Joined with us today is the current Quake Duel World Champion Tim ' DaHanG' Fogarty who secured himself and team victories in both modes at Dreamhack Winter, Sweden, held during December last year. Tim has been competing in esports for over 10 years including games such as Quake 3/Live, Quake 4, Quake Champions and Overwatch. One of the true greats of the Quake era and of course a focused and humble personality in the scene.
As you have been competing in esports for over 10 years, how would you rank winning these two Dreamhack titles against all memorable moments in your life?
DaHanG: It's definitely up there as one my great life experiences since Quake has been such a big part of it. In the moment, I was probably most happy to win sacrifice at DH Winter in my entire esports career because I knew how much the practice had paid off. There was a clear gap of skill at Quakecon, and it was not just bad luck that we fell short of 2z and stacked (notofast). Then we put in the practice and anything short of winning it all in Sweden would have been very disappointing. So, to walk away with the championship...never felt so happy at a tournament.
Then for duel, in the moment after winning I had less emotion to expend since, even though the opportunity to win this was huge, I felt like this was just a bonus and sacrifice was the main focus for me personally. Now as I look back I'm just grateful that I have that major international duel title which itself had one of the deepest talent pools of players I can think of in quake history.
I'm curious to know what stage of the Duel tournament had you starting to feel that all the preparation, practice and time you put into mastering clutch was about to pay off? Would you say it was a moment, a just-in case backup pick that worked or a gut feeling you knew of his true power?
DaHanG: Well, I did not even plan on using clutch at all for duel. He was not used as I entered the group stage which for me was considered the group of death (DaHanG, AGENT, av3k, Spart1e). During the DH winter meta, lg still destroyed clutch, but anarki/nyx/slash were basically unhittable against it and they were also super fast to make chasing them with the shield difficult. Then, doomslayer had a broken ultimate that was hard to pass up as well (rocket + insta punch for 175 damage potentially within a half second). Since my anarki and doom slayer didn't feel particularly strong, I gave clutch a shot vs. vo0 and defeated him in the 9-12th round. I then realized that clutch was at least still strong on corrupted keep if properly executed (there is no rail and the layout itself favors clutch), and I knew I would just keep picking him since I could manage his playstyle well. Mainly out of comfort with the clutch I brought him into the other maps as well where I didn't think he was too strong at the time on. Additionally, others were not used to playing him in several months since he was off-meta so that played to my advantage. Overall, using clutch almost happened by accident. If in group stages I hit a few decent doom slayer rocket/ult combos he probably would have never been used in the playoffs.
I'd like to pick your brain on mentality and attitude. Reflecting back on your victory, what importance or role would you say mental strength played for you and what techniques keep you focused and confident during a competition?
DaHanG: It plays a big role in my opinion. Ultimately, it comes down to staying focused and trying to make the best possible decisions during matches all the time. If you are tilted over something that happened in game, you have to make sure it is quickly forgotten. Also, proper sleep for the event goes a long way. So, I don't think I can provide particularly insightful techniques to focus better, but in general minimize any distractions from the match itself so you can perform optimally. For those 3 days or so at a tournament pretend like nothing else matters.
Since joining Team Liquid mid 2016 for Overwatch and then soon after hearing Quake Champions announced at E3 later that year. What were some of the determining factors that made up the decision for you to put your focus back into Quake and also the decision to stay with Team Liquid?
Overwatch is a much bigger time commitment (35 hours/week minimum) which is tougher to meet
Quake has the biggest prize tournaments now than in its entire history
I would only want to continue overwatch for OWL, and getting into OWL was no guarantee
If I got into OWL, I would have to put my "real life" career on hold and with quake I would not.
I only want to compete (in anything) if I am "all in". Being all in with quake is so much less commitment. It truly is about quality practice than quantity. With Overwatch it's a full-time job and then some on its own.
Team Liquid was interested in continuing to support me with quake. Staying with them was very simple for me. They are very transparent and fair with me personally, and of course a great organization.
Looking back to the Quake Live days, grinding the game out to stay at the top, traveling overseas for events with much smaller prize pools (than what we see today in QC). Was there ever a point in your life that you considered hanging up the mouse and keyboard for good? What drove you to keep playing?
DaHanG: I was pretty much ready to quit playing since around 2012 when I pursued my MBA, but I would always come back to practice for QuakeCon. Then a few more years later I figured I would be done with Quake, and Overwatch would be my last run in esports. Then quake champions was announced and I knew I would be interested as long as there were meaningful tournaments. Part of what drives me to play is the thrill of competition which I can't really get anywhere else. It's only interesting to me to be able to compete with the best in something, which I can't really do outside of esports. So, as long as I can keep competing at a high level then I'll keep playing.
As it has been announced Sacrifice will be discontinued on the esports circuit, now replaced by 2v2 Team Deathmatch, can you please share with us your thoughts on this mode in general and is there any changes you would be interested to see to this mode?
DaHanG: I think the 2v2 TDM gametype is good and I've always loved TDM going back to my Quake 2 days. It plays well in Quake champions I think, especially with the new map Awoken and the protection power-up balance updates. Sacrifice has more variables and is more dynamic which is why I prefer it to TDM from a competitive standpoint. You can play offense one minute, then defense, then go for powerup, then toss the soul far away right before you die. It's non-stop action but still decision-making is extremely important even if it's not as obvious as it may be in 2v2 TDM. Anyways, going back to the question more directly I don't have any strong preferences with the current 2v2 TDM format (timelimit 15, fraglimit 50, and option to change champions within the game itself I agree with), I am more interested in champion balance changes which have gotten better and better every patch.
It's no secret that yourself and Rapha will be hot favorites coming into the event in France next month. What's it like for you and Rapha to finally combine forces after all these years of playing mostly against each other and what would you say is your biggest strength as a duo?
DaHanG: We have actually had a lot of history teaming up as well as being opponents, so it's par for the course in that respect. He brings a lot to the table, obviously - but probably even more than one may expect. What I've noticed aside from the obvious things (aim, positioning, timing) is that he's able to process so many variables quickly and then make good decisions off of it probably better than anyone, but also while communicating important information/reacting to important information conveyed to him while in the middle of key fights. I find that difficult to do at times (I may be more focused on a fight and not communicate until it is over - which I have also worked on improving), but it never seems to negatively affect him. On paper, there isn't much more you can want other than having proper execution in game as well. So, as a duo our biggest strength I would say we try to maximize our advantages tactically in every possible way through coordination rather than hope our deathmatch skills bail us out.
Thank you for taking the time out to chat with us. From all of Australia and New Zealand players we wish you and Rapha the best of luck for the event and hope to see some amazing performances from you again. Do you have any final words?
DaHanG: Thanks for the interview, and I am glad to see indications that the AU Quake scene will make a splash again this competitive year at major LAN events.
DaHanG laser focused at DHW 17
DaHanG's Quake Live days
Interview with DaHanG at Dreamhack Winter 2017 by Gamereactor