draken: "This year has been rough, but I feel I have found my place with this team again"
Ancient enjoyed a breakthrough month in June as they entered the top 30 in the rankings after surviving the closed qualifier for the Minor - beating Windigo and Tricked -, and finishing in second place at DreamHack Open Summer.
The team then waved goodbye to Nicolas "Plopski" Gonzalez Zamora as he was recruited by NiP, but wasted no time in finding a replacement, bringing in Denis "grux" Gutaj, who will have at the Minor his first LAN with the team.
You have played with four different squads in 2019. How would you describe the first half of the year, personally?
It has been a rollercoaster for me, going from Red Reserve to GamerLegion then back to NiP again and we all know how that played out. I thought I was going to be able to show the world and NiP that I was there to stay and that I had learned from my mistakes. But dennis came back and I do not blame them for that. So yeah, it has been rough, but I feel I have found my place with this team again. We have so much history together and we are all very comfortable with each other.
How are preparations for this event going? Which aspects have you focused on?
We have been focused on getting grux comfortable with the team and also on how we play around him. He is a different player than Plopski, they both have unique qualities, so we are right now trying to find the best game plan possible.
Could you explain why you were allowed to have an emergency transfer to replace Plopski instead of just fielding coach BARBARR as your fifth player in Berlin?
BARBARR is having issues with his left hand, and that is partly why he stopped playing. He's visiting a specialist right after Berlin. Even though it would be amazing to play one last tournament with (almost) the full Epsilon lineup, it's simply not possible.
What is the reason that you will not play with Plopski at the event, considering that he is not competing with NiP at the moment and will only play for them again after the Major is over?
NiP wanted Plopski to rest and to let him get accustomed to the team without distractions, which is understandable. Besides, we prefer not to play with a dead lineup.
Can you expand a little bit on the team’s situation at the moment? Are you looking for an organisation to represent? What kind of support do you have at the moment, if any?
We have nothing set in stone for now and we are willing to listen to interested parties. Reach out to BARBARR on Twitter or email us at email@example.com for more information.
Are you relishing the fact that you will face your old team fnatic in the first round of the tournament? Does that give you extra motivation?
They have been one of the best teams in the world for a long time, but I am sure they are going to start shaking if we get off to a good start. After all, it's a Swedish derby.
What is your opinion about the other two teams in the group, North and BIG?
North are a good team, and I think they have finally found their groove with JUGI, who is a good and fast AWPer. BIG, on the other hand, I think they have some problems. They have good players but I think they lack identity and player roles right now. Also the language barrier plays a big part in them not having unleashed their full potential.
You come into this event off the back of a second place at DreamHack Open Summer. Was that tournament important for the team to know for certain that it is on the right track? Did you expect such a strong showing from the team and from yourself (1.09 rating)?
It was a good test for us to see where we are at. Yes, I had said before the tournament that I would be satisfied if we reached the finals. The goal is always to win, but we had been together for just one month prior to DreamHack, so it was more than fine, to be honest.
You believed that you would have more chances to prove yourself with NiP until dennis came back into the fray. Were you surprised that things did not work out with him in the end?
This question needs to be directed to dennis. I think he is one of the most talented players we have in Sweden and I'm sure he will find his way.
Have you given Plopski any tips, considering that he is now playing for a team that you have represented in the past? Do you believe that he has what it takes to succeed at the highest level?
Yes, of course, I always try to help out new up-and-coming players in-game. I believe he has what it takes, and I think he and REZ can become a deadly duo.
You were the winner of the first EPC Shooting Stars prize. What do you think about this initiative? When will you be claiming your prize?
It is a great initiative to reward fast-climbing teams. It is a golden opportunity for us as we do not have a bootcamp place right now. Hopefully, we will get the chance to use it before the Major.