“Number of kills is not representative of a player’s ability as a slayer”: an interview with Team Epsilon’s Swanny

Team Epsilon is one of the most impressive teams in all of Call of Duty, their lineup built around raw slaying power. This trait coupled with their experience makes each player on the team an absolute wrecking ball in the game. They’re one of two teams constantly vying for the title of top European team, and their flashy moves and incredible gunplay make them a joy to watch on stream, so make sure to catch their showmatches at pro.eslgaming.com/callofduty.

Looking through the team’s history, you can see that Epsilon has complete control over the European Call of Duty scene. With first place finishes in four major LAN events in the past year, the team has never looked better. Jurd in particular is absolutely unstoppable. He constantly makes plays which are seemingly impossible. Once you add in the mobility and frantic pace of Advanced Warfare, Epsilon will absolutely shine.

Getting to see the team play a brand new title over the last two days has been inspiring. Even in the face of a ton of brand-new content and never-before-seen abilities, they constantly strategize and test things out. They’re genuinely excited for the new title and in talking with Swanny I learned that the changes to the series are an opportunity rather than a burden for these players. The current roster includes:

Joshua-Lee “Joshh” Shephard and Jordan “Jurd” Crowley
Tom “Tommy” Trewren and Callum “Swanny” Swan

Swanny is an old guard of the Call of Duty community. He’s been competing for years on various teams but has found a home at Epsilon, where he regularly takes home gold medals. Playing as a sub for the Italian team at CoD Champs 2013, Swanny absolutely carried the team into the top eight. Having spent some time with him over the past two days, I can attest that Swanny is one of the most insightful players I’ve had a chance to chat with. He’s expecting big things from Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare and was happy to discuss the fresh and interesting strategies made possible by the new player movement.

ESL: Swanny, you’ve been around in the CoD scene for ages now. What parts of the game do you still find exciting or innovative?
Swanny: The format of the Call of Duty series. The annual release cycle and alternating developers ensure that the platform of competition is dynamic. Unlike other major eSports titles, each year players must adapt to a completely different metagame, with new maps, game modes and weapons.
Alongside that are the features that are synonymous with CoD and remain constant throughout the series, particularly the highly customizable ‘create a class’ system, through which players are able personalize their in-game experience. As a competitive player, I’m able to tailor both my equipment and perks to best fulfill my role in the team.
ESL: You have been, without a doubt, one of the best slayers in Europe through every CoD title you played. At CoD Champs last year, you even carried your team to a top eight finish. What makes you a better slayer than most of the others?
Swanny: Although I took leadership of the squad in 2013, it was a great team performance, rather than a ‘carry’. The experience I’ve gained from consistently competing at those events is invaluable and certainly differentiates me from other players (knowing how to approach a variety of challenging situations both mentally and in-game, for example).
There’s also a misconception that the number of kills, or even kill/death ratio, is representative of a player’s ability as a slayer. In fact, it is simply the importance of their kills - a case of quality rather than quantity.
ESL: Do you ever watch and study other teams or is your focus more on your own game? Do you make any special preparations for certain opponents?
Swanny: As with most team games and conventional sports, analysis of the opposition is imperative at a professional level. While your primary concern should always be improving your own strategy, knowing the situational habits and preferences of rivals is always useful.

ESL: Every developer of Call of Duty has left their own signature in the game. What would you love to see Sledghammer Games bring to Advanced Warfare as their signature? What features would be helpful for competitive gaming in general from your perspective?
Swanny: Firstly, the return of League Play. It was a distinctive feature of Black Ops 2 that marked a significant increase in developer support for CoD eSports, while raising the casual community's awareness of competitive gaming and bridging the gap between public and professional.

Further integration would also be welcome, such as publicising tournaments in-game and, with reference to the recent success of DOTA 2's The International, revenue generated by mictrotransactions  (e.g team-themed weapon camouflages) that contributes toward tournament prize pools.

As you can see from the interview, it’s great to hear from Swanny on the new title and competitive Call of Duty. Make sure to follow him during the showmatch streams at pro.eslgaming.com/callofduty from 17:00 to 19:00 CEST. If you haven’t already, also check out our interview with Enable from Team Curse, another insightful player who has a ton of experience with FPS titles, as well as our interviews with Gotaga from Team Vitality, MerK from EnVy.US and RocKzz from KILLERFISH eSport.


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