fun to beat them, just to shut all the management up behind them because they are loud. It would be nice to hear them quiet for a second. I think for Coalesce LAN’s different because online they seem so unreachable but I think at LAN anyone is beatable.
Do you have a prediction for what the finals going to be?
Well I’d to say we are in the final, but if I was an outside perspective looking in I think it’s a Viperio and Coalesce final, but I would love to see Arctic Raptors take them. I really think those guys are good. I haven’t played Coalesce in ages, but I’ve played Viperio and I’ve played Arctic Raptors and something about the way [Arctic Raptors] play I just find so difficult to deal with.
Moving away from the event, as we mentioned before you have been struggling online, is there one thing that needs to change within the team so that you can be successful?
I said this to the guys already, I think we need to stop pressuring ourselves because online we pressure ourselves so much. Every game is life and death. You just have to take a step back and just accept it for what it is, play how you normally play. You can’t hesitate, you have to take risks. Being an idiot is sort of meta. If you do something stupid and you catch someone off guard it’s meta, everyone does it. So we shouldn’t be scared to do those types of plays especially when they are done together. As long as we learn that and we start to relax a little bit, I think we will start to be really good and we can definitely get advanced.