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Ural Steel: Team Interviews


Well, it's nearly here, the Ural Steel 2012 Championships!  Check out all of our coverage so far on our Ural Steel 2012 Page.You may have seen or simply listened to our interviews with the team captains; those interviews were a little off-the-cuff, but here's a chance to read a few composed responses from the entire team.

If you think actions speak louder than words, or you just like to watch a good battle, then the replays at the bottom may be just the thing for you!

Either way, show your support on the forum for the NA Server's Ural Steel teams!

Q1: How long have you been playing WoT competitively, what did you play before, how did the team get together, how do you train? 

War and Peace:  Most of the guys have been playing WOT since the closed beta. The majority of the team has been around since Clan Wars started. Most of us were in another clan, My Little Pwnies (MLP), I started WAR with the idea of creating a tourney style team. However, Clan Wars has taken so much time that the focus wasn't always there. Starting several months ago we decided that it was time to get into tourneys full-time. We created several teams with the idea of being able to practice with each other. There is a fine line having a competitive Clan Wars team and also a tourney team. We have managed to have success both in Clan Wars and tourneys. The other advantage is having other clans that we work within Clan Wars that also have teams. We were able to practice against those teams. I believe that is what helped us more than anything.

ACES – Battle Group: Aces is considered a small clan by NA standards.  We’re comprised of 43 members with about 24 highly active players.  We prefer a small tight-knit group over a large clan roster composed of members unfamiliar to one another.  Aces have competed in multiple tournaments including Skirmishes, Season I Classic, International WCG and the Ural Steel competition.  

Generally, most of our members have been involved with WOT since closed/open beta.  Many of our players have been involved in other online games prior to WOT.  All of us enjoy the MMOG (massive multi-player online gaming) environment versus playing against a limited intelligence AI environment.

G – Banned Angels: Our group has been playing competitive tanks since the beginning of tournaments in WoT, in fact we’ve been playing since the first Ural Steel tournament (after the armistice of 1918) - mostly for the girls, of course.  No seriously, we’ve been playing this game since before it was a game.

Before tanks, we played a plethora of games competitively, from the Planetside 1 (and now the PS2 Beta), to the Battlefield series, counter strike and World in Conflict.

How we came together is a matter of much lore and debate among the peasants; however we like to imagine something similar to Tropic Thunder, the movie, without Jack Black's withdrawal symptoms and without going full potato.  Realistically though, the current members of Banned Angels played in the clans AOD and BG. The name Banned Angels stems from the event that led to us joining the Guerrillas clan, when we were banned from “the clan of baddies”, aka, AOD, for being too good.

Oh and we don’t train at all, it is considered bad luck – so is being surrounded, very bad luck.

Red Sky:  Red Sky is about playing games with people that we like to hang out with, over the years we have become friends, and family. We live and conduct ourselves by a simple code. We play with honor, and we fight hard, but in the end, we have fun. Any chance we get we TK our officers regularly.

If Clan Wars is "playing competitively" then... since the beginning? But we're more of a gaming family than strictly competitive team. Our last major game before WoT was Navyfield. (We) saw the "Win a trip to Russia" and thought 'That would be fun,' so we got some guys to together who wanted to go. Strats are designed by committee, but shaped by practice.

Q2: Favorite vehicles? 

War and Peace:  Most of the guys on our team prefer the higher tier tanks, but do play the lower tanks now because of the tourney's wide variety of matches that require them. I know some of their favorites are the Patton before the last patch, T110e5, Foch (155), Su-26. These are only a few. Everyone has their own play style.  I think that's what makes our team very good. Everyone has their specialty and we try to use that to our advantage.

ACES – Battle Group: ParrotOne prefers the VK4502A, Panther II, Jagdpanther II, and T20 while Tanktified favors Scouts in general, and J9Star prefers the Su-26, Batchat155, and T-1 Cunningham.

G – Banned Angels: Whatever gets the job done; except for the E100. It never gets the job done because it’s horrible and should be fixed. Also, the lag is horrible when it hits ~24k players; someone should fix that because it makes getting the job done almost as bad as trying to do it with an E100.

Red Sky: Anything with a top speed over 30 that isn't instantly consumed by flames when shot.

Q3: What achievements has your team earned (tournament wins, titles, awards, etc...)? 

War and Peace:  We have really only started since Skirmish 5. We have tried to field 2 teams for every tourney. Skirmish 5 : 1st Place, Skirmish 6 : Semi, Skirmish 7 : 1st & 2nd, Skirmish 8 : 1st & 2nd Place, Skirmish 9 : Semi's, Ural Steel Finalist, Skirmish 10 : 1st, Skirmish 11 : 1st & 2nd Place, Radzymin Ante Merdian : 2nd Place, Skirmish 12 : 2nd Place, Skirmish 13 : 2nd Place.

ACES – Battle Group: Several of the Ural Steel team were also members of the team that placed in the top 8 of the Classic Season I on the North American Server.

G – Banned Angels: We have won 5 separate team events excluding the Ural Qualifier:
E3 2012 Invitational, Rhine Crossing p-m Challenge, Skirmish I, III, IV, and we're doing quite well int eh WCG World of Tanks qualifier.

Red Sky: No team statistics, but we'll all remember ruukil catching the 261 shell in the 50-2 in our fight against Team Curse...  But we do remember our achievements as a clan.

Q4: How, as a team, do you view the qualifying rounds for NA? 

War and Peace:  We rate our opponents by the Clan Wars map. There were many great teams in this tourney. You also have to go by previous performances. We knew that our bracket was the toughest in our opinion. The last game being against S.I.M.P. We knew that S.I.M.P. was an experienced team and have a lot of experience in these games. Not taking anything away from our other opponents, but you have to look ahead to the teams you expect to be at the end. We trained against some of the other teams to get a flavor of the style of gameplay that we were going to get. I do believe, like I said earlier that those training matches were the key to helping us win. Thanks -G-!!!

There were many exciting moments in the games that we played. The one that sticks out the most for me and I think for everyone on our team was the last game against S.I.M.P. It was tied 1-1 going into the last game. We knew that the scouts were the key to victory. When we took out their 13-90 with 1 shot from arty we knew that was a game changer. I think that was the first time that we all felt like we had the chance to finish the game and move on. It's a shame that one shot can change a game so quickly.

I think our performance in the Ural Steel Tourney was good, but we realize that we have to be on our A game when we meet up with the rest of the finalists. I also think that playing practice matches helps us work in smaller units like this tourney is. Most of our experience comes from Clan Wars and these tourneys are much different. I guess more room for errors in CW. Tourney play is 50% skill and 50% luck. Don't get me wrong you have to be great. I will take some luck when I can get it.

ACES – Battle Group: The competition in the Ural Steel event was highly competitive with many fine teams that we respect.  We are honored to have made the final four on the NA server and will do our best to represent the NA in Moscow.

J9star: “The qualifying rounds were full of surprises. Each team’s path to the top 4 was full of difficult battles. Our most exciting match was Himmelsdorf where the opposing team kept us on our toes by trying a modified cap rush.  Our performance in the qualifiers was pretty good.”

ParrotOne: “Our second match was arguably against one of the best teams in this tournament – FORGE.  They have tons of clan war experience and are good.  So, any mistake by either team was quickly capitalized upon. Game play was therefore cautious, especially after their cap rush failed in the first round. Ultimately an error by their team allowed us to surround and kill them on 'tank alley' in Himmelsdorf, netting us the win.  We treated team with caution because too much was at stake.  We are proud that we only lost one round during the entire qualifier.”

G – Banned Angels: Honestly we don’t put too much emphasis on analysis of other teams. In fact, all we do is assess the camping record of opposing teams and adjust our lineups accordingly.

Red Sky: It was fun, playing against some of the best on our server.

Q5: What you can say about your opponents, both from your region and the other regions you will be facing? 

War and Peace:  I think that the four teams that are representing NA server group are the best teams today. Tomorrow could be different. I know many of the guys on these teams and know what their Clans have accomplished on the Clan Wars map. I wouldn't expect anything less from them and us. I hope that the brackets favor us and we don't have to play each other right off the start.  I have only had chances to play other tankers from other regions on test servers. I have heard a lot about how good these guys are and look forward too many good fights. I have also heard that most of them think that our strats are very unorthodox. I have viewed battles and personally don't see it. I see good tankers doing similar things to what we do. I guess this will be a true East meets West tourney.  I would like to follow them more, but it's hard to get the info. Maybe Wargaming can come up with something that could help this. Our NA server Devs could keep us to speed on what is going on and who to watch. Just an idea.

ACES – Battle Group: In general it is safe to say that we have not followed competitors on other servers.  We do however follow many NA server clans and regard them as friendly rivalries.  WAR and -G- are both longtime rivals from previous tournaments and tank companies. We know a lot of the players from both clans and hold them in high regard. Both clans, along with many others, are routine contenders for first place.  Having the opportunity to compete directly against them with a place in the final four is a proud achievement for us

G – Banned Angels: We have heard great things about teams from the EU and RU servers and are particularly intrigued by the varying styles of play. We’re also interested in playing against some of the up and coming teams off of the CN/VN/SEA servers.

Red Sky: Stereotypical American response: "What is 'rest of the world'...  We look forward to meeting and playing against tankers from Russia, China, SEA etc... WoT has really expanded in the last year, and we look forward to seeing how the other servers handle our tactics and how we handle theirs. We've seen a few Russian teams on the streams, but only a few replays for the other regions.

Q6: How did your team prepare for the finals? 

War and Peace:  Preparation for any tournament is the key to victory..  Yet, as gamers, we must realize that real life comes first.  Within those parameters we spend our time brainstorming strategies, utilize skirmishes and take advantage of videos of other tournaments for preparation.

ACES – Battle Group: Several of the Ural Steel team were also members of the team that placed in the top 8 of the Classic Season I on the North American Server.

G – Banned Angels: With regard to preparation, we don’t prepare all that much. All we do is check out a map in ATC, plop some positions down and off we go. At this point we know tank capabilities and map positions for the most part so it’s a matter of keeping up individual performance by playing together and improving team cohesion.

Red Sky: Drink, talk about our strategies and tank comp and drink some more.

Q7: In general, what do you think of the Ural Steel tournament? 

War and Peace:  I think it is very exciting. I wanted to go so bad for the first one. However, most of us were in other teams and didn't have the chance. Now that this is up again I know a lot of the guys are saying that it is a trip of a lifetime to see Moscow and compete in this event. The fact that we get to play the top teams in the world is a thrill we won't stop talking about for a long time. Our team has many older players on it and we have told our kids that we are going to Moscow to play a game they are also playing. They are more excited about the fact that "Dad" is going to play in a tourney for the chance to say that we are the best. I hope that's the case none the less.

ACES – Battle Group: Aces are proud to be a participant in our first International tournament.  The competition to get here was tough.  The battles will only get tougher and we’ll use them to measure ourselves on the international scale.

G – Banned Angels: I think it’s very cool that they tournament involves taking teams to Russia for a gaming tournament. We only wish we could take 8 of the 10 with us, since people get sick and whatnot. 

Red Sky: We think that it is really cool that Wargaming holds a tournament like this and gives us a chance to visit foreign lands and shoot...err meet tankers from other countries

Q8: What are your expectations for the final? 

War and Peace:  I want to say that everyone on the team expectations is high. We know that if we bring our A game, then we have a great chance. We also know that the RU, EU server base has been playing this game much longer and have more experience than we do. With that said I hope we continue with our success and make it to the final game. The one thing about this tourney is the fact that one shot can win the game. I wish everyone well and look forward to seeing everyone in person.

ACES – Battle Group: At this point any team could potentially beat any other team.  The selection of maps will play a large variable.  Artillery oriented maps are open for upsets.  Each team earned their way into the competition in Moscow and should be apprehensive about the other teams they fight.  Only two wins are needed to move on which sets the stage for upsets to happen.  You throw the variable of artillery in there and anything can happen!  Should our clan, Aces, not be the last team standing we will be rooting to see a USA team on top.

G – Banned Angels: Crossing victory lane in Razer gear.

Red Sky: We expect to be in it and win it.


NA-Server. 1/4 final. Red Sky vs. Team Curse
NA-Server. 1/4 final.  WAR & PEACE vs. S.I.M.P
NA-Server. 1/8 final.  -G- Banned Angels vs. The Purty Turtles