I had breakfast with ZeRo4, czm, SteLam, cocis and Forrest. We chatted, joked about SK (doesn't really look like bds wants to be interviewed by me this time around) and then we started to talk about Quake 3. It has to be said, czm was unbelievable when he started talking about how predictable the actions of the players on DM6 are. You will just have to wait and see in Uncut 2 because it's not easy to describe it.

Two hours of my daily schedule were gone due to two interviews with ZeRo4 and Lauke (you can obviously read those). I somehow managed to sneak them inside the press area by having my access badge carried outside for ZeRo4 and then Lauke by someone else. Hopefully nobody will notice (or read this). Infinite is still an annoyance. He fell down a flight of stairs Jackass style, his leg is really bad but he still wants to fight me. Oh well, I guess someone will have to teach him a lesson ;).

I was watcihng UT2004 all day, trying to pick up tactics for the wheat game (it's a zulgpad dusty edit. vs the first ever ZeRo4 wireweigh!). Hopefully Marcus will be able to see that I really am superior. So far he's been giving me a lot of smacktalking. Slowly its effect is beginning to wear off. Coming back to the game, the first stage of UT is over. We have had one big upset so far and a few smaller ones. Here are the results from the groups and then a small roundup:

Group A: 1) France Spawn 2) France th0r 3) Sweden zulg 4) South Africa Mburr
Group B: 1) Germany Burnie, 2) Hungary Varagh, 3) United States of America stryfe, 4) Belgium Mad
Group C: 1) Germany GitzZz, 2) Brazil fist1, 3) United States of America CombatCarl, 4) China Rocketboy
Group D: 1) Netherlands lauke, 2) Italy Forrest, 3) Germany schnig, 4) Mexico infinite

There definitely have been positive and negative surprises in this tournament. Let us start with the positive ones.

1) Spawn - the guy comes here as a replacement for that moron Shaggy and with little practice he owns one of the biggest favourites at the event. Then he beats last year's runner up zulg and tears the group apart. Most definitely his run so far can be compared to what proZaC did last year in Q3. All the best to this kid... I am sure he is happy with what he did but with nothing to lose really he should be the only one playing without any pressure on his head in the second group stage.

2) Burnie - the man seems like a machine. Many people are impressed with him. Although he seems to be a little bit more of a routine player than a strategy master, he is amazingly solid and consistent and that's what kept him ahead of the competition. This is his first really big event for UT and he's faring extremely well. One of the favourites to go all the way here!

3) First1 - the Brazilian was being underestimated by many people here but his second place group finish was not undeserved. Most definitely the bootcamp he had with zulg helped him. Fist1 learns quickly and if he picks up a few new things he might take his upset a step farther.

Now for the negatives.

1) The Americans are a big disappointment at this ESWC. Last year both Fatal1ty and Lotus made a huge impact. Now we have no Yankees in the second stage of the event. Most definitely, something was wrong here. All players have shown that they actually have potential. Infinite beat Lauke on one map, CC beat GitzZz on one map, stryfe was doing really well in practice but something was definitely missing. Perhaps luck, perhaps something else. The fact remains that the only non-European remaining is Fist1.

2) Last year's top two looked really shaky today and yesterday. Zulg was unfocused and nowhere near the form he showed last year. Although he was the only one to have taken a map from Spawn in the group, he could have done a lot more. Especially considering that he actually scratched his nose while camping the 100a and let the opponent take it.. It seems like zulg missed the motivation. GitzZz on the other hand came into the tournament without really worrying about his big name. If you know him well then you know he would not really worry about keeping a fantastic record and all that. The thing is, though, he seems to have little motivation as well. His aim seems as fantastic as ever but he misses that spark that he had before. At the moment he's struggling...

3) Forrest and th0r were named hot favourites here. So far they are not really playing amazingly. Forrest conceded a really significant loss to Lauke on the big stage (the size of the loss was a big surprise) but managed to pick himself up from that and finish second in the group. On the other hand, th0r seems like the pressure is too much for him and things don't work as well as he would want them to. These two are far from looking stable as well.

Tomorrow we will see two groups played and it will definitely be interesting. I will be following the event very closely and I am sure I will bring you more interviews. Right now I will be heading off to find socrates and interview him for ESReality Uncut 2. That should be good I guess, Jay is a hell of a guy.
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