Interview Series #1: exceL.CoD
With AM2Pro just around the corner, the staff here at exceL eSports felt it was an opportune time to create our first article highlighting our anticipation for the event.
The event is a key milestone for our organisation, established late last year in November 2014, as it will represent our first public outing as an organisation and our first LAN Event. AM2Pro is shaping up to be one of the biggest UK LAN Events ever held for Call of Duty and we are truly excited to be a part of it. To document some of the staff and players’ thoughts going into the Event, we decided to invite them all to answer a couple of quickfire questions, to hopefully give a bit of background of our organisation and the people behind it.
First, we touched base with exceL eSports co-owner, Kieran Holmes-Darby, to ask for a little bit of background information on the organisation and how it started.
Q: Can you explain how the organisation started?
Kieran: Funny story actually. I originally came up with the concept in 2013, but it never really materialised until myself, my brother Joel (exceL eSports’ other co-owner) and my friend Guesty (formally of Evo Gaming) were in a Wetherspoons, as you do, and Joel convinced me that we should just go for it. From there we’ve built up the infrastructure, getting sponsors in place and bringing on players we feel are talented but also properly represent the brand identity and attitudes we’re trying to portray within the community.
Q: What’s your vision and aspirations for the organisation?
Kieran: We have been very clear from the outset that we fully intend to become a professional organisation supporting professional players. We’re trying to find the right balance between growth and stability, without wanting to run before we can walk but also trying to keep pushing towards our goal.
We then turned to our players from the exceL.CoD roster, Aaron (xL Stxlfox), Indy (xL Bxinsy), Sean (xL Seany) and Rhys (xL Shnepps), to ask some questions about their team and expectations going into the LAN Tournament.
Q: Can you explain how the team originally started?
Stxlfox: Well originally Bainsy and I started teaming on Black Ops 2 on the PS3 (w/ Harvin and Gunners). About a year later, with the release of Ghosts, we switched to Xbox One and Rhys joined us along with one other (Tom Hurlock). Towards the end of Ghosts, Tom stopped playing and we picked up Seany for Advanced Warfare.
Q: Can you highlight some of the team’s achievements to-date?
Stxlfox: Towards the end of Ghosts we won an MLG 2k series and at the start of Advanced Warfare we finished T4 in multiple 2k and 5ks, including the MLG 10k. Seany and Rhys have both won MLG FFA Tournaments and as a team we have one MLG 4v4 Hardpoint-only and Variant tournaments. We’ve also finished T8 in Gfinity’s online Cups, with over 100 teams entering that week.
Q: Rhys, can you tell us why you play Call of Duty more than other popular eSports titles?
Shnepps: Mainly because I’m better at it! I’ve also played it for a much longer period of time and prefer it.
Q: And which teams do you expect to cause upsets at the event?
Shnepps: An ‘upset’ is subjective because it depends on your current view of a team, but I think ConQ have been underrated in the past and expect them to do well.
Q: Interesting! Bainsy, can you tell us what you make of AM2Pro’s ruleset and the way they decided on it?
Bxinsy: It’s very good, I like the way they have incorporated the competitive scene and not changed too many things about it. It keeps it fair and more down to team work and gun skill. It’s a good rule set and can’t see many people complaining about it.
Q: Speaking of team work, could you explain everybody’s roles within the team (in-game and outside of it)?
Bxinsy: Aaron is our Obj player, probably the best Hardpoint player in the world (so he claims). Seany is our Slayer, although we do tease he’d be a little lost without his Router! Rhys is our support Slayer, does what he needs to do and does it very well. I’m support Obj and am the hype factor (as well as being the Father of Gary*). Outside I would say we’re very similar personality wise, which is why we get on so well, with Aaron and I sharing the leadership aspect of things.
*Minion, Team Mascot
Q: Excellent. Finally, Seany could you tell us what most excites you about attending a LAN Event and which map/gametype combinations you expect the team to do well on?
Seany: I’m excited to meet the team for the first time and am really looking forward to the whole atmosphere and general environment of the Event. Nandos as well, definitely Nandos. Since the patch was released I would say our strongest map is definitely Hardpoint Retreat.
There you have it folks! An introduction to exceL eSports, specifically our Call of Duty Roster who are attending their first LAN next weekend. Next time we’ll be back with an update on all things exceL, reviewing how the Event went and talking with exceL’s other competitive players from our FIFA Roster.
Be sure to follow our Twitter @exceL_eSports! And the players’ @arjjm5, @seanbhoy98, @iBainsy and @Shnepps!
Until next time folks.