The Chiefs Esports Club at the Omen HP Challenger Series

Oskar Howell
October 27, 2019

Off the back of their loss to Grayhound Gaming in the HP Omen Challenger Series at Auckland Armageddon, coach Fergus ‘Ferg’ Stephenson and players Ryan ‘Zewsy’ Palmer and Tyler ‘Tucks’ Reilly join Oskar Howell to talk about the team, the dream and the scene.

Despite a narrow 2:0 loss to Grayhound Gaming in the HP Omen Challenger Grand Finals yesterday, The Chiefs Esports Club couldn’t be happier. Sitting in the warm sun outside Auckland’s ASB showgrounds, coach of Chiefs, Fergus "ferg" Stephenson, said the result was definitely disappointing, but the team wasn’t taking it too hard.

“I think we might have been a little bit frustrated over a couple of mishaps that occurred during the series. It makes for some pretty hard conditions when you have to play back to back best-of-threes - there were still mistakes made in that series and sometimes they can carry over," said Ferg.

The Chiefs secured a convincing first series against ORDER, taking back to back wins on Inferno and Nuke, 16-11 and 16-5 respectively. Strong individual performances on the CT side from Tucks and Zewsy saw the The Chiefs take an early 12-0 lead on Inferno, mirrored by a similar performance on the T side of Nuke later in the series.

Falling 12-16 against Grayhound Gaming in the grand final on Nuke saw The Chiefs go down 0:1 in the series. It was looking grim for The Chiefs on map two, but a glimmer of hope appeared once they managed to rally six rounds together and push themselves into overtime. Unfortunately it wasn't meant to be, as Grayhound Gaming went on to close out the series in the first overtime set and secure their place in Jakarta.

In a statement given to us by Tucks about how they felt about the grand finals set, he went on to state “there were just a few rounds that we could have played better and could have won us the game, especially on nuke. We were pretty good at resetting mentally whenever we did have a bit of frustration, but the fact that it was there in the first place is what hindered us a little bit,"

By the time The Chiefs had left the arena, they had already processed the loss.

Ryan ‘Zewsy’ Palmer said they were confident coming into the series and weren’t put off by the result. 

“We’re always confident coming into these games just because we have played at the top of the scene for a while. We’ve been putting in a lot of work, and not just in our in-game ability. We accomplished what we wanted to, even though we didn’t get the win," said Zewsy.

Above: Ryan "Zewsy" Palmer of The Chiefs Esports Club (source)

Tucks’ said the real victory was seeing the team’s development come to fruition, especially following structural changes in the team.

“We’re in a pretty deep developing stage at the moment, so I don’t think anyone would be disappointed with the performance we put up. We changed our IGL three weeks ago, so we haven’t had a lot of practice - we reset a lot of things, and we’re still building," said Tucks.

Looking ahead, the team was already preparing for ESL Pro League Season 10, which was going to be the challenge they wanted to test themselves in.

Tucks went on to tell us in a statement that “the Pro League is going to be a big one for us. Given we’ve gone through a bit of a restructure, we weren’t really setting our goals too high, we know that Grayhound are really far ahead at the moment. But as you can see from today's result and last week’s result at the Zowie eXTREMESLAND Regional Finals, we’re definitely catching up at a really fast rate."

He said that regardless of which Oceanic team qualifies for Pro League, there’s no doubt they’ll be preparing to pack a punch against tier-one competition from NA and EU.

“I genuinely think that if us, ORDER or Grayhound went overseas for an opportunity, we’d be capable of taking down tier-one teams - we all have very good systems, we can just make each other look pretty bad sometimes," finished Tucks.

Both The Chiefs and Grayhound Gaming took a map from event runners-up Fnatic in the lower bracket at IEM Sydney, with Grayhound knocking then ranked number nine, FaZe Clan, out of the tournament entirely.

Closing out the interview, Tyler "Tucks" Reilly went on to state "Everyone is really happy with how we’re progressing. It's hard to explain the things we’ve gone through and the growth we’ve made. We’re really on the verge of breaking through, and just starting to play really good Counter-Strike. It sucks that there’s only one spot to these international events. You have to make sure you’re better than Grayhound, who are still a bloody good team and obviously can beat Liquid, or anyone in the world at this stage."

You can catch The Chiefs Esports Club back in action once round two of the ESL Pro League finals kicks off for Oceania come November 13th.