Next Up with Emilio Estevez

Summer is usually a quiet time for European TF2. Players and teams always revise their rosters and their motivations to play. Some drop out, but most say “one more season” and embrace themselves into the thrice blessed hands of Permzilla. Although there are some interesting teams in lower divisions, in the next several weeks we will try and cover the tip of the iceberg of European Highlander. Every week we will bring a different team in focus, check their pulse and see what will they offer us in ETF2L Season 7. For starters, we decided to go with the old HL veterans that had a bit of drama after the last season. This path, nay, Odyssey seems to be hard from the first step.

Months ago I had a fourteen seconds phone call with Emilio, in which he managed to laugh at my movie knowledge and humiliate my soul. He said, and I quote: “I will not speak to someone who doesn’t know how many brothers Emilio Estevez has”. After weeks of research, 11 movie marathons and four different biographies read, I managed to meet Emilio in person. With one glimpse into my eyes, he could see my almost-perfect knowledge of Estevez family heirloom.

RD: First question and I’m already hitting you in the balls Emilio. What the hell happened with Kill Switch during ETF2L Season 6? People in mixes were mentioning various infighting and even rage quitting during games, lack of skill in newcomers etc. How much of that is true?

Emilio: That’s probably fairly true, I think we all got a bit frustrated and had a bit of “second season” syndrome. Coming into prem our objective at first was just to stay in prem :D And then we won it, so I guess we got kind of used to thinking “we should be winning this” during Season 6 and when we weren’t at times it got frustrating. There were also a couple of new players and it felt like we had to relearn a lot of things we could do naturally during Season 5. So it just added to the frustration and we were arguing a bit, which wasn’t fun.

RD: Who made the first step? Was it Hegee (team medic) when he rejoined the roster?

Emilio: Yeah, Hegee messaged me a month or two ago saying he wanted us to play this season. So I re-added him and started seeing who was interested, most people were.

RD: Alright, so Kill Switch MK2 is here. How different is the roster compared to the last season? Would you say that with these roster changes, KS is strong enough to take the first place in Prem?

Emilio: Our roster is going to be mostly the season 5 roster with Inso on sniper and Grenjabob on spy. I’m confident we’ll do well but I don’t want to start making outrageous predictions that we’ll wipe the floor with anyone. That’s just a recipe for everyone getting annoyed again if we set our expectations too high. I think if you expect some strong competition, you’ll force yourself to play better and not get too frustrated if things aren’t going your way. I’m looking at Highpander, Chessclub and us to fill out the playoff spots at the moment, but a lot of teams aren’t finalized yet so who knows.

RD: What made you switch kcot for Inso? I still remember how hated kcot was due to his skill and his… ermm geographical location.

Emilio: Well kcot will still play with us but as sub. It wasn’t an issue with how good kcot is because he’s still really good, but he’s on a couple of Asian teams now playing in the Asian leagues and Inso was available so it seemed a no brainier. Plus if we didn’t pick him up somebody else would have, and we’ve been on the receiving end of Inso a few times already, he’s too good. :D Oh and kcot loves his reputation for shooting people around corners, I’m sure we can find a game or two for him to annoy everyone again this season.

Inso wouldn't hurt a fly.

Inso wouldn’t hurt a fly.

RD: Let’s talk a bit about Kill Switch rivals. A few weeks ago KkaltuU, the main Heavy for itsallgood, announced in his rec post that the team is folding. With them out of the scene for the upcoming season, would you say you will have a much easier job in your run for the first place? Not having Joe in your face is definitely a good thing, but were they an issue for KS compared with other Premiership teams?

Emilio: Yeah, no offence to Hildreth and his gang but IAG were easily our most difficult opponent. We’ve been feuding with them for seasons, even back in UGC and it’s always been tough. I remember a near 90 minute game on Process in UGC one time that we just edged. Then they won Wireplay when all we had to do was win a single round over two maps in our game against them, and we couldn’t. Then in ETF2L Season 5 that game of Lakeside in the semi finals was probably the most difficult game I’ve played in. We just edged Steel too but I feel more like we made a lot of mistakes on that map, when we played Lakeside I felt we were doing all we could and we still struggled the whole time. Not having them around is certainly going to mean less competition at the high end of Premiership I think.

RD: Do you know the reasons of them folding?

Emilio:I’m not really sure, they’ve always been pretty mad at each other in game, but it all seems forgotten soon after, so I don’t think they rage-quit. From what I’ve heard a few players just lost interest and they didn’t want to replace anyone, so they’ve just folded.

Kill Switch roster in a nutshell - part time HL celebrities, full time lunatics.

Kill Switch roster in a nutshell – part time HL celebrities, full time lunatics.

RD: Maybe it’s all a farce and they are trying to get rid of the worst admin EU. How would you describe the current status of Highlander premiership division, when you compare it to 6v6? The IRC pickup2 channel for 6s is dead for so long, that the last I’ve heard was kr4tos giving it mouth-to-mouth whilst screaming “mein digga, wo bist du!?” hoping it will stay alive. Does Highlander prem community still mix in big numbers via Colony spreadsheet?

Emilio: Yeah I’m not so sure, I don’t play the 6s pickups :D I barely play any 6s at all. There are still HL spreadsheet mixes going usually every day and there are prem people playing them. It’s not super active though, some days there are 4-5 games, some days 0. A lot of people use it when they can’t find a team to scrim, they’ll post a mix on the spreadsheet and play a mix team. I’ve heard a lot of whispers from the TF2center people about some kind of matchmaking-esque pickup system coming soon(ish) though that might bring life back to the mixes.

RD: I was wondering myself, how come you don’t play 6s? In all honesty, I’ve seen so many good demos getting snatched from HL into 6s and every time it messes the team up. I think I know four guys who main Highlander (more or less)- Fuxx, FromZero2Hero, Maito and you.

Emilio: It’s just never interested me so much. I started playing competitive TF2 back in the original HL challenge as a sniper with a pub team and moved over to demo around Season 2. By that time I guess I was just invested in HL and didn’t see a point in starting anew. Plus my Badlands rollout is shocking. I think I much prefer the HL meta too, in 6s it seems much easier to identify whether or not you have an advantage but you get punished much harder for doing the wrong thing. But in HL it’s less obvious with more players and varied classes. But maybe that’s just me being terrible at 6s.

RD: Highpander won Season 6, even after narrowly losing games against Kill Switch and itsallgood. Was it just a matter of exhaustion that affected mentioned teams, did Highpander find a proper HL formula, or something else?

Emilio: I dunno, I can’t really pick out their best player, so I guess teamwork. Which means Hildreths maincalling unfortunately doesn’t it? Actually I take that back, zoob is their best player. If we talk about IAG, you could always take out their best players, Inso, Lazybear and then Joe. In that order. But they’re all pretty good. Oh and Muuki for IAG, he was very annoying too. Kind of predictable at times but it didn’t often matter. There were plenty of times everyone knew Muuki was about to bomb in because it was the smart thing to do, and then he comes flying through the air like expected and we still couldn’t deal with it most of the time.

Sent to Nippon by his master Emilio,  team engineer Mint spent months learning Asian tactics of fast keyboard pressing.

Sent to Nippon by his master Emilio, KS team engineer spent months learning Asian tactics of fast keyboard pressing.

RD: Next questions asks for a bit of your Kill Switch wisdom. From all maps and mods that I’ve seen people playing, control point maps seem to be a real issue for a lot of teams. The mid fights seem to be a particularly big problem. Are maps like Process and Granary intruders in Highlander meta or are you welcoming their implementation? How does Kill Switch fare on control point maps?

Emilio: The meta is very different for PL/KOTH compared to 5CP. Payload and KOTH are both heavily spawn timer based, if you are on BLU on PL or don’t own the point on KOTH its time to get very very aggressive together. Doesn’t really matter so much if you die as you’ll spawn faster than the opposition if you trade, you can just trade your way to victory with lots of aggression. In 5CP you have to worry more about being too aggro as you’re risking a backcap, there’s more to lose than just your uber and you have to take that into consideration. I think that’s where the HL-centric teams fall down a bit, I know that we certainly struggled for a while on 5CP when we got to Prem. There’s also the fact that if you main HL you’ve played mostly PL and KOTH but if you main 6s you’ve played mostly 5CP. So 6s players gamesense on 5CP maps is probably better and it shows at times.

RD: Arigato senpai, I will trouble you no more! The last question is for my personal curiosity. The best Emilio Estevez movie is?

Emilio: Young Guns, easily. Breakfast Club is a distant 2nd though.

RD: Joe is going to like that. Any shoutouts in the end?

Emilio: Mint, he’s traveled all the way back from Nippon to play Highlander. That’s dedication. Oh, and Pancake. He ran Kill Switch for seasons, organising all our scrims, giving feedback, getting players to be on time etc. He’s not here this season and he’ll be missed.

I can guarantee you Kcot will not be missed.

Kill Switch are:

  • Dennia – Scout
  • Ond Kaja – Soldier
  • Candle – Pyro
  • Emilio Estevez – Demoman
  • Jamal – Heavy
  • it’s Mint – Engineer
  • Hegee – Medic
  • Inso – Sniper
  • Grenjabob – Spy
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