On paper, Dave “Walshy” Walsh (pictured above) and Mike “FlamesworD” Chaves are two professional gamers who seem to be more parts odd couple than a match made in Heaven. But, upon closer inspection, they’re oddly reminiscent of the gunslingers who used to roam the Wild West: sure shots, playful demeanors, and an air of confidence about them that most experts exude only as they approach the summit of their respective discipline.
Two brothers-in-arms normally united by a brand recognized the world over will face off against each other once again at the upcoming Red Bull LAN in New York City -- a throwback to the days when cowboys spent just as much of their day at the shooting range as they did riding horseback across the west.
Neither gamer seems to be too caught up in the hype of the showdown, however; they’re more interested in how the experience will benefit their individual teams in the long run. FlamesworD will come to the table with the rest of StatusQuo: Aaron “Ace” Elam, Clete “Assault” LoRusso, and Ian “Enable” Wyatt. Where they’d normally practice a few hours a day, FlamesworD says that he “realizes the stakes are a bit higher going into Red Bull LAN,” so they’ve taken to logging a little more than eight hours a day as of late.
“We’re definitely practicing more now that everyone’s out of school,” he assured. “Ace actually flew out to Assault’s house, and since Enable’s out of school too, he and I have just been playing more and more in preparation for Red Bull LAN.”
Team StatusQuo: Enable, Ace, Assault and FlamesworD (L to R).
Never one to be outdone, Walshy’s been up to his old tricks as well. In a little less than a week before Red Bull LAN, he was assembling his own modern-day rendition of Butch Cassidy’s infamous Hole in the Wall Gang, featuring the likes of Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, Austin “Mikwen” McCleary, and a certain Nick “BesT MaN” Johnson, a team more affectionately known as Kiaeneto.
“I more or less wined and dined Ninja,” Walshy said with a hearty chuckle. “I heard about him very early on, and in my opinion he’s the next StrongSide (a.k.a. Michael Cavanaugh, former member of Carbon, Final Boss, and StatusQuo); he games a lot, he’s a lot of fun, and he has the skills to back up all the nonsense he talks.
I drove down to Chicago for the Red Bulletin release party, took him out to a Cubbies game and told him, ‘Dude, I’m a kind of changed person, I’m on the rise and I want to put together a team. I want to put together a team I really want to be with.’ I told him what I liked about his gameplay and mine, and what advantage we’d have above the pack right off the bat and what we’d need to work on.”
“Then I made a trip out to Mikwen’s house and was really impressed with his gameplay, and everything’s just coming together naturally. We were all immediately like, ‘Lets be a team of three. Let’s do this.’”
“BesT MaN was the last piece of the puzzle that came to mind. He’s a player that doesn’t need to prove himself, he’s one of the best in the league, and he compliments all of our styles with his own. He’s the perfect fit.”
Have Teams, Will Travel
Now with both their crews set, both Walshy and FlamesworD have begun assessing just how big their next job is going to be -- a shoot-out at a top-of-the-line facility in New York City for the Red Bull LAN.
“It’s definitely gonna be in the biggest space we’ve ever played in,” said FlamesworD. “We’re gonna have a ton of room, and the facility that we’re playing in is gonna be like nothing anyone’s ever seen before. Everything’s top of the line, everything’s set up professionally -- really just the competitive gaming standard, from the TVs and speakers and everything else they use, it’s taking the typical LAN event and making it better.”
Meanwhile, Walshy’s focus lies in the hope that Red Bull LAN will help him hone and polish his skills as he fights to stay atop the throes of up-and-coming young guns, much like the aging triggerman in the Wild West tales of old.
“Our team’s always been more of a run-and-gun team so we’ve never really utilized any strategy all that much." -FlamesworD
“Hopefully it can help me do things I’ve never done before. By being able to review game footage between matches from so many different angles and perspectives, you’d actually have to consciously try to not get better after walking away from an entire weekend there.”
Just like the old western movie with bank robbers and train heists, the real work lies in the reconnaissance, preparation, and near-constant repetition of this possible scenario and that potential road-block.
“We’re just focused on repetition, really,” says FlamesworD. “Our team’s always been more of a run-and-gun team so we’ve never really utilized any strategy all that much. We have a handful of ground rules that we abide by, and as we practice more and the repetition finally starts to come into play, that’s when we tap into what’s always made us a good team.”
Certainly no stranger to hard work, Walshy and gang have been logging some serious hours as well.
“We’ve been gaming quite a bit. Really just getting on every night, scrimmaging as much as we can, and just gaming a lot in general. We’ll definitely be doing a little LAN prep for our LAN showcase in NYC.”
Regardless of who will display the best rendition of Clint Eastwood at Red Bull LAN, Walshy and FlamesworD are two hired guns who won’t be riding off into the sunset anytime soon.
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