After some confident words following their Emerald Genesis Cup victory, reigning DGC champions GS GooN Squad have gone on to make quick work of all competition in the Emerald Showdown to secure their first DGL victory of the 2017 Season and the top Emerald Cup seed at the upcoming Community Shield Championship Qualifiers.
The Emerald Showdown final saw a repeat of the Emerald Genesis Cup finals with the GooN Squad once again facing off against Premier Division regulars VnR – Veneration E-Sports LOL, securing yet another convincing victory and setting the bar for South African League of Legends ever higher.
Telkom Gaming caught up with the GooN Squad captain, Brandon “Brafester” Fester for some insight into the tournament and to find out what is next for the squad:
Telkom Gaming (TG): Having been crowned the Emerald Cup champions, what are your thoughts on the competition you have faced?
Brandon “Brafester” Fester: I’d like to extend thanks and respect to all players and teams that competed. Whether we faced them or not, the participation is always appreciated and encouraged.
However, if I’m going to be honest about the competition faced it’s been lacklustre overall. We weren’t really challenged in any of the games. The second game against eN. Energy E-Sports Black was probably our most difficult game but we, as players, were entirely at fault and even then we still won relatively comfortably.
There are a lot of teams with potential, and I know a lot of roster changes are still happening, but it’s time for teams to be proactive and buckle down. It’s early in the year, but time wasted is still time wasted.
TG: Speaking of roster changes, you’ve had your fair share of changes since your DGC victory. How do you think that has affected your team as a whole?
Brafester: It hasn’t really affected us. I think there are still a few communication issues here and there, but I also think that’s to be expected with any team at any given point.
Last year our goal was to win DGC, it’s our goal to win again, but our main focus was on team-building. There’s no substitute for building chemistry and cementing a core in the team. I consider myself, Gregory “JewTron” Wessels and Connor “Kd0” Cryans the core of the team. We’re on the same page about most things, and, even if we’re not, we generally reach the same or similar conclusions at the end of the day.
The foundation is laid, so it doesn’t matter what changes we make if the said player can meet our said requirements.
TG: You’ve recently taken in international mid-laner Georgi “BEARIX Myzir” Gevorkian to replace your former coach and mid-laner Lewis “Alpaca” Blackburn. Do you feel he is a good fit for the GS line-up?
Brafester: If I didn’t think so he wouldn’t be in the team. I don’t like choosing a player and then teaching him how to try to fit. Either you fit or you don’t.
That said, he still has a lot of work to do to learn to be a team player, but I think he has the right attitude; a burning desire to be the best and he’s hungry to learn. As good as he is, he still has a lot of untapped potential that went to waste in his previous teams. He’s got a very strong solo queue mindset that needs to be taken out of him, but he’s already making good progress and all parties are happy with the steps being taken.
TG: Looking at your recent success, and your team’s drive to succeed, what is next on the agenda for the GooN Squad?
Brafester: Next on the agenda is finalising our sponsorship deal with a relatively new, but promising, organisation. We’re happy with what they have to offer, of which MSSA affiliation is included, and the news of which organisation it is won’t be too far away. Further than that, the Community Shield on the 20th of March is our next goal. We’ve beaten every team so far, but a lot can change in a month so we’ll need to maintain our tempo and beat them all again next month. We’ll probably use the DGL to test out different comps and picks since it’s not that high on our priority list at the moment.
TG: Having proven yourself the team to beat, do you have any advice for new or established teams looking to improve their own performances?
Brafester: I’m gonna sound like a broken record, but team-building comes first. Some ‘teams’ want to sit around and be cocky, arrogant, and trash-talk, but if that time and energy were spent in team-building they might actually be good. Also, stop importing internationals just because they have or had a high rank. Compatibility comes first. Obviously 9/10 they’ll outlane their opponents using their superior mechanics, but you don’t need mechanics to flourish in a 5v5 team environment. Teamwork and communication are key.
Myzir and Alpaca, and to an extent KiwiKrush (who I don’t think I’ve actually spoken to), all work because they’re team players. The challenger/master tier guys are the problems because they think it’s South Africa and they’re gonna stomp. Instead, they get clapped and then rage quit or act sick. When players drop their egos, then there might be more ‘teams’ in SA.
TG: Having secured your place at the community showdown means your side will not be able to compete in the Sapphire Cups. What do you have to say to teams that are able to compete?
Brafester: Take it as a learning experience. It’s not only a chance to qualify for the Community showdown, but it’s also very good competitive practice. Not a lot of teams scrim, so it’s good to be able to work on the Pick & Ban phase of the game when you have the opportunity to research your opponents. Also, being able to gauge the progress made as a team is tremendous by being able to showcase your talent against the higher ranked teams or teams you feel are similar in skill. Since we’re not competing, we’re hopefully going to be able to Shoutcast some of the games to promote more community interest and engagement.
TG: Any else you would like to add?
Brafester: Lastly, shout out to Kd0. Best player in the tournament and best player in South Africa.
Registration for the Sapphire Genesis Proving Grounds is now open, allowing teams one last chance to qualify for the Community Shield Cup, and possibly get themselves an early DGC Qualification!
Be sure to register here before 19 February 2016 to avoid disappointment.
Please note: The Cup is open to all competitors except teams that have already qualified for the Community Shield through the Emerald Showdown.
The DGL is South Africa’s largest online gaming league and is open to everybody.
Join the DGL for free and you could win cash and prizes playing League of Legends.