After a fairly easy Quarter-finals for all teams, we shape up for our first game of the day. Three Raptors EC players, Arkadiusz “ifan” Dabkowski, Rasmus “Zodi” Frølich and Daniel “Papp” Hart play for the first time on a stage. Before the game starts Papp their coach joins UKCSGO to talk about his first stage game, how it feels to play against his old teammate, and their expectations within this tournament.
your first game on the stage is versus Verdent, what are your initial thoughts going into this game?
I think it is an exciting game, we are all excited and looking forward to it. They are a team we know well, they know us well. They have one of our old players, we have one of their old players. It is a fun game and we are looking forward to it.
Does playing against Ducky and now with MMS change how you approach the game?
It is definitely fun, It was only a few months ago when Marco “MMS” Salomone was on their side and Mohamad “Ducky” Nourelden was on our side, it feels a bit different, but it doesn’t change much. We still need to take it seriously and we want to win, they want to win as much as we want to win. We want to make sure Ducky doesn’t upset us.
For some of you, this is the first game on stage. Does it make it more difficult when you are playing a team of experienced stage players?
Yeah, they have been on the stage a lot more than we have. But all the boys are all excited and I don’t think it will be too much of a factor. If anything it will give us motivation to go out there and get the win.
Looking at the event as a whole, how important to the UK scene do you think it is that we are getting these stage events back?
It has been a long time and it is really important that we keep these LAN finals. The experience of going on stage is really cool. It would be nice moving forward that we can make it more accessible for teams to come. The Quarter-Finals were a bit disappointing. First time in history there was a 32-0 on HLTV maybe? You don’t want to be seeing that again. But the Semi-Finals onwards are looking much stronger.
Looking at your expectations for this tournament. You are the fourth seed, but do you view yourself as the fourth-best team?
No, I think this game is very winnable for us. We are sitting here believing that we can win. There is no reason why we cannot go all the way and win the whole thing. Even Endpoint are beatable, they are not impossible. We are fourth seed but we are confident we can have a good showing.
Finally, how much would it mean as a team to win this event and make it through to the NC qualifier?
We have been on the same upward trajectory for a while now and want to keep going and don’t want to stop. Having a good performance here is really important for us. Try to keep getting to the next level, play more HLTV, and get more invites. Every win and every game we get on there is very important there. We are treating this like every other game but just an extra that we are on stage.