After a spectacular show at Esports Superstars: Paladins in Las Vegas, we sat down with the coach, Metapusherof the tournament’s winner Team Envy. Justin ‘Metapusher’ Wilkes provided us insight into his thoughts and feelings on Vegas and beyond.
PaladinsWorld: First off, congratulations to you and your team on a well-deserved victory! For those that are not too well versed with the NA PPL scene, could you please give a quick rundown of your Paladins Career and the Team?
MP: I joined up with Swarm in July 2017, around 2 months before the PPL started. At the time, we were competing with 5 other teams for the “bottom” 3 PPL spots. I had played against this team in their earliest days when I was coaching Panda Global and knew they had serious potential. When we eventually did sign with Team Envy, we were confident but didn’t have any strong expectations. The hardest part of Season 1 was entering a “slump” after losing a set to Renegades. It put us in a position where we were consistently beating Splyce but struggled to take more than a map from the top teams.
The changing point for the team was actually just after PWC (where has a lacklustre performance exiting the LAN with a score of 1-2). Immediately after that, we had a chance to sign RuBBu and rockmonkey from Team Purity. We knew from the get-go that this team was stacked and worthy of challenging the big dogs. We then put our nose to the grindstone and scrimmed for almost 5 months before our first PPL match (Season 2). We were still a relatively new roster but had a lot of scrim experience already and well, the rest was history 🙂
PW: Heading into the Vegas tournament, what were your and the team’s initial thoughts and at what point in the tournament did it transform to “We might actually do it”?
MP: Heading into the Vegas LAN, I absolutely knew that we had the capability of going toe-to-toe with the best teams in the world. I definitely did not expect us to have such immediate success though. I predicted we would beat SK, lose to Fnatic, and then just have fun in the Losers Bracket and prepare ourselves mentally for Masters.
To answer the second part, everyone probably expects this answer to be after Game 1 against Na’Vi when we 4-0 ‘d them. The truth is that on Saturday, after the matches, we knew we had a real shot to play Cinderella in the Losers Bracket. Fnatic thoroughly beat us, but we made mistakes that were easy to fix and during the games, they never really felt untouchable.
I would also like to add that watching our main scrim partner 3-0 Na’Vi gave us the confidence to make it past the World Champions. We knew after that it would just a Bo5 vs our scrim partners followed by the rematch we were ready for.
PW: From the whole tournament, what would you say is your personal standout play?
MP: Jeez man, there were so many plays that stand out to me! The big one that I remember being mind-blown by was on Jaguar Falls against Fnatic. Rockmonkey is on Shalin and RuBBu is on Fernando. Rock drops dangerously low and gets backed into a corner by bugzy’s Ruckus. RuBBu shows up like a guardian angel and pops his shield to protect rock and give him enough to use Heat Haze. Rockmonkey somehow sneaks around the ruckus missiles to safety and fires off 1 bonus-damage shot to kill Gerrah on the Mal’Damba. We lost that point, but the coordination and individual play really made me proud.
PW: Heading into Masters LAN next week, What are your expectations now and will we see something “different” from you and the team?
MP: Masters LAN is going to be interesting, to say the least. Honestly, I expect something similar to Vegas. We may have come out of nowhere for the general population, but I think a lot of teams were already giving us the respect that we deserved in our minds. As for pulling out something “different,” you can 100% expect that. I’m proud to say that my team and I are extremely flexible. Scrimming against a top team like G2 Esports for so long forces you to be!
The question should’ve been, are other teams going to force us to show our deep pocket picks? Give us Cassie and Drogoz every game and you won’t see us complaining at all!
PW: Do you have any closing remarks?
MP: To close out, I want to thank both my teammates and my organization for putting me in such an amazing situation. I know that I’m a very demanding coach and bless these guys for stepping up whenever I ask them to. This is only the start for Team Envy! They say the hardest part about being at the top, is staying at the top. But we’re looking forward to the challenge 🙂
We would like to thank Metapusher for giving his time for this interview. You can follow him here: @Metapusher. To stay up to date with all things esports, be sure to follow @PaladinsWorld and @PaladinsPro