With our recent success qualifying for the Call of Duty Global Pro league at CWL Seattle and the start of it looming in May, we caught up with Tainted Minds Call of Duty Veteran Hayden ‘Damage’ Handakas.
Hayden is no stranger to the big stage having attended the Call of Duty World Championships on multiple occasions and being a part of Australia’s highest placing team at the event, T1 Dotters, coming in at 5th in 2014.
What was the feel before the qualification series vs GGEA? Nerves?
No nerves. Just excited and very determined to qualify for a bunch of different reasons.
How did it feel to win the series and qualify for GPL?
Incredible! Even with the poor start to the WW2 season, it was all of our dreams to make the GPL. We set goals at the beginning of the season, and even through all of the struggles we managed to achieve them all event after event. I think we all had a rush of emotion come through, realising that we not only just qualified for GPL S2, but also for Seattle & Anaheim pool play + COD Champs. All I wanted was to be recognised as a player and to be talked about as a team. And here we are.
Do you think APAC having two spots and then more spots at COD champs will help with the health of COD in the APAC region?
After we qualified, I initially did. Although over time I'd come to the realisation that this won't bring as many players or as much life back as I thought it would. I believe the only thing that can bring back life to the APAC region is to have more money injected into tournaments and events here. And to have that, we need to show that we can compete on a global scale.
What’s your and the teams’ feelings/expectations for the Global Pro League?
Contrary to most people's opinions, we believe that we will do better than expected/predicted. We expect a similar showing to that of Mindfreak's S1 performance, not only in terms of results, but in terms of the growth they showed. The way we as a team are recognised come the conclusion of S2 will come down to how well and quickly we've managed to adapt to the North American style of play.
As you get more time overseas, can you notice the teams skill ceiling rising and do you then think that helps grow the region when you get back?
I think it's a known fact that the more time spent playing in America against high levels of competition = a rise in the teams skill ceiling. We feel like we manage to take something away from every trip over and event we participate in. As for bringing what we've learnt back and helping the region grow, I'm unsure. Similarly to what Mindfreak have preached for a while, I feel as though it is far easier to lose what you've taken away from playing overseas than it is for others to learn from. Although, I do believe that there is room for a lot of teams (including ours) to improve locally without needing to attend events overseas. That improvement comes down to knowing how to learn and not being lazy during practice.
All of Tainted COD have exclusively been using the Turtle Beach Elite Pro headset for some time now, how are you finding them?
They're a great headset. Extremely comfortable and perfect for all playing conditions.
Does it take you long to adjust from the normal online play to then playing at LAN (Connection wise, hit reg etc)?
Not at all. For me personally everything just feels better/more crisp. I play on a ZOWIE Benq monitor at home so making that transition to using the same monitor that they have at the event in itself helps a lot.
How have you found the Infinite sprint patch and is there any other things you would like to see changed ASAP?
The recent major patch didn't affect things too much I feel. I think for the most part they did a good job, however there are obvious fixes/changes that need to be made. A change to the airborne division (making gung-ho optional) and a nerf to the new Itra burst would make the game play much smoother.
Hot Dogs or Burgers? Burgers.
Panda Express or McDonalds? Panda Express (less accessible).
Simpsons or Family Guy? Family Guy
Xbox or PlayStation? Xbox.
Hot Weather or Cold Weather? Hot.
Dog or Cat? Brutal question. Dog.
Facebook or Twitter? Twitter.
Support Tainted COD as we take it to the best Call of Duty teams from around the world during the upcoming Global Pro League Stage 2 kicking off May 15th.
Follow Hayden on Twitter- twitter.com/Tainted_Damage
Tainted Minds- twitter.com/TaintedOrg