Greetings to all cyberfight.ru readers. Me and Kostya, the situational cameraman, are visiting Anton ‘cooller’ Singov, and we’ll be talking to him in depth. The standard question to ask is “What’s the matter?” [he’s jokingly referring to a memorable cooller’s question to Cypher about his failure to perform well in a tournament] So let’s begin by asking you “What’s the matter?” about the Esport Universe tournament. What happened, why didn’t you come?
Nothing extraordinary happened. I was very busy, I had important things to deal with in my life, so I wasn’t preparing for that tournament at all and drew a conclusion that it made no sense for me to visit it. It would only spoil my reputation. In addition I had an airplane to take that day, and the tournament got seriously delayed, so I would’ve missed my airplane if I visited it. So I thought it over and decided to skip the tournament.
Recently you left mouz, let’s talk about them in more detail. When did you get into that team? How was the situation in the beginning, how did it develop, and what was your relationship with the team? There was a lot of noise online about your departure, so tell us more about it.
I would like to clear this situation up. I read the comments online, I looked at the news that circulate online about me, and it’s very unpleasant, because everybody thinks that they’re in the know, as if they know for sure why I left and all the rest. Frankly speaking, such things are just unpleasant to read.
I joined mouz after ESWC 2005 where I placed first, it was the last serious tournament for Quake 3. At that moment Quake 4 was looming on the horizon, and the teams were searching for players. I got invitations from top teams like fnatic, sk, mouz, but with mouz I had the most in common, we became friends. They offered me very good conditions, and naturally I accepted, signed the contract, and since that time I was performing for mouz.
Alright, let’s switch to the topic of M5 and how your impulse to join them originated. There was a rumor that you were going to finish your career this year, but after joining M5 there’s a new rumor that you signed a contract for one more year.
I’m ready to tell you how the situation arose and developed. I was very well acquainted with Nirvana, we worked together before, I played in his team Rush3D, and I had a salary, all trips were paid, etc. I have nothing bad to say about that person, he performed all his functions at the highest level, so back then I decided for myself that he was a very dilligent person. We’ve been on friendly terms all the time since then, and after Asus Spring we had a discussion on whether I would join their [new] team. He described his conditions to me, I described my conditions to him. Then I got acquainted with the head of their project Dima Smeliy, he turned out to be a very intersting and serious person. We discussed it with him and took our time to think it all over for a while. And a few days ago we met up to talk more about it and just shook hands.
Nobody kicked me from mouz, they didn’t shut down the quake department either, that’s a myth. Naturally, as a serious team they wouldn’t profit from announcing that I left them, so of course they said that Quake is not popular anymore and they don’t need any quakers in that department, but it’s not true. As a good person I behaved reasonably, so before joining M5 I contacted mouz and explained the situation, and I asked for permission to leave. They gave it to me, and they were understanding towards my situation.
Naturally, it’s a very serious step for me, because it’s been 6 years that I’m performing for mouz, we’ve been through a lot together, so such a decision couldn’t happen out of the blue. I thought about it a lot, I asked for advise from my friends and parents. But I think that if I’m offered much better conditions and if I’m offered the foundation for development, so to speak, when such situations occur in life you have to take a radical decision to benefit yourself. My own condition with M5 was that we should have a contract at least for a year, till the next year’s September, so that I’d be sure that I’m not getting kicked.
So are you hoping that Quake will be back at Intel Masters?
IEM is a special matter, they even refused from CS, as far as I know. I talked to Dreamhack directors, they aren’t going to cancel Quake, they’ll regularly have duel events and possibly TDM events. So we have at least 2-3 tournaments per year for sure. Quakecon hosts a tournament, too, so that’s the 4th tournament. Of course the program grew poor because of ESWC and IEM, but the tournaments will be happening, regardless. I hope that Dima [the organizer of Asus Cups] will proceed to host Quake Live at his cups. So I will be continuing my career.
Let’s talk more about IEM. It’s possible that id Software will bring Quake back to the IEM, this season they simply were late to pay, but these are rumors which aren’t fully affirmed as true. Maybe Anton knows something about it?
I don’t have any information on that at all. When I talked to Carmac he told me that this season will feature no Quake for sure. It’s not profitable and they want to put more money into Starcraft.
Let’s talk about recent sensations, like strenx’ claim that he’s quitting. Fnatic won’t send him to Quakecon. Not only he was on their team for free, now they don’t want to pay his trips, and he’s going to quit. What can you comment?
No comments from me, it’s his own business which I shouldn’t care for. But I want to explain that dealing with sponsors is a rather specific thing. It’s mutual work, by the player and by the team both. Strenx is a kind of person who thinks that everybody must come to him with open arms and offer him good conditions. It’s not like that. Back in time I had a lot to do, I was talking to the representatives of various companies and was creating the reasons for my team to flourish. So I think it’s strenx’ own fault that he can’t find a team that would be willing to treat him good and pay all his trips.
Until recently he had no salary at all. So we had a player of the top level who regularly placed top3 internationally, with no salary. He started to get paid a while ago, about 3 months ago. This isn’t normal, so I make a conclusion that fnatic expoited him. They paid his trips to have him advertise their team and their sponsors, and that’s all. This is not serious, in my opinion. But strenx is young and inexperienced, as far such things are concerned. The choice is his anyway, he can choose to continue playing or not.
What can you tell us about TDM at Quakecon? Evil has visa problems now, so if the team will be formed, who will replace evil?
Recently av3k made me an offer. He wants to create a good team, and I think there’s no reason to refuse. Actually, we discussed this with Team Russia, and unfortunately, Noise is a busy man and he has no time to deal with us and no time to put so much effort into it for another go at the tournament, so he refused. Meanwhile Mikess said that he wouldn’t stay with us without Noise and refused to play, too. So our planned team is: me, av3k, Jibo, +1.
I don’t want to play with Cypher on the team, he isn’t that good at TDM and could let the team down. I thought about inviting strenx or noctis. We talked about it with av3k yesterday, and we’re thinking it over now, there’s still some time to think. But anyway we’ll be at Quakecon with good people on the team and we’ll be ready to compete for the first place.
What about tox, fox, av3k, cooller?
I don’t think it’s possible, because toxic will most likely play with his friends from his Dreamhack team. And I don’t really want to play with toxic and fox on the team. Fox had a son recently, too, and it’s unlikely that he’ll be interested in visiting tournaments anymore.
What about CTF? You don’t play it, but it will be present at Quakecon. Will you register to play for fun?
Only if we have nothing better to do than to play it for fun, otherwise there’s no sense in doing it. We’ll lose a couple of matches and will be kicked out.
What do you think of the American team? They played well, but they lacked something, what was it that they lacked?
They lacked skill. Individually they all had high skill, but they didn’t know the fine points of TDM. In addition, clock and czm were lagging behind aim-wise, so they simply got overwhelmed by other people’s aim. Even rapha and dahang suffered from that, because aiming is different in TDM, so I’m not even surprised that they were outaimed most of the time.
If Quakecon announces a totally new maplist [as they promised], whom do you fancy to be the favourite of the tournament? Who will be the quickest to adapt? As far as I know, you’re usually slow to play new maps.
I have a negative opinion on new maps, because I don’t like to begin everything anew. It will be a lottery. The one who adaps quicker, the one who spends more time for training the new maps, will play better than others. It will be rapha for sure, he loves new maps, and I think that Cypher won’t be far behind. I’m going on vacation now, so I’m glad that they’re going to announce the maps only two weeks before the tournament. I won’t be worried that somebody else is already preparing them.
There’s a closed beta test, so possibly these maps are already being tested and prepared by somebody.
It’s alright, I’m calm about it.
I have a standard question to ask all M5 members: what goals did M5 set for you?
First, I need to help them develop their project. Secondly, I’m going to take part in popularizing their Internet site, and thirdly, we want to make a product together. The mat at least, maybe something more serious, too, like devices. The fourth thing I have to do is help them develop their Quake department in particular. Possibly I will become a manager.
What about training others on your team?
Training others isn’t serious, I think, and I already helped agent raise his skill anyway.
But there are more guys on the team.
It’s not good to pay to so many players, that’s why I think that either we’ll ask some of them to leave, or we’ll offer them all to stay on the condition that they won’t demand big expenditures on our part. Right now I’m not yet ready to say what exactly I’m going to do with these players. Maybe I will help them train, maybe we’ll be communicating in another manner.
There’s a rumor that M5 is sending a few people to Quakecon. What about TDM?
I don’t have any information on how many people they’re going to send. But I won’t play TDM with M5 players for sure, it wouldn’t come to any good. These players lack experience, so it would be a blank shot, we would play a little and would be kicked out of the tournament in 1\8 or so. It makes more sense to play TDM with players who can take your team to the first place.
Let’s talk about all those confusing claims, translations, sentences taken out of your formspring page [about the transfer to M5 situation]. Comment on it, please.
It’s unreasonable of people to claim something without knowing it and to discuss reasons why it happened. This isn’t alright. Yesterday I had a message from my mouz manager, which said that he read some interview where I talked badly about mouz. But that didn’t happen. Up till this moment I didn’t comment on the situation and didn’t take part in any interviews. The only thing that got published was that I left mouz and joined M5. We already discussed the reasons: M5 offered me much better conditions, and I decided that it’s better for me to join. Such situations happen in life, I think such situations occur in each person’s life, and they have to make a choice to benefit themselves, as I already said. Mouz are my friends. We had some papers signed, but nothing like a contract forbidding me to leave for a period of time or imposing a sum to buy me out on another team. Such papers did not exist. We worked together as good friends and trusted each other.
You had the to face the downtimes of Quake in mouz before, didn’t you?
The situation varied from time to time. There was a period of time when I stopped taking top places in tournaments, but nevertheless nobody planned to kick me. They continued to pay my trips, give me money, salary, and everything else that I needed. They didn’t turn their backs on me, they didn’t become disappointed, they always supported me, and I’m very grateful to them for that. And I proved at least to myself that I still can be a top player on the international level.
There are rumors about Quake 5 circulating around, coming after Rage and Doom4. Will you still be playing at that time?
This is a mystery. We can only guess what happens tomorrow, maybe the end of the world happens in a month. One more year I will play for M5 for sure, so in a year we can discuss it again. We’ll see what happens to the scene in one year, and to the games and to the tournaments.
What plans do you have for summer?
As I already said, in a few hours I’m boarding an airplane to go to Turkey, to the sea. It happened unexpectedly, I got offered a good tourist voucher: the conditions are very good, both money-wise and comfort-wise. The hotel is very good. So now I’m leaving for Turkey, in a week I come back and start preparing for Quakecon, and I’ll be getting a new visa, too. Last year my American visa expired, so now I need to start anew, which is a very complicated process. You have to gather lots of papers, you have to come to American embassies for interviews. When I come back from Turkey I plan to visit my relatives in the Kranoyarsk region, my father’s family lives there, and I often visit them.
In addition I have a mini hobby together with b100.death, previously known in Quake. He lives in Ekaterinburg, and we have a sort of business: we buy cars in Moscow and drive them over there, on our own. Just yesterday I flew back to Moscow, and consequently that’s the main reason why I couldn’t prepare for the eSports Universe. I was very busy with that trip, we were readying the cars up.
It’s a very interesting hobby, by the way, we have to drive 2000km, so we can’t sleep almost for 24 hours, but it’s real good. I keep getting pleasantly surprised with nature, you drive by spectacular places, lakes, forests. It’s very beautiful.
And there are many funny situations. Recently we got stopped on our way, and for the first time in my life me and Alexey had to pee into a jar. They were checking us at night for forbidden chemical substances in our blood.
I learnt from long-distance truck drivers that their trucks hold 700-800 liters! And that’s diesel fuel. One liter costs 15 rubles, and you need 30 literes to last 100km. Just imagine that picture: you drive into a fuel service station and say “900 liters of diesel fuel, please ” and hand them out 135.000 rubles (~3.375E)!
We talked to the long-distance truck drivers in a cafe once, and they say that at each post for the weight control each truck has to pay at least 500 rubles, so that no “obstacles” would be created. It’s funny, just imagine the enormous flood of such trucks in Russia, it must be good for the guys who work in the State Motor Vehicle.
You mentioned b100.death. He’s starting to play again, he even wins games at public servers. Did you talk to him about it?
Sure. We regularly meet up with Ash, too, he lives in Ekaterinburg, and another guy who was known as Dracula in UT and travelled to WCG before. We all often get together in the office and play 2x2 and some duels, too. As for Lesha [death], he plays only for fun when he has some free time, and he isn’t going to return to gaming, he’s more into business and all.
There’s a rumor that he even bought new devices to play Quake!
Naturally, as he should.
Alright, have a good vacation in Turkey.
Thank you. I’m very glad that you came to visit me, and I’m glad that we did this interview, especially because I needed to clear up the whole situation with the transfer.
All these rumors online are so disgusting that I feel uneasy. My previous team mouz suffers from these mysterious negative comments from my name. All of that is untrue. I respect them a lot, these are people I’ve worked with for 6 years, and it was very very pleasant for me. As for M5, I hope everything will work out for us, and their project will be developing well with my help.
@Thooorin on twitter.
2001-2002 Pro-cybernews (Editor-in-Chief)
2002-2003 Gamers.nu (Lead Editor)
2004-2005 ESportsEA (Editor-in-Chief, Consultant)
2006-2008 ESportsEA (Editor, Community feature host)
2008 TAO-CS volume 1 (Co-author)
2008 TAO-fRoD (Co-author)
2008-2009 WinOut.net (Editor-in-Chief, Consultant)
2009-2012 SK Gaming (Editor-in-Chief)
2012-2013 Team Acer (Editor-in-Chief)
2013-2014 OnGamers (Senior eSports Content Creator)
Pro bono publico:
2001-2002 XSReality (Site administrator)
2003-2004 Team3D (Editor-in-Chief, Consultant)
2012-2013 fragbite (Blogger)
2013-XXXX [POD]Cast (Co-host)
2005 Down with the s1ckn3ss
2009 fRoD Quick and nasty (part 1)
Events attended for coverage purposes:
2001 CPL London (Pro-cybernews)
2001 WCG Qualifier (Pro-cybernews)
2002 CPL Summer (Gamers.nu)
2002 WCG Qualifier (Gamers.nu)
2002 CPL Oslo (Gamers.nu)
2002 CPL Winter (Gamers.nu)
2003 CPL Cannes (Gamers.nu)
2003 Clikarena (Gamers.nu)
2004 CPL Winter (ESportsEA)
2009 WEM (SK Gaming)
2010 IEM IV European Championship (SK Gaming)
2010 IEM IV World Championship (SK Gaming)
2010 Arbalet Best of Four (SK Gaming)
2010 Arbalet Cup Europe (SK Gaming)
2010 e-Stars Seoul (SK Gaming)
2010 WCG (SK Gaming)
2010 WEM (SK Gaming)
2011 IEM V European Championship (SK Gaming)
2011 Assembly Winter (SK Gaming)
2011 IEM V World Championship (SK Gaming)
2011 Copenhagen Games (SK Gaming)
2011 Dreamhack Summer (SK Gaming)
2011 SK vs. FX showmatch (SK Gaming)
2011 e-Stars Seoul (SK Gaming)
2011 ESWC (SK Gaming)
2012 IEM VI Kiev (SK Gaming)
2012 IEM VI World Championship (SK Gaming)
2012 WCS Europe (Team Acer)
2012 Dreamhack Open Valencia (Team Acer)
2012 Dreamhack Winter (Team Acer)
2012 IPL5 (Team Acer)
2012 HomeStory Cup VI (Team Acer)
2013 IEM VII World Championship (Team Acer)
2013 MLG Winter Championship (Team Acer)
2013 LCS Europe Spring Week 10 (Team Acer)
2013 WCS EU S1 Ro16 (Team Acer)
2013 LCS Europe Summer Week 9 (Team Acer)
2013 WCS EU S2 final / LCS Europe Summer playoffs (Team Acer)
2013 Riot S3 World Championship (Team Acer)
2013 Battle of the Atlantic (OnGamers)
2013 Battle of the Atlantic (OnGamers)
2014 LCS Europe Spring Week 5 (OnGamers)
2010 IEM IV European Championship (ESL-TV)
2010 IEM IV Asian Finals (ESL-TV)
2010 IEM IV World Championship (ESL-TV)
2010 IEM V Shanghai (ESL-TV)
2011 ESEA-invite S8 (WinOut)
2011 GameGune (WinOut)
2011 SEC (WinOut)
2013 Dreamhack SteelSeries CS:GO Championship (DH-TV)
2014 Dreamhack Steelseries CS:GO Invitational (DH-TV)
2014 Dreamhack Summer (DH-TV)
2014 Gfinity G3
2014 Dreamhack Stockholm CS:GO Invitational (DH-TV)
Pro bono publico:
2010 ESWC (lvl^)
2010 Arbalet Cup Dallas (lvl^)
2010 GameGune (lvl^)
2010 fnatic PLAY (lvl^)
2010 WCG Nordic (SK Gaming)
2011 Dreamhack Winter BEAT IT (whisenhunt)
2011 EPS Winter (whisenhunt/ESL-TV)
2011 WCG (whisenhunt)
2011 IEM VI Kiev EU qualifier (SK Gaming)
2013 FACEIT Sunday Cup April 28th (FACEIT)
2013 Prague Challenge (District)
2013 FACEIT Sunday Cup September 8th (FACEIT)
2013 FACEIT Monday Cup September 9th (FACEIT)
2014 ESEA Invite S15 LAN finals (NiPTV)
* Winner of the Heaven Media 'E-sports Journalist of the year' awards for 2012 and 2013.
Thorin's Thoughts: Rapha's game
QuakeCon 2014: Rapha with a medal
Rapha takes silver at DreamHack
SK Rapha: I'm always looking to win
Rapha with double gold at QuakeCon 2013
THE NEW JERSEY