QuakeCon champion, clawz: "Everyone can give me a hard time, it is about playing in the right way."

clawz: ‘Everyone can give me a hard time, it is about playing in the right way.’

Last week Nikita "clawz" Marchinsky walked the ‘royal road’ at QuakeCon 2017 as he lifted the trophy, both the duel and the Sacrifice tournaments, in his first attendance of the annual event. This was the first time Quake Champions, the latest iteration of id’s 90s hit FPS, was played on a big stage. Over the course of the three-days long event, the 19-years old Belarusian won matches over a number of players, including legendary names Cooller and Vo0, losing only two maps in the process. Several days after the dust has settled, Inven Global had the opportunity to ask the young phenom a number of questions in regards to the event, his past and future.


Zdarova! So, you just won the duel tournament and your team, 2z, won the one for Sacrifice. You were quite confident in the interviews you did at the event, but what were your expectations going into QuakeCon?

Greetings. Me and my team practiced lots of sacrifice, so the only expectation I had during whole event is to get to the 4v4 finals.

You actually played Vo0 in the group stage, but the match wasn't broadcasted. You mentioned that you didn't pick Slash in the final because of those matches, but can you go into a little bit more detail and explain what happened. Did it in some way help you prepare for the final?

The first time I played him I lost my pick, “Ruins of Sarnath”, and I played there with Slash, Sorlag and Nyx. I had very hard time trying to keep same speed as he [achieved] on Anarki. So in next two matches, I decided to try anarki, because I thought that this is only way I can make game easier for me. It worked pretty well, even if I didn’t play duels on Anarki at all. For all following games, I just decided to play Anarki and it worked pretty well.

You had a close series with Cooller and pretty much everyone wants to see you face cYpheR in a LAN match, but is there any other players you think could have given you a hard time?

Everyone can give me a hard time, it is about playing in the right way.

How much time did you actually spend in practice and preparation? Please describe what does your preparation consist of.

Me and my team were spending around 5 hours each day on playing sacrifice. Basically, we were only playing scrims, improving our team and personal skills. For duel, I almost didn’t practice, only played a few games before the UK LAN (the European QuakeCon qualifier) against top tier players, and before QuakeCon I, played few games against Xron to feel the flow. So, for duel, I just analyzed how it works and was mostly preparing mentally.

Obviously, everyone has been using the 'I didn't prepare for duel' quote, but you’ve played a lot of duel in Quake Live. How much did that experience help in Champions?

Past experience helped me in choosing the right situations to attack or defending myself properly. So of course I knew lots of basic stuff which should always be in one’s mind. But in Quake Champions, I don’t think I’ve put even more than 30 hours in practicing duels.


You mentioned, in an interview with Redeye, that you've been training to stay calm under pressure, can you give us a little bit more details what goes into that practice?

Kinda simple, during every game, I tried to not think about the result I’ll achieve [by winning]. I knew that my aim was on fire, so if I can execute everything I want [to do] without nerves, I could succeed. So the only thought I was rotating through my mind non-stop before and after every round was: “ It’s going to be alright “.

Watching from stream, you made winning the tournament look easy. In reality, as the person who played the matches, what were some of the difficulties you had?

During games, I was just thinking to myself, to keep my head fresh, without letting any rage and negative stuff get in there. So, the only difficulty I had was in maintaining the proper mentality after each round I lost, but it went good.

Was there a particular moment it which you were like 'Oh shit, I actually got this.'?

I think after I won my brain totally got confused with all what happened during last two finals.

How did your style of play come to be? Did you get inspired or influenced by some other players?

I expected that everyone on LAN will play kinda safer than usual and also I noticed that a lot of people struggled with my aim. Thus, I tried to play as aggressive as possible, to see how it actually works. Plus the PCs on LAN felt much better, so I could rely on aim more heavily.


Most fans probably hadn't heard of you before this year, but you were considered one of the bright Quake talents even going a few years back. Obviously, you're young and the prize pool at QuakeCon wasn't huge enough to justify all the expenses that go in attending it, but is there a reason you weren't more active in the weekly online tournaments?

Yeah, during these pre-QuakeCon 125FPS tournaments, we had to practice Sacrifice a lot, and in my team there are two players who weren’t playing duels, so I couldn’t gave them up.

As for the years before QuakeCon 2017, these Sunday cups were taking up too much time for a small prizepool, and for me it didn’t seem worth it.

So obviously, you've played quite a bit of Quake through the years, but have there been any other competitive games you've gotten into?

I tried Overwatch for a bit.

To leave off the gaming topics, fans know you're a 19-years old Belarusian teenager, but not much else. Please tell us a little bit more about the person behind the oppressive terminator that you're on the servers.

Not doing much tho, I study to become an economist at the Belarusian State University. I do bar workouts, but I don’t spend much time outside. Mostly I sit at home and listen to some chill music like ambient or future garage, and practice when it’s needed.

You mentioned that you'll be attending the two announced events this year, does it mean that you'll be full-time gamer for the rest of the year, or do you have plans for other things as well? Will team 2z stick together and look to play at those events too?

Full-time is not possible for me, because I’ll have to attend classes at the university, but 2z will stick together for sure, and compete in every possible tournament as a full roster.

Have you decided on how you want to spend the prize money yet?

Still not yet. I want win some more, then I will see. [smiles]

After the duel finals your team swarmed you and in the midst of everything forgot to shake hands. Vo0 himself laughed it off, as it was fairly obvious you didn’t mean anything by it, but people on the forums took it quite hard.

Honestly, I feel bad that it happened this way, as a person I’m very respectful to everyone, but it just happened this way, I completely forgot to do it and just didn’t notice v0o. After the whole [ceremony] I instantly went to him to say sorry and shake hands.

The final words are yours.

I want to thank my family and my great team.

You can do anything you set your mind to, man!

Photo credits: ESL, Bethesda Softworks

If you want to keep up with Nikita and his team you can follow them on twitter at @t9clawz and @team2z!

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Comments :1

  • 0

    level 1 Gregor_De_Lallo

    Go read Vo0 interview, really interesting. Clawz can't yet talk deeply about the game.

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