The Rise of Team PZ
Team PZ has quite a history in Guild Wars 2 Player vs. Player, having been around since the launch of the game. Although they weren’t competing for a $200,000 prize pool back then, they still strived to be one of the top names in the world of PvP.
The team eventually disbanded and most of the members went their separate ways, with the exception of Java and Kaypud, who have stuck with the squad since its inception. Zoose, Marvin, and Muffins joined the roster, and in November of 2014 we watched the new Team PZ compete in the qualifier for Season 1 of the North American ESL Guild Wars 2 Pro League.
They fell short in the first two weeks of play, dropping a 2–1 set to Apex Prime and losing to Astral Authority. However, they proved any doubters wrong when they powered through the final five weeks, ending with a 5–2 record and qualifying for the season finals. There, they dropped their first set to Rank Fifty Five Dragons.
When Season 2 rolled around, Team PZ brought their substitute, Paul, onto the main roster and moved Marvin to the substitute position. This proved to be an excellent decision, since the new meta throughout most of the second season featured many powerful rangers and Paul was able to showcase his skills.
Of course, it came as no surprise when Team PZ demolished all competition throughout the season. They encountered a few hiccups along the way—such as losing a game to Ez Pz Lemon Squeezy—but nevertheless proved themselves to be one of North America’s best.
May 23 is a date Team PZ will remember for the rest of their days in Guild Wars 2. They took on the undefeated Astral Authority, who hadn’t lost a single series to a North American team since November of 2014. Team PZ claimed the number one seed for their region with a 2–1 series win, and moved into the season finals.
Their rise to greatness was glorious to witness. They came back into the competitive mix out of nowhere, and six months later they took down a team that was seemingly unstoppable in their region. Their perseverance was key in that transition, as their practice against Astral Authority over the past half of the year has helped Team PZ overcome their weaknesses and play to their advantages.
Perhaps it’s acceptable for this bunch to breathe a sigh of relief after their tremendous victory, but they can’t let their fire go to waste. An upcoming match in the semifinals with The Civilized Gentlemen will be the next big step in proving how far they’ve come.
I had a word with a few members of the team as they prepared for their upcoming games.
Storm: What are your expectations for yourselves going into this tournament?
Java: We’re expecting to do pretty well. We’ve been practicing a lot. We’ve been practicing a lot more intelligently this season than we did last season. Having Paul helps with us practicing more often.
Paul: We’d be pretty disappointed if we didn’t make it to the finals.
Storm: What does it mean for your group to be the number one seed for North America? Do you feel like this adds to the pressure of bringing home a championship for your region?
Paul: No, I don’t feel like it adds any pressure. I think it was really nice for Team PZ to get number one. Astral Authority has always been the top dog. It’s nice to show it’s more than just Astral Authority in North America.
Storm: You’ll be facing a team who you’re yet to play against on an international stage. What does this mean for you and what are you expecting from The Civilized Gentlemen?
Zoose: I’ve played against ROM, Denshee, and Helseth before. I know how good they can be. But I think we’ll be better prepared this time. I don’t really have any nerves going into this. The last LAN, we were really unprepared. This time we’re going into it and hopefully performing a lot better.
Storm: Muffins used to main thief a couple of years ago. With it being a pick for several teams in the last week of Pro League, can we expect to get a glimpse of it in any of the upcoming matches?
Paul: Nah, that’ll never happen.
Java: We’ve been practicing literally every class. Nothing is off the table right now. We’re practicing as smart as we can. We’re going to have a lot of things to pull out at the LAN.
Storm: Paul, this will be your first time on an international stage. In fact, you’re one of two people at this event who hasn’t seen the big stage before. How do you think this will affect you in comparison to others?
Paul: Mostly, I don’t think it would affect me. I don’t consider myself a nervous person. If I did, it’d just be for a game. I’d shake it off by the next game, and I’d be good. I’ve done competitive stuff in real life, so I’m not too worried. I’ve gone through nervousness before.
Storm: Zoose, you’ve said that Team PZ is taking one game at a time multiple times throughout the regular season. What does that mean in preparation for the finals and have you thought about going up against Astral or Rank Fifty Five Dragons if you make it past your first matchup?
Zoose: Yeah, we have. Especially since we’ve been scrimming Astral so much recently. However, as of now we’re just preparing strictly for TCG. So, we’re still taking it one game at a time. After that, we’ll figure out what happens.
Paul: The big thing is stuff that we wouldn’t be able to notice.
Zoose: We [PZ and Astral] are like sister teams. So we know each other. We know each other and it’s way different compared to the European teams knowing us. When we prepare for the European teams, we might have a general idea of knowing what they do.
Java: Us and Astral won’t have any surprises for each other.
Storm: What are some of the ways you guys have been preparing as you head into the final days before the event?
Java: We practice every day and we record all of our scrims to go back over. We scrim every night and during the day we go over the scrims from the day before. Not even to review rotations but to review our own personal play. To find any mistakes we make, to improve ourselves, and a lot of people don’t try to perfect their gameplay that way. We’re hoping that perfection will show at the LAN.
Don’t miss the ESL Guild Wars 2 Pro League Season 2 Finals this Saturday, June 25 on Twitch!