Arctic Raptors came into EPIC.LAN as one of the top teams in the tournament, seeded first in Group B. They joined Coalesce, Viperio and eMasters as the top teams at the event meaning they had it all to win or all to lose.
During the first day of the event, they played against d0k’s Money Crew, Swann Esports, and the third seed in their group, Clique. Against the latter, the teams battled it out on Ancient, and with Arctic Raptors starting off on the offense, they hit the ground running and chalked up a 12-3 lead by halftime. After switching sides it didn’t take long for the squad to up the ante and shut down Clique’s attack, and resulted in a 16-6 win for the Raptors.
After this display of dominance, UKCSGO’s Matthew “meffew” Godsell sat down with Euan “synergii” Wilson to talk about the group stage matchup, the team’s first season in ESEA Advanced, and their hopes for the tournament this weekend.
synergii, you are hot off of a win versus Clique – what were your expectations for this match?
Honestly, we expected an easy win. The 16-6 scoreline is very good considering that we lost both pistols, and we only won one second round. So, yeah. I’d say that we met our expectations.
In the group stage, it’s only best-of-one matches. Does this win against Clique hold significance, or is it just another game?
It was just another game really, they are third seed in our group and playing against them, the goal is to make sure we don’t get upset. ROYALS are our main targets to beat, but we should be beating them and topping our group ideally.
Let’s talk more about the seeding. Clique were seeded third, do you think that they have been seeded fairly, or should they have been seeded elsewhere?
I mean I didn’t do the seeding, but I would say they’re probably where we expected them to be. Maybe pot two, but personally I think that pot three was pretty accurate taking everyone else’s choices for the seeding.
Seeing as Arctic Raptors are seeded first in Group B, do you think you’ve managed to get a better draw of teams compared to some other groups?
I think all the groups are pretty stacked. In terms of ROYALS, they’ve come to LAN with three players from their actual team. tvs, swaggy, Dutchy… I think Dutchy’s pretty bad [laughs]. But aside from that, I think they’re a good team, and they’ll definitely be able to pull off some upsets even as a mix. I want to beat them.
Let’s move onto your ESEA Advanced season, your record is 4-7 currently and you’re still at risk of losing the spot. With three more games and two wins needed, do you feel a lot of pressure going into these next few games?
There was definitely a lot of pressure throughout the entire season so far, to try and not lose the spot. We lost a lot of really close games this season, and by far our biggest problem has been second rounds. We’ll win like 80% of our pistols, and lose almost 100% of our second rounds… we lose so many stupid rounds, it’s ridiculous.
In terms of saving the spot, I think we can do it and the next few games are very winnable, we should have won the game we played the other night against 7 Reasons. I definitely think it’s doable, but we just have to take it game by game. No pressure on us, we’ll just grind out the games one by one and go from there.
To continue this talk of pressure, EPIC.LAN 37 was a bit of a disappointment for you guys when you ended the event 5-6th after a loss to shushgg, what are your goals for the event this time round?
As a team, we didn’t actually talk about any goals. We probably should have, but specifically for myself, I think top four is the minimum I’d be satisfied with. I’d be really disappointed if we didn’t make top four. Realistically, I want to see us in the grand final.
I think top four is the minimum I’d be satisfied with […] Realistically, I want to see us in the grand final.
We beat Viperio in Advanced this season, they might’ve still been playing with bevve, and they might’ve still played poorly. They did really well to make the RMR, but I still think we can beat them if we match up against them. On a good day, I think we can beat Coalesce as well. Grand finals are definitely my goal for this weekend.
Just to add to that, when you see Viperio and ITB making the BLAST RMR, does that motivate you as well even though Arctic Raptors didn’t play the qualifiers?
That’s right, we had anti-cheat problems for the first qualifier. The second qualifier was on Valentine’s Day, and people with girlfriends were busy. For me, Viperio making the RMR was massive, I was watching it and that’s where I want to see myself – at the next RMR. I want to be in the closed qualifier, making the RMR, definitely. That’s my goal.
In the last half of 2022, you guys were touted as one of the up and coming UK teams, do you think you’ve lived up to these expectations or do you still think there’s a ways to go?
I think we still have a little way to go, I think we’ve stalled and hit that plateau that a lot of teams at this level hit, I think we need to elevate our game again to how we played when we qualified for Advanced. We want to be a team who can stay in Advanced as a stable team, keep our spot, eventually push for playoffs so we can beat teams like Viperio and Coalesce.
Is this something that will just take time and hard work? Or is there something else that needs to happen?
I think there needs to be a lot of work and we need to rethink what we’re doing at the moment, because I feel like for the past month or two, we’ve just plateaued. I feel like we need to look at how we were practicing all these different things before, strats, defaults, work out what has went wrong and how to fix it.
To put it into simple terms, do you think that’s just the different between Main and Advanced? The standard of the teams you play, and the extra assistance outside of the server, is that something you need to acclimatize to?
Yeah definitely, our practice schedule is alright – we prac for five hours five days a week, so it’s not terrible. As for Main teams, they’re just terrible compared to Advanced teams. They’re just nothing really. The good teams in Main are really solid, but in terms of the jump up to Advanced, it’s just massive. We expected it to be hard, but I think we found it harder than we initially thought it would be. We’re getting used to it now, and we’ve definitely come a long way since our first few games in Advanced and we’re seeing some real improvement now.