Despite an average start to the Black Ops III competitive year, Team EnVyUs are heading into Infinite Warfare with the coveted title all competitive players strive for: World Champions.
After taking down other big teams like FaZe Clan and OpTic Gaming at Champs, EnVyUs have proven they're a force to be reckoned with in the scene. Jordan "JKap" Kaplan and Austin "SlasheR" Liddicoat chatted with theScore esports about maintaining confidence at Champs, UMG Orlando and how they took home the big prize.
You guys made it through Champs without a single series loss, but with that being said, were there any matches in particular that made you a bit nervous for the outcome?
Jordan: I wouldn't say any matches really made me nervous. As soon as we beat OpTic in the first round, I was fully confident we would win it all. Even when Elevate went up 2-1 on us, I believed we would bring that match back and win it.
Austin: To be honest I don't think there was a single match where I was nervous for the outcome, I felt we were playing so well the entire tournament and losing never really crossed my mind. Even when we were behind in a few of the series I knew we were gonna bring them back and win.
So did you guys find yourselves surprised at all to have beaten the other tournament favorites like OpTic and FaZe, especially with 3-1 and 3-0 victories?
Jordan: I wasn't surprised at all. We're confident as a team and I believe that when we're playing our game, we will beat anyone. And sure enough, that's what happened.
Austin: I wasn't surprised at all, we have matched up against every top team in previous tournaments and have beaten them at all. Even though we lost the previous event (MLG Orlando) we took a series off of Optic and went 1-1 against them. It's just a matter of showing up that day and playing our game.
Austin, this is your first Champs win — how does it feel?
Austin: It feels good, we get online everyday playing 6-8 hours (sometimes more) to try and win a tournament like Champs and to do it feels like all our hard work has [paid] off.
Jordan, you’re now one of a small group of pro players who have won Champs more than once, how is that you’ve maintained your A-game two years straight?
Jordan: Really, both years just involve a lot of practice. I've noticed with both teams that we have gotten a lot better as a team over time. Even more so than most teams will just naturally get better. I feel like both rosters went from "good" teams to serious contenders by the time Champs came each year. And then, the biggest thing of all, was just showing up at Champs and having a great weekend as a team.
Did you implement any new strategies at this event?
Jordan: I wouldn't say we had any drastic new strategies. Before the event, we went over Search and Destroy a lot and changed how we played that game mode. Even then, it was just a few changes and tweaks here or there that ended up making a big difference for us.
Austin: In Search and Destroy we implemented a few new things that we practiced before Champs but overall no completely new strategies that caught our opponent off guard were used. At this point in the game I'd say most top teams know what to do in most situations, it's all about executing the strategy.
Were there any upsets or victories at Champs that surprised you guys?
Austin: I think the match that surprised me (and most of the community) the most was the Cloud9 vs. OpTic match. Cloud9 played extremely well and was able to beat OpTic in a game five (one of the best game fives I've ever watched).
Jordan: There were quite a few upsets that surprised me throughout the tournament. Most notably, seeing two European teams in the Top 4 was a surprise. On top of that, seeing Aches and Cloud 9 take out OpTic again was completely shocking. I would not have predicted either of those things happening.
With UMG Orlando coming up next month, are you guys feeling any hype for that or does it feel a bit more low-key after winning Champs?
Jordan: We still want to go and win UMG Orlando as well. There's no doubt about that and we've talked about that as a team. However, it's definitely more low-key. We won't be practicing nearly as much as we have been recently.
Austin: I'm not feeling any hype for it at the moment because Champs just finished last weekend and everyone is still talking about champs. The event after Champs will always be a little more low-key, but it is another event with a good prize pool so I want to win it.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Olivia Da Silva is a news editor at theScore esports. She likes piña coladas, getting caught in the rain and dank no-scopes. Feel free to follow her on Twitter.