By successfully taking out the APAC regional qualifiers in an astounding 12-0 map count a short time ago, Mindfreak have secured their spot at the 2015 Call of Duty Championships in Los Angles where they will be going head-to-head with some of the best in the world. I had a chance to sit down with the team to give their thoughts on the tournament as well as receiving some insight into their preparation for their attendance.
First and foremost, congratulations on a successful APAC campaign. Did you guys expect to go undefeated and have a clean record throughout the tournament?
Shockz: Thanks a lot man. Honestly, going into it we all knew that we had the tickets to LA guaranteed as long as we played our normal game. I said a couple of weeks before the event it would be nice to not drop a map and go flawless. So although we agreed on trying to do it, we didn’t really expect it. But I guess there’s nothing wrong with going 12-0 maps!
Buzzo: Thank you, we had a pretty good feeling coming into the tournament. We felt that we were going to do well but playing in something this big you have to keep a level head and not get to far ahead of yourselves. We came to APAC to qualify for LA, anything else that happened was a bonus in our eyes.
Denz: Thank you, it was quite the day. We all have very high expectations on our performances and anything less than a win is very disappointing, so it wasn’t that surprising that we came away without being defeated. Obviously it was a flawless event for us which is a credit to the boys, but I think that is contributed by our work ethic and desire to win in all modes, especially Search and Destroy. We’ve always been a team to work on our mistakes instead of letting them get the best of us. By us doing this, we minimise our errors, and maximise our opportunities in-game to take an advantage at all times.
Fighta: Thank you! To be honest as a team we were all pretty confident we could take out the competition very comfortably, but in saying that we couldn’t take any of the teams lightly. However the fact that we were untouched and didn’t drop a map was a little bit of a surprise, but I knew we had it in us as a team if we just performed well and played our game.
Trident were knocked out at a very early stage of the bracket, specifically in Round 2 to iG. What are your thoughts on some of the final standings? Were there any surprises or upsets?
Shockz: Personally, I don’t think there were any upsets, I thought all the other ANZ teams were on the same level and it just depended on who wanted it more/ who performed on the day. Nevertheless, I think many people were backing Trident to do quite well due to the players they had and how long many of them have been playing for. But overall for me, there were no upsets.
With the conclusion of the APAC finals last weekend, how’s the preparation thus far leading into CoD Champs?
Buzzo: Good, good. We feel like we know the game a fair bit as of now, we’re just hoping there isn’t any major patches out from now till then and we should be all good. Right now we’re just going to be fine tuning our strats and going over the same plays and basically trying to play the game as much as we can and going over Search and destroy pretty extensively. We feel as though with what we know right now it will still come down to how we play on the days.
Are you individually devoting more time to practice in order to finetune some of the aspects of your play?
Shockz: Playing wise, I’m playing as much as I usually do. I’m also lurking around streams more than ever to see if there is anything I can take from the top American teams so that we can implement it into our game. Obviously with uni starting back up, it’s quite a disadvantage going into Champs knowing that whilst we are at uni/doing assessments and fitting in a couple hours of cod in a night, the Americans are play ridiculous amounts of hours trying to improve more. Whilst this may seem discouraging to many, I follow a ‘work smarter not harder’ approach in regards to practice. That is, using our time properly and not just playing for the sake of playing, but to actually improve not only as individuals, but also as a team.
Buzzo: A lot of the guys leading up to APAC didn’t have university commitments, but now all of them are going back. I think they’ve been given really good schedules which allows us to still play how we would at night. Personally I have had time off work and I’m currently here and there until work picks back up, but I should be pretty flexible leading up to LA, to be honest though we really see it as, it’s not how much you play, its more so making the time you have doesn’t go to waste by being productive.
Denz: I’ve always devoted time on working on my personal gameplay because if I’m not performing how I should be, not only do I let myself down, I let my four teammates down (yes 4), as well as the supporters. Also, after joining Mindfreak my teammates have been able to give myself some advice, and have allowed me to have a bit more freedom as they’re always on top of their game; which allows parts of the map to be opened up to exploit, in turn making the game easier.
Fighta: Leading up to APAC, I only just recently turned eighteen and finished school, so I haven’t been as active as I would of have liked to be. However, after winning APAC my drive to do well internationally has heightened vastly. Thus I have been devoting way more time to the game whether it be playing public by myself or practicing with the team.
With Naked stepping down from the starting roster, now fulfilling a business oriented position for the team, has there been any role shifts within the game that you have had to adapt to?
Buzzo: Not at all, maybe if this was a previous game we would have to work on roles but this game and the way it works there isn’t really set roles and is more about pure slaying, especially in the Hardpoints. The game modes require a great deal of teamwork but no, our roles have pretty much remained the same which is why we are doing so well. We’re all in our natural playing element and Denz fitted in perfectly.
Denz, since joining Mindfreak, contrasted to last years’ Call of Duty Championships where you placed 5th with T1.Dotters, do you think that your new team has the potential to place the same or better?
Denz: Placing well overseas is the big thing I’ve wanted to achieve since I started competing on Xbox and at LANs. Luckily I was fortunate enough to get that opportunity with T1 Dotters and we had a good run, but although a good run, I was still disappointed that we bailed out at 5th because as a natural competitor my goal is 1st and anything less is frustrating/disappointing. I don’t want to get ahead of myself or the team but we’ll be into the tournament with our minds set to win CoD Champs and we are all confident we can produce the goods. Last year I said if we can get top 8, what’s stopping us from getting top 4, and if we can get top 4, what’s stopping us from top 2? It’s the same story this year, and with an even better respawn team, and one of the best Search and Destroys in Australia, we’ll be looking to make an impact.
Last year you were ineligible to play due to age restrictions, Fighta. Do you find it daunting that you’ll be rubbing shoulders with some of the best teams in the world in your first international competition?
Fighta: Obviously it sucks being underage and missing out of the biggest cod competition of the year. Personally I’m excited to play against some of the best teams in the world as I am confident in my team and myself that we are as knowledgeable and skilful as them. If we play to our full capability we can definitely prove that.
During your final series against Integral Nation, as an audience we had the pleasure to listen to your ‘comms’. How important is communication and small talk during stressful moments of the match?
Shockz: It’s so important yet I think many teams think it’s over-rated. Whilst we were waiting for the bracket to catch up so that we could play our games, I watched a couple of matches and whenever there was a listen in with either of the teams, it was honestly pretty disappointing and simultaneously shocking to me. Players were only calling what they killed or where they got killed from. Small talk is so crucial in any part of the game no matter who you’re playing against. If you’re constantly talking the game becomes so much more simple because you know exactly what’s happening the whole time. I think that’s a huge reason why we came off so dominant at APAC.
To get to this stage is every players dream. What does it mean for you guys to represent your country once again on the world stage?
Shockz: It means another shot at placing as high as possible. Although we had a decent run last year, we have a full roster this time so our aim is to go a lot further. In saying that, with the right practice, I think we really have a chance to make our region proud. However like every other event, it all depends on how we are all performing on the day.
Buzzo: It means everything. We play because we love to game and play Call of Duty, but also we love to win and to us, anything other than first, is a loss. Just to play at a high level doing something we love is cool enough as it is but then the bonus of having a whole community behind you letting you know how well you’re playing or how well you played means the absolute world. It makes us always strive for me especially when playing abroad.
Denz: It’s great to represent Australia, knowing that you’ve got a big support/fan base staying up watching the games is pretty cool. But I’ve never really let it get to me in terms of pressure, I’m there to do a job and focus on winning and performing well. It’s good to know that you could be the team that puts Australia further on the map in terms of eSports and has always been a part of that winning feeling.
Fighta: One thing that has driven me to dedicate more time to improve my gameplay is the fans that support Mindfreak, I understand the feeling of wanted to participate in CoD Champs more than anyone. However, now that my time has come it’s an amazing feeling to represent Australia and knowing the support we will have when we compete on the world stage.
Thanks for taking the time to speak to me today, boys. Are there any shoutouts you guys would like to give?
Shockz and Buzzo: Well first and foremost it would have to be the guys at Plantronics, Scuf Gaming as well as Dox. Naked for making sure that we are purely focusing on doing the best we can in-game whilst he’s handling a lot of the out of game business which will push us more and more forward in the coming times. ACLPRO for running such amazing events, APAC just being one of many from those hardworking guys, and lastly to make the trip and tournament possible, Xbox and Activision. Thanks.
Denz: It’s been a pleasure, thank you. I’d just like to give a shoutout to Plantronics, Scuf Gaming, Dox, ACL, Activision, and Xbox for all their hard and never-ending work.
Fighta: I just want to thank Xbox, Activision as well as ACL for this amazing opportunity. Not to mention everyone behind the scenes of Mindfreak which include, Dox, Naked, Marzy, and Pxlse as well as our sponsors Plantronics and Scuf Gaming.
To keep up to date with the team, be sure to follow them on twitter: