dfthaman, Co-owner of RLX

On Saturday the 7th of October 2017, at the rAge Expo in Johannesburg, OK | Dangerkids was crowned the first-ever VS Gaming Rocket League winners. Though they had some tricky matches and opponents, a combination of their tactical flexibility and mechanical prowess enabled them to ultimately take the coveted prize without losing a series.

I sat down with the three main roster players, mOTHER, 1Perry and Lay-Z, to find out more about their triumph.

mOTHER (Captain):

What did it mean to you guys when you beat your fiercest rivals, Rocket Éclair, on day 2, after being 2-0 down in the series. I mean, when you won that game you specifically jumped up triumphantly and looked in their direction.

Rocket Éclair is our long-time rivals. It has been us versus them for a long time – based on history they are our closest rivals. We always had a psychological block against them so beating them at the greatest stage was wonderful. Knocking them out was a momentum changer and made the tournament easier for us.

I remember in that match you guy were down two games to nil. How did you manage to pull off such an amazing comeback?

At 2-0 down we knew we had nothing to lose. We noticed their defence wasn’t that good so we decided to use long clears and mentally said to ourselves to win one game at time.

Interestingly, you guys made the decision not to scrim any South African teams before rAge. What was the rationale behind that?

We have had past experiences with people analysing replays really well and people that have countered our strategies really well. We were extremely cautious before rAge so we decided to mainly play against the other team from Online Kingdom (OK), Impulse.

Next goal as a team?

Initially, after Lay-Z decided to take on a substitute’s role, 1Perry and I drafted NoClip in as our new main roster player. Shortly afterwards 1Perry and I decided to retire from Rocket League. For now I will be coaching the soon-to-be-announced Dangerkids roster.

What are you going to do with your prize money?
I want to get a new tattoo. And I would also like to get a new 144Hz computer monitor.

“At 2-0 down we knew we had nothing to lose. We noticed their defence wasn’t that good so we decided to use long clears and mentally said to ourselves to win one game at time.”
mOTHER, a proud captain.

1Perry:

How long have the 3 of you been in a team together?

At the beginning of this year. After Anthem left, we saw Lay-Z’s montage and asked him to be part of the team.

What type of rotation do you guys use and do you have set roles for each player?

Usually mOTHER and myself are quite aggressive with Lay-Z more defensive-minded. I see myself as a good midfielder too. We like to out-aggress our opponents. When mOTHER got Rocket League I mentored him and now we also have a similar play-style. During rAge our rotations were always on point and we didn’t mess up.
In preparation, we basically practised for a month, but didn’t over-practice. We didn’t practice the day before either. I feel we peaked at rAge.

What was it like playing Rocket League in a live setting? How did you guys deal with the many distractions?

It was fun and I enjoyed it a lot. Putting faces to all the names was great. Two close friends, ChrisEd and Kaska, supported us. Hearing the shouting of the Call of Duty players was distracting. We had to manually cancel out background noise in TeamSpeak (the program we used for communication).

What are you going to do with your prize money?

I haven’t thought of it yet – maybe a mousepad and a mouse (a SteelSeries one perhaps).

“In preparation, we basically practised for a month, but didn’t over-practice. We didn’t practice the day before either. I feel we peaked at rAge.”
1Perry, one of the people who mentored mOTHER in Rocket League.

Lay-Z:

What was the difference between you guys and the rest of the teams?

I think it was the way we knew our roles and when we needed to do things. Our strategies were put fully in place. We were preparing for every team because I believe proper strategies can overtake mechanics. On the day of the tournament I would also walk around and see what other teams do. I really enjoy the tactical side of Rocket League.

What is communication like during games?

We communicate as much as possible. I used to be bad at it (very quiet). I worked a lot on that aspect of my game and started communicating more. We mainly use one or two-word answers and also call out which boosts have been taken. We also worked on reducing double-commits and being assertive (if you say you’ve got the ball and someone else also says they’ve got it, you go for it because you called first). Our team basically works a lot on information so we need to talk. mOTHER can become very excited which helps to psyche us up.

mOTHER – Information is key. Staying quiet will not solve your team’s problems; when Lay-Z joined we had to work on communication. During games we help each other by advising what we could do better the next time. And it is not personal at all. We are comfortable with each other.

1Perry – We also have certain strategic rules which we remind each other of during games.

Since mOTHER and 1Perry are Afrikaans, in what language do you guys communicate?

English and Afrikaans. mOTHER and 1Perry sometimes talk in Afrikaans,  but fortunately I understand it.

Were the venue and the presentation of the championship anything like you expected?

Inside the competitive area teams were literally across each other which shocked me at first. It was a pleasant surprise to play the final on a stage (which was broadcasted to a live audience).
However, the tournament’s format was upsetting. It used a GSL format meaning that some teams got knocked out by only playing two matches. I believe a round-robin format would’ve worked much better for Rocket League. My second gripe was that there was no bracket reset in the final. How Rocket League tournaments usually work is that the team who progresses to the final without losing a series has a series in hand. Because of the double elimination system, they will play a team who has lost one series already. For this team to win the tournament they need to beat the first finalists twice.

1Perry – There was also delay in the broadcast that was screened to the live audience. So when we won and congratulated each other on stage, the game wasn’t finished yet from the audience’s point of view.

What are you going to do with your prize money?

I already bought a ton of games like Shadow of War, Assassin’s Creed: Origins, Destiny 2, the new South Park and Cuphead.

“Our strategies were put fully in place. We were preparing for every team because I believe proper strategies can overtake mechanics. I really enjoy the tactical side of Rocket League.”

Lay-Z, tactically calculating his next move.

Questions from the community:

Do you have sponsors, and if so, how did you go about in getting them?

mOTHER –  we currently don’t have sponsors. Our clan owner has been contacted by sponsors who can back and brand you.
Before we were part of OK, we started doing well in VS Gaming and I received a message from our current manager, KraiT, to say he’s been following our results and would like for us to be part of OK.
So to the new players, first achieve something. Try to win rAge and sponsors will come to you.

Advice for players / teams just signing up for the VS Gaming ladder?

1Perry – Don’t take it too personally – just practice.

Lay-Z – Focus a bit less on Ranked. Rather focus on learning the game. Be mindful of the skill-disparity in South Africa – there is basically no middle ground; you have the top-tier players and then the bottom-tier players.

mOTHER – Focus on getting good before you want to achieve things – work on yourself and improve.

How much time did it take you to synchronise with each other?

mOTHER – I basically played my entire career of about 1500 hours with 1Perry. Lay-Z adapted easily and gelled really well (in the beginning it was naturally also a bit rough). You need to put in the hours in the correct way. It is not about quantity but quality.

What is Rocket League?

mOTHER – It is three cars playing soccer in a glass cage…

1Perry – …with rocket boost.

mOTHER – It is very interesting and entertaining, and so simple. It is easy to learn and difficult to master.

What was your favourite part of the tournament (besides winning)?

mOTHER – beating Rocket Éclair because of our rivalry.

Lay-Z – the match where we played red Neptune on Day 1; it was stressful and rewarding.

1Perry – same as Lay-Z.

If there is anything you would want to change about the tournament to improve it for next year, what would it be?

All – The format needs to change. It should be a round-robin on Day 1, then a double elimination bracket on Day 2; then Grand Finals on Day 3.

mOTHER – The admins were always on time. There can be more beanbags however.

Lay-Z– They can perhaps separate teams out a bit more and make it sectioned for certain games. There should also be more spectators allowed. I would also like to see community managers for each game.

1Perry – I would like for all games to be casted.

Thanks guys for taking the time to do this awesome interview with RLX. I appreciate it!

All – Thanks!

 

[Many of the games were streamed and casted, and there are interviews with some of the captains. You can watch Day 1 and Day 2 online.]