Interro: “I honestly don’t think Ash is that big of an issue”

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We caught up with Parker "Interro" Mackay to get his thoughts on the 2019 Six Invitational and the recently announced balancing changes.

Interro began as a Pro League caster back in Season 6 of the Pro League and quickly rose to become one of the biggest names in the competitive scene with him casting the grand-finals of that season as well as the 2018 Six Invitational a few months later.

Interro at the Six Invitational 2018

As well as the Pro League he has appeared as talent at the first ever Six Major, three of the four DreamHack events, the Canadian Nationals and the US Nationals as well as the most recent Six Invitational last month. We, therefore, caught up with him to ask what he thought were the highlights of this tournament and what he thought about the changes announced at this event:

 

What do you think of the Invitational we’ve had this time around?

So, back at the group stages, I was very pleasantly surprised with how many of the teams competed at the group stages. I expected them to be close just as they were in Paris but I didn’t think I expected them to be quite this close so to see it carry on through the Quarters and the Semis as well. Barring the Reciprocity-G2 matchup every single match was exciting in a variety of different ways. I would image we would see the same thing with the finals here between Empire and G2.

I think a lot of people really wanted to see some of the fan favourites like Evil Geniuses and Nora-Rengo maybe make it all the way through but you’ve got the most popular team in the world in G2 competing and you’ve got a very promising hot team on the up-swing in Team Empire, it’s gonna be a hell of a show and I’m just glad it’s lived up to the expectations and the billing of being one of the most competitive events that we’ve ever had.

The Six Invitational stadium via @ESLRainbowSix

So, outside of our finalists, are there any teams that have really stood out to you at this event?

A couple in some very bad ways, I’ll start with the bad first just to try to blunt that one. Rogue and LeStream. I had both of them making it out of their groups - Rogue came very close but did not make it out of their group - and it’s a bit of a surprise to see how poorly Rogue played if I’m being honest with you and it wasn’t necessarily that they just played good teams, It’s also that they beat themselves in a number of circumstances.

About the same with LeStream. I expected LeStream would make it out of groups at the expense of Nora-Rengo. I was kinda pleasantly surprised that the Japanese were able to go as far as they did but at the end of the day that was a tough group, somebodies gonna have to lose.

The group stage results via the SiegeGG infographic

On the other side, I was really impressed with Immortals. I’m kinda bummed they didn’t make it out but that’s ok, not everybody can. Spacestation was also a very pleasant surprise because they’re a team that now appears to be a team built for LAN which is very strange as in North America they didn’t have much LAN experience at all and now they just seem like they’re able to dominate opponents. The fact that they kept step with G2 is extremely impressive and then of course Empire.

A lot of people look at them and kinda dismissively refer to them as an online team, they didn’t think that they would be able to do too much on LAN and, hey, they’ve shown up big. If they can beat G2 in a Major Finals which no team has done before that’s a huge accomplishment for them and I think it cements them as being the real deal.

We’re about to see Kaid and Nomad come into the Pro League. What do you anticipate is going to be the reception and how are they going to affect the way the game is being played?

I mean my basic assumption is that they’re probably going to be banned an awful lot, particularly Nomad. I appreciate that there was a three month “Review Period” that was created, I think that’s excellent. I think that not pushing new content in the game and allowing them to be balanced properly and see what impact they might have on Ranked and Casual etc. is very important to be able to get that data. I mean we all look back at Lion, Blackbeard, Ela, the immediate impact they had on the game was way too strong and there’s a lot of Pro League games and even championships that were won on the backs of these ops who probably shouldn’t have been allowed during this time period, it’s unfortunate.

I’m glad that ESL/Ubi took the steps, whoever did it in order to stop this but right now I still think there’s a lot of questions about both of their balancing. I think Kaid is incredibly strong. I think he’s gonna be used in a lot of different circumstances if he’s not banned by teams, at least in scrims I’ve heard he’s done so. Nomad is just… I think she’s gonna be very frustrating for a lot of teams to deal with, I can imagine her being almost an insta-ban a lot of times from a lot of teams. There’s very limited counter-play to her gadget and I think that’s definitely gonna be something that teams look towards when they go to ban her.

In terms of counter-play, one of the individuals we interviewed today suggested that duo-roaming would become a lot more common and would be a potential solution but it wasn’t something they had started experimenting with. What are your thoughts on that?

Well, I mean solo-roaming and just roaming, in general, was made almost impossible when the whole Jackal, Lion, Dokkebi meta was going on and right now we have shifted to the defence playing rather aggressively but the attackers had a lot of tools at their disposal to punish roamers.

I think with Nomad you gotta fight for a trade if she gets one of her Airjabs in use against you because you’re gonna get knocked over, you’re completely helpless, you’re exposed, you’re like a Turtle on its back, you can’t do anything and you’re dead essentially. Well, coordinated teams will set that up. But It’s not so much roaming that she’s gonna be strong in, I think it’s gonna be post-plant, very similar to Lion. What I think we’re gonna look at in the terms of Nomad is that once you get that bomb down - which isn’t a guarantee right now, we’re actually seeing very few defusers because of the fact that, you know, people are playing so aggressively on defence. But if you’re able to get the defuser down and you still have two or three of those Airjabs left retaking is almost completely impossible and it’s gonna be a major source of frustration.

Other than the new operators we’ve had a collection of new balancing changes announced now. What stands out for you?

It’s the Ash ACOG that’s gonna be the biggest one, it dominates probably the entire conversation. Ash is an operator who’s pick rate has surged in a large part because you need to battle that aggression on defence with the aggression of your own and Ash is probably the best operator in the game with the least to lose when putting her in situations like that.

At least with Twitch, you have a better gun with the F2 arguably but her gadget, those Twitch drones, that’s what’s important. A lot of players would keep a Twitch on her drone for a long period of time, she’s not gonna be your main entry because you need that utility on the Twitch drone. You need to take out the Bandit Batteries, the Mute Jammers, the ADS’, the Mira Windows etc. I don’t necessarily know if the ACOG was Ash’s biggest issue but I think it’ll definitely enable a completely different style of play of Ash.

There’s already a lot of players who don’t run ACOG on Ash because they realise you use her in positions where she needs to be in close-quarters and an ACOG will often hurt you in those circumstances so I don’t know necessarily if it’s gonna change Ash’s pick-rate that much, it may, but I think a bigger thing would probably be to look at the damage of her R4C, the speed in which she can ADS the R4C and all of that.

So are you suggesting that Ash needs a total rebalance rather than just losing the ACOG then?

I mean it’s not a rebalance, it’s just what is Ash’s intended purpose, right? If you want her utility to basically be to get in and kill things she does a very good job of it but there’s a couple of ways to balance her out you know? Zofia does a similar job to Ash but she’s more utility powered with her having that lifeline with the two explosives and the two concussive blasts but on top of that her visual hitbox is much higher.

Now, yeah, three-speeds and two-speeds that’s gonna be a big difference all on its own and the actual hitbox themselves are the same underneath but a visual hitbox, being able to know that somebody is coming, being able to see them, that is important and you see it on bigger operators, the three-armours. Maybe make Ash’s visual indicator a little bigger, maybe give her different armour, maybe decrease the damage of the R4C like I said, maybe slow down her ADS time. I don’t think she needs a rebalance.

I think you can just tweak numbers on her, sure, but I honestly don’t think Ash is that big of an issue, there’s been a lot of people who have kind of drummed up the whole Ash needs to be nerfed, Ash is OP etc. I just think she’s a fun and easy operator to use and there’s a lot of people who play this game who just gravitate towards that type of thing.

Are there any teams at the moment that you think we should be watching as we look forward to the Season 9 Finals?

I think there’s gonna be a lot of teams who assess the way that they played here and change up their playstyle when they do get to LAN, I think that’s a no-brainer, which ones I’m not necessarily sure. If you look at a team like Spacestation they’ve had a miserable Season in Pro League but they always excel on LAN, how much of that is just their comfort playing together versus how much of that is the best-of-one format that may not be their forte I’m not really sure.

I’d imagine that Empire would play just as effectively as they did before, I don’t think there’s anything too strange about that… I don’t know. I honestly don’t think that this event has shaken up enough to be able to see “ow, these teams are gonna be able to succeed and these teams won't”. I think LeStream and Rogue have an awful lot to look at, I think LeStream is in a really good position given their success online but Rogue I think is in more trouble, I think they’re gonna need to really figure something out if they want to right that ship because right now they’re towards the bottom of the standings in NA.

Team Empire via @team_empire

When you look at Latin America Liquid plays very hot and cold, I think Liquid is still on the ascendency, I think they’re doing very very well, I think there’s obviously still some issues with their playstyle as sometimes they seem to get very frustrated which gets under their skin. FaZe, a disappointing Major performance again, they’re not doing the greatest online. Immortals will probably continue to do well. Ninjas in Pyjamas had a really bad LAN but they’ve also been doing well online so I’m not how much is gonna translate, I think we’ll need a couple of games online to see because it was also a super-month and because it was a super-month I think there’ll be a lot of questions people will have about how much teams were fatigued and how much that would kick in.

Interro and KiX at the 2019 Six Invitational via @mjayx_

 

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You can next see Interro in action when the Pro League resumes next week or learn more about him by checking out our previous interview with Interro right here. Catch more interviews and Pro League coverage right here at SiegeGG!