Now, with the turn of a new year, what's next for Spart1e? Immediately topping his list is the IEM European Finals in Kiev, Ukraine, that kicks off on Thursday. The Fnatic man talks to SK Gaming about the upcoming tournament, his form over the past year, and other topics.
Would I be right in saying that it's been a while since I've seen a dominant Spart1e?
Yeah that is true. I didn't change much in my playingstyle, while everyone else changed a lot and got a lot better. I find it hard to learn new things and change what needs to be changed when I am always tired while practising. The times that I improve are when I can concentrate on Quake and only on Quake.
Quakelive reached such a high level on the current maps that even the smallest mistake or luck or whatever can cost you the game. I did not have any luck at all for a long time.
Tell me how you're going to make me take back that statement come January 20.
But I want that to change. I want to be the one that sits on the stage with the big crowd cheering for you. Too bad it wont happen this tournament. But I can promise you, if I advance to the World Finals I will do my best to show you some real Sparta PoWha.
You've been around for a long time. What are your thoughts on the Kiev CyberSports Arena you'll be visiting next week? Did you think you'd ever see an arena in Europe dedicated solely to competitive gaming?
I dont know anything about the Arena. But I really am looking forward to it. Will it be good enough to challenge DreamHack? :)
Are you looking forward to seeing Ukraine?
It is going to be awesome. Best thing with beeing a ProGamer is that you get to travel around a lot. Ukraine is a country I have never been in before, so I'm looking forward to it A LOT. I hope that the food is good, I heard there is a pizzeria close to the event.
It is going quite bad. I am sick right now. Hard to stay concentrated and learn the things I need to improve. But hey, at least I don't have to go to work :P. At the moment I really don't use my time well. Feels like I am gonna be in the same shape this tournament as I was at DreamHack. So, luck decides the turnout.
Let's talk about your group for the IEM European Finals. Who do you see as an immediate threat, and why?
I really do not wanna play against my teammate strenx. But I guess that there is not only one player to watch out for.
Could you pick out a weak link in your group? Glancing over it, it looks like a fairly balanced one.
There are four players that are a little step higher than the rest. But those two other players could also beat anyone. It is a really balanced group where it is hard to say who will actually advance. If you take a look at the other group it is way easier to pick out three players that will advance.
The top three will qualify for the playoffs. Do you see yourself easily making the cut? At the last IEM European Finals, you got knocked out after a crazy three-way tie went against you because you dropped a map to GaRpY.
There is no easy player to beat in my group. I will have to play my best to make it through, and I hope I will. I missed out on World Finals last year when I think I shouldn't have. Right now it feels like my game vs k1llsen will decide if I go throught or not. It is going to be really interesting for the viewers at least.
k1llsen hit an all-time high at IEM Gamescom, and that victory also gave him a cushion so to speak for the rest of the IEM season. Can you see him topping your group, or even winning the entire thing?
No. He is an awesome player, no doubt. But I think strenx could beat him in the group, and other players looks really dangerous to make him not win the entire tournament.
The big match of the group stages will be Cooller vs. Cypher in group B. Who do you see winning that?
Like I said earlier, I can already see who advances from Group B. Both Cooller and Cypher will advance from their group. On the other hand, Group A is a lot more exciting group. Where it is hard to really say who is going through. Therefore I say Cooller vs Cypher is not the Big Match of Groupstages :P. But it is going to be a really good game, and I think Cypher will take it home after 3 close maps.
Ever since QuakeCon 2009, you've failed to break back into contention for a tournament win. Would you say it's down to your dedication to practice, Quake Live itself, or fundamental things such as players simply getting better over time?
I am having a hard time to improve in Quake when I got my fulltime job and also other things in my life. It is actually a lot of small reasons why I didn't make it. Last IEM Europe Finals I was in my best shape ever. But didnt make it because my mind stopped me. At the moment there are not enough tournaments or prize money to actually live on gaming.
If more money would have been involved E-Sport would look completly different.
You're coming into this tournament with no momentum after a poor showing at BEAT IT and DreamHack. How difficult is it to play off the back of disappointing performances?
What would your ideal route to a grand final of a tournament be? Are you a pride-filled guy who would like to get there in the most impressive fashion, beating all the top players, or a guy who would wouldn't mind getting an 'easy' draw in the knockout rounds?
Some people always get an easier way through a tournament than others. Some are lucky, some are unlucky. But in the end, all that matters is what rank they got in the tournament. I always thought winning in a cool way is the best. But what I realized last two years is that it really doesnt matter.
It's safe to say that the winner of this tournament will be the man to catch come the next big international event. What's your personal top five rankings right now?
Cypher, Cooller, rapha, strenx. Guess 5th place is between av3k and k1llsen. Av3k will be in better form for World Finals if they both advance.
Buy chips, candy, good food, lots of beer, wine or whatever you want while watching. But you can't miss IEM Europe Finals in Kiev.
We should all thank FnaticMSI for sending me and strenx to Ukraine and make Group A so interesting. Thanks to MSI Notebooks, Steelseries, Bigfoot Networkcards, Raidcall.
Photographs copyright of fnatic and ESL / Julia Christophers
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Fresh Pots: fnatic vs. mTw train IEM V Euro
SteelSeries presents: IEM5 European Finals
Strenx: "did the most difficult things [vs. Cooller]"
Cooller: "At times my aim can be hot enough"
cArn: "want to be the best team in the world"
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