A Cut Above: Competitive Squads.
In TG, there are three types of squads: IS (Introductory Squads), ST (Structured Squads), and CS (Competitive Squads). The Competitive Squads represent the peak of skill and dedication, requiring a strong focus on teamwork, and skill, in play-style, quick thinking and communication. CS squads typically come out a cut above the other Structured squads performance wise, and require not only extreme skill at the game at hand, usually requiring a testing of skill to apply, but also the willingness to sacrifice a great amount of a player’s time, to spend practicing, both in structured practice and Public games, and in friendly scrims with other clans, and with other TG Squads, where they often take a vital leadership role, teaching other players common strategies used by teams they’ve encountered, and demonstrating ways to improve play. There’s only so much someone can learn by playing at their own level, and CS squads like Sydney Harbour all force us past our limits in practices, making sure everyone gives their all.
As typically the most skilled team on their ladder from TG, they also represent to the wider gaming community our Elite, and play a vital role in inspiring others to join us. I’m sure many other players from 2nd Battalion have memories of playing on a TG server, or starting out in the IS, and having SpeedyBus join and decimate his opposition, aptly living up to his namesake. By playing well, we can inspire players to join us more easily in public games, and very few play better than our Competitive Squads.
I had the privilege of being able to interview several members of 1st Corps Call of Duty Division, PC Brigade’s 2nd Battalion (Non-EU) CS: Sydney Harbour, on the experience of playing in a Competitive Squad, both in game and out.
How long have you been playing in a CS?
Von: About two months within Sydney Harbour (SyH) - However have played on the CG ladder with mates in MW2
SpeedyBus: I've been playing in the Sydney Harbour CS squad for almost a year now. We originally started in April 2011 the team being Deadeye, Flexibreati, James246, Lutacious, Learn2Learn, Incognito and myself.
James246: I've been playing for Sydney Harbour for almost a year now. We originally started in April 2011 with the likes of DeaDEyE, Flexibreasti, SpeedyBus, LUTACiOUS, Learn2Learn, Incognito and myself. From that original group of seven members, it is only Speedy and I who are still around today. We've had a fair few member readjustments overtime gaining members such as ZoOmi3, Dreco, Pepsi and just recently Von and Dtank.
What inspired you to join a CS?
Von: I wanted to get back into competitive gaming after the Modern Warfare 2 ladder finished.
SpeedyBus: Well I was originally looking for a competitive team before I joined TG, after I got kicked out of a team for no reason I wasn't exactly looking until James246 recruited me into TG and was put in Narva seeming there were no IS squads at the time, I stayed in Narva for a while until a CS squad was made (Sydney Harbour) which you had to apply to get in, I was recommended by James to sign up although at the time I wasn't that interested, he conned me into signing up So you can blame James for the player I am today <3
James246: I thought it would be a great way to be able to showcase Tactical Gaming's skills to the online gaming community while playing in a fun, yet competitive environment.
Being able to play for a CS is a great privilege and one not to be taken lightly.
How many hours do you put into practice, on average, in a week, in both structured practice and general play?
Von: Too many lol, at least 20 I reckon.
SpeedyBus: Every week me and my team do about 10 hours of structured practice and perhaps an hour or two per day of play if my team gets on and wants to play some friendly scrims or even join in on the other squads practices.
James246: We have four 2 hour practices a week (2 hours later then the normal squad practices in 2nd BTN), equaling to 8 hours in total a week. Sometimes we have CG matches on non-practice days, so sometimes the practice amount increases. As for just playing MW3 in general, I'll usually be playing 2-3hrs a day of pubs with fellow TG members.
How many rostered Cybergamer matches and friendly scrims do you typically play in a week?
Von: 2 Cybergamer matches and probably about 10 friendlies.
SpeedyBus: Nearly every week we have about 2-3 Cyber Gamer matches on both the Search and Destroy ladder and Domination Ladder. In both ladders we are in the top 10.
James246: Since we compete on the SnD and the DOM ladder, we'll usually have 2-3 matches a week. As for friendly scrims, we'll usually manage to fit in 2-3 scrims each practice night. Sometimes more, sometimes less.
What sort of arrangements does it take to organize matches and practice around your day to day life?
Von: Just time management really. Completing University and other house and personal stuff before practice
SpeedyBus: I generally try to organize matches at practice times on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday so that I know most of the team would be on for the match.
James246: Not much really, since our matches and practices are always at night time when most normal stuff takes place during the day.
Does this ever cause any extra stress, collisions with school, work, social activities?
Von: Sometime it does. My Girlfriend has moved away so lots of traveling
SpeedyBus: For myself not so much, I don't get much homework from school, but for some of our members that have University work that they have to do to get the job they want they need to do extra work at home and not play Call of Duty.
James246: Never. You just need to learn to manage your time!
How do you feel playing in a Competitive Squad compares to playing in the Structured Squads, attitude, effort, and intensity wise?
Von: IT is just a whole other level of gaming and requires a lot of commitment
SpeedyBus: In a competitive squad it requires quite a serious attitude but I do like to joke around, we aren't going to be all serious otherwise we would probably end up immature.
James246: Being in CS you have to realize that the member base is more dedicated and focused on achieving better results, but it doesn't stop us from having our fun!
Any extra comments?
Von: Loonyyy is awesome.
SpeedyBus: Just because we're in the most active squad possible doesn't mean we don't have lives <3 Don't be afraid to step up to try join a CS squad!
James246: Thanks for reading everyone!
Thanks again for reading, and answering, see you guys in-game!
Thanks again to everyone who participated in answering the interview questions, and keep doing what you do Sydney Harbour: Giving Every Challenge Your Best Shot!