Ph4ntom talks about Quake Champions at Rush Esports 2018
Michael 'axtremes' Harmse
Stephen “Ph4ntom” Cloete is a man of diverse talents. He’s a legendary and celebrated figure within the local Quake scene. Ph4ntom was the winner of many a local tournament and a veteran of the highest level of international competition. He is the first name anyone in the South African esports scene thinks of when someone says Quake. Almost as adept a Counter-Strike player, Ph4ntom has made his mark in SA CS:GO as well.
In 2017 I was privileged enough to work with Stephen on both the Mega8 Autumn CS:GO Cup and on both seasons of ESL Africa. As a member of the analysis panel, he delivers his thoughts and perspective with eloquence. He helps the viewers understand the thought process of the competitors on the server better than anyone I know. Plus, he’s got an absolutely wicked sense of humour when the cameras are off and is an all round great guy to have in the green room.
Quaking. Boots. Champions.
MSI and Evetech will be bringing South Africa the MSI Quake Cup at Rush Esports 2018. There are some superb prizes on offer, with first prize being a well-specced MSI Gaming Laptop. This has drawn players both new and veteran alike to enter the first big LAN tournament in the country for Quake Champions. A total of 32 players entered the online portion of the MSI Quake Cup. After two stages of online competition, the final eight remaining will contest the offline tournament on Saturday 30 June at Sun Arena at the Time Square Casino in Pretoria.
I aint afraid of no ghost
Ph4ntom’s long absence from top-flight Quake competition is over, with his return set for the MSI Quake Cup at Rush. I managed to get a few of his thoughts ahead of the weekend’s happenings.
ax: You’ve dabbled a bit in the world of CS:GO as a player and as a broadcast talent last year. Now you’re back playing Quake. How long has it been since you last played Quake on LAN and which event was that?
Ph4ntom: My last LAN event was the Quake Live Masters Duel tournament at Dreamhack Winter 2013 in Sweden. This is actually the reason why I stopped playing CS:GO as I needed to invest all my time into preparations for the event.
Are you enjoying Quake Champions as a game? How does it compare to previous installments from a competitive standpoint?
I really am. The developers are continually improving the game and it’s now even catching the attention of some of the most watched streamers around the world (Eds: he means Dr Disrespect). It’s obviously different to previous flavours of Quake but the entire arena shooter feel is still there which is the most important factor. I think the Champions and abilities idea was built to bridge the gap between high and low skill players with the hope that Quake Champions can appeal to everyone.
Do you feel that the Champions aspect of the game, along with their unique abilities, adds to the game or detracts from the purity of the duel experience?
There are small moments of randomness and helplessness that you get from the Champion abilities, but it in no way detracts from the overall experience that Quake Champions delivers. Even though your opponent can telefrag you with the Ranger Dire Orb, the satisfaction of you doing the same to your opponent is unparalleled.
What’s your favourite Champion and why is it Visor?
My favourite Champion is BJ Blazkowicz. The dual-wield ability is super strong and effectively gives you double damage.
Who do you think will be your closest competition at Rush?
My closest competitor is without a doubt Shase. I’m not sure if many remember him, but he was always a Warcraft and Starcraft champion in South Africa. He started playing Quake back in 2006 and has continually given me a hard time. (laughs)
The big question: Is Ph4ntom going to be the champion?
I really don’t know at this point. Shase and I have had some close games and we’ve been quite even in the last few weeks. If anything, the finals should be magical to watch!
I’m certainly hoping that they will be magical to watch. Matthew “Haz3” Stott and I will be on commentary duties all day Saturday. As CS:GO casters, we’ve had to put in plenty of time and do our homework to make sure we can do justice to Quake Champions. In the process we’ve fallen in love with the game. We absolutely can’t wait to have a crack at it and to see what the local players have in store for us on the servers! A full day of fast-paced 1v1 duels awaits on classic maps like Blood Run and Blood Covenant.
Head on over to Evetech’s Facebook page to catch all of the action from 10am on Saturday: www.facebook.com/evetech/