Team Gravity were not a team anybody was truly expecting to see in the playoffs in Season 2 of the SC2ITL. The American based team is also home to Danish Protoss player SpaceMarine - who has been a strong player for them throughout the season. They came out ahead of Cascade, ALTERNATE and Nuit Blanche - two teams who made it to the playoffs last season (Cascade were runners-up) and the other who were new this season.
As they enter the playoffs they are definitely underdogs - they face off against AT Gaming in their quarter-final match and if they make it through the victors of Group A then they have the pleasure of playing either mYinsanity or Alien invasion in the semi-finals - definitely not an easy task. Here is an in-depth interview with Marten Medrano, the owner of Team Gravity, talking about the SC2ITL Season, Team Gravity and thoughts on the NA scene.
First of all congratulations on what has been a great season in the SC2ITL so far! How important is performing well and participating in team leagues?
Team leagues are very important to us. Not only do they help our team get recognized by other players and fans, but they are a lot of fun and usually great practice for our players. We try to participate in as many team leagues as possible. While individual player results are probably a bit more important, it's always a great feeling when we do win team leagues since it's a group effort and every player on the team is crucial to our success.
It was a close fight to make the S2 playoffs and it came down to the last game of the season - how did it feel to realize you realistically could make it to the playoffs?
It felt really good knowing that we could actually make it to the playoffs. We had a rough start in the beginning of the season, and about halfway through we thought we were out of the running for playoffs. As the season developed a little more, we realized we did have a shot to make it into the top 4, and took the remaining weeks very seriously. Our guys all kicked it into high gear and finished the last half of the season with a lot of 4-0's and 4-1's.
The playoffs is a gauntlet of essentially the best teams and there are no real surprises in this line-up - do you feel like the underdogs at all? How confident are you in progressing through the rounds?
We definitely feel like the underdogs coming into the playoffs - there are a lot of very strong teams we'll have to fight through if we want to make it to the finals. I wouldn't say we necessarily feel confident going into the playoffs, but being the underdog definitely lights a fire under our asses to do well - it always has. We are still relatively new, and lesser known in comparison to some of the other teams in the playoffs, but making it this far and placing above some very strong European teams proves that we have what it takes to compete.
Being the only NA based organization to make it to the Division One playoffs is a great feeling! We hope to show some really exciting games, and eagerly look forward to fighting through the bracket!
Which Gravity players should we specifically look out for now that every map matters?
All of the guys on our lineup are very talented and are a huge part of our success as a team, but there are a few players who have done really well recently and will be crucial when it comes time to fight through all the strong European teams in the playoffs.
The first player that comes to mind is our very own 20 year old European Protoss from Denmark - Suayb "SpaceMarine" Köse. He's done very well recently in both online and offline events. The biggest accomplishment in this season of the ITL for him was definitely in week 8 when he went 3-0 vs Ai, beating Lillekanin, Krr, and Patience - bringing us to a 4-1 victory. In April he made it to Ro8 of the Copenhagen Spring Games 2014, where he lost to Hyun 1-3. He was also voted to represent his country - Denmark - in NationWars 2.
The second player to keep an eye out for is our 18 year old GM Terran player from Pennsylvania - Justin "DeeMo" Souders. He's our newest recruit, but has quickly proven to be a valuable part of our roster. He started playing for us in the ITL midway through the season and has had very impressive play. While not having any significant LAN results yet, he's a regular competitor in many of the weekly online cups, and has pulled out a lot of first place victories - winning some nice prize money to spend on more DMX albums.
Last but not least is our 24 year old GM Zerg player from Washington - Jason "Kreos" Jackson. Kreos has been with us over a year - longer than any other active member. He's consistently been an ace player in important matches and events, and has been making a bit of a splash in the NA scene recently. Most notably would be his great performance in Feardragon's Breaking Out NA Season 2 tournament - where he received one of only two invite spots and managed to place 3rd-4th, losing to Hendralisk who eventually went on to win the tournament.
Many people believe there is a severe skill-gap between the NA and EU servers, how do you feel about this?
I definitely think there is a skill gap between North America and Europe (Europe being harder). The teams we've had to compete with in the ITL have seemed much stronger than the teams we play in the North American team leagues. This skill gap - however large or small it may be - does make the ITL much more fun to play in because we are playing very good teams almost every week.
Are the enough opportunities for your team to be showcased in the NA scene?
I think there are a good amount of opportunites, but there could always be more. Between team leagues and solo events our players stay pretty busy. Online weekly cups are a great filler for competition when there's not too much going on, and the opportunity to participate in MLG's and Red Bull events definitely motivate our players to continue working hard on improving their play. We were very happy to see that ITL will be having a North American team league - there's a lot of good teams involved and we hope to continue our strong performance there.
Thanks for your time, any final words or shoutouts?
First and foremost, I want to give a big thanks to you and your organization for putting on an awesome team league! This is our second season competing, and we plan on playing in many more! We also look forward to putting on a good showing in the SC2ITL NA team league coming soon. I also want to give a huge thanks to our amazing management staff. They're the ones behind the scenes organizing the matches, working closely with our players and helping the team grow, who don't get nearly enough credit. Lastly, I want to thank all of our fans and followers who cheer us on and support us! We have an amazing fan base who are always cheering for us in events, watching player streams, and keeping us motivated as an organization. We will do our best to put on a good show for all of you! We also welcome anybody who wants to keep up with our events and support our team to give us a follow at www.facebook.com/TeamGravityOfficial and www.twitter.com/TeamGrav ! Thank you! #GRAVFIGHTING