The 29-year old veteran is confident in his team's chances at making EPL
In our final interview from ECS Season 8 Finals, Collin "CarbonDogma" Davis had a chance to catch up with Peter "ptr" Gurney ahead of his appearance in the second showmatch. They talked about Josh "shinobi" Abastado, the process of building Riot Squad's current lineup, the team's recent performances, and ptr's feeling about the upcoming Global Challenge.
You and shinobi worked together for a long time: He coached you on Dignitas, you joined Test Takers with him last year in November, and he was on Bad News Bears with you in various roles for a long time. With that in mind, what was the logic at the time in deciding to replace him on the lineup shortly after joining Riot Squad?
The thing with [shinobi] was he had his own personal problems in game but outside the game I loved playing with him. I thoroughly enjoyed talking to him about Counter-Strike, but when it came to the game it wouldn't always translate, it would hurt us. I think it was just, I think everyone was ready to move on from that phase of the team and bring in someone with a little more experience in FNS and just see where it went from there.
Moving onto RZU, until his release from Riot Squad in September he had been in and out of the team and on the bench multiple times, what was his relationship with you guys and did you intend for him to be a long-term fifth at multiple times?
What happened was the very first time we were going to replace him because he was lacking experience, lacking confidence but he got out of that rut and started playing really well. He started fragging for us really well, started listening, doing everything we told him.
Then actually after the MDL season we lost to FURIA in the finals, he benched himself, he didn't want to play anymore, he said. So, we were like "Ok, that's fine." But then of course he came back, he came back numerous times, I don't remember how many times he came back. But eventually, we basically we just moved on from him because you know, we couldn't have anything stable. Even though he's a great guy, great player, it just didn't work out.
For FNS, how did you guys end up getting him to join, what was the process of bringing him on after he left eUnited?
I think crashies was the first one to reach out to him, and then I messaged him. I have a relationship with him; I've played with him on two different teams, CLG and compLexity. I knew what he could bring as far as IGL'ing and just putting structure into the team and taking a team from tier three to tier two at least, even possibly to tier one depending on what happens. But he definitely had that experience that we needed. So, I just messaged him one day asking him what he was looking at, what are your options, who are you looking at? And he basically told me a couple different things, he didn't automatically say he was going to join our team but basically the conversation went that way and we linked up.
Jonji seems like a more straightforward addition to me as he had just left New Identity, so was getting him pretty simple?
So yeah, we were trying out dapr and we were going to go with dapr, but we had a couple conflicts that couldn't be resolved so we went ahead and moved on from him, and at that point Jonji got replaced by him on New Identity. We were looking at a couple different guys, a couple young guns: BOOBIE and kaboose, a couple others. But we were like "you know what we're going to give Jonji a try." We liked him right away. He has a different kind of playstyle than a lot of people, he is very aggro, very in your face all the time, and that kind of player is needed on a team in my opinion.
Pretty early on in your tenure with Riot Squad, you played in MSI Gaming Arena 2019 in New York, and you ended up losing to ex-Epsilon and ViCi. Was that because you were a new lineup or was the event not taken as seriously as it could have been due to it being essentially a showmatch?
Well no, we were taking it serious, but we were having a lot of problems with FNS' visa, we couldn't get him a visa. So, we had a bootcamp before that LAN, but we had to bootcamp with [Riot Squad coach] weber, so we were expecting to play with weber the whole time going into MSI, but FNS was able to get his visa the day before the tournament. So, we flew him out and we didn't have much prep, but obviously we had played together before, so we understood how to play, but we didn't have any prep with him going into the week. So, we pretty much you know...
They were both close games...
Yeah, we threw the ex-Epsilon game, we were up 11-4 at half and then threw away that game, lost 16-14. Then ViCi as well. We had a really good comeback; we were 14-13 and then threw that game away. I would say honestly, we got anxious and probably choked a little bit, that's all that it really was. We were definitely trying to win the LAN; it was very winnable.
Following that event, the results were good but they weren't anything special. In particular I noted the losses in ECS and the team failing to qualify for WESG. What was the team outlook like at this time?
The ECS matches we played FURIA I believe the first time, we took them to the brink, choked a couple rounds, crucial rounds on the CT-side of Nuke that pretty much cost us the game. In my opinion we should have won the series, we should have beat them on Mirage. But obviously that's how it goes. You can't predict if you're going to win a map or not. We thought we had the 2-0, we didn't so it is what it is.
In the next couple weeks [of ECS], we played ATK twice I think, and we lost to them twice, if I'm not mistaken. We just had a bad showing, we hit a rut and are pretty inconsistent right now but we're starting to gain that back. As far as WESG, well we played the best of five final for the open qualifier and won that versus eUnited, so we had a lot of confidence in that. And then in the Closed Qualifier we just didn't show up, that is what it came down to. So yeah, we were at a bootcamp, this all happened during a bootcamp, like a three-week long bootcamp and we just started having burnout, people were stressed out, anxiety, stuff like that. That might have had a part in it, I'm not making excuses but that's how it was.
Moving onto the main event, MDL, you guys had a really strong regular season, only dropping maps I think to Ben's Anime Team, The Quest, and INTZ, so was this outcome better than expectations or....
We really thought we would just 16-0. We thought we'd beat every team. Not just because we're cocky, but we really felt strong. The loss to The Quest, well I wouldn't say those guys have our number, but they're very competent versus us for some reason. We don't exactly know why, but they play really well versus us. We haven't actually ever beaten them, not even in scrims.
Ben's Anime Team, we played them on Nuke, and I think they beat us 16-13. I personally re-watched the match and they had a couple rounds where they got pretty lucky, bad comms from us. I'm not saying that they shouldn't have beat us, they deserved to beat us, but we should've won the game.
Then the INTZ game, we were up 7-0 or 7-1 CT-side and we lost one crucial round and it broke our money. Then they just started smacking the hell out of us and we just really had no chance after that. Actually, going into the [regular] season we were in a really big rut and it was really worrying because we almost dropped a map to shinobi's team, I forget what they're called...
Yeah, Rap Gang. So that was... we were having so many problems. We actually just took a step back, a couple of us flew home from the bootcamp early just to go home and relax before playoffs because we had felt that if we had all stayed, with how the atmosphere was it just wasn't going well. We thought that we would probably lose.
Following up on that, for Rugratz in MDL playoffs it was a really close game and they almost won on Overpass in overtime. What was that game like?
We went in there pretty prepared, but we were inconsistent, we weren't hitting our shots, we weren't comming as good as we should have. It is a big problem we have when we play, we play to the level of our opponent so when we play a really good team, we play really good, but when we play a...I'm not saying [Rugratz] are a bad team, but a lower-tier team, a team that you would expect to just beat, they showed up. They played well and on the third map it was 14-11, we shouldn't have won this best of three. Again, it was 14-11 and we were on a full save, and I got two P250 kills, someone else got another kill and then we won that round clean on a full eco and it gave us so much confidence. We just took that and took that victory and went on to the next day. But we had a big talk after that game just about what's going on and what happened and that really helped for the next day.
Up next against Ben's Anime Team, you guys honestly destroyed them, so did you guys level up after the first match against Rugratz or did they fall flat?
Honestly, I think we stepped up to the occasion. I don't think they changed at all; I think they were still playing their game. But we just showed up, like I said we had that talk the night before, we talked about "this is our time" and that it's time for us to do it right now and we just got into the server and showed them what we were made of. You know, it's funny because before that we never beat them in a match. It was sort of, we weren't worried, but we were anxious to see what happened and we showed up and smacked the crap the out of them.
I guess that is going to be the same story for INTZ, but I personally think your win against them was the biggest upset of playoffs, what did the team do to manage to best them in a convincing manner?
I guess on paper, outside people would think INTZ should probably beat us but at the same time we were confident. Going into the season we didn't think even though INTZ has a lot of experience we didn't think anything of it, we knew we were just as good if not better, we just proved it. Obviously, that's online and we have to do it again versus them on LAN in a couple weeks now, and they're a good team so we have to really prep hard and show up that day as well.
For the Global Challenge, it looks like it is going to be a pretty strong field, what are your goals and expectations going into the event?
Honestly, we haven't even talked about it, even for the LAN Finals we prepped for INTZ but we're just going into it loose. I feel like a lot of past teams we've overhyped and choked in certain situations and I think we're going with this style of just play our game, we know how they play, we know how we play, whoever makes less mistakes is going to win. But yeah, from Europe I don't even know who's coming so I couldn't tell you.
ptr's team narrowly dropped the showmatch in Arlington, but the player will hope for a better result in Dallas in just over a weeks time.