INTERVIEW WITH RELO OF OATH GAMING: 'OUR BIGGEST IS OURSELVES'
Oath Gaming will enter the PCS4 Americas Grand Finals with a chip on their shoulder, but the team's toughest opponent may be the one they see in the mirror. Oath began its season in Korea as one of the four North American teams competing at PGI.S against the strongest teams from around the globe. Their performance may have deserved a higher placement than they were ultimately awarded, but the team's skill and potential were on display for the world to see. Shortly after the team's return home, Oath Gaming announced the addition of Kickstart. Reinforcing a youthful roster that was already loaded with talent with one of the standout players from PGI.S brought the team's experience and firepower to another level.
The team qualified for the Grand Finals comfortably with a third-place finish in the North American Group Stage. Over its twenty matches, both Kickstart and Snakers collected 40 Kills, placing them in a tie for second overall amongst all players. Outscoring the sixth-place cutoff by almost 100 points, Oath made it apparent that they would be competing for the PCS4 Americas title in the finals.
With the PCS4 Americas Grand Finals just around the corner, we asked the team's in-game leader, Noah "Relo" Jenkins, a few questions about the upcoming event and Oath's approach to a new format. His responses offer a wide range of insight into the team's post-PGI.S burnout, the addition of Kickstart, and winning in the 'Most Chickens' format.
Closing out the Group Stage six points behind TSM in first-place, how do you feel the team played heading into the Grand Finals? Is there any area of the team’s game you feel needs extra attention before this final?
Relo: I think it was the best we’ve played since we added Kickstart to our roster. We had a few minor setbacks throughout ESL, most of them being poor attitude and burnout since we had just come off a disappointing finish at PGI.S with very minimal time off before our next event. Despite all of that, I think we had a very strong performance in the PCS4 Group Stage and we’re looking forward to the finals.
What’s the team’s mindset heading into the ‘MC’ format? What areas of the game are you focused on improving individually, and as a team?
Relo: I think most top NA teams, including us, dislike the format overall, but it won’t change much for us. Tournaments have been very top-heavy, with teams like TSM, SQ, DIG, etc. soaking most of the points and having the most wins. I don’t expect things to be much different in terms of leaderboards or statistics, although I do expect teams to play differently and make more desperation plays to try and accumulate more wins. For my team, we’ll be focusing on staying four alive and closing out the games that are in our favor. We’ve always been good at winning games, so I feel like, in the end, the format change could benefit us.
What has the addition of Kickstart meant to this team? What makes him a great fit/teammate on this roster?
Relo: Kickstart is a top talent from NA, has loads of experience, and he has proved himself countless times. Kick has a significant impact on every aspect of the game, communicates well, and he’s always at the top of the charts for kills and damage. So far we’ve meshed really nicely, and our goal is to keep a healthy team atmosphere throughout 2021.
How much did playing at PGI.S help this team prepare for this MC Grand Final? Do you believe it gives you an advantage over the teams that weren’t in Korea?
Relo: The experience gained from PGI.S will certainly benefit us for the MC Format, but the games will pan out much differently. Playing against North and South American teams rather than the absolute best from around the globe is drastically different. The teams we’re facing now are much more predictable with very static playstyles.
If the team can accomplish its goal and win the PCS4 Americas Grand Final, you will be well on your way to qualifying for PGC 21’. Are you more excited about the potential prize money or acquiring 450 PGC points?
Relo: The PGC Points are definitely more important, but the money and the points go hand and hand. So, as long as we play to our potential and stay consistent, we’ll take home both.
Who would you say is Oath’s biggest rival in this Grand Final? For any reason. Maybe a team you feel that you’re always running into on the battlegrounds?
Relo: We don’t have any specific team rivals but if I had to choose some they would be SQ, TSM, DIG, and SSG. Nothing out of the ordinary, it’s usually the same teams that we have to fight for the top spot. Although I do think our biggest rival would be ourselves. As cliche as that may sound, it’s very common for us to be harder on ourselves than necessary, and that may affect our performance. I’m sure other teams and their players would say the same.
What would like to say to the Oath fans and those supporting the team in the PCS4 Americas Grand Finals?
Relo: Lots of love and appreciation for our fans who support us in Twitch chat, or on Twitter, it always means alot to us and makes us feel a little more recognized. Also, big thanks to the org itself, Oath Gaming, they’ve been great to us and shown nothing but support the whole way.