Cdew, Trill reflect on Method's stand-out Arena World Cup season days before BlizzCon championship

On paper, Method Orange is a powerhouse team with too much talent to fail
. The team’s leading man, Chuck “Cdew” Dewland, is one of the most popular, most seasoned, and most highly regarded arena healers in World of Warcraft history. Richard “Mes” Simpson is a reserved, yet accomplished, long-term arena player with a mastery of most melee classes and a particular affinity for Death Knight, and Michael “Samiyam” Hlubek is a talented, versatile DPS who more than satisfies the team’s needs for caster classes.

Ryan “
Trill” Costello is the young new-blood on the team, having only earned his first Gladiator title towards the latter end of Mists of Pandaria, but at 20, he is a wonderkid in the truest sense of the word. He earned second place in the World First Mythic Uldir race alongside Limit; was a top competitor in the Mythic Dungeon Invitational earlier this year; placed 3rd/4th at the 2017 Arena World Championship; and, now, he is on the best North American 3v3 arena team and has a good shot at his first BlizzCon championship.

Between the four of them, they have accumulated ten Arena World Championship appearances, and this year alone, they racked up 1180 Arena World Cup (AWC) points, ultimately earning second seed at BlizzCon 2018. 
The team, deservedly, has legions of adoring fans, and it would not be so naive to think that this might be the year they can take it all.


"We did really well at BlizzCon last year and [Mes was] just like
‘we’re doing this again, we’re gonna make it work,'"


But as stacked as Method Orange is, the 2018 season has been a series of close calls, clutch maps, and bated-breath matches. The team was short their healer, Cdew, at the Spring LAN Finals in April (on account of his wife having been ready to give birth at any moment), and at the second cross-regional LAN of the year, they finished dead last.

In the NA cups -- of which there have been nine -- they more often than not found themselves fighting tooth and nail for victories over The Gosu Crew. In their first BlizzCon match at Opening Week, their second map in the set versus Making A Movie likely gave fans heart palpitations.

As a fan, Method Orange’s touch-and-go, will-they-or-won’t-they tendency makes for exciting, if stressful, gameplay,
but as a player, memories of their hard-fought season burn bright. “I kind of was psyching myself out a little bit [today] because we got last place this year at the only tournament I went to, at the LAN, so we won no series,” Cdew told me at the Blizzard Arena on Monday following the team’s Upper Bracket match versus Making A Movie.

“And then obviously ... the last series I had at BlizzCon was a loss in the finals, so I’m just like ‘oh, man, here it goes, let’s start this up again, if you lose this, you’ve got to wait the four days before you can play again!’ … So the first game, I was a little jittery. We were kind of all over the place, but we kept it together and normally after, like, the first game I get pretty comfortable and we were able to get the win,” he said.

Not any win, mind you -- a 3-0 sweep that sent Making A Movie into the Lower Bracket and rendered them one loss away from elimination. Their situation is one Method Orange sincerely wanted to avoid this year, with Cdew saying, “
I’m not trying to throw shade at all of the teams that are losing today, but being in a situation where you are one series away from your whole year being over and you have to sit and you have to dwell on that for the next four days and then you go into BlizzCon knowing that there’s no second chances? It’s just a really, really tough feeling to overcome.”

Cdew celebrates with Trill after their Opening Week win 

They have successfully evaded that scenario, though; the dynamic duo that is Mes and Trill is a tough one to beat. They have two Arena World Cup seasons’ worth of teamwork under their belts, and when Cdew approached Mes about playing together for 2018, he agreed with the stipulation that Trill come along for the ride.

“As soon as Mes and I started playing together last year, something just clicked. Like, we just had some sort of synergy that was crazy -- which is funny ‘cause we were on Method Synergy,” Trill explained. “We did really well at BlizzCon last year and [Mes was] just like ‘we’re doing this again, we’re gonna make it work.’ And we’re doin’ it right now.”

Trill, as aforementioned, is a master of all things PvE and PvP. He has competed in the AWC, the MDI, and the Mythic World First race, and although he concedes that it is tough to juggle all three game modes, he does not think he does anything particularly unique.

“I have to focus on what I’m doing at that time and when I’m not doing anything, that’s when I think about and practice what I could be doing better, and it’s just, um-- I don’t think I do anything special,” he laughs. “It’s just I play the game a lot and that’s all that is.”

(When surrounded by his arena teammates and pressed on the question, Trill conceded that he prefers the Arena World Championship to the Mythic Dungeon Invitational.

“Last year’s MDI, there were a lot of non-linear dungeons which allowed me to take my strategy imagination to the limits. I came up with our lower Karazhan strategy pretty much by myself and … it worked really well,” he said. “But most of these new dungeons -- actually, all of them -- are completely linear. So … for now, I definitely have to [prefer] the World Championship for arenas.”

“Correct answer,” said Mes from across the room.)

Trill shakes hands with Making A Movie

Trill and Mes may have clicked instantaneously, but the Cdew-Mes partnership that got Method Orange up and running was a long time coming.
The two had been cordial for years and frequently queued casual ranked ladder games together, but for one reason or another, they had always ended up on opposing competition teams. In fact, their only competitive history together stretches back to an online tournament in Cataclysm.

“I was on a team and he was on a team, and it just so happened that their healer wasn’t there and my DPS weren’t there, so [we merged] and ended up winning the whole thing,” explained Cdew. When it came time to look for partners for this season, Mes seemed a natural choice, so Cdew pulled him out of retirement.

And as for Samiyam? Trill claims they needed a multi-classing caster to round on the roster, but Cdew assures me that he is merely the best water boy they could find. “He was excellent at that water boy role,” joked Cdew, “so he was just a perfect fit for the team. Sometimes he picks up Starbucks as well -- he’s a great fourth, he’s a great addition.”

This will be Cdew’s fifth BlizzCon appearance and, if he wins, first BlizzCon championship. Time and time again, he has grasped victory and then watched it slip through his fingertips. In 2016, he made it to the Grand Finals only to lose to Splyce in a nail-biter, 7-map series on World of Warcraft’s biggest stage.


"It’s gonna sound maybe cliche, but I definitely
want to beat the people that have beaten me,"


This year could be different. His sizeable stream audience is optimistic, anyway, and Cdew is well-aware that their hopes are riding on him and Method Orange to bring a BlizzCon championship back to North America.

“Being in the public eye definitely has always added more pressure, especially since I’ve been doing this for so long, … but at the end of the day, I can’t really get too overwhelmed by that because I’ve just gotta do the best I can and if it’s not enough sometimes, that’s all it is. The only people that I don’t want to let down are my teammates,” he said.

Mes and Cdew embrace after their Upper Bracket victory

With one win already secured, Method Orange is feeling confident moving forward. 
“I feel like getting the first win is like, the most important one. It solidifies that we do deserve to be here, we are working hard, [and] we can compete with some of these other teams,” said Cdew.

Last minute, Method Orange chose to run an Unholy Death Knight composition for their Opening Week match but still were not entirely secure in the pick, unable to decide if they were madmen or geniuses for thinking it might work -- t
hat is, until they saw Pen and Paper pull out a Death Knight of their own in a match versus The Gosu Crew.

The underdog Chinese team took the fan favorites, the #2 North American seed, to five maps and only narrowly missed out on a second Upper Bracket victory for the night.

"Gosu Crew is a team that we hold with the highest respect," said Cdew. "They were battling against us all year and we lose series to them all the time, and we know how difficult it is to actually beat them, so when we saw [Pen and Paper] go up 2-1 on them, we were like, 'wow, these guys must be the real deal.'"

Pen and Paper, they all agree, is not a team you'd like to meet in the Lower Bracket.

Pen and Paper take on Reformed during Opening Week

On Friday, Method Orange will go head-to-head with Skill Capped (formerly XRB to the Moon) in their second Upper Bracket match of the tournament. Cdew is looking forward to the series; when asked who he would most like to face in the Grand Finals, he responded, “It’s gonna sound maybe cliche, but I definitely want to beat the people that have beaten me, and currently that’s XRB and Tempo.”

“XRB -- with Loony -- beat me at a BlizzCon where they reverse swept me and [Tempo Storm] Boetar obviously beat me in the finals two years ago, so it would just feel more rewarding to me to beat the people that beat me originally. It’s no, like, grudge match or anything like that, but that’s what I feel like would be the most satisfying win.”

When Mes helpfully pointed out that Cdew has also lost to Swapxy on Method Black, he added them to the list too.

Kassi (left) watches Method NA compete at BlizzCon 2016

Regardless of Friday’s outcome, though, Cdew has a lot to go home to -- and an imminent off-season he intends to enjoy. He is a new dad to both a little boy, Maverick, and (yet another) Golden Retriever puppy. His wife, Kassi, is instrumental to his success, shouldering much of their day-to-day responsibilities during tournament season so that Cdew can stream and compete.

“Without her support, I wouldn’t be able to do anything, y’know? She’s waking up in the morning, taking care of the baby. I wake up, when I go to sleep at four am, maybe around noon, so I’m not really doing too much and then I’ve got to stream at two,” he said.

“Then I get off my stream and I’ve got to practice and she already has dinner made and then she puts the baby to bed and-- yeah, what’s really being sacrificed is our personal time. We haven’t really had any of that in probably a year. It’s just been really tough. She’s definitely the biggest supporter of mine and she’s definitely the number one reason I’m even able to be at this competitive level.”

His workload will lighten after BlizzCon when post-stream practices and review sessions no longer eat into his free time, and Cdew says he will likely cut back on his stream schedule, too. “Every time after BlizzCon comes out, I don’t even know if I queue serious, competitive 3s for weeks, if not months. You just put so much into it that after that, you need a break.”

Trill, meanwhile, intends to pursue World of Warcraft for the foreseeable future -- "If this doesn’t work out or the game loses interest to me, then I’ll maybe look towards going to college, but I want to pursue this while I can; it’s an unique opportunity," he said.

Method Orange beat Making A Movie

But really, what happens to the team after BlizzCon 2018 is a question for another time.
For now, all eyes are on Friday's matches. 

Method Orange will face off against Skill Capped, the #2 European seed, in the semi-finals. Just like Method, Skill Capped secured a strong 3-0 victory in their Opening Week match and will undoubtedly carry that momentum onto the BlizzCon stage. They are a formidable, too-frequently overlooked team with the potential to push Method to the brink of elimination. 

If Method wins? Exhilaration. If Method loses? Profound eartbreak and a new addition to Cdew's collection of "close but no cigar" BlizzCon appearances. 
Either way, it isn't a series to miss.

You can catch the conclusion of the 2018 World of Warcraft Arena World Championship this weekend, November 2nd - 3rd, at BlizzCon and on the official Warcraft Twitch channel. See the official BlizzCon schedule for the full timetable of matches.

All photos courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment.

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