The competitive TF2 community is notorious for two things: terrible forum posts and a pool of players looking for more teams than there are in existence at any given moment in time. There seems to be this common, toxic mindset that if your team doesn’t win your division in the first season together, it’s time to split up; rarely do we see teams - in any division - stick around for more than a few months. It’s quite impressive, then, for a team to stay together and keep the same desire to play and drive to improve from their inception to a few seasons in.
In an effort to show some love for the abundance of solid open teams we have, as well as prove that you can, in fact, be on the same team for more than 10 matches, I decided to interview a team that’s been around for more than a year. I sat down in my uncomfortable, university-standard dorm chair to have a chat with [/flag][b]rays[/b], leader of team Sunday Funday. Currently 4-1 in ESEA Open, this bunch of gamers started as a UGC team of pubstars, and hasn’t changed their core much despite their peers constantly crumbling away and rebuilding around them.
As a side note, I was supposed to do this interview a few weeks back but got distracted during my vacation, so my apologies if the questions seem rushed. Drop some feedback in the comments for suggestions on how to improve and who you want to hear from next!
[iq]Hey rays, I haven’t actually come up with a list of questions so I’m just gonna wing it. Let’s start off with a history of your team.[/iq]
[ia]Well, my team first formed back in the early part of March, 2011. We were a group of six players coming from the community known as The Rabbit Hole, and had no idea what we were getting ourselves into at the time. We started off playing lobbies for about 2 to 3 months with little to no success, as we had no guidance. Players came and went, and eventually we ran into our current medic, gamma. He had played in the competitive scene before (in the ‘09/’10 TWL days), and kind of got us on our feet. He gave us the initial guidance we needed; getting us hooked up with a mentor, using IRC, the whole deal. From there we began to develop as a team, and, once we were ready, we played our first season of UGC. (Well, CEVO too, but that was a disaster). We finished 3rd in the league, and in the spring of this year, tried our luck in ESEA. We went into it with the intentions to learn (rather than to straight-up win open); but now that we're back for our second season, we feel we're rapidly approaching where we need to be in order to be top contenders this season.[/ia]
[iq]What’s your roster look like for Season 12, and who’s new to the team?[/iq]
[ia]Our roster for this season is as follows: FanofAngels on pocket soldier, Tree on demoman, Burrito Man on roamer, gamma on medic, and fievel and myself on scout. As far as roster changes are concerned, the only new addition to our team would be Fan on pocket, taking the spot of disengage. I feel that after over a year and a half of working with the same scout partner, fievel and I are able to work well together at this point. Since Fan is new, he's still getting used to gamma's style of play (and vice versa), but they're both adapting quickly, beginning to sew up any communication gaps that may lie between them. I also feel Tree is a lot more confident in the demoman role, seeing as he now has an experience of demo play under his belt. Finally I feel like Burrito Man is really starting to make consistent positive plays, almost always getting forces, backcapping, etc. when we need him to.[/ia]
[iq]What problems, if any, have you guys overcome to stick together for the past few seasons?[/iq]
[ia]We've always seemed to have a bit of a demoman issue. When our team first formed, our initial demoman got disheartened when we didn't have immediate success, and as a result quit after a month or so. After that we cycled through random demomen for a time, before finally settling down on our second "real" demoman Sharky. He stuck with us for awhile, but as it tends to do to most people, his real life got the better of him, and we were again demoman-less. Luckily we were able to get our hands on Tree, who not only was willing to play demo for us, but also come into our team with 3+ seasons of medic experience in ESEA. A bit more recently our team has had issues with comms (or a lack thereof), as we didn't have a designated main caller. As a result, it's further hurt our morale as our play was sloppy and other teams were capitalizing on it immensely. Thankfully though, I think that time is behind us as we progress into the season.[/ia]
[iq]How often do you guys practice? Do you only scrim, or do you do a lot of demo reviews?[/iq]
[ia]We try to keep a fairly regular scrim schedule. We scrim five night a week, and try to get in at least three to five scrims a night. In terms of demo review, I'd say we do it, but not nearly enough. We usually only do a demo review if it's during the day and a few of us are online with nothing to do. We've tried doing team demo reviews after scrims, but a lot of people lose interest and get distracted. Maybe we should rework our schedule so demo reviews are at the beginning? I dunno.[/ia]
[iq]Well, sounds like you guys are on the right track for improvement. How have your first few matches gone?[/iq]
[ia]They've gone well! For the most part, anyways. We started off with a crazy gullywash match the day after the MvM update was out, and it was a pause-filled disaster. Thankfully though, we were able to pull out the win 5-3. That was followed by the only small notch in our schedule, in which we lost to Medic in a Box 5-0. We still don't know exactly what was going on in all of our heads during that match, but we all decided it was best that we put it behind us and move ahead. Through that mindset we've been able to win our next two matches 4-0 and 4-1 respectively.[/ia]
[iq]Congratulations on the wins, I’m sure you guys will only get better from here on out. Any last remarks/shoutouts/secrets to reveal?[/iq]
[ia]A big shoutout to all of you guys that have helped my team grow and develop over the past 18 months, love you guys! Also a big thanks to you for letting me do this interview.[/ia]
Cool tapes. Thanks for your time, and good luck to you and your crew this season, as well as everyone reading this!