Interview With “AVANT GARDE”

 

My article was featured in issue #21 of “The Official SMITE Magazine” seen [here]!


When discussing the SPL (SMITE Pro-League), we always talk a lot about SMITE’s NA and EU teams. But what about the other regions?

AVANT GARDE was formed in 2012 and became a major organisation in 2013. Their mission is “to build Australian eSports and to promote gaming in all its forms through passionate representation and dedicated management”, which their SMITE team definitely achieved in 2015, when the boys took first place in SMITE’s ‘Fall Split’, allowing them to participate in the ‘SMITE World Championship’ (SWC) 2016.

Today I am talking to Kurtis “Biggy” Davidson, Support and captain of Oceania’s current top team.

First of all, congratulations for qualifying for the ‘SWC 2016’. (Outside of the qualification for ‘Regionals’) This has basically been you guys’ first time participating during the ‘SPL’ and you dominated it. People are comparing you to EU’s “Epsilon” and NA’s “EnvyUs”. How does it feel?
Those kinds of comparisons are very flattering and I can see where they are coming from, considering our record so far this season. However we know we have a lot of work and preparation to do, before we can prove that we can compete at that level.

That’s a really great and humble attitude to have!
Which team(s) did you feel were most challenging and – obviously without giving away any major “secret team strategies” – what kind of mental and practical preparation went into it?
“Dire Wolves” were always going to be our biggest threat trying to qualify for Worlds. We put just about all of our preparation into competing against them in the finals. It also helped that we were scrim partners, so both teams knew a lot about each other.

So then, in your own opinion as AVANT GARDE’s captain, what do you think each player adds to the group synergy? Basically what would you say are the individual strengths?
For me “Rowe” brings the most synergy, since we are both the ‘leaders’ of the team, but that would probably switch from player to player. Outside of that everyone’s strengths are very much the same. Everyone is just as qualified as the others in both, the role they play and their role within the team.

That’s very great! In that case, what are your expectations and wishes for the upcoming ‘SWC 2016’?
We are yet to have any international experience, so I really have no idea what to expect, to be honest. But obviously I am wishing to win.

I think we can all understand that notion. In consequence, how are you going to prepare for the ‘SWC’ and what would you like to achieve?
We will be doing our usual preparation for any big series/tournament. This typically involves scrimming, watching replays, discussing strategies/picks and bans and studying our opponents among other things.

Alright, thank you very much!
Now, looking back, when you started your journey in the pro-league, did you ever think you were going to get to where you are now?
Yes, of course. We had our ups and downs as a team, but we were always confident that, when the time came, we would be well enough prepared to beat whoever we needed to.

And who would you say were / are your personal idols or what else kept / keeps you motivated throughout your quest?
I learned most of what I know about SMITE from watching players like “JeffHindla” or “DJPernicus”. They both have great SMITE brains, and they always kept me intrigued as to why they were doing certain things or playing a certain way. I owe a great deal of my success to them. As for my motivation, I think within our team we keep each other motivated. From day 1 we have always just wanted to win and compete at the highest level.

That is wonderful and at this point, you guys are also quite well known, receiving friend requests or tweets / messages from fans. Does it bother you at all?
Not really. Any sort of positive support always means a lot. As for the negative side of things, we’ve copped our fair share of flack as a team, so it’s easily laughed off these days.  

How often do you practice SMITE each week and what do you like to do when not playing?
I will usually practice for at least 25+ hours a week. Outside of SMITE I generally keep things pretty uncomplicated. I enjoy simple things like spending time with family and friends, or going to the beach or gym.

Sounds like you are keeping it all nicely balanced.
What would you say to the people out there, who are trying to make their own way up to the pro scene? Any tips, advice, warnings?
Be confident, listen and learn. Admit your own mistakes and improve on them.

Alright! Is there anything else you’d like to say to your team and / or the fans? Any other additions you would like to make?
Just thanks to everyone who has supported us so far.

Thanks again to “Biggy” and AVANT GARDE!

If you would like to stay up-to-date with the guys, please follow:
~ Kurtis “Biggy” Davidson
~ Daniel “Rowe” Rowe
~ Jesse “Ochita” Cullen
~ Luke “Subfloor” Gougeon
~ Declan “Sporks” Hargreaves