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fl0wZ: “We [K10] want to be a catalyst for growth in the UK scene”

After losing in the Grand Finals of EPIC.LAN 40, K10 were looking to lift the trophy in Kettering, the second time luck. Seeded #2 behind The Neighbours they beat their advisories in the Upper Bracket Finals, but they were not so lucky when it came to the Grand Finals. After winning map one dominantly 13-6, it all went downhill from there. After a ninja defuse and a G2 moment (not defusing the bomb), Ancient was something that K10 wanted to forget about as they lost 13-9 on their map pick.

Heading into Overpass, it was a gamble pick for K10. Unfortunately, it did not work out as they didn’t win a single CT round and eventually lost 13-3. Whereby, losing back-to-back finals with two different teams.

After the Grand Finals, we speak to the Managing Director of K10 Ethan “fl0wZ” Erogerson about what went wrong on stage, what is it like without Ryan “dox” Young, and how they plan to stay true to their UK identity now their roster doesn’t have a UK core.

Reviewing this weekend. What were your expectations coming into this EPIC.LAN?

The team’s expectations were minimum to make the finals, and we achieved that. We wanted to try and win as we were the only Advanced team there. Someone said on a podcast it would be embarrassing if we didn’t win but I think that is a bit stupid.

fl0wZ playing for Team TradeIt in the EPIC.LAN 41 showmatch.

In general, we came in with the expectation of top two. We really really wanted the trophy, and it would be upsetting if we didn’t get it, but at the same time, it is not a horrible loss if we don’t win. As long as we don’t get smashed out.

From your perspective what went wrong in the finals?

At the end of the day, they just knew what we were doing on Ancient, and Overpass was a bit of a gamble for us in the veto. Not saying too much it was just a gamble based on how we played Mirage versus them previously, and we didn’t want to play it again. After map one we were confident, it was pretty easy. Everyone played well and the system worked well, our individuals turned up. But on Ancient they had our number, on Overpass we couldn’t show up.

It is unfortunate, but at the end of the day, that team has so much more experience than us on the stage. It is not the end of the world.

Are you happy that you still made finals and you made your expectations, or does it hurt that you were 1-0 and still lost?

You can never be happy about a loss. We met our expectations so that is a good thing, but at the same time I am a competitor and I want to win, the same goes for all the boys. We came out of the finals feeling alright that we achieved our main goal, but at the same time upset that we didn’t pull it over the line. Especially considering it is the second time we placed second at EPIC.LAN.

yz0 and fl0wZ before the Grand Finals

As this was your second time on stage not winning, does it fuel you more to want to win future EPIC.LANs?

Not summer LAN, but maybe October if we go 100%. Where we are at with the organisation and the team, in every UK event our goal is to win. We try to set a reasonable expectation, and then a dream one. The dream expectation is always to win, minimum is always going to be top two.

Looking at your roster, you had changes with dox retiring and you brought in SLY. First talk to me about dox’s retirement, when were you aware of it and what was the aftermath?

We had known it was a possibility for quite a long time. Not to speak on his behalf, but he had raised issues with not really feeling the game which you could have seen in the tweet he made. So for a couple of months, we knew it could be a thing. After the RMR qualifiers, he gave the team an ultimatum and spoke to us about it. It was a collective decision for him to move on. He didn’t want to play the game, we wanted to play full-time, it made the most sense to part ways and he decided to retire off the back of that.

dox playing for K10 at the UKIC Season 0 LAN Finals.

It is always a shock to lose someone like dox. He is probably the best IGL in the UK in my opinion. He has a lot of experience playing tier-2 teams. The way I have seen him captain the team on BootCamp and the way he does offline he is hard to replace. He is so so good. It is hard to lose him.

Luckily, we already have a very experienced IGL with Jacob [Rezst], and so he has picked up the mantle well.

How has the team changed now since Rezst has taken up the IGL role and Tree60 has more of a voice in the team?

I don’t think the dynamic in regard to the overall team has changed much. Jacob has a similar calling style to dox in the first place and the systems that dox had implemented are still there, not it is just a different person calling the shots. I guess the only thing in the dynamic is that Jamie [Tree60] has more of a voice which is not a bad thing at all. In our previous team, he was pretty much the second IGL behind AdamJC. With the spots he plays and the kind of player he is, it is great that he will have more input.

Rezst on the EPIC.LAN stage

I don’t think our style has changed, and the only thing that has changed in the dynamic is that Jamie is doing what Jacob did and Jacob is doing what dox did.

Picking up SLY you moved away from UKCS. That must have hurt as K10 is dedicated to UKCS. Talk to me about why you went international.

One of the big things about K10 specifically in CS is that we want to be a catalyst for growth in the UK scene. Through taking teams to events to giving them resources to improve. Moving away from a UK core hurt as you say. But at the same time, it was the only possible move we could make to be a possible tier 2 team. We trialled so many people but the tough reality is right now there isn’t anybody ready to make that jump up to the level we are at.

The only player we could have gotten was Wolfie but he retired from the game. For the first couple of weeks, we were very adamant about picking up a UK player, but once we realised what the situation was we just said “Go get anyone you want from Europe but make sure it is a banger.”

The only player we could have gotten was Wolfie but he retired from the game.

How come K10 is still actively competing in UK leagues even though you have to use Kisynergy as a sub?

So Kisynergy was actually one of the players that we trialled and we came very close to picking him up, if SLY had turned us down we would have gone for him. He is extremely good at the game, when he decides to return to team CS I will be very surprised if he does not play at a very high level. I have had my eye on him for a very long time.

So Kisynergy was actually one of the players that we trialled and we came very close to picking him up, if SLY had turned us down we would have gone for him.

In terms of playing UK events. Where we have lost our UK core, our identity as a team is still a UK team. We will still go to UK events and we will still produce content around our team being UK, our sponsors are based around us being a UK-based team. It is super important for us to play in these events and remain attached to our community otherwise we lose a part of our brand identity, something that I don’t think we will ever do.

Building upon that, you have a full UK academy team. What is the reason for having this team and do you think this is a strong point for you to show your UK identity?

At first, it had nothing to do with maintaining a UK identity because this project started before dox retired. Obviously, the core idea is to help develop UK talents, which has become more important as we lose our UK core — helping us stay attached to our roots.

As I said, the main goal of the academy team is to resolve two of the main issues the UK has with developing talent. The first is any good IGLs because there are no good mentors, and the second is a lack of investment in younger players. For one example, I think it’s criminal Rhyza is playing K10 Academy and not TLR or Coalesce. He is a good enough player but has never been given the opportunity to play under a good IGL or a good org.

As I said, the main goal of the academy team is to resolve two of the main issues the UK has with developing talent. The first is any good IGLs coming down to there being no good mentors, and the second is a lack of investment in younger players.

That is the whole point of the academy team, so now it has a second effect of tying us down to our roots.

What are your expectations going forward for your main team and academy team? 

With the main team, our goals are similar to what they always have been since we moved to pick up this roster. We want to be winning UK events whether that is playing with Kisynergy or bringing the full roster over for LAN events. We want to be aiming for top 50 on HLTV, become a competitive tier 2, and consistently play HLTV matches. Maybe in the future, push for the RMRs. The next one is not till October, we have a while to go until then, so it should be possible.

We want to help develop the UK scene in the sense of pushing UK players into the limelight. We have someone like Tree60, we want to make him a known superstar in Europe, subsequently benefiting the UK scene. People will come looking for more UK players if he makes it big which I think he will.

With the academy team, the whole point of that is player development. We want to bring people up and get them to a point where they can move to the top Main teams and maybe even the Advanced teams. Make a career out of this and make sure if we need to replace someone, there will be a UK player readily available.

Finally, our goal for our organisation is to become top within the UK scene. We want to be an Endpoint is the way I would put it. We have a long way to go till we get there, but we are on the right track.

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