dfthaman, Co-owner of RLX
The Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit & International Convention Centre in Johannesburg was the host of the inaugural Comic Con Africa event from 14-16 September, where the annual Rocket League VS Gaming Championship LAN was held. Eight Rocket League teams battled their way through a hotly contested tournament, with the top four gaining prize money. NiBBLE Cubic placed 4th, while the podium spots were made up by Fortitude, WSG || Sirius and Exdee Gaming.
In this interview we spoke to the captains of Fortitude and Sirius, Thinus “teeceekay *1738” Botes & Marcaille “PaPa_Capes” Fransman, to get their thoughts on being the surprise packages of the tournament.
Many people didn’t give you guys a chance. Perhaps a riposte would be apt?
teeceekay: GG git gud.
PaPa_Capes: Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. People make emotional decisions as well. I am not angry but no one asked why we had a bad Leg 4 in VS Gaming. There were many reasons why we didn’t do well. It was a transition phase and we all knew things would turn around.
teeceekay, in the build-up to LAN you guys struggled to find form and synergy and you said in one of the interviews that you don’t think your team play is up to standard. Was this all perhaps just a mind game to throw your opponents off?
teeceekay: No, haha, I don’t know. I am always joking so people must never take anything seriously. We didn’t play well the last two legs in VS and I wasn’t expecting top 4 at LAN. But the thing is, I am good at LAN. PwnFlakes too. I just like the live setting vibe and it motivates me. And I can fight people in real life when I lose, haha.
teeceekay, you and Dwayne “PwnFlakes” van der Merwe and Shaun “Buff-Bambi” van der Merwe (who are also brothers) are actually really good friends in real life. How did this contribute to your success in a live setting at LAN?
teeceekay: We have been playing games together for the 10 last years. I know how they play and there is always that synergy. We just know what to expect from each other – for example, I just know PwnFlakes will miss so I go up immediately.
“…the thing is, I am good at LAN. PwnFlakes too. I just like the live setting vibe and it motivates me.” – teeceekay
Thinus “teeceekay *1738” Botes
PaPa_Capes, finishing the last VS leg with a 0-7 record, and having to qualify for LAN via play-offs, how did you guys suddenly click during LAN, especially on Day 2?
PaPa_Capes: Obviously Lorenzo “Mr. Low” Fransman and I moved to PC in the last leg and the difference was night and day. The hardest part was the small changes like lower response time and input lag – that took long to get used to. I also had many issues with my software as I was still a PC noob. One matchday I played with 57 frames where I was starting to get used to over 100fps and then we lost both matches. So, we just moved had to move on. But I wasn’t fazed because I knew we are very capable.
We struggled to get practice in before LAN because Jaco “The_Pro_Noob_14” Bierman was still on PS4. We just couldn’t get a scrim going. Two weeks prior we started getting scrims going. In the past, I played provincial sports and with that comes experience and mental strength. In the same way that we transitioned from Leg 4 to LAN, we did Day 1 to Day 2. And we also had a goal for Day 2 – to go 3-0. Both of my teammates stepped up amazingly and we were able to do just that.
PaPa_Capes, I know before LAN you told me there was one particular thing you guys worked on that no one would expect. I think the time is right now to reveal?
PaPa_Capes: It was to go on feeling – as soon as you see the ball and as soon as you hear the voice in your head that tells you that you can go for it, you just go. You don’t doubt or debate with this voice. We worked a lot on passing plays and eventually just played on trust.
PaPa_Capes, you guys pushed the eventual Champions, Exdee Gaming, the furthest by taking two games off them in the final. What is it about your team’s playstyle that they seem to struggle with?
PaPa_Capes: See, I think we tried to keep possession, control pace and make calculated touches – which is the same way they play. So that made it difficult for them.
“We worked a lot on passing plays and eventually just played on trust.” – PaPa_Capes
WSG || Sirius engaged in full concentration during the Grand Final, with some of their supporters behind them.
L to R: Jaco “The_Pro_Noob14” Bierman, Lorenzo “Mr_LoPizzle” Fransman & Marcaille “PaPa_Capes” Fransman.
Fondest memory of LAN?
teeceekay: Making top 3 and meeting everyone.
PaPa_Capes: 3-0’ing Fortitude. Haha, just kidding. I am glad my daughter was able to spend her 2nd birthday with her cousin and second-cousin. Also, there are politics and beef here and there in our scene but at LAN there was none of that. I also feel the line-ups and attendance was very multicultural this year, specifically for Rocket League.
What are you planning to do with your prize money?
teeceekay: Virgin Active membership. Hahaha. Alcohol and takeaways.
PaPa_Capes: We are splitting our money five-ways because we had a manager (Gabriel “Veihalis” Francis) and a video editor (Matthew “Bubusz” Nicolle). Veihalis made sure to motivate us, and that we had breakfast and drinks. Matt took epic photo shots and also provided motivation. Also, we are paying back my aunt who helped with flights.
“Making top 3 and meeting everyone.” – teeceekay’s fondest memories of LAN.
Fortitude enjoying a cold one with their sweet prize money, after placing 3rd.
L to R: Shaun “Buff-Bambi” Van Der Merwe, Dwayne “PwnFlakes” Van Der Merwe & Thinus “teeceekay *1738” Botes.
teeceekay: Shoutout to Jacques “frAg” van der Westhuizen for leaving us. Haha. Let me see who deserves shoutouts. One – to Exdee Gaming and Christian “mOTHER” Massyn for all the coaching; frAg – we did better without you; to my girlfriend who is the best (she was angry I didn’t give her a shoutout in the previous interview). And lastly to DF “dfthaman” Luttig and RLX (I promise I didn’t pay him to say that. Ed.).
PaPa_Capes: To my team – this was Pro_Noob’s goodbye series as he is studying and travelling next year so he ended on a bang; the whole Sirius team; all the staff of WSG for keeping things going while we were gone; my missus and little one as well. Shoutout to Exdee and the other top 7 teams that made LAN. Shoutout to VS and Brendon “moonCowza” Dell for considering our inputs and coming up with a hugely successful format.
“I am not angry but no one asked why we had a bad Leg 4 in VS Gaming. There were many reasons why we didn’t do well. It was a transition phase and we all knew things would turn around.” – PaPa_Capes
PaPa_Capes (R) walking The_Pro_Noob_14 (L) out of the venue, bidding farewell to him as he moves onto a new chapter in his life.