Interview with Enemy Khaos
Wed 18th May 2016 - 10:37am
Season 3 of the Smite Pro League has started off strong with the Spring Split seeing some of the most intriguing and action packed matches we’ve had in a long time. One team however that many people did not have any eyes on was Enemy. Enemy had recently dropped 3 members of their old roster, and picked up some players unfamiliar with the SPL. This brought the team into question, with many expecting them to place lowly. Fortunately for Enemy in their first game of the season they took out Luminosity Gaming 2-0, showing they were a force to be reckoned with. Their performance has been very consistent so far during this split, with them currently placed 2nd with a score of 14-6.
While all the players on Enemy have been performing really well, Khaos has been a player which has stood out to many. He puts a lot of time into practicing and refining his play, and it really shines when it comes to the SPL. Looking at some of his statistics from week 1 through 6 of the SPL, Khaos was the player with the most damage in the SPL, coming out at 366,830 damage dealt overall. His most played god so far has been Zeus, with a win percentage of 60%. Following behind that is Janus and Sol with 4 games each, both with a win percentage of 75%.
With this spotlight on him I decided to catch up with Khaos and ask some questions about his Smite career, the SPL, and Enemy.
Let’s start with your career, when did you first start playing Smite?
Khaos: I started playing SMITE about 3 years ago alongside my two best friends Godly502 and Samoox. I was actually under the name KhaosComplex. I played during closed beta phase when the map had fog of war and side jungles. SMITE was actually the first MOBA any of us had ever played but we all fell in love with it. We grinded casuals together for a couple years. I never really got into ranked because I always enjoyed playing with them, and most of the people I played with enjoyed casual more. It wasn’t really until I switched to mid that I started taking ranked more seriously.
How did you end up getting into the competitive scene?
Khaos: So I’m gonna give the whole story. Basically during the first year of playing, I really wanted to see how far I could go. I felt the game was so young that if there was any game I could go pro at, this would be a chance. I started grinding the game harder, found myself to prefer the support role, and eventually formed a team with a couple players I met on the Looking For Team forum. One of them was actually Cooper, the current Smite eSports admin. Godly actually joined the team with me, and played for some time. Eventually, Godly lost interest in competitive and we picked up Deathtopeanutz (failurebydesign).
Deathtopeanutz and I felt we were far above the skill level of the other players on the team and eventually split off to start another team, The Cats Meow with Aror, Skawt, and Callowz/Frosh. We actually went on to get third place in a wildcard tourny, only losing to Vexx Na, which at the time had Paindeviande and a couple other relevant players. At the time I really really REALLY loved magic Guan and Hades support, those were definitely my signatures. From there we eventually split off, eventually finding homes on other teams. Deathtopeanutz found his way onto Down 2 Frag, which had Kiki and DJ at the time. I found my way on another team with Aror & Cabom, which we called The Humble Bees. At this time, I had actually switched to Solo lane so every day I was scrimming against Kiki. It actually got pretty rough for me cause at the time I really wasn’t that good of a player and struggled to fit into the role well.
After Humble Bees eventually fell, I felt I could have more of an impact in games playing the mid lane role. Remember at this time, Solo lane wasn’t the snowball lane that it was in Season 2, you had a large impact, but usually rather later in the game. I switched to mid and started grinding ranked. It took awhile but eventually I got used to how everything pans out with that perspective. From there I made a team with a couple friends, Narrian, Mastefosho, Reverbo, and Faymous called Bloodbath and Beyond. We were doing relatively okay but had a lot of shortcomings that couldn’t be overlooked. Faymous eventually got a better offer and moved on.
From there I got picked up by Resist Gaming and played with HuDat, Fearno, Balentine, and Marauder/Wordsasweapons (there were many many different teammates as we played, but generally these were around for the longest). This is where I made contact with PainDeViande as I had actually reached out to him for coaching advice regarding our team. From there we started becoming friends and I guess he felt I was dedicated because I used to have really long conversations every night about the ways I could play better, how my team could improve, theorycrafting and honestly anything related to Smite really. It was at this time that I heard wind of a possible new team being formed and I was told I had a chance at making it.
Eventually after a couple tryouts and some nervous nights he invited me to join the final roster. Probably one of the happiest moments in my Smite career, because after 2 long and stressful years I had FINALLY made it to SPL. (seriously, losing/dealing with challenger cup and not making SPL got really stressful with all the effort I was putting in.) From here I probably don’t need to say much more, you all know the story.
What is it that you enjoy about SMITE and what gods do you enjoy playing?
Khaos: Heh, I actually was in love with MMORPGs for a while, Lunia was a game I was obsessed with for awhile. But essentially I love how much control you have over the character, the RPG elements, and the competitive aspect. The fact that there’s a skill limit to almost every character is what gives me the drive to play so much. I want to push these gods to their potential. I would say though, playing scrims, SPL matches, and ESPECIALLY LAN matches is the most fun I’ve ever had, period. Seriously, the raw energy you get just from playing at that top level, having to constantly think, coordinate and execute, there’s just nothing else like it. The feeling is almost indescribable, you just feel so alive.
It’s no secret, but I love Zhong Kui. That god was always the one I felt I could play into anything, at anytime, no matter what. He was the one character I felt completely in tune with during Season 2 so I kept running him as often as I could. Obviously with Season 3, I have a couple new favorites.
Do you find it hard to manage your time with you being a student and a competitive player?
Khaos: The Fall Split was brutal. I had 5 computer science classes, one was a writing course, another was algorithms, computational theory (finite state machines), computer music, and operating systems. I had to balance 5 project/study heavy courses + scrims + ranked + LAN. If you were to count Smite as work, I was working from the moment I woke up to the time I went to sleep for a couple solid months. This semester however, and every semester moving forward, I’m only going to be taking 4 classes and balancing them with only 1-2 project heavy courses and 2 easier ones. So things for this semester are significantly easier to deal with and I had in fact a lot of free time compared to the Fall Split. It’s not hard to manage Smite/College in my opinion, but I think it was harder for me in particular to manage because I take my time playing Smite very seriously and it got rather exhausting to also be taking all of that work so seriously.
What’s your favourite competitive match in SMITE’s history and why?
Khaos: Probably the game we beat EnVyUs in the best of 5. It was indescribable how good it felt to qualify for worlds. If you rewatch the final minutes, you can actually hear Saltmachine say the words “We’re going to worlds!” in a surprised fashion. We were down that entire game and pushed ourselves back on top. That line actually has become an inside joke for us, something we chant still after we win SPL games haha. One of the best parts of that day was APC walking up to me, hand out, saying “Welcome to Worlds.”
Talk to me a bit about Enemy. Did you ever expect for your team to have so much success?
Khaos: I expected better than the predicted results. I had tried to push Marauder and Varizial onto SPL teams for the longest time, but people rarely want to try people they don’t already know. I already knew both of them were very cooperative and fantastic players, and I figured if no one else was going to give them a chance, I might as well. If I believe in them enough to push them into other teams, then I believe in them enough to play with them. PandaCat on the other hand was an old teammate from Legion Of Carrots that Pain wanted to bring on. In the past Pain and Panda were insane together and got along very well. It was the perfect fit to round out the new team. I expected us to have a good team environment but also have performance issues until everyone adjusted to SPL level of play. Fortunately for us, everyone adjusted day 1! However, I did not BY ANY MEANS expect us to be top 2, that was a surprise for all of us.
Where do you think the team’s success has came from?
Khaos: Everyone, every member on this team has put in a ton of hard work and commitment to being the best. It’s more that people want to work together on this team, rather than work for themselves.
How is the team environment in Enemy?
Khaos: The team environment is probably the best I’ve been in. Not everyone knows but PandaCat, Varizial, and Marauder really do foster a productive and fun environment. One of the reasons Pain and I had issues with the old team had to do with personality clashes that happened in game. No one’s fault, just for some reason things weren’t working out. (And to their credit they’re doing fantastic on Denial eSports.) All of us on Enemy don’t clash. We all get along insanely well and chill outside of Smite. All of us enjoy playing Smite together, so usually everything is very constructive. Everyone respects everyone’s opinion, we all criticize each other, take the advice, and slowly mesh our playstyles together. You can’t be a good unit if you don’t play off of your teammates.
In game it hasn’t really been said enough but all of us contribute to shot calling. Essentially at its core all of us present ideas and opportunities we see fit, and instead of blindly following it, we all consider our vantage points and quickly state whether or not it’s a good idea. Depending on the quick responses we reset or go through with it. Varizial is incredibly sensible, he understands and controls the map very well. He calls way more engagements than people know, and very often sets up perfect opportunities for picks and fights. The majority of the kills we got in one of our games vs SoaR game was entirely because of Varizial’s setup. All of us though communicate tons of information relative to our strength, and when we’re in a unit Pain takes all that information and turns it into a plan. Something about Pain is that he’s the best person on the team at recognizing the status of the team, and he uses that to keep everyone on the same page. I.e “Keep going, back up, soft poke, back off” We always know whether or not we’re full committing. The team just synergizes well.
Over your recent games people have started to notice you more and more for how well you play. As a competitive player how do you go about improving your mechanical skill?
Khaos: I can’t stress it enough, YOU HAVE TO understand your role. To flesh that out, what I mean is that you need to know what’s expected of your role, and what’s not. Trying to do the Jungler’s role as a Mid laner will cost you farm, or trying to zone people as a medium leveled ADC will get you killed. It’s the syndrome of trying to do someone else’s job that’ll screw you over. Once you understand the ideal expectations of your role, you push yourself to play within those bounds as cleanly as possible. For example, when you’re playing casuals or ranked, a fight breaks out and you get a kill but die for it. You need to evaluate a couple things and understand what actually happened, you need to not only understand your own job but everyone else’s as well. From here you figure out who did what right, who did what wrong, and above all, what you could have done better. A huge majority of the game is flat out intuition anyway, no one plays perfect, so no matter what happened, no matter if u did a lot of damage or did nothing at all, you have to ask yourself “How could I have played that better?” “How could I have positioned to get my damage off better?” “Should I have been more patient? Was I too patient?”. Keep asking yourself those questions, keep adjusting your playstyle, and you will see improvements.
One of the reasons I don’t stream is because I basically criticize myself as I play, and wouldn’t really be able to pay much attention to chat. If anyone has ever watched the Smash documentary, I recall a segment about m2k and how he would study the frame/animations of each character and figure out ways to push them further. It’s that type of logic you need to apply, your goal is to maximize every bit of potential your god has, and abuse it.
Is there any teams in the SPL that have surprised you?
Khaos: I don’t necessarily think a team has surprised me (we all expected Panthera), although I wasn’t sure if SoaR was going to play their SPL matches like they do scrims. It was a happy surprise that they did as they’re an exciting team to play and watch.
You mentioned before on Twitter that you really enjoy playing against SoaR, what is it about them that makes their games so enjoyable?
Khaos: They fight a lot, and play rather aggressive. Playing Soar seems like a quick back and forth until someone comes out on top. It’s the fact that they are constantly pressuring whatever they can that makes the game so enjoyable. Like I sort of said before, the more challenging the match, the more stimulating it gets, the more fun it is!
Is there a funny or skillful play that you have fond memories of?
Khaos: I still rewatch my teleport play against Fnatic from time to time. By far that was the greatest moment of Worlds for me. I literally remember not only wasting my Recall Demons but also killing Adjust. I was lazy backing, Sol popped her Disapparate and I realized she’d catch me before I’d back, so I called for Adjust to help me, which he did but killed himself in return. When I backed I realized I still hadn’t gotten my second active and thought to myself “What would a solo laner do right now?” right then I bought Teleport and teleported straight on top of a ward. Walked in behind the enemy, killed them both, and screamed louder than I ever have before letting the impact and roar of the crowd flood my ears. If I hadn’t made that play, I don’t think we would’ve beaten Fnatic.
Thanks for your time! Is there anything you would like to say or anyone you would like to shoutout?
Khaos: Shoutouts to Godly for being so supportive over the years and keeping my head high even when I thought things weren’t going to work out. To Pain for giving me the chance to prove myself and and to all my teammates for being absolutely amazing. And lastly to all my friends and family that also constantly support me, you guys rock!