[BladeCast - Interview] Cow - North America Captain

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French Toast

With the recent announcement of Bannerlord Early Access set to March 2020, excitement has been growing inside the community for what could possibly be one of the very last tournaments on Mount & Blade Warband. Obviously, with Bannerlord itself having been announced a while back, the rumours of tournaments being hosted for the very last time go back far in time, so much so that it ended up becoming a well-established joke within the competitive community. For that reason, erring on the side of caution remains the safest approach as it still is to be seen how the game will be received once its access is spread to a larger public.

Nevertheless, there is no arguing that March of next year will be a month awaited by many players of the community, competitive or not, and for that reason, the upcoming tournaments set for the end of this year ( Nations Cup 2019 ) and the beginning of the next one ( Warband Native League 8 ) might be looked back at some of the very last competitions ever played on the game. In the case of the 10th edition of the Nations Cup, the competition started early October and we are now heading to the semi-finals of this competition.

To accompany you in this competition, BladeCast_TV will be publishing a series of contents which we hope will help you to enjoy this tournament to its full extent. Below, you can find a list of some of our upcoming articles, as well as those already published.


- Watly's Interview | NC (Released)
- Barto's Interview | ITA (Released)
- XiaoShanZha's Interview | CN (Released)
- Krzyzak's Interview | POL 2 (Released)
- Robin's Interview | NORDEN (Released)
- Charlini's Interview | ESP (Released)
- LaPache's Interview | GER (Released)
- Anubis' Interview | RUS & UA (Released)
- Cow' Interview | NA (Released)
- Interview | UK (Coming up soon)
- Interview | FRA (Coming up soon)
- Interview | POL (Coming up soon)

- Last chance saloon for the United-Kingdom (Released)
- France & BeNe seeking the ashes of past glory (Released)
- Spain's challenge of remaining at the apex (Released)
- Germany & Russia constancy throughout the years (Coming soon)
- Turkey & Poland, built for greatness (Coming soon)

-United-Kingdom vs France | Semi-Final (Coming up soon)
-Poland vs North America | Semi-Final (Coming up soon)

The North America coalition takes on the NC giant Poland tonight, to reach their first grand-final ever. With the tension growing on both sides, we asked Cow some questions about this so awaited semi-final and the journey of his team throughout the tournament.


French Toast
BladeCast Interview - Cow | North America Captain

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              It's no big secret, the NA scene has been struggling to keep things active and competitive lately. Knowing that, was the process of gathering a North American team complicated for this NC?

Gathering players to make a North American team wasn't too difficult, as there were enough players still interested in playing Warband to form a team, however we did mainly focus on recruiting eastern talent, in order to field a full team of players with reasonable ping on EU servers. The real issue is that NA players don't really have any great way to practice right now. NA battle servers are dead, NA WBMM is dead, NA doesn't really have any active competitive clans to scrim against, and NC is the only tournament that NA players can currently participate in. So while putting a team together wasn't too difficult, getting any sort of practice in as a team has been virtually impossible. There are also several people on the NA roster that have never played on the same team with other members on the roster before, and the most extreme example is Xearian, who had never even participated in a native tournament before, but who is now playing as one of NA's starting infantry.

You guys were placed in Group B, alongside some strong opponents such as Russia or BeNe. How did you approach that group?

Quite frankly, we were completely unprepared for our first two matches. We kind of just showed up and hoped for the best without any kind of plan.

Our first opponent was Russia, and that match ultimately resulted in a draw, as neither team gave up any rounds on their home servers. Our captain Lagstro couldn’t attend, so we were short on ideas as to how to win a round on the European servers, especially on a map like Waterfall, which we were largely unfamiliar with. Our second opponent was Sweden/Norway. Once again, we went in largely unprepared but managed to win 2 rounds on the EU server by simply outplaying our opponents with standard play. Our third match against Poland 2 was the first match we properly prepared for. We managed to have a practice scrim against UK 2 the day before our official match. By analyzing what kinds of plays worked and didn't work against them on EU, Lagstro concocted a bold strategy that we could use against Poland 2 in order to win the EU set on FBTR without having to use more than 2 cav. The combination of Lagstro's bold tactics and our team playing well that day, we managed to soundly defeat Poland 2 with a score of 12-3, a score that surely no one would have predicted. As an extra piece of trivia, it was the first time Lagstro called for the NA team. Our fourth and final match in the group stage was against BeNe. Unlike the previous week, we were unable to have a practice scrim before that match. I did however discuss strategies with Lagstro that we could use in our match against BeNe. He came up with strategies that we could use, but they required either an infantry or an archer to be the caller, as a cav on Mountain Fortress would typically not be in the best position to see when the best time for a full team crash would be. As Lagstro typically sits out on EU sets due to having the highest ping on the team, and I would be playing as cav, we instructed Kelquethas who would be playing as an infantry on how to call for the team for this particular map using Lagstro's strategies. Unfortunately, Kelquethas suddenly was unable to attend the match, so we were in a bind as to who we could have call from the ground. In the end it was PPK who stepped up to the plate to call for the team in disarray. Unfortunately, PPK wasn't part of the strategic discussion that we had the previous day, so we didn't end up using Lagstro's plans afterall, and I believe we performed worse than we potentially could have because of it. They also managed to take two rounds off of us on our home server, which I believe was due to a combination of them playing well, and us playing poorly around the flags.

So to summarize, we approached our first two matches without proper preparation and just hoped for the best. For the final two matches, there were strategy discussions between the callers the day before the match, so that our callers could be better prepared to lead the team with confidence. One thing that probably would have improved our performance is if we had everyone on the team listen in on these discussions, so that they could have a better understanding of what their role to play was within the strategies we wanted to run. So far, everyone has just been entering the TS 2 minutes before the match starts, and played out the calls however they could, which worked well enough to get us to the knockout stage, but our cohesion could certainly be better if the entire team knew the general game plan beforehand.

Cow about his shared leadership with Lagstro said:
"I came up with my own ideas as did Lagstro, often having some heated debates about what to do. Ultimately, Lagstro's ideas held better against scrutiny [...]"

You managed to qualify for the knockout stage directly and went on to face BeNe again in the quarter-finals. Knowing the result of your first confrontation, was there any special done for that particular match-up?

Our defeat against BeNe left many of us in shambles. We had a 2 week "break", and then found out that we had to face BeNe again in the knockout stage, which scared us a little at first, but then we saw it as a way to redeem ourselves. Myself and Lagstro sat down and talked about the maps in anticipation of our quarter-final match. We looked at the factions we would have to use, and then started thinking about what maps would give us the best chance to get rounds off of them on the EU sets. I came up with my own ideas as did Lagstro, often having some heated debates about what to do. Ultimately, Lagstro's ideas held better against scrutiny, so we ended up picking his map of choice (Legacy Town) and used his strategies even when I was calling the EU set. We also had an exciting strategy that we were excited to use against BeNe during the EU set on FBTR, but sadly we didn’t have the opportunity to try it out as they forfeited the last set since the match had already been decided. Some of our team members that knew about the strat were actually a little bummed out about not being able to try it out, as we were curious about how well it would work against a team of BeNe’s calibre.

Looking back at it, your performance against BeNe was dominating. What were the key factors which helped your team take the upper hand, especially on Legacy Town, and were you expecting a tougher match all things considered?

We certainly weren’t expecting to beat them this handily. Lagstro and I came to the same conclusion, the main factor that contributed to dominating BeNe was that our infantry were playing exceptionally well that day in relation to BeNe’s. The whole team was focused, and it allowed us to simply outplay them. Lagstro was shocked when we aced them on their own server in the first round. Winning the following round solidified that our infantry were outperforming theirs this particular day. When we went to our own server and played as Nords, Lagstro simply had us use a heavy inf comp, and had us play even more aggressively than we had initially planned to. Because of how dominant our inf were that day, we could simply group up, wait for them to get close and just run straight at them to come out victorious.

This is the second time North America get this far in the Nations Cup. Naturally, one could expect it adds extra pressure to mark your nation's history in warband by reaching a grand-final, so how do you guys feel about it?

We're surprised that we've gotten this far to be honest, considering that we have been playing with lower levels of activity than ever before. In any case, we are glad to have made it this far. Being this far undoubtedly adds pressure on us, but it also motivates us to try harder during the match than we typically would. We're in it to win it now, so we will try our best to take home that e-trophy.

Poland will be your opponent in the semi-final and they have been playing amazing warband thus far, especially in the last few weeks. Do you have a plan coming into that match, especially given the hard conditions both teams will be facing on the away server?

Oh yea, we have a plan alright. Unfortunately, we will be missing some of our starting players, so we won't be able to play the same way we typically do, so we've been forced to change our overall strategy. Regardless of whether our plans work out or not, I think anyone watching the match will be entertained by the abnormal match that is about to go down.




French Toast
Many thanks to Cow for this really great interview. I don't like ranking interviews as each of them are special in their own ways, however, I must say Cow's detailed and lengthy answers is definitely what I am aiming at when asking someone for an interview so huge thanks for providing me with that. NA's path in this NC has been incredible so far and I look forward to seeing how they do against one of the heavy favourites in this NC.
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