Interview with DIG spajKK on his Beginnings, Success and Growth
Tue 5th Dec 2017 - 9:11pm
Exciting times are ahead for Team Dignitas, having just recently acquired a talent-loaded PUBG lineup! We've had a chance to chat with Martin "spajKK" Beneš about his background in competitive gaming, the state of PUBG as an eSport, and more!
Hi Martin, and welcome to Team Dignitas! How do you feel about this opportunity to represent the team?
spajKK: Hello, I would never have expected that one day I would play in such a huge and popular team as Team Dignitas. Tons of people from the Czech Republic are fans of Team Dignitas because of its Call of Duty 4 team. Actually, my competitive career in PUBG started right at Gamescom 2017, where I played duo with the legendary COD4 player Mazarini, so it was even more surprising to me that such a great team as Team Dignitas chose me.
For those who don’t know you, what’s your background in competitive gaming?
spajKK: Like most PUBG players, I came from CS:GO. I’m the type of player who sets goals for himself and will do everything to achieve them. Every PC game, everything in my life I have ever done, I did it with all my strength. I put all my free time and effort into what makes me happy. In CS:GO, I started as a casual matchmaking player and little by little I was gradually getting better and started investigating the opportunities the CS:GO scene could give me. After 6000 hours of playing it and trying to get to FPL-C (FACEIT), the second biggest competition, I was getting tired of it. I had a period where I started streaming and I waited for a game that would interest me.
What hooked you into PUBG as your main game?
spajKK: In March of this year, PUBG was released and I knew this game deserved my attention. After eight months, I have spent 1500 hours on this game. Why PUBG, if there are other similar games, maybe even better ones? I think PUBG is one of the most complex games in the world: aim and movement alone don't make you a great player like in most other games. This game is about how you can think, and predict what your opponent is going to do. For example: some will use the zone as cover, some will try to get to middle of the zone as fast as possible, both playstyles are viable.
How would you describe your playstyle - methodical and reactive, or aggressive and proactive? Or something else?
spajKK: I enjoy close and middle range combats the most. That’s the reason why I love aggressive plays and I’m trying to find these positions. Of course on public servers these kinds of fights are easy to find, but in big tournaments like Gamescom, 90% are playing in position, waiting in one spot (camping). And that's no surprise. In PUBG when you hold a position, you have a big advantage, but sometimes situations will arise when you play your position and an aggressive player will surprise you. This happened to me at Gamescom in the final fight of game 1, where I was in a 2v1 situation, both players were holding positions, and I showed my aggression.
Your most recent achievement was landing 1st place in one game of the Duo First-Person Finals at the Gamescom Invitational, and finishing 4th overall. How’d you feel about your performance?
spajKK: Before I talk about that unbelievable placement, I would like to tell you about my road to Gamescom. I dare to say that my trip to Gamescom and what followed could be a theme for a movie.
Months before the event, ESL published information about the PUBG Invitational, opening it to people who weren’t invited (Liquid, TSM, LG, etc.). I was a solo player and all my time I had spent playing solo, so the fact that the event was a duo tournament, not solo or squad, was very surprising for me. However, Nikolai “Mazarini” Lazarev texted me three weeks before the tournament, asking if I was willing to go to Cologne with him and play two qualifications in duo FPP and TPP. Like I said, I’m really competitive and right at that moment I said to myself I want to accomplish this. We set ourselves times when we would practice and reach a 2000+ rating, which was the cut-off to get invited to this tournament.
On Friday, 18th of August, ESL closed qualification and we had around a 2150 rating. We were satisfied with the feeling that we had made the qualification. We booked a hotel, event tickets, and were ready for the invitation email from ESL. On Saturday night we learned that of 400 teams that reached qualification, ESL would choose only 20. We felt like all the money spent on tickets was wasted and that ESL just fooled with us. We cancelled the event tickets, but not the hotel room, as still there was still some hope left. I was at my job on Monday at 3am when Mazi told me that he got an email which said that we were invited to GamesCom! It went very fast, and since there was no chance to get time off from my job, I had to take a 12 hour bus to Cologne following my 19-07 night shift.
I arrived at the hotel at about 3 in the morning after 40 hours without sleep and I managed to get around four hours of sleep before I had to wake up for the qualifier which started at 9am. We won the second game and made it to the Finals in Duo TPP. On the next day, we ended up making it through the Duo FPP qualifier and made it to the Finals, where we ended up 4th of 40 invited teams!
Let’s talk about cooperative PUBG. What are the most effective traits of a successful PUBG duo or party?
spajKK: In competitive PUBG matches, there is big game changer: tactics. In tier 1 teams everybody can shoot, everybody has godly aim, but the differences between them are strategy, timing, communication, positioning, and little bit of luck. Position is the thing that will probably win your game. If there is a team that gets the zone five times without having to move, they have a big advantage. I think the most valuable player is the person who decides what to do, the shotcaller. He needs to know everything about the map, every little spot and how to use it.
You make up a quarter of Team Dignitas’ PUBG team, alongside suntouch, Liquidz and ZiphoN. How much experience have you had playing with them so far, and how are they as a team?
spajKK: Immediately after Gamescom, our captain Suntouch contacted me if I wanted to play with them, which I accepted as fast as I could. At the start, the team consisted of Suntouch, Liquidz, and Jokkizz, however Jokkizz was replaced by ZiphoN. So, I have spent two months with them and almost two with ZiphoN on the roster. Suntouch is a a very experienced player. Almost everyone in the community knows him from Smite, where he was an elite player. He's a guy with a great game knowledge, so much experience from competitive matches, so he knows how to be a real captain, and also what to do in every situation. Liquidz is the silent one, he doesn’t speak too much, but he is the one who is doing the killing. ZiphoN is a universal player, the type of player that has godly aim, movement, overview in-game, and can also be a shotcaller and leader for the team.
What’s your favourite way to play - solo, duo or a party? Third or first person?
spajKK: I’m not just a pro player but also a fulltime streamer, so from a streamer point of view, where I just want to have fun hunting everyone. I don’t mind if I die, and the goal is just to kill the most players, I prefer solo/duo FPP. I’m a player with his own style focused on aim and close combats, which is why FPP is the best for me.
While PUBG has a high casual viewership, it’s still in early stages in growth as an eSport. What sets it apart from other eSports, and what challenges do you believe it’ll face?
spajKK: The game has a lot of potential to become an even bigger professional esports game than Dota 2 and CS:GO. It all depends on the development and the way the game is going to be oriented. Even though it is not even out for a year, it already has its own professional teams and gamers, which are paid to play and represent their teams. The toughest thing for developers of this game is going to be making this game enjoyable for spectators and creating idols for public gamers. If we take CS:GO as an example, it is easy to watch. The map is small, so spectators can orient themselves.
PUBG on the other hand has a huge map and a lot of spectators that don't play the game every day won't really know what is happening and will get a bit lost in these types of competitive matches. I can't say what it is exactly that needs to happen, but I believe it can be the biggest competitive game of this age. I also think that it’s very important to have idols in this game, people who are going to be admired by the people who just play for fun and want to be as good as them. It's something that will make a lot of people want to tryhard this game and get as good as the professional players. Right now this game is based on teams as a whole, and a single person can’t do as much as a team.
Some have argued that PUBG’s development as an eSport may be partially hampered by restricted spectating capabilities. What changes would you make to improve PUBG’s viewer experience?
spajKK: There needs to be a system which in competitive matches automatically detects when opposing teams meet each other and where fights are about to happen. It would make spectating the game a lot more fun in the first 20 minutes. This kind of system already exists and works in CS:GO where the spectator is able to see everything that matters.
We’ve seen an influx of trending Battle Royale games, with the latest competitor being Fortnite. From a professional player’s perspective, how do games like H1Z1 and Fortnite hold up against PUBG?
spajKK: I used to play H1Z1 – the old H1Z1 with the old map and client – for about 1000 hours on Steam, and it was very fun for me, but after the new client and map arrived, the reason I enjoyed it was gone. I think there was chance that H1Z1 could have had a competitive scene, but the developers killed it. I don’t have that much experience with Fortnite. It's fun, but nothing for me.
Do you have any advice for players who want to be recognized and become professional PUBG players?
spajKK: As a player, you have to set your own style. Of course, I can recommend aggressive play, drop to locations where tons of people drop and try to find fights. That’s the fastest way to learn how to play this game. At the start, you will have bad stats, as there is a higher chance that you will die, but give it one season, and you will be better than a player who just “camped” it out for the stats. A lot of people will argue that PUBG is a survival game where you shouldn't worry about kills, and while that’s true to an extent, in my opinion this playstyle will put you one step ahead of your enemies, as it did for me. Afterwards, you need to find a group of people, practice like a team, and try to focus on improving in the areas where competitive play differs from public play.
Finally, do you have any closing words?
spajKK: A message to the community: do everything that you enjoy, that's fun to you now! Ignore the people who talk down on it, who say that you only think you are the best. Go for you dreams, believe in them, believe that one day these people will come to you and say: wow, good job! I got so much support from my fans, and I’m glad for it, without them I would not have gone to Cologne, even Team Dignitas will be a dream for me, but even I have to say thanks to all my haters. Whenever I have free time, I stream on twitch.tv/spajKK where I have my lovely Groot family. Thank you, again! spajkkLove
We thank spajKK for his time! To keep up to date with him, follow him on social media below, and stay tuned with Team Dignitas!