Mande from SCARZ is on fire in the ALGS Championship. He missed out in Sweden during COVID.
SCARZ came dead last in Sweden. This was put down to the absence of gentle giant Mande who tested positive for COVID. The 6’5” Danishman has competed with RPR and Taisheen for several years and their chemistry is a huge factor behind their success. Reunited in North Carolina, SCARZ are back in business and cruised through the group stage and are set to take on the winners bracket for a place in finals.
Tom: How are you finding your performance so far? Top 20 straight into the bracket stage?
Mande: “Of course I am happy to be in the top 20. We don’t have to play more today and it gives us a little bit more confidence to play during the rest of the tournament. Overall, I feel like we’re playing really well together. We had a rough day today but it happens. And we just got to get past it and say we go next again. I’m really happy with our performance so far. Our team chemistry has really improved over the last few weeks and we are just a better team than we were a while ago”.
Tom: When you get to a LAN event like this, now that you’ve got the rest of the day off, what are you going to be doing with that time? Are you going to be resting, working, looking back over your matches?
Mande: “We probably won’t be looking at our matches because it’s a little bit rough to go back and look at them now. I think we are going to either sit and watch the matches, and watch how people play and watch zones and stuff. Or we might go home, get some food and chill a bit”.
Tom: How has it been being back in front of a live crowd at LAN? Can you hear the crowd, are they distracting or can you focus on the game?
Mande: “I’ve actually never been to a LAN before with a crowd or anything. I thought it was going to be distracting, but you don’t really notice it because you’re focused on the game. So overall, I think it gives a really good environment and atmosphere”.
Tom: Do you feel any pressure with the atmosphere playing in front of a live audience?
Mande: “Oh no! Not at all. Not the slightest, no pressure at all. I am normally pretty nervous at tournaments , but now I am actually not. I feel better when I am in front of people than when I am just at home”.
Tom: Your team has been together for a really long time – through thick and thin. I remember watching you guys play the GLL Masters and you didn’t make the finals. I would say 8 out of 10 teams would have broken up after that period. What is it about RPR and Taisheen that has kept you guys together? What is it about this trio that is just so unbreakable?
Mande: “I think the thing is that we can actually communicate with each other like friends. We are not just work partners but we actually care for each other. I think that’s a very important thing. Outside of streaming and if we are not playing Apex, we are actually still very good friends. We know a lot about each other and we’re very close”.
Tom: The big C word at this event is COVID. You missed out at Sweden because you tested positive just before the tournament. How was it to sit it out and watch from the hotel?
Mande: “I was devastated. I don’t think it really hit me at first. I was really sad. But then my organization came in and asked me a few questions about it and that’s when I started shedding some tears and was really sad.
It really means a lot to me. I am one of the people that puts in an insane amount of hours into the game and I have done so for a long time. And when I am one of the only people that doesn’t actually hang out with people at the boot camp and I get it and nobody else gets it who’s walking up and down with each other. Then it makes me sad. I tried to avoid it as much as I can and I’m still the guy that got it”.
Tom: How are you using that disappointment to fuel yourself for this event? Does this make you more determined and more hungry to put down a performance now?
Mande: “For all the people that bought tickets and stuff, people come here just to see us play. Who would I be, as a person, if I don’t give it my all because you don’t know if people out here have been saving up for months to buy a ticket to come here.
Who would I be to not give it my all now that I’m here and show them why this is important and stuff”.
Tom: Looking forward to the rest of the tournament, what are your expectations?
Mande: “If I didn’t have any expectation of winning this, I wouldn’t be coming. We just got to do our best like we always do. We just got to play like we always do. If we don’t make it we don’t make it and if we make it we make it. If we do good we do good and if we don’t we don’t. This is how it is. But the most important part is that we’re true to ourselves and nice to each other”.
Tom: Speaking of being true to yourself. Are you guys going to be making any chances to your game style or team composition as you head into the later stages. Obviously you guys are on Caustic. I know for a long time you didn’t want to play Caustic. But you’ve kind of accepted that’s where Apex is at the moment. Are you going to be approaching things any differently towards the end if you made the Match points finals for example?
Mande: “We’re not sure yet. We’re not 100% sure but we could maybe whip out some stuff from the back pocket we have been talking about behind the scenes”.
Tom: How are you coping with the rise of Seer? He’s kind of come out nowhere in the last 3-4 weeks. How are you planning to play against him?
Mande: “I speak with the other pros of course. We all agree on – even the people that play Seer – that having Wall hacks and stuff in BR shouldn’t exist. We just don’t like it at all”.
Tom: Do you think ALGS needs legend bans then?
Mande: “It would be fun. It would be very fun to see because then you actually see the best team overall and not just the best team for one comp. You can actually see some pretty crazy stuff”.
Tom: Who would be the first legend you’d ban?
Mande: “There’s many. I’ve already told this a million times on stream but I would remove 50% of all the Legends if I could. But Gibby is getting a little bit boring. I love playing Gibby but we’ve been playing Gibby for two years now. Valkyrie and Gibby are two legends that I feel are ruining how hard the game is in some game mechanics”.
Tom: Do you miss the Pathfinder days?
Mande: (Grins) “Yes !! I do!! with a burning passion. I still play Pathfinder all the time even though he’s the worst legend in the game. But I still play him all the time, I love it”.
Tom: Looking forward to beyond this tournament, ALGS 3. What are you hoping for from EA when they say, look, here’s the format. What are you hoping they change, what are you hoping they keep the same?
Mande: “The elephant in the room is probably that players can still play in the tournament if they get COVID. That’s a big issue right now. Also having tournaments in places where there’s no real big visa issues.
I think 15 people couldn’t play before we even got here out of the 120 and now more people got COVID. And that’s almost 25% of the entire player base that can’t play the game. It’s just so unfortunate putting in so much energy into this and then you get a shot at life-changing money for everyone. Half a million dollars is life-changing money in every single country in the world”.
Tom: Speaking of money, do you think the EMEA scene is struggling a little bit because of the lack of other tournaments? Obviously, we’ve got the VNM $500 but what else.
Mande: “We’re struggling a lot because of viewership because America has taken over Twitch. That’s how it is, that’s how it’s always been. Why would a company host the tournament in EU when one guy in NA would play in it and has more viewers than everyone in EU combined”.
Tom: Do you think that’s harming EMEA’s chances in that they ‘re not getting much practice.
Mande: “Maybe. Maybe not. That’s a hard question. EMEA hasn’t been doing good, in Sweden and now. But you need to understand that 6/10 teams in Sweden weren’t full teams, they had subs. And in this tournament seven out of ten EMEA teams have subs I believe.
“And that’s just sad that people don’t get to show what they’ve prepared. I know for a fact that a lot of EMEA pros feel bad when they read on Twitter and Reddit about EMEA being a super bad region. I don’t feel it myself but I understand also that we can’t show what we’ve got to offer and we haven’t been able to do that for a long time”.