Avnqr & PONYRIDEREn: “There were some players in the Open Qualifiers that are more skilled than the players who got a direct invite.”

Congratulations on the second place in the FPP duos main event! How do you feel right now?

Avnqr (A): We are really happy! I don’t think we have really realized it yet but it already feels pretty good. Now we are just looking forward to the future.

PONYRIDEREn (P): I couldn’t imagine I would even be here because I am 29 years old right now. I used to play Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and when you reach an age of 25 you just know that you’re done with the scene and in PLAYERUNKNOWN’s BATTLEGROUNDS, even if you’re 30 or 35, you can still play the game and compete on a very high level. This is one of the differences between this and other titles right now.

Has this been your first ever esports event to participate in or did you have some esports experience already?

A: I played Call of Duty ten years ago and went to a couple of LANs. That’s a long time ago especially looking at how esports, in general, has developed over the previous years. It is good to be back and I’m just enjoying everything.

P: As I said I’ve been playing CS:GO at some LANs as well but nothing that would have been comparable to this at all.

You are the only players coming from the Open Qualifiers making it into the prize money, winning $20.000 which is quite impressive. Where is that money going?

A: I promised my girlfriend that if I would win money I would pay for our vacations so I guess that’s what I am going to do. I also have a house so the rest of the prize money is going into savings and maybe a new computer.

P: I’m going to travel as well with my girlfriend for sure.

When you found out you got a spot in the Open Qualifiers you bought a pan and took it with you to Cologne. Now you have two. Do you think it’s been a lucky charm?

A: I don’t know. Maybe. We actually didn’t buy the pen before we flew out to Cologne. We bought it here in Cologne after we successfully qualified for the FPP duos main event. I said to myself: “I want to bring home a pan right now, so I’m going to bring a pan.”. Then I said to PONYRIDER that whoever gets the most kills in the main event will receive the pan in case we don’t win a “real” one. After all, we won a real pan and that’s even better. It’s also much heavier. Unfortunately, I cannot cook stuff in it but I can still prepare chicken dinner in the other one.

Where are you going to put that silver pan?

A: On the wall.

P: Yes, on the wall. I’ll put it in a way that everyone can see it when I’m streaming.

You also competed in the TPP qualifier but you couldn’t manage to make it through. Is there a game mode that you prefer or that you just feel more comfortable with?

A: Not really. I think it was more about getting used to the hardware. We were not allowed to use our own equipment and had to use the provided HyperX hardware. I feel like on the second day we got used to it much better which also led to better results. We also changed our strategy since placement didn’t matter unless you get the chicken dinner. On the first day in the TPP Open Qualifier, we also played 5th with 4 single players alive so it’s been close but we could not quite make it. Looking at that some people want to promote FPP as the more competitive game mode I’m just happy that we made it that far.

How did this tournament feel for you compared to the other online formats you played previously?

A: There have been more problems with the PCs, there have been problems with restarts. It felt like an offline tournament with all the possible issues that could occur. Nevertheless, we brought some confidence going into the games and played calmly no matter what issues occurred. When we realized we would go on the stage for the ceremony the adrenaline started kicking in and we were just happy. Both of us were more nervous when we won the Open Qualifier. I was trying to get some info at the end of our Open Qualifier game and I communicated that it was two versus one. We were sure that we would win now but adrenaline started kicking in and we both started shaking a bit.

The qualifiers were played off-stream and while the press wasn’t able to follow the matches the ESL also didn’t cover them on their social media channels. Do you feel a little bit bad for the players who paid their travel and accommodation to get here, receiving no exposure at all?

A: You can just see from the people that streamed that there has been a lot of people who actually wanted to see the Open Qualifier. That’s the reason why I think it’s sad that they didn’t cover it at all. In my opinion, at least 30,000 would have watched it which is a good number for a qualifier in general. No pro teams were participating but it’s been a lot of top level community players participating. It has probably been a question about money since it’s expensive to cover the event.

P: You still have to think of the fact that there were some players in the Open Qualifiers that are more skilled than the players who got a direct invite to the main tournament [Avnqr agrees]. Some of the invited streamers didn’t even have 50 hours of PLAYERUNKNOWN’s BATTLEGROUNDS played. They shouldn’t be there. It’s all about the influence.

A: That is what poopieQueen said as well, that this is for promoting the game, for influencing the community. But I mean the game has more than 8,000,000 sold copies while it’s still under Early Access. The game has so much potential and the first event should have been more about recognition to the players who invested hundreds of hours to become the best at the game and also reported a lot of bugs in order to improve the game itself.

I don’t understand it, to be honest. Even though poopieQueen briefly addresses the topic on-stream I think the ESL and Bluehole owe the settled and dedicated community an apology for that. They should invite top teams, I agree to that but not invite mixed teams of influencers who barely know the game. I think that’s not the way to go. We will see how they handle this for the next time. I think they will do something in partnership with the ESL again and I’m really looking forward to what happens there. Furthermore, we are looking forward to participating in whatever comes next no matter if it will be duos or squads since we are looking to expand our duo to a full squad.

Is there anything you would like to address towards the community or the fans of Copenhagen Flames?

A: Thank you so much for the support! It felt insane. Everybody has congratulated us. We could feel that they were proud of us being Danish. That is really cool. But also, everyone from the community here has been so nice and so open about everything. No one is toxic or salty except maybe one or two guys but generally, players embrace each other and are insanely supportive. It is just an awesome community to be a part of. I’m really grateful for that!

P: Really everybody talks to each other. You can’t feel the difference between the players who are part of a big esports organization like Luminosity Gaming or something. I mean, we come from Copenhagen Flames and to be fair no one really knows us but still, everybody talks to each and every one is treated equally within the player’s community.

Thank you very much for your time!
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Alexander Hugo

Alexander studied Media and Communication Management in Berlin and London with additional two years of legal studies in Osnabrück, Germany. The Shotcaller is his second esports related project after founding PENTA Sports in 2014.

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