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Strongsage Interview
     US Marcus "Strongsage" Macias  
  Twitch  
  MCS Gaming
 

He is only 17!

 
  - twitch.tv/mcsstrongsage  
 

Hello Marcus, thank you for accepting the invitation to The Quake Pub. I believe your nickname became one of most searched after DBE World Cup Day 1. Congratulations for a great performance in this tournament. Can you tell me more about yourself and your gaming history?

   

Thank you for inviting me to this interview.

I am 17 and live in California. My history with fps games started with Team Fortress 2 in 2014. I played TF2 on and off for a long time and in the process of it, I got pretty good in the context of a casual game. By the end of my time playing it I was usually top-scoring in every casual game.

In 2017 I started playing Paladins and stopped playing TF2. I think this helped a lot in not only refining my mechanics but also warming up to a more competitive environment. Even though I still only played casual the format is 6v6 and most people are trying to work as a team to win.

In late 2018 was my first experience with Quake Champions. An older friend of mine (The same one who drew my profile picture) who I played paladins with told me about quake champions and suggested I try it out because it had just been released free to play.

We hopped into the tutorial and I almost immediately fell in love with the game and knew this was the kind of game I was looking for. This was the first time where I had any thoughts of playing competitively. I started playing team deathmatch with the goal of learning the movement of Slash. Over time I learned the movement of not only slash but other champions like Anarki and Clutch.

Within 4-5 months I was usually top-scoring in team deathmatch games. In one of these games, someone saw that I was top-scoring and asked for a duel. I accepted and proceeded to get destroyed, however, it drove me to learn duel for the first time.

This player was very encouraging to me after we finished and gave me good advice about how I would go about learning duel, primarily playing ranked consistently and accepting my rank despite how low it may be.

One thing he told me that stuck with me even now is that
if I'm too scared that I will lose my rank if I play,
it means I don't deserve to be in that rank in the first place.

Only once I can play and keep the rank I'm at do I truly deserve it. I started at silver rank but pretty quickly rose to low gold. One time I got matched against a good high diamond player named NL Holdennn and routinely got my ass kicked. Afterward, this player realized my motivation to get better and decided to review some of my games with me. This was extremely helpful and we continued to play and review my games together.

In May of 2019, I finally reached low diamond for the first time. I stayed around there consistently dueling until early 2020 when I started to rank up higher and I eventually got to 2,000 ELO and could occasionally beat Holdennn.

In April of 2020, I tried for Quake Challengers where I beat laloking360 but lost to Askolddalin in a close set.

Once Diabotical was released I switched over and started dueling under the name of Antreax2. I very quickly rose in the ranks and had a much easier time learning how to duel in Diabotical than I did in Quake Champions. The way the game was more focused on item rotation than quake champions came very naturally to me and I reached grandmaster in October of that year.

I participated in Duelhalla and Dash Bracket Cups where I had very strong results, in one of them I ran into US Davjs for the first time and ended up beating him.

By early 2021 I realized that Diabotical was mostly abandoned and there wasn't much of a future for the game so I switched back to quake champions with the goal of making it into the Quake Pro League. My time dueling in Diabotical helped me in Quake Champions and I was able to reach Elite for the first time.

I've been practicing very hard for Challengers not only in ranked but with higher profile players such as US Rapha, US dramiS, US Sib, BR Nosfa, US Davjs, AR Maxter, US Psygib, and importantly I've been playing on European servers with elite European duelers.

My recent results in DBE are a reflection of this practice which I plan to continue into the next Quake Challengers.

 
 

You are definitely not new to Quake Champions with some good results in 2020 and even better in 2021 Stage 3 finals, where you ended up 3rd.

How would you describe your learning curve, and what major challenges you have to overcome with Quake Champions?

   

The two biggest challenges I've faced with Quake Champions have been poor mechanics and a lack of confidence in my ability.

Poor mechanics may sound absurd considering how sharp my aim was in DBE but for a very long time I have always been losing out on fights regardless of stack or weapons.

For a long time, my plan going into fights has been that I will lose the fight
and I need to plan for it. The primary mindset change I've made in the past year
is that I can no longer go into fights expecting to lose them
or I will never learn to win them
.

For a long time this year, I've gone on losing streaks because I've been taking fights I normally wouldn't have because I've been putting myself in positions where I have to hit my shots to win.

I've also put a lot of emphasis on learning how to dodge rockets, as this has been a huge problem for me in the past.

My railgun has always been my best weapon but it has been very inconsistent on whether I will hit every shot or none of my shots.

A few weeks before the DBE tournament I got a 240 Hz monitor and it has been a night and day difference regarding my mechanics. My accuracy with every weapon has gone up, especially my lightning gun which has been my worst weapon for a while. My practice along with the new monitor is the reason why my mechanics were so good during DBE.

A lack of confidence in my ability is a combination of some players I practice with insulting my gameplay and a lack of experience in such a competitive environment. While most players have been extremely encouraging to me there have also been quite a few players who critique my gameplay as being brainless and lucky.

Sometimes it's hard to tell who is telling the truth because these critiques are sometimes completely correct and there are plays I make that aren't very smart.

This has often caused me to second guess whether or not any of the plays I'm making are actually good but this often causes me to lose games because of my indecisiveness.

Over time I have started to learn that while I do make dumb decisions sometimes, everyone does and I am not unique in the number of bad plays I make. I have the most success when I don't doubt my decisions mid-game even if they are bad.

You can get away with a bad play if you do it with confidence but you will never get away with any play if you are not confident.

It is the job of reflection afterward and vod reviews
that you decide whether whatever play you make is bad or not.
Despite this realization I still get doubts in my head mid-game
about whether or not I am making good plays or not,
it is something I'm going to have to continue to work on.

My confidence also tends to fade close to tournaments and turns into doubts about my ability. As late as a week before the DBE tournament I was so confident in my gameplay that I genuinely thought that I had a high chance to beat HU RAISY (which did end up happening).

However a few days before the tournament I seriously started to doubt my ability and I couldn't get it out of my head that I was not good enough to win. I tried to get it out of my head by taking time off the days before the tournament but that didn't help all that much as even the day before I was seriously doubting my ability and felt like quitting the tournament.

This will be a problem for me going into the future that I'm not entirely sure how to solve, however, I do know that consistent practice will be important for keeping my confidence up.

 
 

What are your getaways from gaming and PC?
Or is PC and Insanely good AFPS performance your getaway from life?

 

 

Gaming has been a getaway from life for me but more than that is has been a major motivational boost to better myself in life along with in-game.

Having something to work on that I genuinely enjoy doing has been a huge motivational factor to better myself in terms of routine, exercise, and just getting up in the morning to start the day.

I think my goal of improving my gameplay has been one of the best decisions I've made because of how it has positively affected my life.

Even if it doesn't amount to anything in the end I don't think I'll regret trying.

 
 

You are a member of MCS Gaming, can you tell us more about this organisation? 

   
Twitter

My first experience with MCS gaming was in the Sweaty 2v2 cup #3 when I teamed with US Festiveturtle who was a member of MCS at the time.

My previous teammates, AR Yup and AR korssa1r, were either unable to play or wanted to play with someone else so I looked for a new teammate and ended up playing with Festiveturtle.

We played well together as a team and afterward Festiveturtle recruited me to the owners of MCS who later invited me to the team.

They have offered to pay for some of the things I need to play which is a big help, but more than that the team has been very helpful in helping me with my motivation and confidence.

It has been great playing on a team and having people to turn to if I need to work something out in my gameplay or mindset.

I plan to play with them in the future including in other games such as Halo.

 
 

We are mostly going to speak about your Duel, but you also played quite a lot of 2on2 with festiveturtle.

How hyped were you when Jehar announced the return of 2on2 to TastySpleen for 2022? Or is Duel still the “main thing” for you?

   

Duel has been and will be my main focus. Despite that, I am still very excited for the 2v2 tournaments in 2022 as I think it's a great new competitive experience for me working together with Festiveturtle as a team. I even believe this helps me with duel because it is a different experience that helps me adapt to certain situations you might not get often in duel, as well as helping to break the monotonous rhythm you get only playing duel.

 
 

During the final game of day one in the DBE World Cup, you performed The Frag! which will be remembered for years to come, and it made the best promotion for you and the whole tournament. What is going through your head when you send dramiS sky-high then hit two crazy mid-airs and you just needed to finish him on the Eyeball?

  Shaftastic TV 4K

That was a crazy thing that happened but it isn't the first time I've seen it.

It happens when a Keel grenade and a rocket explode at the same time and send you in the same direction. At the moment I wasn't thinking that much of it.

Once I saw how he was knocked into the air I thought because of how I was losing the game and how risky it would have been to retreat the best thing for me to do was to go for the kill. The two rails in the air were pretty easy shots to hit.

I was surprised that he was still alive after that so I thought one more rail would kill him which didn't end up being true. I believe the main reason for this calculation error was that I was exhausted by this time in the tournament.

Going into this set with Dramis I didn't have the same drive to win because I was so exhausted at the time and winning wasn't necessarily the best thing to do.

If I won that set I would have played against HU RAISY first instead of BY Cypher and I thought I had a higher chance to beat Cypher.

Raisy would have had the experience playing against me the day before and he would have had an immense amount of drive to beat me after I knocked him to the lower bracket in the qualifier.

If at the moment I hadn't made that calculation error the right move for me to make would have been to retreat to the light armor instead of going for the third rail. This would have put me in a great position to gain control of the map.

Even though I ended up getting the kill I wasn't in a good situation afterward.

 
 

What we mentioned before was just "cherry on top" as thru the day you won over HU RAISY, RU St0n3 and AU ZenAku - did beating this top class players ment some boost to your self-confidence, or was it so to say "just another day in the office?"

 

Shaftastic TV 4K

My win against Raisy was a surprise to everyone and it was a surprise to me too.

Before I played against Raisy I was seriously doubting my ability and felt extremely nervous about it. After I had beat him I had a strange mix of confidence and doubt.

Despite beating him I thought to myself that maybe Raisy was just in really bad shape and I had gotten lucky to beat him. I didn't feel like I deserved the victory and I didn't think I played that well.

Looking back at it I disagree with my thoughts. The reason I beat Raisy was that he underestimated me and I did genuinely play a really good game. I stole his clutch at the beginning which I believe threw off his game plan. Nobody is ready to play against clutch especially someone who mains him like Raisy. In the first game, the reason for my very convincing victory was a huge amount of overconfidence from Raisy that he could easily beat another Clutch play especially one who at the time was mostly a no-name to Europeans. Combine that with some really strong aim from me and the score at the end was no lucky break.

My confidence spiked after I had a comparatively easy victory against Stone after Raisy. I knew Stone was an excellent player so beating him so convincingly stopped some of my doubt that the only reason I beat Raisy was luck.

This helped me in my game against Zenaku. I wasn't afraid to make risky plays I thought were correct and this is exactly how I win games.

Like I said before the key to winning is the belief during the game
that what you are doing is correct, and confidently executing your strategy.

I believe the reason for the cheating accusations from Zenaku after the set was due to me following on risky predictions most people would not go for. The cheating accusations afterward, especially the line about my predictions being so perfect that he doesn't think they were legit, was more than anything else a massive boost to my confidence. If a player as good as Zenaku truly believes that. It must mean that I'm not making brainless plays and that I have good game sense along with aim.

I don't hold a grudge against Zenaku for his accusations, I understand that in the heat of the moment it is hard to accept a victory against someone who was for most people a new name in the scene.

I hope in the future he keeps his thoughts to himself until he has any concrete evidence that cheating actually occurred.


Note: ZenAku feeling out of comfort zone and explaining what happened

 
     
 

Hitting almost everything is one of key components of Quake Champions, what are others in your eyes? What does your practice routine look like?

   

Other than aim I believe the two most important skills in Quake Champions are holding proper positions and making good decisions around when and when not to take a fight.

I believe the main reason I had an easier time in Diabotical duel than Quake Champions was that rotating items was far more important than either of these things. In Diabotical I found that even if you lost a fight badly, as long as you were ahead of your opponent to the next item you were in a good position.

In Quake Champions this isn't true most of the time.
The game is far more punishing to small errors in positioning and fights,
so a very important skill to develop in Quake Champions is
to learn where the good positions are
and when you need to all-in to a fight rather than retreat.

The general rule is regardless of stack you want to position yourself where the opponent cannot take a good fight against you. After a fight concludes you want to have plenty of items on your side of the map to force your opponent into a less favorable position for your next fight. In a lot of cases, it may seem wrong but all-ins are the right play to make. You may be in a position so bad that if you let your opponent come to you for the fight you will not only lose it but you will also leave your opponent with full control of the map.

All-ins not only have an element of surprise which may lead to winning the fight
but even if you lose it prevents your opponent from being in full control off of your next respawn.

My practice routine is going to be similar to what I was doing the weeks leading up to the DBE tournament. The tournament started very early in the morning for me so I trained myself to wake up an hour before it started.

I'm going to keep this sleep schedule because it is when most European players tend to play. I plan to practice as consistently as possible at this time of the day including having a more consistent stream schedule.

I am going to put a bigger emphasis on reviewing my games later in the day because I believe this is a very important way to learn about your strengths and weaknesses. I plan to also practice other games like Halo later on in the day to complement my duel practice.

 
 

Considering your age, we can expect some evolution in your gameplay.

What are your goals for the future and are there any role models in sports and esports for you?

   

My biggest goal in the future is to win the next challengers and make it into the Quake Pro League.

This is what I have been working on for a long time and I don't plan to stop.

This tournament shows that I have the skill to do it, it's just a matter of working out the remaining kinks in my gameplay.

As for role models, US Rapha and IT Vengeur are the biggest in the Quake scene.

I admire both their determination to win and their mindsets on how to go about getting there. They prove that hard work works and even younger less experienced players can bring it to the veterans.

 
 

During Day 2 I noticed incident caused by stupid ignorant kid. First he shit talked you in chat between your games and later he even interfered with your official game by spamming you in in game chat?

If I could make a judgement on his ass, I would ban him for life from Quake Champions? What was going through your mind when somebody is trying to break your concentration in this offensive way?

   

I was expecting the nastiness in my stream chat after the cheating accusations I received. What I wasn't expecting was someone to go in-game and spam me with threats during an official game.

It threw off my focus and
you could probably tell that with my gameplay on that map.

I have an idea of who the person might be. I occasionally run into someone in ranked who has many aliases but primarily goes by the name Purplefish. Whenever I run into them in ranked they do the same thing spamming me with threats very similar to what was sent to me during the DBE game.

They also do it in games against others so I don't doubt that it could be one of their aliases. Unfortunately banning them won't do much when they can just make a new account. From now on I'll make sure to disable private messages during duels.

 
 

Thank you for your time, I wish you all the best in life and esports and I hope to see much more of you in the future of Quake Champions!

   

Thanks for the interview and kind words. I hope to hold onto this momentum and achieve more victories in the future.

 
 

<3

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Calendar
STREAM
RULES
Double elimination Bo3, Bo1 LB, FINALS Bo5
LOOT
$100
 
RULES
Bo1 Groups, Bo3 Finals
LOOT
€20
TODAY @ 22:00 - TastyCups 2022 #1 NA
STREAM
RULES
Double Elimination Bo1 -> Semifinals, Bo3, Double Bo3 Grandfinals
LOOT
$100
MAPS

Ruins of Sarnath, Exile, Blood Run, Vale of Pnath, Awoken

23/01 @ 18:00 - TastyCups 2022 #1 EU
STREAM
RULES
Double Elimination Bo1 -> Semifinals, Bo3, Double Bo3 Grandfinals
LOOT
$100
MAPS

Ruins of Sarnath, Exile, Blood Run, Vale of Pnath, Awoken

 
RULES
Single Elimination Bo3
LOOT
$60
MAPS

Awoken, Blood Covenant, Corrupted Keep, Deep Embrace, Insomnia, Ruins Of Sarnath, Vale Of Pnath

Results
 
VOD
LOOT
€1500
 
26/12/2021 - Happy New Frags!!
VOD
LOOT
$850
STANDING

St0n3
 prox1mo 
PepCo
 PASITA
 ARSENY
SE Keltz
 Nrav
DE Retc0n
 1eroy
BY Contash

LOOT
$100
 
24/12/2021 - XMAS FFA 2021
 
STANDING

GOLD HU RAISY 
SILVER AU ZenAku
BRONZE BY cYpheR
QUAD DE k1llsen
RU baSe
EE cnz

LOOT
$1500
STANDING

St0n3 + 10pts
 PASITA + 8pts
inz + 6pts
   prox1mo + 5pts
 Nrav + 4pts
ANTOWKA + 4pts
DE Rohm + 3pts
BY Contash + 3pts
Zant3 + 2pts
SE Keltz + 2pts
PepCo + 2pts
DE Retc0n + 2pts

LOOT
$100
 
STANDING

GOLD JP lainchan
SILVER JP gnsh0t
BRONZE JP RoyalRuby
QUAD JP Tranoiddddd

VOD
 
MATCHES
EU Semifinals 1
21:30 Macisum FR  0 -vs-  SE bps

 

VOD

https://www.twitch.tv/qw_Link

 
MATCHES
Match   Division 1
  12/12
02:30 CET
Kweens vs Extinction
     
  VOD t1g in Japan vs Kweens
  VOD Madhouse Masters vs Extinction
     
  VOD Extinction vs We Showed Up
  VOD Kweens vs Trashcans
     
    Division 2
#1 06/12
04:30 CET
Butcher`s Shit Squad vs Team Quartz
#2   Pure`s Bowl Cut vs Winner of Match 1
#3 VOD Probably Cursed vs Krabbin n Dabbin
#4   Skinner`s Succulent Seven vs Probably Cursed
VOD
LOOT
$1400
STANDING

GOLD HURAISY
SILVER BYcYpher
BRONZE RUbaSe
QUAD AUZenAku
5. USdramiS
6. USStrongsage
7. EEcnz
8. RUSt0n3

MATCHES
Grand Finals
RAISY HU 3 ELITE 1 BY
Consolation Finals
cYpher BY 2 ELITE 0 RU baSe
Loosers Brackets Finals
ZenAku AU 1 ELITE 2 RU baSe
Winners Brackets Finals
RAISY HU 2 ELITE 0 BY
Loosers Brackets Round 2
ZenAku AU 2 ELITE 0 US
baSe RU 2 ELITE 0 US Strongsage
Winners Brackets Semifinals
RAISY HU 2 ELITE 0 RU
cYpher BY 2 ELITE 0 AU ZenAku
Loosers Brackets Round 1
dramiS US 2 ELITE 1 EE
Strongsage US 2 ELITE 0 RU St0n3
Winners Brackets Quarterfinals
dramiS US 0 ELITE 2 HU
cnz EE 1 ELITE 2 RU baSe
Strongsage US 1 ELITE 2 BY
ZenAku AU 2 ELITE 0 RU St0n3
VOD
 
12/12/2021 - sdCup #5
STANDING

GOLD FI Milton
SILVER SE bps
BRONZE NO Macisum
QUAD FR Bernkaoch

VOD
LOOT
$1000
ADVANCED

GOLD US dramiS
SILVER US Strongsage
BRONZE AU ZenAku
QUAD RU BaSe
EE CNZ
BY cYpheR
HU RAISY
RU St0n3

VOD
LOOT
Top 8 Qualification
STANDING

St0n3 + 10pts
 PASITA + 8pts
 ARSENY + 6pts
UK Clique RMV + 5pts
inz + 4pts
DE Retc0n + 4pts
 ANTOWKA + 3pts
BY Contash + 3pts
NO Bullet0n3 + 2pts
SE Keltz + 2pts
PepCo + 2pts
FR XC Almaril + 2pts

VOD
LOOT
$100
 
09/12/2021 - Get Quad! Draft 5
STANDING

GOLD SE Bps` Badboys
SILVER FI 
Milton`s Mutants 
BRONZE
QUAD

MATCHES
[DIV1] 3rd Place Match
XantoM's XMas SE  -vs- NO Nigve's Narcos

 

 

VOD
 
MATCHES
Charlie unicorn SE 3 BRONZE 0 RU LaborantFX
estotycom St0n3 RU 3 ELITE 1 RU Klyb
MaaV 3 GOLD 1 aromat
DRGN Kotzikacki DE 3 SILVER 0 HU Yozifuu
pointyraccoon UK 3 DIAMOND 1 SL4VE
 
04/12/2021 - SACRIFICE Draft CUP
STANDING

GOLD US Team psygib
SILVER US Team Zombie
BRONZE US Team jbacc
QUAD US Team HaloLogann

VOD
MATCHES
Pikawa 3 ELITE 2
VEXED phaze 3 ELITE 1 Flowie71
zwiros 1 ELITE 3 Flowie71
Pikawa 0 ELITE 3 VEXED phaze
Pikawa 3 ELITE 2 Flowie71
VEXED phaze 3 ELITE 0 Pikawa
VOD