Team 8’s Justing – “Everyone expected us to get seventh place”

Blizzard Entertainment
March 30, 2017

Late on a Saturday night, 6,000 miles away from home, Justin “Justing” Gapp draped his arm over teammate Mike “Glaurung” Fisk on stage at IEM Katowice. Justing and his team, Team 8, had just defeated Tempo Storm—the #1 seed in North America—and were the only American team remaining in the bracket for championship Sunday.

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The win was especially sweet because, just a few months before their trip to the Western Clash, Team 8 was widely considered one of the weakest rosters in the league. A hodgepodge of players thrown together at the last minute, coupled with a post-qualification roster swap, didn’t look promising whatsoever when the region kicked off regular season play. Despite this, week in and week out Team 8 proved everyone wrong, defeating every team in North America except for Tempo Storm. We caught up with Justing to ask him some questions just before the team’s big break at the Western Clash.

What team were you on before Team 8?

“I was on Team Name Change (TNC). We were top eight in April of last year at DreamHack Austin. We played at the last four regional LANs, and got top eight at DreamHack Austin and at Burbank. In both the Fall Regionals we got 5th/6th.”

You have personally improved a lot. What do you attribute that to?

“Just practicing a lot. Just playing for this long. I think basically just playing more than everyone else makes a difference. For right now [at the Western Clash] my instant improvement, a lot of it is because I'm not shot calling anymore. I was shot calling since I made an amateur team in October of 2015. Mike “Glaurung” Fisk is shot calling now. I think it lets me focus on my own play a lot more.”

Have you always been a Warrior player?

“Pretty much. I played flex, and I played ranged on certain variations of TNC for short periods of time. It was hard watching other people play tank, especially when I was trying to shot call. I was trying to call engages and stuff, but you can't make a tank player engage if they’re not good enough to respond right away. I think it's easiest for the tank to shot call just because they're engaging and disengaging for the team. They know when they can go in, so it makes it a lot easier.”

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What's it like having Glaurung as a shot caller?

“It's good. At first it wasn't the best; he didn't trust us because he didn't know how good we were. It felt like all the calls were revolving around him getting as much value as possible, but I think now that he trusts us it's more team oriented. It's a lot better now.”

Are you going to qualify for the Mid-Season Brawl?

“That's the goal. This is pretty much just for practice right now. We just want to get international experience against the EU teams. We don't care too much about how we place at this event. It's mostly just about getting as much practice as possible against as many good teams as possible."

You guys just wanted to be the eighth qualified team, and ended up not just being top eight now, but top three. That’s a big deal. Your team kind of shocked everybody!

“In the reddit pre-season polls, where people ranked the teams, everyone expected us to get seventh place (laughs).”

Thanks for your time.

Heading into the remaining weeks before the Mid-Season Brawl, Team 8 can finally expect the respect they deserve from the rest of the teams in their region. They have a rather large target on their backs now following their placement at the Western Clash. Time will tell if Justing and Team 8 will continue to live up to the hype.