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Voltage: "We have a lot of experience, but we didn't learn from it"
We spoke to the Triumph in-game leader about teaming with old mates once more, and the results in Dallas.
Written by: Nohte    December 16th 2019 12:29 pm    #Voltage #Triumph #ESEAMDLS32 #SoaR #Snakes #Grim #Cloud9 #xCeeD #PartyAstronauts #PwnAlone #motm #Sprout #Heroic #DreamHackOpenAtlanta  

It seems like only yesterday the Voltage and the SoaR boys qualified to EPL

Collin "CarbonDogma" Davis caught up with Triumph's Logan "Voltage" Long after the team had been eliminated from the ESEA MDL Season 32 Global Challenge following losses to HAVU and ORDER. The pair talked about some upset wins the team has notched in the past months, and how dangerous each member is individually.

The season where you formed this lineup was a pretty good one for you guys, mid-Season 31 I believe, how did it feel to assemble the old SoaR lineup by bringing back Snakes and Grim?

It definitely felt really good because obviously when you've been teaming with people for so long, they start to become family. I've been to Snakes' house like four times, all of our parents are really close, and it's really nice to get back to that. There's a big thing in the CS community in general where you just never know how people feel about you because people are really fake, it's just how everybody is online. They're not gonna just constantly tell somebody "I don't like you, I don't like you." That can be the downfall of a team, when you get to LAN tournaments and all that starts to unfold, where you don't know how your teammates feel about you and it's uncomfortable and awkward. We all talk everything out, we know, and it's just a really great feeling being able to play with those guys again.

Pretty early into the lifespan of this new lineup, there was the famous Minor qualifier where you guys managed to beat Cloud9. What was it like being able to take them out?

That was a very, very good feeling, because personally, and I think a lot of us can agree, once you get to a point where you beat these teams, you start to lose that feeling when you win, that adrenaline and just being super excited, you just expect to win every game. We kind of hold ourselves to a higher standard in the sense of, we truly believe we can beat anybody we play. So when we do lose, even if it is a significantly better team, we get really down on ourselves, and if we beat them its just like okay, that was expected, good one guys.

When we beat Cloud9, we weren't expecting to beat that team when we went into that, we knew we could, but we didn't put our expectations too high and it was amazing. You could tell from our reaction when xCeeD 1vs2'd or 1vs3'd to win it on Mirage, our reaction was insane because it had been so long since I'd had that feeling of being so happy about a win.

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A week or so after that, there was the Season 31 playoffs, and you guys lost to Party Astronauts. Was that a shocker, did you expect to keep going there?

During that time, I went and bootcamped, it was me, Grim, and xCeeD. Grim and xCeeD both live in Texas and I'm from Michigan, I'd been having really bad ping issues so they flew me out and we did a little bit of a bootcamp in Dallas for playoffs, just us three. We definitely underestimated them a little bit, going into it. Those guys kind of have our number, not in the sense of always beating us, but just those players in general always pop off against us, like PwnAlone. He always does really well against us, my motm, he was on that roster, he always does well against us, he was on that roster. It was a mix of everything, we just played really bad and it was a really, really bad time for us, but I think it was good because we realized we're not as good as we think we are, and we need to put the time in and really change how we are.

More recently, there was the DreamHack Atlanta qualifier, and in there you guys beat Complexity and Riot Squad. Was that the same deal as C9, beating a pro team?

It was a little bit less because during that time - it was a very weird time, I had been living at my dad's for about two years, and they were selling the house so I was moving out. I was going to my mom's and staying for a bit, so I was in-between and was also staying at my brother's and playing on this super wobbly desk. I think I still had a 144Hz monitor, it was weird. We didn't think we were gonna really go that far, and I didn't have the confidence cause I was like, okay, it's hard for me to even Aimbotz, so to actually win would be ridiculous. After, It didn't sink for a good week. After we won it was like I had a constant smile for most of the day, but I didn't get that adrenaline feeling until it was a few weeks before the event, and I was like, okay, we're actually flying out to a LAN.

One of the bigger reasons why we weren't super, super excited when we first qualified - we were all very happy, don't get me wrong - but we kinda thought that it was just going to be another one of those tournaments where it's just an NA brawl, like Envy, eUnited, you know, all these NA teams and people would look at it and be like, "we're not going to watch this." Then we figured out we're the only NA team there, so that was nice because it was a lot of experience, but we played really bad there. We did put up ten rounds against Sprout and we had a very good chance of beating Heroic, but the pressure, the nerves, everything, and at that point it was pretty early into my IGLing. That showed a lot of the flaws that I have, but we learned from it.

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I wanted to ask about that - ever since mCe stepped down to become the coach, you have been the in-game leader. What's the dynamic between you and him, in-game?

For the most part, especially at LANs, but even with practice and matches that we're doing now, unless it's a really important match or one that's getting really close and Matt feels like he has a good call that he can make, typically he prefers to give me ideas and tell me like, "hey, this is what you should do in this situation" or "this is would work really good in this situation." But for the most part, I've been pretty much doing it by myself because he's not always going to be there. Tournaments like this, he can't talk, he's just passing me notes in tac pauses - that was approved - cause you only have 30 seconds and there's a lot that he needs to get out. We're very inexperienced... I mean, we have a lot of experience, but we didn't learn from it, that's the problem. So we're still learning a lot, he helps a lot with making sure that we fix our stuff and that we know we messed up. That's the beauty of it, all the other teams here know that whenever they play against us, yelling and shit talking doesn't affect us because he is really hard on us, and they can't get in our heads. There's nothing they can say that he hasn't said to us, and it's not a negative thing. He understands how important it is that we need to fix these things, and the only way he's going to get it across to some of the people on our team, it has to be dire. We have a good dynamic, we bounce back and forth, but I'm still learning a lot.

Moving on to this current MDL season, you guys had a really strong regular season. I believe you're one of only two teams to beat Ben's Anime Team. How do you feel the season went?

It started off pretty rough, there was a few people on our team that were under-performing pretty hard. I think it was because of a conflict of roles, and we didn't feel like a team. For the longest time whenever we've teamed we've always felt like a family, but we weren't really hanging out in TeamSpeak with each other and we were just showing up to play, and it became a problem and we had a big talk about it. After that we regrouped, it was the same thing that happened when we won MDL and made Pro, we were like 4-4 when we won Pro because we started off bad and we just went on a huge streak because we realized it's do or die. After we lost to LiViD, that put us to 3-5 or 3-6, and from that point we kicked in in, we all started putting way more time in and just trying way harder, and it showed. We all started performing well, especially against Chaos. Those guys, we play them a lot, and it's kind of the same thing with Riot Squad - we just have their number. I think it's just because of how our playstyles are. Every time we play them one person just pops off, and that's one thing that's hard to account for.

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You got upset by oNe in the first round of playoffs, and then you played MAC-51, beat Ben's Anime Team after that in a really close game-

Four and a half hour best-of-three!

-yeah, how was that whole playoffs bracket for you guys?

It was really stressful because... we weren't really worried about the MAC-51 game, we know those guys are pretty skilled individually, but we knew in a playoffs setting that weren't going to lose that game, there was no way. The Ben's Anime Team one, that was an intense BO3. We were all so drained after it, then knowing we had to get up and play another BO3 the next day was a little bit difficult. That was four and a half hours, that's no easy task, especially when it's close all the time. There wasn't a blowout or comebacks, that is such a hard thing to do. Then versus Rugratz, I just had a hero game on Vertigo. I don't know what it was, but throughout playoffs we all just stepped up when we needed to and that was super important.

Moving on to this LAN, you guys played pretty close against HAVU in the first match, and then also the next match against ORDER was also really close. I heard that you guys were prepping a lot for this event, so what was the mentality going into it and how did that end up in the end?

I don't know how it got communicated, but we initially thought we were playing ORDER, so we actually prepared for ORDER for our first match. Matt watched a few HAVU demos last night and this morning when he got here, because we figured out that we were playing HAVU like, yesterday. We didn't really prepare much for that game and I think that showed with our CT, we started off really rough and we weren't doing any aggression. You can't let European teams just default on you because they're just going to tear you apart. We don't have the experience to make those split-second decisions of,  "hey, they just took connector control, let's react off this and do this." We don't have that split-second, we might do it two seconds later, but people hesitate. They're too afraid to speak up and say "I think we should do this" because they're like, "what if it's the wrong play?" But sometimes any play is better than no play at all, so I think that's where we really faltered.

We definitely brought it back, there's a bunch of hero rounds that people had, you can't really account for those. Snakes had an ace on T-side, Grim had two 4ks, xCeeD had a 4k. That series we could've won if we would've focused more on our CT, but we didn't, and it sucks we didn't prepare more for them.

With ORDER, just stupid mistakes man. It's the small things that really just came to bite us in the ass. That's going to happen sometimes, especially with teams like us, but at least we know that if we clean that stuff up we easily win that BO3, 110%. Inferno we were making the same mistakes we talked about, things just kept coming back, maybe the pressure could've made people more nervous, but it sucks since that was easily our series and we just threw it away.

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Looking forward to Relegation, there's obviously some uncertainty with the teams, like Cloud9 possibly not being in it and the rosters with Swole Patrol and Complexity. Do you think this is a really good chance for you guys to return to EPL?

Yeah, 100%. I think we can beat any team in EPL Relegation. I don't know what it is, but the past few times we scrimmed Swole Patrol, but we just have their number. Those guys are all very talented, but when we play against them, like the past three times I think they've maybe gotten more than six rounds once, in a full thirty round game. They have been trying new stuff and things like that, but we have a really good chance going into EPL Relegation. And we definitely are a little bit better online, right now at least. Just because the nerves are not there from LAN, and especially because we're playing European teams. If we were to have just played two NA teams, honestly, we probably would've done a lot better.  These people are less nervous, people are more focused, and they don't think that "oh, these guys are better than us" or anything like that. I think with EPL Relegation we're gonna be fine.

Complexity... I really hope they can't play in it, because that team is looking dangerous, but I don't think we've ever lost to Complexity in an actual match. Complexity and Cloud9, actually. Except for when we were Dignitas, and ECS in Spacestation, but in qualifiers and everything we've never lost to either of those teams and I think we can keep pulling upsets. At any point, one of us can drop thirty, and that's the beauty of our team, we can just pop off whenever and beat these teams. I'm really excited for Relegation, I think we have a really good chance, and who knows, we might actually get a spot for free if ESL actually follows their rulebook, but we know that's probably not going to happen so we'll see.

It's been a while, you guys have a new org. I wanted to ask about FlyQuest, and how you were maybe possibly being paid by them for a while. I don't know if you can talk about that?

I can not comment.

As mentioned, Triumph has ESL Pro League Relegation to look forward to, though dates and even teams have not yet been announced.

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