Rubbing Shoulders; An interview with Conrad ‘Shockz’ Rymarek

Posted by Mitch Johnston on

The Mindfreak Call of Duty roster has begun their journey to the US to prepare and compete in the CWL Global Pro League against the world’s best. Today we sit down with Conrad ‘Shockz’ Rymarek for a chat to get some answers for some questions around international competition, competing with the world’s best, as well as dealing with nerves.

Shockz, in regards to international competition, what knowledge are you able to share and source to people back home about improving their gameplay? How should they go about theorycrafting leading into tournaments?

“There’s nothing to really craft when going into an international competition, I have been saying it since the first time I played in the States and to put it simply nothing compares and you can’t practice for it, with SnD being the only exception.

The game has and always will be different when being played here (NA/EU), the average player is faster and smarter than what you are used to and unless you have the luxury of playing beforehand then you wont ever understand it.”

With improvements at international events this year, what aspects do you think have let you down over the last 2 events? What are you guys implementing into your regime to address this?

“Apart from not closing out vital maps of SnD, our downfall has been Hardpoint without a doubt! I believe we have a 30% win rate on it so that definitely needs to increase to at least a 50% if we want any chance of making deeper bracket runs.

This bootcamp 2 weeks prior is what we have been doing in attempt to fix that, its frustrating losing but the more we play the more we will get accustomed to the right way to play the game mode.”

Do you guys play any other games in your spare time to help relieve the tension of practice? Has this aided in the learning process?

“I’ve recently been playing battlegrounds as just a chill game to have fun on the side, however I have been playing counter strike as my main PC game for around 3 years now. I guess the closest a PC game has helped me in cod would have to be counter strike, in the sense that it just makes me improve on my mind game through understanding how others react to certain movements/ grenades in areas of a map and how that affects how they are reading a play which also changes the way you have to think about the play.

It also reinforces the importance of calculated risks and knowing when to make a high-risk high reward play. However, it is very hard to compare IW and CS so the main thing I have taken from that eSport is just how important muscle memory is, over the years I have always played just to keep my shot up, however after watching CS professionals sitting in a server getting thousands of kills a day has made me realise that I could spend a little more time doing that myself on cod.”

For many back home, they haven't participated in a LAN setting. With a new environment it may be daunting for some. How were you able to deal with nerves during your early days? Do these methods still translate in today's setting against the worlds best?

“I firmly believe in the idea that if you aren’t nervous you don’t care, I’m not talking nervous to the extent of feeling like you’re about to pass out, but feeling the pressure in the moment is normal, for me anyway.

However what separates the good from the great is that you need to be able to turn the nerves into positive energy so that when you spawn into that first map you are ready to play with full confidence and zero doubt.

At local events, the pressure definitely isn’t as existent as it used to be, I feel like I have outgrown it over the years, but when we come over to internationals it is elevated to a whole other level.”

With the transcendence of professional events beginning to solidify its place within the Australian region, what do you think needs to be done in order to sustain and improve the scene?

“Players and organisations need to understand that they both go hand in hand with each other, and that one party putting in work is not going to be sustainable long term, in order to fully flourish you need the players and management to establish goals and look to achieve them through the actions of everyone.”

Thanks for taking the time to sit down with us. Do you have any shoutouts?

“Special thanks to Rigz for being a top manager and friend, we are stepping it up this year and a lot of credit has to go towards him, very glad he found his way back to Mindfreak to help further build what he had started all those years ago.”

Be sure to keep up to date with how the team is progressing overseas!



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