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Interview with TheFragile from Pandemic
posted in News
August 2, 2012

[b]Part two of my interviews with ESEA-I players discussing the upcoming LAN, the future of TF2 and map/weapon choices for next season. This time it's an interview with [/flag]TheFragile from Team Pandemic.[/b]

[iq]First, introduce yourself and explain how you first started playing TF2[/iq]

[ia]My name is Nick Leon, and my alias is TheFragile. I’m 21 years old, and I live in New Jersey. I’m currently on Team Pandemic for TF2, and we are the third seed for the ESEA TF2 LAN finals. It’s gonna be a blast.

I first started playing TF2 when the organization I was currently with (for games such as Day of Defeat Source, Unreal Tournament 2004, and Quake 3) decided to try it out. A bunch of players from different divisions in Pure got on and started scrimming. I actually wanted to be a Spy at first, but the manager of the team said that they needed someone to play medic. So I accepted the offer and I’ve been a medic since. I played many late-night pugs with The Experiment, which is eventually how I got the invitation to the first Team Pandemic roster when Dion left.[/ia]

[iq]In your opinion, how important is a major TF2 LAN like the one in ESEA for the expansion of the game?[/iq]

[ia]It’s incredibly important. It’s bound to show fun and intense games, and I can’t wait. We just need a big enough tournament with good enough prizes that teams from other continents will come. The day that happens, it will surely be the most watched tournament TF2 will ever have. I even ran TheGXL TF2 LAN tournament in South Jersey, and while not that many teams showed up, it was still incredibly competitive and successful. Add more money, more teams (especially from across the world), and you have great success. This ESEA LAN is definitely a step in the right direction, though.[/ia]

[iq]Going into the LAN, what team do you think you’ll have the most trouble with? For what reason?[/iq]

[ia]I don’t think there is necessarily a specific team that I feel like we will have the most trouble with. I just think it’s the map that we play them on. All teams in invite have great maps, good maps, and bad maps. I don’t want to imply that the entire tournament might come down to who plays who on what map, but that might be the case. But to be honest, I’m not afraid of losing to any team at the LAN. I’m very confident in our team, regardless if we win or lose.[/ia]

[iq]What team are you least worried about?[/iq]

[ia]I’m taking the same approach to each team. I don’t take coL, EG, or any other team in invite any more or less seriously than anyone else. Anything can happen. It’s mostly what I answered in the previous question.[/ia]

[iq]With all the prize money in the LAN, do you think you’ll practice more in preparation for it or do you think you have a good practice schedule already?[/iq]

[ia]We are still going to maintain a steady practice schedule. We can’t just slack off at this point, but we can’t overwork ourselves either. Thankfully we can practice at our leisure, rather than cramming it in during important upcoming match timeframes. We should remain in good shape by the time the LAN comes, so I’m looking forward to that.[/ia]

[iq]What map is your strongest going into the LAN, and which do you feel you have the most room to improve on?[/iq]

[ia]To be honest, I really don’t know. I think we play most maps fairly well, but we just need to work on a few parts of each map. We know generally how to fix our flaws, and we already know what to improve on. We take our losses in a learning experience, and that should hopefully give us the edge along with the rest of our team chemistry.[/ia]

[iq]Do you foresee your team playing in a European league or participating in a Euro LAN in the near future?[/iq]

[ia]I’m gonna say no to both. Our schedules don’t agree with European league time schedules very well, the ping can be annoying, and I still never received my money for placing 2nd in the online ESL TF2 tournament in Summer 2008 (nor anyone else on the old roster). As far as the LAN, if the prize money is good enough, we’ll see.[/ia]

[iq]Do you think, after a hopefully successful ESEA LAN, we’ll see an increase in players from other competitive games (Quake, CS, etc)?[/iq]

[ia]As long as the event has good live coverage and other things that will keep people hooked and interested all weekend long, surely. More people follow the competitive side of games than you think, they just don’t know how to dive into it and get involved. [/ia]

[iq]With the longevity of most teams in TF2 being around a month, do you see your team competing in the next season of CEVO and ESEA?[/iq]

[ia]Sure, why not? We are all good friends and have a good time, in and out of game. We have a very serious in-game approach, but we still enjoy ourselves regardless. Everyone on the team has great personalities, and that’s really important.

I’m not sure about us joining CEVO unless the prizes are worth joining for. We’d rather focus on ESEA, if anything. We have another season in us for sure. Not 100% sure when summer comes around though, since Justin went MIA on MoB last summer, haha. I’ll keep him in check![/ia]

[iq]What are your thoughts on the banning of the soldier weapons? Are there any that you feel should or shouldn’t be banned?[/iq]

[ia]Eh, I’m indifferent. I’m not a fan of how you can instagib scouts and the other weak classes with The Direct Hit, and how you can nearly one-shot a medic. Other than that, I dunno, you can whiff a lot of shots with the decreased splash radius. The Buff Banner should probably be banned just for obvious reasons, and the Equalizer could be cool. I think Gunboats could provide interesting results though.[/ia]

[iq]Is there a particular map in this season of ESEA that’d you’d like to see return next season (Yukon, Freight, Follower, Viaduct, Turbine, etc)?[/iq]

[ia]Viaduct was pretty cool, not gonna lie. There might be a better KOTH map, but Viaduct was good. The maplist this season was fine enough, and I’m hoping next season will have about the same result.[/ia]

[iq]Any that you’d like to never see again?[/iq]

[ia]Turbine was good for a try but I don’t think it should be back next season. Stock CTF just doesn’t work that well in TF2. Attack/Defend CTF looks incredibly interesting, and I think it could provide great matches.[/ia]

[iq]What are your thoughts on CEVO’s recent map rotation announcement (maps like Obscure, Gullywash, Indulge)? Do you think leagues should try and stick to the norm more (more badlands, gravel pit and granary) or do you appreciate the expansion of maps, regardless of how known they are.[/iq]

[ia]I understand the expansion of new maps in competitive leagues, I really do. It’s nice to expand the game and break away from its common maps, weapons, and such. However, I don’t think you should put in more than two maps that aren’t completely league and competitive friendly yet. Expand the game, sure, but don’t get too carried away. Just add to it a little bit at a time.[/ia]

[iq]Which of those maps would you like to see taken out, and what map would you like to replace them?[/iq]

[ia]I haven’t played them enough to make a sort of judgment as to what should stay and what should get replaced with something else, but cpphotic is looking good. It’s an indoor map though, which will automatically get mixed reviews by the community (hi cpjunction).[/ia]

[iq]Before season started, many felt that your team was undeserving of being under the Pandemic tag. They thought you mixed a bag of has-beens and unknown players and were trying to compete in Invite. During that stage, did you feel your team was capable of making it to the ESEA Playoffs? How did your team come to be?[/iq]

[ia]I wasn’t going to bother arguing with anyone how good I think we were going to be. I just figured we would let our results do the talking. We were predicted to get crushed the entire season, and oPlaiD’s power rankings even predicted us to finish in last by the end. All I can say is that our win against Blight on cp_follower in the beginning of the season finally put us on the map, even for playoffs.

As far as the Pandemic pickup, Chris Lemley trusted me with anyone I recruited on the team. We were still good friends from the previous time I was on Pandemic two years ago, and he wanted a TF2 team again. So, I guess we had a good talk about it and things just went well.[/ia]

[iq]One of the debates that occurred at the beginning of this ESEA season involved teams moving up from Open to Invite. Your team skipped the whole process, do you feel that in the future teams that proved themselves to be at the top of Open should automatically move up, or should teams that feature veterans be allowed to take the spot?[/iq]

[ia]About the move-up situation, that’s a really touchy topic. To be fair, we were technically a roster with two players who haven’t played on a high level before, and four players who haven’t played on a high competitive level in a while. I don’t know really, it’s in the past. I don’t know how they will go about dealing with this next season, but hopefully everything goes okay.[/ia]

[iq]At a LAN, ping difference is nullified and everyone is playing on equal ground. What class do you feel will be stronger with minimal ping, and do you feel you’ll need to change up any strategies or focus more on a certain class now, being at a LAN?[/iq]

[ia]Demomen and Scouts will be pretty awesome on LAN, so it’ll be interesting to see that. As far as changing up strategies, that probably isn’t necessary. You need to stay as consistent as possible with strategies, regardless if you have 5 ping or 80 ping.[/ia]

[iq]Playing at a LAN is a unique experience. Everyone is watching and teammates are right next to one another. How do you prepare yourself for the kind of pressure you’ll face?[/iq]

[ia]Well a few of our guys have never been to a LAN before, so it’ll be a cool yet new experience for them. They’ll do just fine though; I’m not worried about it. But to meet everyone and have a good time is an absolute must. I’ve been to plenty of LANs (probably more than anyone on my team), but it’s nothing they need to prepare for really. Just bring your gear, get rest, eat breakfast when you wake up, and have a good time.[/ia]

[iq]Any shoutouts?[/iq]

[ia]Shoutouts to my cat, the Catface Club, Destro for being my father, Reptile is friggin gay dude, syckness for giving me good electronic music daily, Relic for being probably the nicest guy I’ve ever met, carnage and his slushies, SolidSnake and his pushups, Bloodsire and his contempt for me, Pure and his contempt for my team, Team TBA (myself, dummy, paladin, wicked, punisher, pheLoN) for being the best CEVO champs ever, decap for making awesome movies, sever for teaching me how to make music in FruityLoops, Chupa and his amazing scout ringing, Ruwin and his many different voices, bLackstar is bad at Street Fighter, Fayth for stalking my team, ehFK and his mohawk, Buick and his Warcraft III talent (plus his good looks), Kermit for not paying any attention to the roof of the last main door on cp_yukon while sticky-jumping, TLR and his 1,000 QuakeLive duels but still sucks at ztn, fanom and his Tuesday tacos and coconuts, wonderwall and his “Jaegar’s tips and tricks on ridiculous mouse accel” and “Jaegar’s tips and tricks on how to never sign on Steam,” Justin’s canceled Muse concert to go to ESEA, and anyone else I have not mentioned! But most importantly, Chris Lemley and Team Pandemic.[/ia]

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