The summary is pretty simple. They all think whaz is an amazing player, and that their lineup with him was really strong, and winning. whaz left them a month before the tournament, which pretty much meant they were screwed over in terms of taking the tournament.
ZeRo4: So, what we talked about so far happened between March and April. Let’s just call March–br1ck and April-sparks…
May was the month of Gaven (whaz). And we went from a team that was ok in CTF and TDM, to a team that was fully committed, and fully executing, 100%. And we were taking a dominant role in North America. As a team we were excelling. We had Shane, who obviously is the best dueler in the world. Obviously, US has a history with TDM where for the past 15 years we just aren't able to keep up with the Europeans, but we accepted that, we said “Look, we need to get as good as we can get at TDM. CTF, I think we can excel greatly, and we were proving that within our own community."
Memento: It’s a bit like Meltdown. Like you knew you would take two disciplines, and you would try to do your best at the third one.
ZeRo4: Absolutely. That’s exactly what it was. And we had a set scrim with BREAK, Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. Three times a week, every week.
cl0ck: This was the best for both teams.
Memento: What was the lineup for BREAK at that point?
rapha: At the time, BREAK had DaHanG, id_, KGB, and viju.
ZeRo4: Which was an excellent… it was an admirable lineup.
cl0ck: It’s a lineup that could have easily won.
ZeRo4: So typically in North America you have two teams that are the best of the best. That’s all we got. Two teams. And typically that’s the same for Europe. You got two teams that dominate the rest. So we were the two and we decided we were going to train each other up to the best we can.
cl0ck: So, we decided to pick up whaz. whaz and I started to play offense. We were really meshing well together, I felt like we instantly had really good chemistry and I think he would tell you the same thing. We were both playing really well, individually and as an offensive unit.
Memento: So did you switch… No, you always played offense, right?
ZeRo4: we moved Shane back from offense to defense.
cl0ck: And that’s when we realize our team was so much better off by having him play defense. He’s awesome at that. So we picked up whaz, and we’re playing along, and everything is going great. The right at the time we acquired him, on the same day, we explicitly talked to whaz, and I can’t stress this enough, we tell him “Look, we kicked two players already, and you are our third, and there are no other options, are you fully committed?” because Gaven has a history of being not committing with teams, and making very questionable decisions in terms of “Do I leave? Do I stay?". There were a bunch of instances in previous years and games where he would commit to teams and back out. A lot of people regarded him as unpredictable in terms of his allegiance to teams. Anyway, we pick him up, and he says he’s 100% committed, word for word, “You have my word, I’m 100% committed”. He’s super enthusiastic. We play with him for a few weeks, everything is going great, and then the shit kind of hits the fan. We just finished convincingly beating BREAK in a scrim, in both mods.
rapha: CTF we actually won 4-1. We lost one map kind of decisively, but the rest, they weren’t even within 1 cap.
ZeRo4: The thing is, as North American team, we know that our advantage is CTF, and our disadvantage is TDM. We know that if we want to win this whole thing, we do our best at TDM, but CTF is the money maker.
cl0ck: We knew we had a legitimate chance, because we knew Shane was going to win duel. There wasn’t a single doubt in my mind.
ZeRo4: It’s a odd year ;)
cl0ck: And we knew that we would probably win CTF with this lineup. We were feeling confident, at the top of the world. It felt great, it felt easy. Stress free and easy, effortless.
rapha: Even with the problems we had, we were actually communicating as actual people and not bickering over too much and working on them. We were progressing. Which is great. We felt we were finding our own style that worked within our own team. And we were developing finally… grinding and grinding new strategies.
ZeRo4: Come June 10th, which is basically one month past from today, Gaven decided to leave our team for the opponent team.
cl0ck: It was scrim night.
ZeRo4: Yeah, was a Tuesday scrim.
cl0ck: Scrim ended around midnight; I got to bed. My phone starts blowing up around 2am. Then the texts start coming in "Hey! get out of bed, get on line! Get on Mumble! Call us back!". As I'm reading this I just know what happen. Just this terrible gut feeling I had been having has come to light. So that's when they tell me.
rapha: He even said it that day! Which was the worst thing! [laughs]
cl0ck: That day, before the scrim, I was doing what I was doing and I go “Has Gaven quit us yet?” and everyone was joking “haha”, and then I get the call to get to mumble, I immediately call in…
rapha: Dude, we were on phone until like 4:30 am, and that’s from starting like at 2am.
cl0ck: And Joh is like “Mark, you’re not going to believe it…” and I just knew. I knew I had it, I knew he would say “Gaven has left the team”. And at first I thought they were just really fucking with me, because earlier in the day I had just finished joking about it, as I had done every day since we picked him up.
ZeRo4: Honestly, to give Mark all the credit – which I don’t usually – He actually has been joking for the previous 2 weeks that he would leave the team[…] and every time I said “No! He’s played with me for the past 2 years, he’s a 100% committed, ready to go!”.
Memento: Did you all have tickets by now?
rapha: Oh, John had a ticket. John had purchased everything at that point.
ZeRo4: I think all of us had a ticket… [looks at the others]
rapha: The only reason I didn’t, was because these two had decided to share…
ZeRo4: But look, we knew Shane was getting a ticket no matter what. Mark was getting a ticket…
cl0ck: So to Mori, answer your question, there was a conversation that I remember with us talking, we were playing on thunderstruck, and I don’t know if it was right before this went down, I think it was; we asked him if he had purchased his ticket, and he was like “oh crap I forgot, I’m actually going to do it tonight or today”. This was before this all went down. I mean whether or not he actually did, it does not really matter. I’m pretty sure I heard him say he digged his ticked by the time this went down.
rapha: Like John was saying, at QuakeCon, that is the rule. The team is committed to going. You don’t back out of it.
Memento: Do you have any insight or guesses for why he left?
rapha: I mean, there’s… ok, so there are multiple reasons. It does not mean they are overall… if you look at the big picture it does not mean they are all correct, but the kind of logic that leads up to it is it.
cl0ck: I think that Gaven has some underlining issues with John, and I think that lead to some negative feelings that he never expressed to us or John. I mean, despite John.. honestly – after this all went down John has said nothing but good things about him ability-wise and as a player. Which honestly is all we cared about at this point… there was no indication of it [Gaven’s issues with Zero4]. […] It’s simply stuff he felt in his head but never expressed. In our mind everything was going great, we’re joking around, we are progressing, we are winning.
rapha: Especially, we are winning. That was what boggled us the most.
ZeRo4: And granted whatever was going on with me, with Mark, with Shane… whatever it was, as Mark said, it was never expressed. I played on his team last year. I had his back 100% and beyond on that. So that was a very troubling experience that he left. And to this day we will probably never understand it.
rapha: Yeah. And for his overall reasoning let’s say, how he did try to explain it at the time…
ZeRo4: Let’s just say that we think him and Tim developed a friendship, that carried over to this year. They really wanted to continue that to this 2015 year.
rapha: Gaven had said at the start, when they were trying to form their team, “No I can’t play because of work”. […] They formed their team based on the fact that he’s not coming. And then he comes around “Guess what, I’ve managed to change my work schedule, and I’m going to be able to come”. But at that point you can’t just join the team. You can’t just kick somebody out. I would think [laughs] But you know… it ended up changing, I guess.
ZeRo4: The bottom line is we were most hurt from Gaven leaving us. From my perspective, being here for 15 years, there has never been an established committed team, ready for QuakeCon, and a month before the tournament key player leaves the team. Not only leaves the team, but goes to the next best team. And that really disturbed all three of us. Because, A. we were improving, B. we were establishing ourselves as the best North American team by beating BREAK in scrims and C. because all of us have been friends for the past ten years.
cl0ck: Shane and I have played in teams with id_ for on and off the past 4-5 years. Two years in ShootMania, 1 year in CTF/QL. We played with Tim for DreamHack TDM in 2011 along with CZM. So its like these are our friends, old teammates. Just never saw this coming. I could have understood if this was for hundreds of thousands of dollars, but we're talking MAYBE 30-40k- split 4 ways? Come on..
ZeRo4: Because typically, the top eight players are very – and other people have said this – are kind of clicky. And it’s true. The top eight players were all friends with each other. Me, Mark, Shane, Gaven, id_, viju– I’ve known viju for 15 years – and KGB, we’ve known KGB for all these years, and we’ve become really good friends. And the fact we got totally screwed over, really hurt more so than anything…
rapha: Yeah. John was really hurt by Gaven, because of playing [together] in multiple teams. I was as well, because I’ve known Gaven longer than any of the top players that are currently in the community.