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Location: Home  Blogs  TM Interview Project - Sabre 
TM Interview Project - Sabre
TM Interview Project - Sabre14 Nov, 2014
  wormi (3 comments, 2145 views)  

Hello, it has been a while! Today I can present you a multitalent gamer who I saw live this year in ESWC. This British guy lately has returned to the game as stronger than ever – say allez to Sabre! More information about the project here.


1. Could you tell us something about yourself?
Hello there, my name is Andrew Wilson (although I prefer Andy), known online as Sabre and represent iGn-eSports in TrackMania 2: Stadium! I am an 18 year old British dude hailing from Bolton in the north-west of England (it’s near Manchester). My main hobby would of course be playing video games too much in my spare time, but I am also a fervent supporter of my hometown football club, Bolton Wanderers. I have a ticket to watch all of their home league games in a season. I am currently completing 3 A-Levels at Sixth Form (the “full-time” step before university in England) which are in Maths, Physics and History. I am currently looking to study History at undergraduate level before possibly studying law or journalism.

2. How and when did you find Trackmania?
I used to play an old strategy game called Call of Combat, in which I communicated with fellow clan mates on Ventrilo. I remember that in April 2008 (when TMNF was released) a Serbian in our clan by the name of Shark started playing the game and was thoroughly enjoying his time on there. I wanted to join him back then, but my laptop was not good enough to do so. Then, almost a year later in March 2009 (I got a better laptop for Christmas in 2008), I was looking for a game to play whilst bored and remembered the game from the back of my mind. I promptly downloaded the game and was addicted almost instantaneously!

3. How were your noob times?
I was a member of a few different UK community teams (a funclan called upe initially, then a community clan called dr-ukr which was also pretty well-known in TMU at the time). It was my experience in the latter which led me to finding out about ESL and, learning about the heroics of 4K^darkY (now dignitas.JonNo) in the recent ESL Pro Series UK Season 2 Finals, I decided that I wanted to try and become the best player I could be in competitive tech tracks, as they were the tracks I was enjoying most in my public server play.
My times in the summer months of 2009 basically consisted of me fanboying the 4Kings players (such as their new recruits in Tamarillo and Koenz) and my move to a Russian tech team named infinity Formula (after they had been recommended by darkY). My first matches in ESL team ladder clan matches followed not long afterwards, as I was a part of the infinity Formula Growing Talents team (their academy). After consistently improving at a quick rate, I finally made it onto their main team in the autumn of 2009 for the 4th season of the ESL Premiership (now CPS).

4. You were really young when you began driving on top teams. How it was to be the youngest on track?
I wasn’t yet 14 years old (I turned 14 in the 5th December 2009) when I had already made my first “bigger” appearance for the UK team in NC5. By this time, I was playing for a Portugese team known as ReV Gaming (learning the game at a higher level from players such as Mandioka, wh1sper, DVD, Battou, Chaos etc. who were all present on the team). When I made the leap up to Raptor Gaming in the 1st Division of the ESL Premiership hierarchy for the 5th season of CPS (after making rapid improvement in the early months of 2010), as well as qualifying for the 3rd season of ESL Pro Series UK, I really did feel like I had made it much closer towards the top level. Doing it at such a young age had been somewhat fulfilling, but this came at a price as I was incredibly bad-mannered and spiteful towards opponents when I was upset at my own play. This is the major con of playing with such intensity in competitions whilst being so immature and I am still ashamed of much of my behaviour from the past, if I am brutally honest.
Of course I carried on improving during 2010 and into 2011, culminating in an ESL Pro Series UK victory of my own in Season 4 at the start of 2011, but my rage and immaturity had not improved much at all and I am still feeling some aftereffects from the reputation I picked up from it all.

5. You surely aren't that kid anymore. Next, many players not playing anymore were active back then. If you could get one of them back on track again, who would it be and why?
It would have to be tOto. He was my favourite player in 2009 & 2010 for both the incredible raw pace he had during Time Attack, coupled with the standout performances in STC6 and STC7 for ubiteam/ubitox and during NC5 and NC6 for France made him one of the best players I have ever seen on the track. I would love to see him active again to compete against the likes of CarlJr and tween, to see how he would fare nowadays.

6. I gotta agree with you! In 2011 you qualified for ESWC, but weren't in the event after all. What happened?
I managed to qualify for ESWC 2011 through the online EU qualifier held by ESL, and to finally attend a “world championship” in the game was going to be a dream come true for me, as it was of course one of my dreams when I started my journey into the world of competitive TrackMania. My flights had been booked and accommodation reserved, but I was to travel with my dad as I was only 15 at the time and without a team. My dad had ordered his new passport from the Home Office with the “priority” service that they offer for an extra fee about 10 days prior to our flights. Unfortunately for us, there were some horrific logistical errors which meant that the passport had still not arrived on the morning of our flights. My dad assured me that it would arrive in time to make a last-minute flight to Paris for the event possible, but further delays meant that the passport did not actually arrive until the morning of the first day of competition, rendering me unable to play in the event.

7. You had a long break from Trackmania until you came back this year. Why?
The lack of a team such as YoYoTech to play with, coupled with disappointments in solo competitions such as GC9 and then the failure to attend ESWC left me with no motivation to continue in the game. My dad had bought me a new desktop PC capable of running any game as a consolation for not going to the event. As a result, I started to play other games (at first I ventured into TrackMania 2: Canyon for a few months as it was released around this time, but I soon lost motivation for that as well). Eventually I got quite addicted to StarCraft II and grinded the game during 2012 and 2013, and to be completely honest I had not really followed the TrackMania scene at all in this period (save for a few weeks in the end of 2012, when I played for BX3 in the group stages of STC9). I had actually picked up CS:GO with some of my friends from StarCraft in early 2014 when I bumped into Wold and natur (two Norwegian TrackMania players) in a game of matchmaking. We talked after the game and they convinced me to join their fun team (we hate ulows) for the upcoming TMM Team Cup.
During my first week of practice before the group stages, my dad was unexpectedly taken into hospital on Saturday morning (I picked up the phone at 5am in order to hear this news) and we were told that there was a split in one of his arteries (I don’t exactly recall but there was a split in a major blood vessel), which had caused poisoning of the blood stream. He died on the following Tuesday, and the memory of my major regret of not attending ESWC in 2011 was playing on my mind for the following weeks as I carried on in TMM. The announcement of the 32-man (as opposed to 16) tournament in June (I think?) spurred me into filling out an application form. I was quietly confident that I would get an invite, mainly due to the fortunate nature of how the invites are usually awarded for these events (to the top few players from many countries, as opposed to many top players from a few countries). My credentials as a British player were still good enough in the end, and I found out I had been invited in early September whilst on holiday in Greece with some friends.

8. So you ended up as 5th in this year's ESWC 2014, which surprised many people. How did the tournament go in your opinion?
My preparation for the tournament went well, I certainly was one of the most practiced players going into the event (mainly due to the fact that I needed to catch up in pace after such a long period of inactivity, as well as the fact that I had motivated myself to stream long practice sessions as a Twitch/YouTube series titled Road to ESWC). I managed to place 5th-6th in the aAa Practice Cup immediately prior to the event, which helped a little bit with confidence but admittedly not much. I arrived into Paris with little expectation of myself, with the mindset that anything I could achieve would be something positive to take out of the experience as it was my first ever offline event in TrackMania. I found the conditions there to be pretty well-suited, with a similar desk height to my own at home, as well as a chair that wasn’t too uncomfortable and a similar monitor (which was a 24” BenQ but a different model to the one I have at home, but it was close enough).
The TA phase phase led to me attaining the 10th seed going into the bracket stage of the tournament, a seed that I was very much happy with as I saw myself as more of a match player than a TA player. I managed to clinch the first few rounds in my first Winner Bracket match vs fellow Brit Leo, as well as Remix and xxrider. This much needed confidence booster was the spark I needed to focus on the match (to get into the zone). I managed to close out the match in 1st during the 3rd track and was immensely happy going into my next match vs Tamarillo, hakkiJunior and dNs. I actually had a large lead for almost the entirety of this match (I had 80 points after 2 tracks if I recall correctly) and managed to hit Finalist as Tamarillo just crossed the 70-point mark (hakki was still down around 50 points). Unfortunately, I could not close it out as I had in the first match and Tama made a great comeback in order to snatch 1st place from my grasp. Despite this, I managed to compose myself and did end up advancing in 2nd, despite hakki’s best effort to make a comeback himself.
After such a shaky end to my match I was not too confident going into the Winner Bracket Semi-Final vs CarlJr, Kronos and Koenz. The match seemed to go on forever whilst playing, and somehow I managed to get to Finalist before either Koenz or Kronos (Carl had of course already closed out 1st place by this point, to everyone’s surprise /sarcasm). I failed my first round once again, and Koenz managed to join me in Finalist mode. However, this time I did not make the same mistake and I managed to win an incredibly dramatic final round in a showdown vs Kronos where I took 1st by 0.03. The emotion I felt after the victory was like nothing I had ever felt in TrackMania prior to the moment, and my hands were still shaking for a while afterwards.
Unfortunately for me, the two stage matches I played on Sunday did not go as well as my matches on Saturday, and despite stepping up my game in the Consolidation Final as opposed to the Winner Bracket Final, I think my inexperience shone through and I fell short in both matches (having been 1 point away from Finalist in the latter match). For my efforts during the weekend I took 5th place, a result that I had never expected in my wildest dreams at my first ever TrackMania LAN tournament.

9. How was the event counting off the driving itself?
The main highlight for me of the event itself was playing on stage. Moving away from the actual events of the tournament, the feeling of playing my game at the highest level to a live audience (and to an even bigger audience online!) was an incredible feeling and one that I can only hope to experience once again down the line. Moving away from the experience of the stage, I would say that the organisation of the tournament by Sky and the rest of the staff was second to none, as they provided keyboards and mice for all the players who did not bring their own, as well as providing instant support for any issues coupled with information about future matches. The schedule was great, as it gave players plenty of time to have a rest after each match, which allowed for both relaxation and the opportunity to eat food at good times during the day.
Of course, the social aspect of the event was arguably the best. Not only was it my first chance to meet many of the guys I had known online for a long time, there were also so many of the TrackMania community present at the event for the whole weekend. Everyone was willing to participate socially, which made for a great weekend in that regard (especially immediately before and during the after-party :d). A great example of this was the 30 or so of us that made the drunken journey to the afterparty across the city using the Paris Metro, as well as the chilled atmosphere drinking and talking in the hotel lobby Saturday and Sunday evening. Of course the after-party itself was pretty good with some interesting moments, despite the drinks being expensive.

10. Oh yeah they surely were! What are you future plans gamingwise?
Currently I just plan to continue in TrackMania, with the hope of attending future offline events and participate in online team tournaments with iGn. I will also continue to casually play games like CS:GO (and most likely StarCraft II whenever the new expansion is released). I will most likely go inactive at some point next year to focus on finishing school and starting up with university, but I should be able to find the time to play in plenty of online events, given the motivation! : )

11. Do you have some favorite maps in Trackmania?
My favourite competitive tracks to play were ESL-Double Raibow and GC8-Bolas by blizz. Moving away from that, my favourite classic tech track is Summer Fruits by SapphiroN. To be completely honest, I have many tracks I am fond of but these certainly are the first that come to mind.

12. Have you built maps by yourself?
I built some short tracks that I uploaded back on TMX and once even attempted a duo track with MNM a few years back, but they were not particularly great tracks (feel free to search for them and give them a go if you wish, but prepare to be frustrated haha).

13. Nadeo is giving TM2S free multiplayer for months till Gamers Assembly. Do you think it will help the game grow bigger?
I certainly hope so! I think the potential of further support from Nadeo/Ubisoft might be exactly what this game needs to get back onto its feet again, something which it is certainly capable of doing. It can potentially fill a gap in the eSports scene that no other game can really do, so I certainly still have faith that anything is still possible. Certainly making the multiplayer free will be a huge factor for attracting Twitch viewers who are intrigued by the game upon discovering it, something which may be key if the game can gain traction on the site.

14. Have you ever raced on other environments in TM United?
I actually played in FET with some guys from Steam Engines Kamikazes (an old-school French TMU team), as well as playing in UL with them. I would say I was pretty good at Bay, Desert and Snow but pretty hopeless at Island, Coast and Rally :d. I also played in the Revolution Skirmish with Finnish TMU player Skapth, where we actually made it into the Finals (I can’t remember where we finished in the end, but it was a great “enviromix” tournament.)

15. Your top 3 websites, games, songs and movies.
2. :p
3. as a fan of the professional CS:GO scene
1. TrackMania
2. Re-Volt
3. MicroMachines
1. London Grammar - Hey Now (Arty Remix)
2. OneRepublic - Secrets
3. Madcon - Beggin’
1. Shawshank Redemption
2. Saving Private Ryan (the opening scene is too good)
3. Rush (just brilliantly captures the intensity of a great F1 rivalry of the past)

16. How in you are in other games? Do you play them competitive?
As I mentioned earlier, I did grind StarCraft II in 2012 and 2013. I was never great at the game, I would say I peaked in the summer of 2013 where I was pretty high Masters on the European server and fared fairly well at UK LAN events (including a Top8 finish at WCG UK 2013). I would say that I learned about about eSports and gaming in my time playing the game. On an interesting side note, I also used to play competitive HaxBall (the flash football in-browser game) on ESL, even playing for Team UK in the Country Championship whilst the game was popular. I also used to hunt records on F1 2011 back on the PS3, holding multiple top lap records on wet tracks, despite not actually using a steering wheel but rather just sticking to my trusty gamepad.

17. Describe yourself with four words.
Rather sarcastic British person

18. If you have something else to say, please write it here.
I would love to give a huge shoutout to wormi for taking the time to write so many questions and faking an interest in me and my TrackMania career, to iGn-eSports for being such a great community (special mentions for smoeshie, SiS, RoB, Lifelux, Frederik, Sophie, Julie and the rest of the iGn TeamSpeak crew), who cheered me on during ESWC and funded my flights to and from Paris, as well as Nemesis, Jonno, Shaw, Xephyr, Hotswat and all of the other guys from the UK scene (who might not be as active nowadays) that I have spent so much of my time in TrackMania online with and learnt so much from. I’d also like to give a huge shoutout to everyone that has given me a second chance in this game, and I wish to continue streaming as often as I can to provide more English language content for the community (you can follow whatever I’m doing at and!!!)

That’s it for me :d, sers out~

Thanks to you as well Sabre, was cool to meet you irl even though we hadn't talked a lot online before :)
Cya later with another face! ;)
3 comment(s).
  tcq writes ... 18, Nov, 2014  
Very nice read and a great depth in the answers. Thanks again wormi for providing us with the background of TM personalities.(y)
  kamakaze writes ... 15, Nov, 2014  
Cool interview!
  SiS writes ... 15, Nov, 2014  
Nice read :)
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