Hey there everyone, welcome to our Worlds 2017 Interview Series. As you may know, we have partnered with Travis Gafford and supported his trip to China to cover the games and get insights from the players. We will be sharing the interviews here along with their transcriptions. Enjoy!
Travis: It’s the third day of Worlds and I’m joined right now by Hauntzer for another interview presented by Mobalytics. Hauntzer, I know you’re excited right?
Hauntzer: I’m excited.
Travis: It’s a great day. So yesterday, I interviewed Peter [Doublelift]. I asked him if WE was going to be a threat, or if they were going to be harder or more difficult than Flash Wolves. He said that what he had basically heard, was that WE is either the “best team” or the “worst team”. Do you feel like you played the worst team today?
Hauntzer: No, I don’t, I don’t think they’re that bad. We played better than we normally did, or at least more controlled, so there wasn’t as chaotic a game. But I don’t think WE is an absolute terrible team, they’ll have like, super ups and downs. Actually, you know maybe in the play-ins, they were losing really hard to Lyon Gaming. Maybe that’s just like some mistakes that they made. Today, I felt like they weren’t really proactive, it felt like they were really scared of us. We definitely didn’t face the strongest version of them.
Travis: What was it like for you being on stage? Because even when you did the interview afterward, obviously there were a lot of Team WE fans in the audience. But actually, I felt like there were a lot of fans in the audience still. Kelsey [Moser] was talking to me about that where she said it’s weird that there were so many TSM fans when Team WE is so popular. What was it like for you being on stage, both while you’re playing, and then you know, you did that interview afterward on broadcast as well?
Hauntzer: It’s pretty nice. Even though we beat their home team, they’re still really supportive and they just love cheering. They’re really an excited crowd. Like yesterday when we played against Flash Wolves the TSM chants were really loud, probably louder than back in NA. That was really exciting to see, especially from a Chinese audience.
Travis: How do you feel about TSM right now as a whole? Some people are starting to think that maybe you guys can get out 6-0. Do you feel like that’s reasonable?
Hauntzer: It’s definitely reasonable, that’s what we’re aiming for. I think by the end of Group Stage, we’re going to be number one or number two, it doesn’t really matter. We’re getting progressively better and better, and as time goes on, I think even right now we’re the best team in our group, but we have to improve for quarters, semis, finals. We’ll see where we can go from how much our practice gives us.
Travis: You know in the past, I’ve interviewed you and during the Split, you were like, “We’re gonna get number one of the Split, see you in Boston baby,” and then you guys did that. And then you were like, “We’re going to get number one in Boston. See you at Worlds baby.” Do you have anything for me?
Hauntzer: My prediction? Guaranteed semifinals.
Travis: Okay, boom. There we go.
Hauntzer: See you at semis. Where is that? Shanghai? See you in Shanghai.
Travis: Okay, I’m excited to see this. That’s good. The thing is, I’m leaving after Shanghai so you don’t have to worry about Beijing.
Hauntzer: That’s terrible. I’m sorry.
Travis: Okay, if you guys make it to the finals I will consider.
Hauntzer: Yeah, you better man.
Travis: Well, because look…
Hauntzer: Alright maybe not.
Travis: It’s hard if you guys make it to Finals because…imagine if I make it to Finals, I re-book and everything and then you guys go, you know and this will never happen.
Hauntzer: What do you think’s going to happen? We’re going to win of course.
Travis: You’re going to win quarters and then make history by making it to semis. I’m really excited about that.
Hauntzer: I’d rather make history by making it to Finals and winning.
Travis: You just said you just said, “Shanghai guaranteed.”
Hauntzer: It’s a guaranteed man. I mean Finals is like, it’s kind of a toss-up but we don’t know who we’re playing yet, of course. If it was SKT, a one hundred percent win.
Travis: Did you say if it’s SKT, “one hundred percent win”? Like you’ll beat SKT?
Hauntzer: If it’s Fenerbache then, phew, I don’t know man…
Travis: The fierce Fenerbache, the one that everyone’s trying to dodge. Alright, so what else is going on with the team in China? Are you guys completely comfortable? Is everything okay? I know that the hotel is pretty nice, how’s the team mentality?
Hauntzer: Yeah I think our hotel is really nice in terms of rooming, stuff like that. The food could be a little bit better. It seems like we’ve been here for like four or five days already and all we eat is like the room service and the buffet. We’re getting kind of tired of that, so we’re trying to find different alternatives to getting better food. Maybe we can order delivery. The hotel restaurant is actually quite nice but it takes so long. So that’s like the main problem with this Worlds experience so far, but other than that, everything is going well.
Travis: Do you ever look out of your room in the middle of night to see if Forg1ven’s in the hallway trying to catch someone leaving in the middle of night to meet up with their girlfriend?
Hauntzer: [Laughs] Oh my god, no dude.
Travis: I’m just comparing the TSM conversations from Groups last year to this one.
Hauntzer: We’re in a completely different country so I think that’s not going to be a problem. Hopefully…
Travis: You don’t know. He might be here secretly keeping an eye out for you. It’s like, “I’m here to keep track of these guys.” Other than that, any other things besides what’s going on your group that is interesting to you about Worlds, or is surprising to you? Anything that you’re excited about?
Hauntzer: I’m excited to go to different cities like Shanghai. I want to eat the street food. When we travel for these events, international events or anything, we don’t really have a lot of time to go out and experience actual cities. Maybe when we’re out of the tournament, or when the tournament’s done than we can actually experience stuff, and I’m looking forward to that because it’s been awhile since I’ve been to China. I want to get to experience the food again, go see different things, you know there’s a lot of cool places to see pretty much everyone in China so that’s what I’m looking forward to.
Travis: Are you staying after?
Hauntzer: Who knows?
Travis: Well you did say, “I’m looking forward to…”
Hauntzer: We don’t know, we don’t know yet, come on. Anything can happen.
Travis: Exactly. Is there anything you want to say to any of the NA fans out there? You know what’s interesting? Everybody keeps us hyping up NA, the Korean players are hyping up NA, Jensen said yesterday that they’re going to beat SKT. next week. So the NA fans are terrified right now [laughs] because they’re just really worried. Is there anything you want to say to any of these people who are so concerned?
Hauntzer: Just believe in us. Don’t be too worried about our performances. Whatever happens, happens. We’re trying our hardest over here to take home that win, so just give us faith, support us. Thanks for supporting us and just make sure that you know – it doesn’t affect us, like some of the players actually do read Reddit, and they might get psyched out because all of our fans are saying like, “Oh s***, now they’re going to s*** the bed on stage”. We’re trying our hardest to be focused and not do that. So if anything, send positive vibes our way. That’d be good.