INTERVIEW WITH STK'S COACH MACHINEGUNNER: WINNING ESL MASTERS, PCS4 AMERICAS, AND A NEW TEAM?
Upon their return from PUBG Esports' largest event in recent history, Shoot To Kill had limited time to readjust to online competition for the ESL PUBG Masters Americas Group Stage. Additionally, the team was still forming necessary synergy between new teammates following a roster change that surprised everyone in the midst of PGI.S. Considering all of the potential distractions circling this team, they stepped into the ESL PUBG Masters and dominated the lobby from start to finish. We're all most familiar with the players fighting on the battlegrounds, so for this interview, we've reached out to their coach MachineGunner to hear more about the team's outlook for ESL and PCS4.
Shoot To Kill commands high expectations heading into any tournament. Their previous success on the biggest stages has set the bar high for one of the region's best teams. Having said that, no one is undoubtedly positive about how a new member will fit into a team. Following the departure of Uncivil, the addition of Penta offered STK a new look for the second half of PGI.S. Early signs were positive, but his performance throughout the ESL PUBG Masters has truly fixed him within this roster's starting four.
Since their championship run through the ESL PUBG Masters, Shoot To Kill has remained at the forefront of our "NA org watch" thanks to a comment made during the post-game interview from Luke12. Rumors surrounding the potential landing spots for PUBG Esports' most successful independent team have run rampant. The one thing we do know is that this roster will be competing under a new banner for the PCS4 Grand Finals.
Q: Based on everything we’ve heard, it sounds like the team feels they left PGI.S somewhat shorthanded. First, would you agree with that, and if so, elaborate on why exactly? Second, do you believe it gave the team any additional motivation heading into ESL Masters / PCS4?
MachineGunner: I share a similar sentiment as the team considering how well we played. We were the best team in nearly every category, outside of money earned, so I definitely felt like we deserved more. Though considering how the format and prize pool was set up, and the fact we weren’t able to capitalize on a few of our Weekly Series games, we were more so just frustrated with ourselves. Going into ESL PUBG Masters I don’t think it gave us the extra motivation. We are just gelling together really well and stayed focused on winning ESL Masters, and now PCS4.
Q: In the roster’s first full event together, you have managed to win ESL Masters in dominant fashion and secure 200 PGC points. How did this event help the team in terms of overall confidence and building synergy with Penta?
MachineGunner: It definitely helped a lot considering prior to ESL Masters we weren’t able to scrim with Luke because he had a mandatory two-week quarantine when he got back home to Australia. It just solidified our belief that we're not only the best team in the Americas but in the world. As well as how showing everyone how strong we are with our full roster.
Q: Speaking of Penta, individually he had an incredible showing throughout the ESL Masters Grand Final. What makes him a great teammate? What does he offer to the team that may or may not have been there before?
MachineGunner: Penta offers a lot to our team, we have a calm and focused environment in-game and out, and his personality gels with us perfectly. He’s an extremely talented fragger, but he also communicates very calmly like the rest of the team. So, in tight situations, we can always count on him to provide good information while landing clutch knocks, which is what I expect from the rest of the team.
Q: Regardless of the scoring system, Shoot To Kill would have won the ESL Masters with ease. How will the team approach the updated scoring system and what have you done to prepare for ‘winner takes all’ gameplay?
MachineGunner: We believe that if we play as we did throughout the ESL PUBG Masters, we can win PCS4, even with the new ruleset. We don’t want to change too much about our playstyle, but we know that we'll have to adapt to some games where we would normally just focus on fragging and netting as many points as possible. In games like those, we will try to take a different approach and really focus on winning the chicken dinner.
Q: The Americas region merger introduced many new teams and players to the ESL PUBG Masters lobby, which of the LATAM teams were you most impressed with during the event?
MG: I was most impressed with Durany Esports. We weren’t all too familiar with them coming into the event, and I personally thought A Creche or Enrage Gaming was going to be the top LATAM teams, but Durany certainly proved me wrong and I was happy to see their success.
Q: Here’s your opportunity to boast, what makes Shoot To Kill better than the rest? Is it the team’s work ethic, preparation, ping abuse, all of the above? What sets you apart from your competitors?
MG: Honestly, the team's work ethic and experience are what sets us apart from other teams. We are always looking to improve. I believe some teams think they have figured it all out, and we never give up. I try to make the team keep a mindset of playing every game as if they have zero points, that way we can reset and focus after good and bad games.
Q: Luke12 hinted at the possibility of Shoot To Kill signing with an org in the near future, now the entire region is awaiting an announcement. Is there a general timeframe for when fans can expect to hear the news?
MG: Prior to PCS4 there should be an announcement, for sure.
Q: Is there anything else you would like to add to this written interview? Maybe something you would like to say to the fans?
MG: Thank you to all the fans for supporting us! You have no idea how much it means to the team. And keep an eye out for our upcoming announcement.