Today we are joined with owner and founder of Cooked eSports Marcus 'dirtbox' Cooke, who will be making the trip to Dreamhack Winter with ZenAku and CMRN. Marcus is no stranger to competing internationally and has played many iterations of Quake for many years now, also stepping into his new role of managing an Esports team. We sat down with Marcus to get his thoughts on Quake Champions and find out more of his passion to bring Australian players overseas.
Most recently we have bear witness to some great QC Duel competitions overseas in both PGL Romania and the Italian Esports Open. What were your overall thoughts of the competitive level and structure of these two events?
DIRTBOX: I loved watching both of these recent events as well as the ESWC. It has been great having 3 large events back to back with lots of high level gameplay however 1 thing was missing from each event: Australians.
I personally think 1v1 is the best competitive mode both to play and to spectate. I hope that we don't see the current trend of not including 1v1 at major events like DreamHack Tours and QuakeCon 2018 as for me those events were a bit of a disappointment as while some 2v2 can be exciting (Corvidae vs Liquid at DHT), it is mostly less impressive to watch than 1v1.
As some may still not have heard, give us the background of where and how started your venture for the new team Cooked eSports and what direction you have planned for the future?
DIRTBOX: Cooked eSports is something that I have been planning since QuakeCon 2017 which was my third Major international tournament that I had attended for Quakeworld in a 12 month period (with the previous ones being QuakeCon 2016 and QHLAN 2017 in Sweden).
I've always thought that there has been a massive underrepresentation of Australian players in high-level Quake events and this trend has gone back all the way to Quakeworld. Back in the days of Quake 3 there would at least actually be Major Pro events held here locally in Australia like the CPL Pacific in Melbourne (where the likes of Fatal1ty and Polosatiy attended) or nearby at Singapore which is more accessible for Australians.
The goal of Cooked eSports is to try get as many Australians competing at Major events to show the rest of the world what we are made of.
Unfortunately the PAX Australia 2v2 DH Qualifiers did not go your team's way this time around, how did you feel about their matches at the event?
DIRTBOX: What can I say? Dan and Steej are beasts. We did everything we could to prepare for the event and I am really happy with how murd0r and ZenAku conducted themselves but the international level LAN experience on Corvidae was too strong.
As it has recently been announced you will be sending both ZenAku and CMRN. If you could give us the story behind the decision to send each player?
DIRTBOX: As I have been planning for Cooked eSports for such a long time, the one thing I was missing in order to get the ball rolling was a top tiered talent to get the team started so the second ZenAku's contract ended with Corvidae we began talks and our first goal was DHW. The Quake Australian Championships were actually announced after we had already decided to go to DHW so that was just a bonus chance to try and go at a far less cost.
CMRN is a great player and he is already an honorary Australian having been a resident here not all that too long ago. Luckily for us he was already attending DHW for Duel and both he and ZenAku had expressed interest in playing with each other, so we made it happen and we are very excited to see how these two will perform on what I believe is the most important QC event of the year.
How can we best stay informed about your team's journey to Dreamhack Winter?
DIRTBOX: ZenAku and I will be leaving Australia on the 24th of November and staying in Amsterdam until the 29th which should hopefully give us 4 days of solid bootcamping against the euros before DreamHack. It should also give CMRN and ZenAku time to practice together and get their teamplay down.
We will be keeping our Website and Twitter up to date with everything that is going on and I also encourage everyone to join our discord. We haven't 100% decided yet but I did recently purchased an Elgato capture card for us to potentially stream all of our bootcamping whilst abroad so keep an eye on our Twitch.
Since the game has a very big update looming on the PTS, which will see big changes to champions and weapons, What are some changes you do and don't look forward to hitting the live realm?
DIRTBOX: The biggest thing I am looking forward to in the PTS is the increased stacks in light champs. I really miss the days of Anarki and NYX being in the meta and I believe they are introducing too many mid champs. Unfortunately we don't get PTS servers here in Australia so this is another reason we have a massive disadvantage to get used to the new patch. I will have more to say once I can play it on low ping.
The Oceanic Quake Series - Quarter Finals saw you get knocked out in some close games against your fellow team mate murd0r. How did you feel about your series and what did you think about the tournament so far as a whole?
DIRTBOX: Despite us being completely left in the cold in Australia it is great that 4SG is stepping up and giving us some tournaments as this one is the first one with prestige that we've had in a long while. I think it was a great step towards filling the massive void we have here by not having the Quake Open League, Battlefy or any major lan tournaments locally. Bethesda really need to lift their game and having a last minute (10 days notice) duel tournament at MEO was a bit of a slap in the face but at least they finally nailed it with the Quake Australian Championships.
My goal in OQS was to qualify 3rd in my group. I knew I would never make it higher than 3rd so I'd always have to face a top4 player in the first round of the playoffs which meant I'd go no further. I not only achieved this goal, but I also qualified with a higher win/loss ratio of 5-2 than all of the other players that placed 5th-8th who were all on a 4-3 win/loss so as far as I am concerned that makes me #5 and I'm happy to have that result.
Thank you for your time and lastly, do you have any final words for our readers?
DIRTBOX: I would like to encourage everyone to get behind Cooked eSports, our colours match the Australian flag for a reason. I am really doing my best to try and make something great for the Australian Quake scene and I am on track to bankrupt myself doing it. We are desperate for help and sponsorship to continue past DHW so if you know anyone or you can help then please get in touch with me even if you just buy some nice leggings for the missus at our shop.