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The Road Back Into the Pro League: An IDK Inquiry

"'I don’t want to just win CL, I want to smash my way through it and show how insane we are’ - and we did.”

I sat down with all 6 memebers of the Pro League team I Don't Know to discuss their recent Challenger League victory, return to the Pro League, and much more. This is what meepeY, Lacky, LeonGids, Elemzje, sTiZze and coach Ferral had to say about my inquiries.

Congratulations on winning the Challenger League! I wanted to ask first what each of you thought of the team’s Challenger League run?

meepeY: It couldn’t have gone any better than it did - We had a perfect run.

Ferral : It went as expected, we had the run that we wanted from the beginning.

sTiZze: Pretty happy to win CL with the way we did it.

Lacky: Our plan was to never drop a map, we only came close once in the season.

What was everyone's favourite moment from Challenger League?

meepeY: We put Oplon into a 1v4 in the final round of Oregon and at that moment everyone realised we’re going to qualify for Pro League… We’d done it.

Leon: My first ace in an actual match, against OPLON on Oregon second round as Ash, sadly, not many people noticed it.

Lacky: Our game versus Method, I spent a few hours before the game looking at their previous VOD’s and noticed a gap in their strategy. Started the round and within 40 seconds I was in Oregon meeting room with two kills under my belt, which quickly became four by the end of the round.

Do you feel the past season helped strengthen the team as a moulding experience of sorts, and if yes how so?

meepeY: What happened to myself, Lacky and Leon will always serve as a giant "wake up call". Everything you’d worked for is gone in an instant and now you’ve got to build it up from scratch. It’s a time when we must persevere through the hardships and soldier on. We formed our roster, got into Challenger League and hammered our way through it. I said at the start of CL - "I don’t want to just win CL, I want to smash my way through it and show how insane we are" - and we did.

Leon: When it was just us 3, we went into Season 7 saying “From now on it’ll be us 3 as the core no matter what, and we’re going to show people why we deserved to be in Season 7 Pro League” and we did just that.

Lacky: If I had the choice, I’d never change what happened. It seriously sucked losing the spot in such an unavoidable way for us. But our new roster is the strongest it's ever been and we’re more than ready to take on Season 8.

How do the roles on the team function internally on attack and defense?

Lacky: Obviously we have the standard "Entry fraggers" "Roamers" "Anchors" but we’re free enough to make our own decisions and react to our instincts. If you feel like you can make a play go for it, just let the team know so they can tag along.

Is there a secondary IGL of sorts or is all of the coordination headed by meepeY?

meepeY: Main pushes, set ups, early round calls are usually from myself. Late round adaptation comes from anyone on the team. If teammates see something, I always want them to call on it and act on it. If they see a weakness then they can coordinate something with their knowledge.

Lacky: Standard round attacks are normally from meepeY, but occasionally someone will spot something in an enemy strategy and will call for something different to exploit that weakness in the following round.

Are comms 100% English or is there bits of French?

meepeY: 99% English. The Frenchies can speak French if they’re in a clutch together or if it’s absolutely necessary.

sTiZze: Well we are always trying to keep it 100% English but sometimes to describe something really precisely to Elem I’ll tell him in French but it almost never happened because I think everyone needs to understand what the others are doing.

Lacky: The French players speak almost perfect English so there isn’t much of a need, very very rarely Elem/Stizze will speak French in a 2 man clutch situation.

Thoughts on Season 8’s format?

meepeY: Not what I personally wanted but it’s what we’re getting. Picks and Bans are great and I’m still umming and ahhing about the 6th Pick.

sTiZze: I’m really hyped with the new pick and ban system, the new objective rotation system and the return to a league format. The only bad point is to play a Bo1 because anything can happen in only one map and it doesn’t really reflect the level of each team.

Lacky: Pick and ban will add a whole new dynamic in the game I’m excited for, is a team heavily reliant on an operator? Well, now they have to be more adaptable which is great. I’m not a fan of Bo1’s but I’m hoping the season will turn out alright.

Do you think being able to draw from both the French AND British crowd is a staple of this team?

meepeY: We have a large following from both nationalities already. Our fan-base is growing rapidly. We love our fans, no matter where they’re from!

Lacky: We love our fans and count ourselves lucky to have them, some of the most supportive people in the community whom are happy to stick with us through thick and thin. We’ve always had a bit of a french following due to the old PDucks roster, but obviously with the reintroduction of Elem and Stizze joining the roster we’re getting more French fans than ever before.

You guys play team Chaos on June 14th, a highly anticipated match, how do you guys feel leading up to the match? Will it be a match worth hyping up?

meepeY: I swear this match was forced for some juicy rivalry drama. Playing versus Chaos in match one is almost too much of a coincidence! No matter, we’re ready to play them as we are ready to play any team.

Lacky: We’re extremely confident, it’ll be an exciting match for the community and I’m sure with either result part of the community will end up satisfied.

I then asked some questions that were specific to the British side of IDK.

How are the team comms? Has there ever been a misheard call because of the accents on the team or anything trivial like that?

meepeY: Team comms are, for the most part, good. We have moments where we descend into chaos but so does every team. We’re not perfect- there’s always room to improve. Obviously when we have to give a callout that is extremely specific which we don’t already have a call for, then it can be difficult for the Frenchies to understand or explain. We get around this by giving everything simple callouts.”

Lacky: When the french players first joined the roster accents were a real issue, but as we’ve become accustomed to each other it isn’t really an issue anymore.

meepeY, as captain of the team, whats your favorite part about this roster?

meepeY: I ask my team to do things and they do it - no questions asked. They have the utmost confidence in me, as I do in them.

Also do you think you’re as good as an IGL as people hype you up to be? Why or why not?

meepeY: People overestimate my ability as an IGL - I am good but I’m nowhere near as good as people think I am. I’m always improving and these past few months have been eye opening. The past few metas require a more vocally active IGL role.

What is it like being on a team with Elemzje again after so long?

meepeY: It’s fine. Elem is a funny guy but also exceptionally skilled in Siege. I remember him as being a good player and to no surprise he’s still an exceptional individual

Lacky, is it difficult on being a family man and a pro player? Does it motivate you in some way or anything like that?

Lacky: Obviously juggling a family life and my Siege responsibilities is difficult, but my partner is very supportive of my choice to pursue this goal. My daughter and partner love to watch me play on a laptop upstairs during matches. I’m hoping for some success this year with the roster, my plan is to use some of the prize money to take the family on a nice holiday.

Having known meepeY for the longest time, whats a trivial fact people would find the most surprising about him?

Lacky: meepeY is actually huge, I’m 5’11 and he dwarfs me, he also can be quite the troll in private. When I first met him he had dial up internet and I still don’t understand how he managed to play and do well with that sort of connection.

Having been around the scene for a good while, what is something you’ve noticed about the way the game is changing? Do you have a favourite and least favourite part of the current Siege? Anything you are hoping for in the future?

Lacky: Well, I’ve been in the competitive scene since its birth but only joined a "Professional" team in the second season of the Pro League. I think the focus of the game competitively has been slowly drifting away from aim being the most important skill, to map knowledge and smart play. This has been pushed further in this direction with every season bringing in more traps / information gathering tools further shaping the meta to what it is today.

My favourite part of Siege is scrimming / live matches, there isn’t a better feeling you can experience than winning a competitive match or pulling off a strategy perfectly. If you aren’t currently taking place in competitive Siege give it a try as there are teams of all levels, not everyone needs to be Pro League ready to take part.

My least favourite part of Siege is the ranked mindset of kills > winning. Some people don’t seem to care how the team does as long as they land a few headshots and value themselves too highly as a result. Every team needs a confident fragger, but they can’t get those kills without a tonne of support from their team. Everyone in a team is essential for players to perform at their best.

I’m hoping to qualify for all the upcoming LANs as the teams hard work and dedication really deserves some payoff!

Leon, from your perspective, how has your transition from a young ranked hero to competitive player been?

Any thoughts from the rest of the team on his progress?

Leon: When I replaced sno0ken at the end of Season 6 the team helped me alot to “slow me down” and taught me how to play at that level. Most of the time there was a LOT of shouting due to errors I’d make etc. Which in the long run helped out. But as time went on I slowed down and was in a position where I could be classed as “Pro League Ready” only thing I was missing was the experience and learning how to handle pressure. At first, handling pressure was fine. My first match vs ENCE I didn’t feel a lot of Pressure and during the 6 Invitational Qualifiers too. But once the Swedes left the team, the stakes got a lot higher to make it back into Pro League via Challenger League due to this being our only shot back in for 9 months.

That being said, I was nervous on our first Challenger Qualifier day which lead inevitably to us not qualifying that week, but between then and the next qualifier day. I taught myself how to calm down and not get so pressured by it, which also helped a lot throughout the previous season, that being said, the next qualifier we dominated and qualified for the first step back to Pro League. After that, I’d like to say I did relatively well throughout my first true season of high level of play, as an Entry Fragger and Roamer the pressure is higher because you’re the primary person to be getting in and getting the kills, pretty much having to not have a “bad day” with your aim. I’d like to think I’ve improved a lot since my first match and I think I could perform even better at The Six Major Paris.

meepeY: Ranked monkey turns into Pro League Princess, you could write a Disney movie about this.

Ferral: With the help from the 4 veteran players on our team, they are all able to help mould Leon into the perfect PL fragger we need. With Leon recording all of our scrims, I'm able to critique him (and the rest of the team) to help him improve as a player.

Lacky: To start there were a lot of painful mistakes from a ranked mentality and habits, but we knew we could turn Leon into a quality player. Right now I’d easily rate him as one of the best roamers in Europe.

Does being one of the youngest pros in Siege mean anything to you or is it a minor thing to you?

Leon: It means quite a lot to me. It’s nice to know younger talents can get into the scene, it may be hard, but it’s definitely doable. I think younger players that are starting to rise up and join Pro League will be the future for the scene.

Ferral, how has the experience been coaching IDK, and what did you think of your competitive debut in the form of the CL quals earlier this year? Has the team improved a great deal from the start of CL to today from your coaching POV? Also, was coaching something you always wanted to do or did it just sort of happen?

Ferral: Over the past 6-9 Months coaching these idiots, ive learned alot about teamplay and developing my skill being able to analyse strats and breaking them down to allow meepey to call strats in game on how to counter them. With the addition of Elemzje onto the team they have grown a lot with him, and the reason we picked up Elemzje in the first place was because he was a confident entry fragger with amazing aim, and his game sense and communication was PL ready.

With going through Challenger League our team has grown a lot, i think we would have performed worse with just going into pro league and avoiding the challenger league quals, as we were able to grow with a team and improving synergy between players along the way. Coaching was not something I wanted to do initially, the reason I started coaching is because I was underage and wanted to broaden my view of the competitive scene and gain experience whilst still being underage and playing for Aquila with Leon. This allowed me to gain insight and a view of what how a Pro League team functions. Recently I've had to resort to coaching due to IRL commitments with college work and exams -- it allows me to focus on college whilst still helping my team perform on the highest level I know they can play at.

Will you return to comp play in the foreseeable future once the time constraints you mentioned are relieved?

Ferral: If the opportunity arises that I'm able to play competitively again then I would 100% take it, however spots on English speaking teams are scarce, and it will mainly be luck if a team will make a roster change or not.

Do you think your experience coaching will help you in that regard? As a boon for recruitment?

Ferral: I personally don't think just my experience as a coach will qualify me to be Pro league or CL material. During my time coaching I've been playing a variety of tournaments GO4’s CCS and some other small tournaments, also playing in 10 mans allows me to improve and master my skills against the very best in Europe. I think my vast experience in these areas will help me potentially join a team in the foreseeable future.

I then asked a few questions pertaining to the French duo of IDK.

Has being on this team improved your English much or at all? Has there ever been anything lost in translation between the two of you and the other 3 or 4?

Stizze: Of course being part of an English team has helped to improve our English. It’s not the first time for me and Elem to be in a non-French speaking team so we’re not completely lost. The most difficult is for me to translate French expressions or to understand the famous British humour.

Elemzje, what brought you to try and join IDK after they won CL quals? Any story behind it?

Elemzje : After leaving Millenium I thought I would stop the game for a moment, I could not find any reason to continue playing. One night on my way home I was mentioned on Twitter by someone on a tweet where meepeY was saying that IDK was looking for a 5th player. I said to myself, "Why not?" I never really wanted to leave PDucks, so it was for me to make up for lost time. So I immediately sent a message to meepeY to ask for a possible test. I have been tested. Everything stuck right away.

What is it like being on a team with meepeY again after so long?

Elemzje : I was a little skeptical at first, but to be honest everything is exactly as before. Everything works as it should. meepeY is one of the best IGLs in the game, I trust him as before. This year that has separated us does not really affect our performance or our agreement.

Do you and sTiZze get along really well being countrymen or is it just not a big deal to either of you?

Elemzje : Stizze and I have no problems, we get along very well. I'm happy to have a Frenchman with me in the team, I feel less lonely at times. In-game, we have developed some chemistry that I do not have with others. Just French things.

sTiZze, whats it like being a hard support player? What kind of behind the scenes help do you do for the team that people might not be able to just see by watching the teams games?

sTiZze: Well during the first minute and half of the attack round I have to drone for people entering in the building first so can they can go in safely. I tell them what is clear or not and what they can do like taking an advantageous position or looking at a potential risky spot. Then I come to get rid of the first “heavy” defense like Mira windows or reinforcements so they can start pushing the enemy team. I drone for them one last time so they can push more easily, and after that we focus on the bombsite and if we can plant the defuser.

Have you enjoyed your time on the team thus far?

sTiZze: It has been a really good experience so far. After some difficulties at the beginning I think we have done a pretty good job so far and I hope it ll continue like that in Pro League.

I’d like to thank all 6 members of I Don’t Know for taking the time to answer some of my questions, but if you have any extra questions of your own be sure to check out their AMA over on the r/R6ProLeague subreddit on June 9th at 11AM EDT!