Polly: "We are here to stay"
Our fifth pre-ESL One Cologne interview is with Pål "Polly" Kammen, who discusses London Conspiracy's incredible journey these last few weeks.
LondonC were the surprise package of Gfinity 3, finishing second of their group with three wins from five matches in what was their first event since picking up Preben "prb" Gammelsæter.
The Norwegian side ended up being eliminated in the quarter-finals at the expense of Virtus.pro, but they still have a lot of positives to take from their trip to London.
The former .no will be looking to follow that up with yet another positive campaign after being drawn alongside LDLC.com, Na´Vi and Copenhagen Wolves in Group B. Continue reading to find out what Pål "Polly" Kammen thinks about the team's results at G3 and their preparations for ESL One Cologne.
LondonC acquitted themselves really well in London
How have you prepared for ESL One Cologne so far? Do you have a bootcamp planned for the final days leading up to the event? Do you feel adequately prepared?
Pål "Polly" Kammen: We have not had any bootcamps. As Norway is an expensive and stretched out country, doing bootcamps are kid of hard for us, so we will have to manage with online practise. We do feel well prepared, we know what to work on, and I think by the time ESL One starts we will be ready.
After a long hiatus from international competition, G3 took place last weekend. What do you make of the results? Were you surprised by anyone? What comes to mind when thinking about the event?
Pål "Polly" Kammen: From our perspective, the tournament went really well. We got to show how good we can be when we are playing at our best, and we got some really important experience going into ESL One. I was not really surprised by the results at the event, as the weeks before G3 showed that the top scene is quite unstable at the moment. If that is because of the long breaks teams have had over the summer or because teams are saving stuff for ESL One I don't know, but I doubt we will see many upsets like we did at G3 in Cologne.
At ESL One you’ve been placed in group C together with Na`Vi, LDLC and Copenhagen Wolves. Can you go through each team one at a time, and tell us what you think about them, and your chances against them?
Pål "Polly" Kammen: Well, we can start with the top seed in our group, LDLC. We have not played against them in a really long time, so we really do not know where we stand compared to them, but out of the four top seeded teams LDLC are not the worst team we could have gotten. We are still huge underdogs going into this tournament, but hopefully we will be able to upset someone and get out of groups.
Next up we have Na'Vi, who we played against online to qualify for the event, and even though we beat them 2-1 back then, I do not think that will matter much when we get to Cologne. They are a really tough team to play against when they get their flow going. But we got a really good confidence boost at G3, and maybe that is enough for us to upset them once more.
Lastly in our group we got Copenhagen Wolves. They are really hard to get a read on, as they are quite the new lineup, and have not played many official matches yet. But on paper their lineup looks scary, and we have always struggled against Danish teams, so we have no idea how we will do when we go up against them.
Overall, we are decently happy with our group, could have been better, could have been worse. But if we wish to progress as a team and get better, we need to play against teams like these on LAN, and we have shown we can upset really strong teams if we get into the right mindset and the right flow.
What are your expectations going into the event? I realize everyone will say they are in it to win it regardless of stature, but would you be happy with a quarter-finals exit? Top four? A spot in the grand finals?
Pål "Polly" Kammen: We do not have any expectations going into the tournament really, we have set ourselves a goal, which is to progress from our group, and just that will be a really tall order. But as I said, we know we can upset and surprise strong teams if we get into the right flow of the game, so we believe we have a fair chance at getting out of groups. After that we will take things as they come, but CS is a game where anything can really happen, at least if the trend we have seen in the last month or so continues.
Do you have a clause in your contracts regarding the sticker money that will be coming in from ESL One? Is that something you had added later on specifically with Cologne in mind, or did it exist in the first place?
Pål "Polly" Kammen: We have decided to split the money between the players and the organization. As we are a small and fresh organization, we do not have have salaries, and the organization needs money to send us to these events as well. This is something we discussed after we qualified for the event.
Polly thinks his team can continue to surprise
It’s now been weeks since ESL announced the new map pool, featuring de_cobblestone and de_overpass. Now that you’ve had a chance to practice them, what do you think about them? What do you think about the new map veto system? Do you think these changes will work for or against you?
Pål "Polly" Kammen: We have only practised one of the maps, as we are planning to veto the other in the tournament. We are not really sure what to think of them yet. I understand Valve's intention of bringing something fresh and new into the game, but I feel like the timing was bad. I have no idea how the veto will affect us. I do not think it will matter much in the group stage, but when it comes to the bo3's in the knockout stages it might create some interesting games.
At both of the previous majors we saw a new team win a title (fnatic, Virtus.pro), propelled by new players rising to stardom (flusha, schneider, byali, Snax). Do you expect another new team to rise up this time and if so, who could it be? What about new players?
Pål "Polly" Kammen: Calling out who is going to win the whole thing is pretty much impossible, but I think NiP will bring a whole new game to this event and show us they are not done yet. I also think the new fnatic lineup will go really far. So my guess is one of those two, and hopefully we can get out of groups and maybe surprise a few teams as well! As for players, it will be interesting to watch Mike "shroud" Grzesiek, there has been a lot of hype around him since Cloud9 picked him up, so it will be interesting to see what level both he and the whole c9 team are at at the moment.
Most considered your ESL One European Finals performance a fluke, but you followed through with a strong showing at G3. How much of this credit goes to prb? You went from winning a few rounds total at DH Summer to beating some of the best teams in the world, seemingly overnight.
Pål "Polly" Kammen: He has obviously had a big impact on our game, and has brought us a whole new level of experience and communication ingame. But I feel like we had huge potential before and at DH Summer as well, but two matches on mirage against Virtus.pro and fnatic do not represent how good we were at the time. But that is what CS is like, if you are not hitting your shots at the right time, you will get stomped at this level. Hopefully we can build on our G3 performance and show everyone that we are here to stay.
rain had a great showing at G3, but aside from him it seems like your team lacks firepower, and individual stars. To what do you account your strong play? Are you that much better as a team, in terms of communication and team work, than others? Are you better strategically? What’s the key to your success?
Pål "Polly" Kammen: Well, I do not really know, I think everyone steps up when needed. We do not have that one guy who gets 25+ frags every game, but we have a consistent and collected group of players who all perform at a high level. We are not dependent on one guy doing most of the fragging, everyone is capable of holding their own, and I think that is really helpful. We know at all times during a round, no matter who or how many have died, we have someone who can do their job and pull the weight. We do have roles in our team same as everyone else, but I think we have more all-around players than most, so almost anyone can step into each role at all times.
More pre-ESL One Cologne interviews:
|Henrik "FeTiSh" Christensen: "There is no I in team"|
|Jesper "JW" Wecksell: "We can surprise a lot of teams"|
|iBUYPOWER: "Too many mistakes"|
|Spencer "Hiko" Martin: "You are in for a treat"|