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An Evening with Keith Smerbeck (Part 1)
posted in News
August 2, 2012

Back in early 2008, when TF2 was just getting off the ground, I used to see this kid named [BRO]Smerbuck pocketing his buddy [BRO]ChadBroChill all around the Right to Rule 24/7 2fort server. Talked to him a few times and realized that he was a cool dude. Little did I know Smerbuck would go on to medic for such high level teams as ParaGon, Xensity, and now, Vicious Gaming.

Everyone knows Buick for his "Chuckles Don't Leave Me" youtube sensation, as well as his shenanigans on Gotfrag, but few realize that Buick is one of the smarter players in TF2.

I sat down with Keith aka Buick to just pick his brain about ESEA, medicing, and the TF2 community. This is part 1 of 3 (or 4).

Enjoy...an evening with Keith Smerbeck.

[iq]Give me your all-star lineup if you can pick any players off any team for open.[/iq]

[ia]buick: Medic Virulent, Yaug pocket.. this is hard. heh fun to pick through buick: mesr and 1 scout buick: freight train as the other, mo0se off soldier buick: hrm as for demo buick: gonna not pick anyone from own team buick: Chro demoman[/ia]

[iq]With all the success of esea open, there still were problems with lower leveled teams wondering why they paid to get rolled. Do you have a solution for ESEA for next season?[/iq]

[ia]Hopefully TF2 will catch on enough to field enough teams for 3 seperate divisions. If you just take the number of teams in this seasons open there wouldn't be enough to make a competitive main AND open division as is. With more teams secured it would and could easily work out. More and more teams keep coming up everyday and TF2 is on the rise so I'd put my money on their being enough teams/support for 3 divisions next season.[/ia]

[iq]eMg and AG are the two current favorites in open right now. You guys played AG, and I'm sure you've scrimmed against eMg. What are your thoughts on that matchup and who would have the advantage?[/iq]

[ia]Well first lets break things down head to head. How the teams stack up against each other in regards to their normal standard class lineup.

Let's start with the medic situation. Two completely different styles here. On one side we have Virulent. I've never seen someone deter scouts as well as him. He has this 6th sense that makes him see the scouts coming in way before they get close and he instantly whips out the Blutsauger and nails a few long rangers. This is usually enough to deter most scouts in the first place, especially because they aren't use to any medics catching them flanking. They are used to getting right up close and 2-shotting the medic. I think I've seen virulent get legitimately 2 shot the least out of any medic, he is the most in control of his own life out of any medic in open. He has personally saved himself with the decision to fight his way out instead of continuing to mindlessly heal so many times and gets away with it nearly every time. Maybe it's all the time spent on other classes or something, but he turns the medic into some sort of dangerous animal. Add all that to the fact he might have the best movement I've seen in a long time and you got someone who just simply... won't die.

On the other side we have sigma who seems goes for a slightly different approach. There's something about his style that just seems to get the uber 10 seconds faster than the other team. Both medics die at same time, start healing at the same time, but it doesn't matter because I've never seen a moment where he has let one of his soldiers lollygag and blank out and forget to charge him. Seriously think how often in recent scrims you could have charged your medic just a bit faster, or how you as a medic could have reminded that soldier to charge faster. It doesn't matter what level of play you are at, that can occasionally be an issue. Yet it doesn't seem to happen with these guys. He has some sort of control over his team that I haven't seen that often, if ever at all. Everything is so neatly in order in regards to heal order, buff order, It may sound cliche but his management is pristine.

Advantage neither, in regards to medic.

Next we have the demomen. As good as YMR is, and as much as he can be relied on it's really hard to top b4nnys performance this season. Because of the pressure that the eMg soldiers put on the opposing demo b4nny would just be able to take advantage of his slight upper hand and get a pick, whether it would be a stray scout for free for the opposing demo... there's a few things about demos. You can die because you made a stupid mistake, or you can die because you lacked support. Neither or these guys make stupid mistakes, but there at the same time FREIGHT_TRAIN and tyranny will be able to protect YMR very well while defending a point and so on. You'll see some 2-3Ks from b4nny, while you'll see some sneaky and clutch picks from YMR. There is no upper-hand in this match up either so it's going to rely on the others more than any match up.

Advantage to b4nny in the middle battles, and YMR in yard fights.

Moving onto the scouts we have blaze and raf versus FREIGHTTRAIN and tyranny. FREIGHTTRAIN is the single best scout out of the pair, while the other 3 rotate between 2nd, 3rd, and 4th depending on the day. What blaze and raf lack in DM compared to FREIGHT, they make up for in combos with the other classes. You ever see a stalemate between 4th and last where both teams have uber in an eMg game? The coordinated "suicide to make the opposing medic pop" attack between mackey and blaze might be one of the most devastating plays I've seen this season, and it works like a charm. The success rate is like 80% and eMg just waits for them to spawn again while positioned to defend the opposing team. Once the guys holding last are forced back it's as simple as pie pushing in with an a 6 man uber against no uber/maybe 1-2 people down. eMg breaks last point uber v uber fights wide open more than any team I've seen. It's all because of the coordination raf, mackey, and blaze have. FREIGHT_TRAIN train will still win every 1v1 scout fight but if things get dicey he just calls for tyranny and hes got backup in a matter of seconds. I've seen FT fight 2 scouts and just jump around keeping them busy while tyranny flanks and blind sides them both. They were trying to get a jumping FT so bad they both end up paying for it with their lives.

Gonna give the scout advantage to AG as long as tyranny backs up FT when need be. Just a slight advantage, but still one.

Moving onto the soldiers it's simply hard to go against eMg. Tyrone and mackey both do their jobs extremely well. Mackey is the epitome of "doing stuff that doesn't show up on the stats page." So many ubers popped, medic picks, demoman support, and so on that it's outrageous. Tyrone and mackey are going to win mid nearly every time unless we see something like a sneak kritz from AG. Otter and sephy both are skilled at medic picking so they might be able to trade medics during a middle battle but they are going to NEED to pick the medic once they start losing people. The extreme uber management/speed of charging will help AG slightly but not enough to stop eMgs soldier combo.

I give the advantage to eMg on paper because of such insane coordination with their soldiers. If we throw scouts into the mix helping the soldiers it becomes a little closer. All in all the teams are evenly matched and where one teams has a strength the other team is sitting there across the way with some of their own tricks up their sleeve.

eMg 5 > AG 4.. which says a lot because eMg has rolled on every push map so far.[/ia]

[iq]Aside from Vicious Gaming, eMazing Gaming and Apocalypse Gaming, give me your most dangerous team in the playoffs and break their team down please.[/iq]

[ia]Detox, plain and simple. Solid all around. No one is going to beat them on badlands, and this includes eMg.I haven't seen a team be so dominating on a map for a long time. Yet the playoffs aren't just on badlands soit's going to come down to their scout combo, which is one of the best. Both soldiers know their shit and hoppygets the job done. :D If gDub has a good game, they will make it far into the playoffs. Sure it's cliche but their games are literally going to come down to how much gDub dies... or doesn't die.[/ia]

[iq]Give me one or a few players in the non-playoff teams that you played against that you or your team took notice to.[/iq]

[ia]Cowpimp from Mainline gaming. This man carries his team on his back every match and they seemto react well to him leading the way. Of course yaug, you can let the numbers speak for themselves with him.He started the season not wanting to take things serious and just scout for fun, but as the season progressedhe started playing soldier more and more and more and even though they don't make the playoffs.. his lastfew games remind me of the yaug of yesteryear. He went something like 50-14 in a 5-2 loss to eMg on granary.Now the question comes up is he going to stick with playing for fun or is he going to try to get worked into aninvite team. I'm sure a lot would be happy to have him.[/ia]

[b]Stayed tuned for part 2 of [i]An Evening with Keith Smerbeck[/i]![/b]

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