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Interview with mix^ enigma and mix^ harbleu, pre-ESEA LAN S12
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by mana on December 22, 2012 at 2:12 PM EST

This interview took place on November 6th. The LAN referenced (ESEA S12) took place on November 17th. This interview was initially conducted for just mix^ enigma but mix^ harbleu also joined in a little later. This was posted late because enigma is da boss.

[iq]Please introduce yourself![/iq]

[ia][b]enigma[/b]: Hi, I am enigma, I’m the scout for [/flag][b]Classic Mixup[/b], and we are heading to LAN in under two weeks.[/ia]

[iq]Awesome. So, what’s up, enigma?[/iq]

[ia][b]enigma[/b]: Not much, just scrimming, tonight, and watching mesr’s stream right now.[/ia]

[iq]Oh is he still streaming?[/iq]

[ia][b]enigma[/b]: Yeah, they just played LG.[/ia]

[iq]Yeah, okay. So let’s start with your history with Team Fortress 2, specifically. Do you have any future plans for TeamFortress.TV?[/iq]

[ia][b]enigma[/b]: I’m slowly building it up as I find time to. I want to get a demo section up, and also a file system up there, so it can host high level demos, HUDs, configs and whatnot, all in one place.[/ia]

[iq]That’d be so sweet. All that kind of stuff is scattered all around, so one place would be good.[/iq]

[ia][b]enigma[/b]: As for when I started playing this game, it was 2008? It came out in 2007, right?[/ia]

[iq]Yeah.[/iq]

[ia][b]enigma[/b]: I started playing a couple months after it came out and made a team with a couple friends from Natural Selection and formed my first team, Xensity. I played with for, over a year, I think? And then Carnage talked to me and [Solid Snake], and the rest is history.[/ia]

[iq]Okay, cool. What made you end up playing TF2 the most, specifically? Like why emphasize TF2 out of all the pro games you could play?[/iq]

[ia][b]enigma[/b]: Well, I came from NS, and it was a team based 6v6 game so the transition to TF2 was pretty natural; both were also fast paced shooters. NS was dying at the time so TF2 was the game to transition to.[/ia]

[iq]Oh, so how about Natural Selection 2? Now that that’s out.[/iq]

[ia][b]enigma[/b]: Uhhm, it’s not going anywhere. I mean, I played it and it’s nothing like the original. It’s fun to pub, but it’s just not going anywhere.[/ia]

[iq]Have you tried to be serious in any other game, then?[/iq]

[ia][b]enigma[/b]: Ah, no. I play games for fun, mostly. Even TF2. I don’t invest as much time into TF2 as other pro players in other games do.[/ia]

[iq]Right, yeah, I think that’s just a general TF2 thing, really.[/iq]

[ia][b]enigma[/b]: It’s just like, the money isn’t there. The competition and events aren’t there to justify putting in more time. Except for b4nny. b4nny probably puts in comparable amount of time into TF2 as any full on StarCraft pro living in Korea.[/ia]

[iq]What are your thoughts on other eSports games, including StarCraft 2 as you just mentioned, League of Legends and even Dota 2, comparing to League of Legends.[/iq]

[ia][b]enigma[/b]: I think the MOBA scene (League of Legends and Dota 2) is where the future is headed, and everything else is just small time compared to that, even StarCraft 2 is starting to fade a little bit; you hear that some StarCraft 2 pros are quitting. I think, for the most part, TF2 and other FPS titles are going to remain kind of on the sidelines? But that doesn’t mean it can’t get bigger than it already is right now.[/ia]

[iq]Transitioning into another question, what steps can everyone involved in TF2 take to make the competitive scene go further?[/iq]

[ia][b]enigma[/b]: I think the most transparent way to show that our community is growing is through stream viewership. The numbers, really, are all I think that matter for anyone looking to pick up TF2 as another title in their lineup for leagues or events. If we can show them that lots of people like to watch TF2, then people will definitely pay attention and start promoting TF2 at leagues and events.[/ia]

[iq]Let’s get into the history of the current mix^ team, and especially the part where they merged with Mihaly’s Flow.[/iq]

[ia][b]enigma[/b]: One misconception I’d like to clear up is that it’s not a super team randomly thrown together. This is actually pretty much the season 10 roster with me, TLR, harbleu and Platinum (that’s the four core players from season 10) and we just picked up Ruwin and PYYYOUR to fill in the spots. I think it’s really unfair that people got upset at us for making a so called “super team” when it’s really just a group of friends that wanted to play together and also win at TF2.[/ia]

[iq]Yeah, honestly, I think it’s unfair to say that any team is an unfair team, because unless you’re hacking, you’re not being unfair. It’s just weird to say that.[/iq]

[ia][b]enigma[/b]: I think it’s kinda off-putting because it goes against the spirit of competition. You want to get better. It makes no sense for teams to intentionally not try and beat other teams. Why would you not put together the best roster you possibly can?[/ia]

[iq]Yeah, that’s definitely a part of it. I mean, SC2 teams acquire different players all the time. I don’t know much about League of Legends or Dota 2 yet, but I’m sure they do something similar. And there’s all these teams in TF2, even, mostly in the lower divisions, that are just breaking up and forming new teams, and even the invite level teams are getting new players, occasionally, as we saw with clockwork going to Space Whales, and then LG getting hero.[/iq]

[ia][b]enigma[/b]: And also, another thing you have to notice is that, even though we’re a so called a super team, our games with LG on LAN are still extremely close. So it’s almost necessary to put together a good group of players for the sole purpose of winning, if you want to beat LG. Because people like b4nny and whoever are going to be a constant force that you have to deal with the best group of people you possibly can.[/ia]

[iq]I wanted to ask about (and feel free to chime in, harbleu) your experience in getting to and staying in invite.[/iq]

[ia][b]enigma[/b]: I think for TF2, you put in the time and you’ll be good. Everyone in invite level has put in thousands and thousands of hours into the game. If you put in the time, you’ll get there eventually.[/ia]

[ia][b]harbleu[/b]: It’s also partially about getting in good with the right people-[/ia]

[ia][b]enigma[/b]: That too, and also I think because people in invite have played in invite for so long, they’re continuously exposed and get better at playing in an invite environment as opposed to people who have thousands of hours playing open. Obviously, the thousands of hours playing invite are much more valuable than the thousands of hours played at a lower level than invite.[/ia]

[ia][b]harbleu[/b]: Yeah. And that’s why invite players are more inclined to pick up a player who’s played in invite before, just because of the experience; they know how a player is going to handle themselves in invite. So that’s why some players find it harder to, I don’t know, there’s always this imaginary invite border that players sometimes can’t transition into. There’s a bunch of players that have played in IM for a while and just never had their shot at invite, and that’s because invite teams already choose other players who have been in invite before, and they’re not willing to give a new player a shot.[/ia]

[ia][b]enigma[/b]: I also feel like, more and more, you have to prove yourself as a normal, stable person, because we’ve seen plenty of people that have gotten into invite, have the potential to go to LAN, and then suddenly flake for no reason. That’s what’s upsetting to me.[/ia]

[iq]It’s cool to see these new invite teams going to LAN.[/iq]

[ia][b]enigma[/b]: It’s weird, because, you know they don’t have a shot. And they know they don’t have a shot. It’s like, they’re being good sports about it and showing up, but every single LAN there’s always that team or two that you know has absolutely no shot at placing at LAN and are just there to play.[/ia]

[ia][b]harbleu[/b]: Actually the last season was the closest one actually have four teams-[/ia]

[ia][b]harbleu[/b]: What, Space Whales, us, LG, you guys.[/ia]

[ia][b]enigma[/b]: You see that going into LAN, but in hindsight, was it really that close? Every team had a massive hole.[/ia]

[ia][b]harbleu[/b]: True, but, I mean, LG wasn’t an unbeatable force that LAN and they’re the team that won.[/ia]

[ia][b]enigma[/b]: They never are.[/ia]

[ia][b]harbleu[/b]: Well, yeah.[/ia]

[ia][b]enigma[/b]: They always scrape away with it.[/ia]

[iq]And that’s what makes for the best games.[/iq]

[iq]Let’s talk a bit about i46. That must’ve been pretty crazy. Just flying over there to play competitive Team Fortress 2, watched worldwide; what was that like?[/iq]

[ia][b]enigma[/b]: Actually, back on compLexity, we were supposed to go to Europe and play in one of the Assembly LANs (it was actually a much bigger prize pot than i46). I think it had like $800 a person? $1000 a person if won? But compLexity flaked and sent their crappy Brazilian team to some retarded LAN where they lost anyways instead of sending us, so that didn’t happen. So after that, I never thought I would get the chance to do that again, but apparently the dream came true.[/ia]

[ia][b]harbleu[/b]: It’s like the community was a better sponsor than compLexity.[/ia]

[ia][b]enigma[/b]: Holy crap, I never thought that the 20,000 goal would even come close to being that but that was a huge surprise for me that that actually happened. As far as being there and what the experience is like? The stage environment, even though it was really crappy to play on because it was so loud, it was just really cool to see all the people cheering at every big play that someone made, the atmosphere was crazy on the stage.[/ia]

[iq]So, going back to how TF2 can go a little further; and a big problem right now is that there isn’t enough money going around; is there anything we can do regarding sponsorships like eliciting sponsorships? Any ideas you’ve had?[/iq]

[ia][b]enigma[/b]: The interest just isn’t there right now. And again, I think it comes to the streaming thing. If people watch the streams and watch the events, eventually someone’s going to take notice. We just have to go down our current path. But, I really think the whole situation with the sponsors is overblown. It’s really not that much of an investment to go to LAN (I think that’s the main issue, being able to afford the trip to LAN). Unless you’re Canadian, there’s really not an excuse for you to be able to afford it because, as it is now, the last place prize is $1200 and ESEA will gladly front you that money to be able to pay for plane tickets. So that’s $200 per player you get towards flights. If you can’t shell out like another $100 or $150 to pay for the rest of the flight, then you really shouldn’t be playing in invite at all. You play, for like, four or five months straight like three or four nights a week, and you can’t afford $100 over that period of time?[/ia]

[ia][b]enigma[/b]: I don’t get it.[/ia]

[iq]Yeah, it makes sense. How’s Highlander so far?[/iq]

[ia][b]enigma[/b]: I don’t really enjoy it.[/ia]

[ia][b]harbleu[/b]: Uh, enjoyable. It’s a fun change of pace from 6v6, and it’s something that I can take a more relaxed approach than in 6v6 so I can have fun while playing in an environment, so I think it’s a nice change.[/ia]

[iq]Are you guys playing your main classes?[/iq]

[ia][b]harbleu[/b]: Most of us are; we’re trying to play the classes that give us the best opportunities to win. This season we had multiple roster changes and we’ve had issues with players and stuff but our team’s finally getting to the point where we’ve settled with a normal roster.[/ia]

[ia][b]enigma[/b]: I would say that the team is playing semi-seriously? It’s a step up from TLR’s team with clockwork, TLR, b4nny [Gorgeous Gamers].[/ia]

[ia][b]harbleu[/b]: But we’re definitely not playing as seriously as the top teams are, like -ts- or bonus!. They’ll scrim near every night and they probably go over strats and everything for maps. We’ll play, like, the day before match day and scrim then, and we’ll scrim right before the match just so we can, like, figure out how we’re gonna kinda play it, but we won’t run over strats or anything; we’ll just figure it out while we scrim and then go into the match kind of having a match.[/ia]

[iq]Basically, your 6s is like the equivalent of -ts-’s or bonus!’s Highlander. At least it kinda seems that way.[/iq]

[ia][b]harbleu[/b]: Uh, yeah, I’d say that.[/ia]

[ia][b]enigma[/b]: With much less dedication.[/ia]

[ia][b]harbleu[/b]: Yeah, they might put in more time for strats and stuff in their HL than we do on our team ‘cause, the thing is, we just know so well what we’re gonna be doing already that we don’t need to be going over strats and stuff as much as they do. In HL you have nine players and you have to figure out what everyone’s gonna be doing. In 6s, especially at invite level, we already know, so, I’d say that they put in more HL than we do in 6s right now.[/ia]

[iq]So this brings me to another topic; one is team comms. Can you kind of describe the structure of your comms?[/iq]

[ia][b]enigma[/b]: Everyone chimes in on our team, because, I’d say we’re all pretty smart TF2 players and we all have a pretty good idea of what’s going on. That’s kinda different for our team compared to other teams who mostly have one or two people who really understand the game at a high level and can call and make the calls for the team on what to do. For our team, everyone pretty much knows what to do by themselves, so, everyone chimes in a bit for input during pushes and whatnot. But another problem with that is, because we’re so talkative and everyone knows what to do, we tend to comm too much, so I think efficiency with comms is really important on a team.[/ia]

[ia][b]harbleu[/b]: Yeah, I’d much rather have the problem of comm’ing too much than not having enough, so, as a big of a problem as it may be, it’s one that I’m totally fine with, as opposed to not having enough.[/ia]

[iq]Yeah, makes sense. So you’d say, pretty much, everyone independently knows what to do and so the comms are there to fill in, like, extra information for each player?[/iq]

[ia][b]enigma[/b]: I would say comms are like guidance for our team, not a set of rules; like if someone calls something you have to do this no matter what. There’s obviously exceptions and if you see an opening you have to take it.[/ia]

[ia][b]harbleu[/b]: I mean, TLR is normally the one who calls when our combo pushes in, but that’s just because he’s the one there. So, normally when I hear our combo pushing in, I know on flank that I’ll be going in at about the same time to take pressure off the combo, so, we also play off each others’ comms a lot.[/ia]

[ia][b]enigma[/b]: One thing I like to stress that’s different from us and LG is that I really don’t like when people micro other players because we can all make the decisions for ourselves, we just need the information to make the right calls.[/ia]

[ia][b]harbleu[/b]: Yeah, if you ever listen to LG’s comms, b4nny is normally saying like what everyone on the team should be doing at every situation. I know personally that there’s no way I’d work on a team like that.[/ia]

[ia][b]enigma[/b]: We just relay the information to each other on what we’re doing and we can play off of the information we’re given rather than being told what exactly to do by a single player.[/ia]

[iq]Huh, interesting. I don’t think I’ve ever seen any public matches with comms from LG.[/iq]

[ia][b]harbleu[/b]: Cyzer streams sometimes.[/ia]

[ia][b]enigma[/b]: I think he actually deleted his recent VODs but usually if you can catch them all live or if you look at his older VODs you can get a peek at the comms.[/ia]

[iq]Do you, individually, have any kind of practice routine that you do nowadays, versus maybe before?[/iq]

[ia][b]enigma[/b]: You mean outside of scrimming?[/ia]

[iq]Yeah.[/iq]

[ia][b]enigma[/b]: All of us MGE or play the game on our own, put time into the game and keep our DM skills sharp, but in terms of team-building exercises we just scrim.[/ia]

[ia][b]harbleu[/b]: We scrim, and then when we’re done scrimming we might check out someone’s stream or something to see what they’re doing and listen to their comms some. But mostly just scrimming, yeah.[/ia]

[iq]Do you have anything to say about your offclassing? I know you’re pretty famous for playing certain offclasses (Pyro/Heavy/Engie).[/iq]

[ia][b]enigma[/b]: I’d say that I’m really surprised that more people don’t exploit it. For them the classes are static and they stick to the two scouts, two soldiers, demo roll but there’s a lot of times where another scout better fits the role you’re trying to accomplish. I think that was especially evident when we went to Europe and we were watching Epsilon play and a Sniper or Heavy or something else other than a 2 scout, 2 sol line up, they would’ve been completely fine. Because they didn’t, they really suffered a loss to LG.[/ia]

[iq]I started watching competitive TF2 a decent amount of time before i46 and I think going to i46 changed Europe, I kid you not. All the recent VanillaTV VODs (ETF2L season 13 Premiership) have so many players that offclass like crazy.[/iq]

[ia][b]enigma[/b]: I think it’s cool that they’re trying to emulate us, now. Like before, they were like, “Oh! Our way is superior. We can’t learn anything from them.” It’s like, “They’re definitely better than us, though.” Taking heed.[/ia]

[ia][b]harbleu[/b]: Before, they were complacent, like it was dumb to try and be the best; like none of them were putting in the effort to scrim a bunch to be the best; they acted like it was nerdy or something and didn’t want to do it because of that. After beating that, Epsilon changed up their roster and they’ve been trying a lot harder so they’ve definitely realized that it’s much better to try than to just be complacent and not be third place or something.[/ia]

[iq]Yeah, I think picking up numlocked is a huge acquisition.[/iq]

[ia][b]harbleu[/b]: I think it is.[/ia]

[iq]Well, it’s my personal belief (at the moment) that numlocked is the best European demo. I mean, there are a lot good European demos, but he’s definitely one of the top, for sure. Like, one of my top two, probably.[/iq]

[ia][b]enigma[/b]: I don’t know, I guess I might just be biased because we play against b4nny so much that facing anyone other than b4nny is lackluster from now on because I’ve played against him at so many different events and matches that it’s just like, “Okay. I know what a Demoman is capable of and everyone else falls short, now.”[/ia]

[iq]Yeah, I can definitely see that. I guess a good thing to discuss is what kind of things can players do to find a good team to play with?[/iq]

[ia][b]enigma[/b]: I think the absolute most important thing when you’re trying to build a team is that you have to find six players with the same level of dedication and the same goals in mind. Because if some of the players on your team don’t really care and are just there to play every night and don’t want to win, and some others want to win really badly, they’re gonna have a different mindset to what you want to accomplish so eventually it’s gonna cause some strife when some players wanna scrim more and some players wanna scrim less. Find six people that have the same level of dedication and you should be good to go.[/ia]

[ia][b]harbleu[/b]: You definitely wanna play on a team you have fun on. And also you just want smart players who you don’t have to micro. I would not enjoy playing on a team with one of those DM scouts who constantly die and doesn’t know what he’s doing so that’s why I play with enigma and Ruwin on scout, and it’s great because they really know what they should be doing The rest of it; DM is good, but, as long as they’re not idiots, their DM should be good enough. I think that’s what makes us good; we all enjoy playing with each other and we have fun playing, so it lets us play a lot better.[/ia]

[iq]Great. Do you guys have any questions you like to be asked? Because I’m only one person; I can’t possibly ask every good question.[/iq]

[ia][b]harbleu[/b]: I would ask, “Who’s the better Spy?” The answer is me.[/ia]

[ia][b]enigma[/b]: Emmm. I would say my success rate is much higher because you play it really rough, so.[/ia]

[iq]Did you see tonight’s scrim? enigma killed it.[/iq]

[ia][b]enigma[/b]: I had a 100% success ratio.[/ia]

[ia][b]harbleu[/b]: How many times did you do it?[/ia]

[ia][b]enigma[/b]: Three times?[/ia]

[iq]At least twice, yeah, I distinctly remember twice.[/iq]

[ia][b]harbleu[/b]: My success ratio last season was 100%. enigma can attest to me against his team last season, having that 100% Spy ratio.[/ia]

[ia][b]enigma[/b]: The last season where you got fourth place? Okay.[/ia]

[ia][b]harbleu[/b]: No, before that, during regular season where Shrugger didn’t have a bad LAN.[/ia]

[ia][b]enigma[/b]: The only thing that matters is LAN.[/ia]

[ia][b]harbleu[/b]: Yeah, okay, the regular season on Process, back when I was on [Mihaly’s Flow], I got those backstabs that basically won my team the match against him. Easy. Also in our final match of the season against LG, I got those ones on b4nny and Shade; I saved it for us.[/ia]

[iq]Wasn’t that only, like, once?[/iq]

[ia][b]harbleu[/b]: I don’t know.[/ia]

[iq]And how many times did you die?[/iq]

[ia][b]enigma[/b]: A lot. A lot. A lot. A lot-a lot-a lot.[/ia]

[ia][b]harbleu[/b]: Now you’re just making up crap.[/ia]

[ia][b]enigma[/b]: oov can back me up![/ia]

[ia][b]harbleu[/b]: oov can’t back you up, he’s not even here.[/ia]

Thanks to enigma and harbleu for the interview.

#1 5 6 4 Frags
Great Read. Thanks!
Great Read. Thanks!
#2 4 5 3 Frags
Love the ending.
Love the ending.
#3 3 4 2 Frags
i love the secret bromance between enigma and harbleu
i love the secret bromance between enigma and harbleu
#4 7 8 6 Frags
enigma and harbleu domestic squabbles.
enigma and harbleu domestic squabbles.
#5 2 3 1 Frags
Great article, Mana!
Great article, Mana!
#6 0 1 –1 Frags
good read!
good read!
#7 0 1 –1 Frags
enjoyed the read, thanks mana!
enjoyed the read, thanks mana!
#8 0 1 –1 Frags
Thanks a ton for doing this! Good job!
Thanks a ton for doing this! Good job!
#9 2 3 1 Frags
"Great article, Mana!" - thecookiemonster 2012
"Great article, Mana!" - thecookiemonster 2012
#10 2 3 1 Frags
Great interview, thanks for getting it up. Late, but better late than never.

Squabbling like a married couple.
Great interview, thanks for getting it up. Late, but better late than never.

Squabbling like a married couple.
#11 0 1 –1 Frags
great read. Thanks!
great read. Thanks!
#12 0 1 –1 Frags
Really interesting interview, great job!
Really interesting interview, great job!
#13 0 1 –1 Frags
haha great read. thanks for the interview.
haha great read. thanks for the interview.
#14 0 1 –1 Frags
great interview, a great read. thanks
great interview, a great read. thanks
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