James: "Underdog status favors us"
Today's pre-interview prior to ESL One Cologne is with James "James" Quinn, whose Immunity are going into the major as one of the underdogs.
As ESL and Valve held an Asian qualifier, giving out two spots at the major, Immunity were able to qualify alongside their countrymen from Renegades for their first major following experiences from multiple international tournaments.
James "James" Quinn was the one answering our lengthy interview prior to ESL One Cologne, which starts in just five days with the first group stage:
How have you prepared for ESL One Cologne? Are you going to or did you bootcamp beforehand or have you only been preparing online? Have you focused on anything in particular? (e.g. teams, specific problems at recent events)
Preparing for something as big as a major is a difficult thing to do for a team like ours. Our preparation hasn't been exactly what we wanted but we're making it work. We are getting a few days of bootcamp in before the event but it is not as much as we would have liked. We've been focusing on our own game quite a lot but we have also been doing our research on the teams in our group.
Is there anyone who you think is underrated and could surprise in Cologne?
No one is really underrated in the tournament, this is the biggest stage in CS:GO at the moment, everyone is coming into this competition ready to play and wanting to win. This tournament has the best teams in the world, anyone can win.
James and company aim for some upsets
What are your team's goals and expectations for the event? Where do you draw the line of what you'd be satisfied or happy with?
This is our first major event and although we have played at a couple of international events and put up some good results, this is a major. We are going into Cologne knowing that this is a different atmosphere entirely, our goal is to try and get out of groups and upset some teams.
The level of teams has been evening out recently, a number different names have been in the grand final at events in the recent months (EnVyUs, TSM, fnatic, Na`Vi, Virtus.pro, Cloud9), who will be the favourites to make it to top four in your mind?
I really cannot say who will make it into the top four for certain, there are so many teams that can have hot and cold spells which can make the top four. I do think fnatic and TSM are most likely to make it in but the others I really cannot say.
What do you make of the change in the group stage format? Is it better to have a chance to play against more than three set teams before the playoffs? Is it going to be harder to prepare for such groups?
It certainly is going to be a lot more difficult to do research and prepare for our opposition, but we are looking foward to the new format. The more teams we are able to play the better, this format is better for us in terms of experience and it will only help us improve.
Train has been in the pool for quite some time, but ESL One Cologne will be the first major to feature it, how has it developed over the recent months? Was it figured out in terms of playstyle, strategy, etc.? Is the current map pool diverse enough?
Although Train isn't played too much down here in Australia we are still enjoying playing the map. Even though we don't get to play it often we still are loving playing all these new maps and we are really enjoying the map pool and how teams are having to be strong on several maps not just two or three.
What are your thoughts on your group? Can you go through each match-up and say how it is likely to play out?
We actually like our group, we feel we got one of the groups where we are a threat and will be able to cause an upset if teams aren't taking us seriously. Against Virtus.pro I feel that if we can get off to a good start.
Yet again this major has not seen a prizepool change, even though the sticker money is likely to get bigger, would you like to see it get increased?
With all that's happening in the world of eSports I can only see the prizepool getting bigger over time but at this point we are just grateful that there are people who put on these sorts of events that we are able to attend and we hope to be attending many more.
Immunity are in a group with Virtus.pro, Cloud9 and mousesports
Lately the outrage against certain weapons has decreased (e.g. CZ-75 at the beginning of the year, Tec-9 during the second quarter of 2015), are you satisfied with the way Valve balanced them out? Are there any weapons you'd like to see nerfed or buffed?
I certainly agree that weapons such as the Tec-9 are in dire need of more balancing, but I'm not sure how Valve would go about doing that. What I do know though is that the jumping scout definitely needs to be fixed. In my opinion, jumping and shooting is not something you want to see in a tactical game like Counter-Strike.
Do you think the new anti-doping measures being taken by the ESL are going to change anything from past events, has this been blown out of proportion since Semphis’ statements, or is it necessary?
I do think that it is necessary, eSports is becoming bigger and bigger and starting to be treated like a real sport and just like real sports we need anti-doping messures in place. Everyone who competes is playing at the highest level for such a large sum of money and reputation and cheating is not the only thing we need to be watching for. Performance enhancing drugs need to be taken seriously and I do think it is 100% necessary.
With the proliferation of both online and offline events, and having had at least one big event every weekend or every other weekend for the past few months, and with many teams travelling around Europe and North America—or both—, how do you think it will affect teams' performances?
Teams who are attending all these events are going to have their strenghts and weakness' tested, on one side it gives teams little time to go back and review their own demos and to do their reaserch on other teams but on the other side they're all playing each other so much at events they're learning patterns and tendencies every time.
You are coming into this major as one of the biggest unknowns for most teams and viewers. Do you think your label of underdogs could play in your favor?
Coming into this major as an unknown definitely favours us in terms of giving us an underdog status, being an underdog relieves pressure on us, but we still have our own expectations and we want to give everyone at home back in Australia a team to cheer for.
You are going to be gaining some valuable experience in Cologne, as Renegades have been doing for the past few years. Do you think this will allow you to step out from under Renegades' shadow?
This has never been an issue for us, or something we've even thought about, we're attending events too, they may be a strong team, but our focus isn't on them, our focus is on the bigger picture. In Australia we have many supporters and fans which don't make us feel like we're in the shadow of Renegades, we have our own image and that's what we focus on.
If you missed some of our previous pre-interviews, check the following list to make up for it: