Meet the quarterfinalists: chat with team captains

Within hours of starting the first of the WTCOC quarterfinal clashes, we spoke with the captains of the remaining 8 teams to learn a little more about how they got to this point in the championship.

These are the questions we asked them: 

  1. How do you rate your team up to this point in the competition?
  2. What do you think are your strengths? 
  3. Do you have any special ways to prepare for the clashes each week?
  4. What do you expect from your rival in the quarterfinals?

And these are his answers.

Romania vs United Kingdom 

Romania / Mars15 

  1. This year Romania has a stronger, compact team, we managed to win the “death group”, having had several important victories which gave us confidence to continue our winning streak.
  2. First of all, the core team is very strong and has the capability to win every game, regardless of the opponent’s level. This comforts each one of us, knowing that the team can win, even if one individual has a bad day. Second of all, we have in our team the MVP of the competition, namely game__over, who succeeded to win the most games so far in the entire tournament(14).
  3. We are constantly training and trying to improve our game, so that on our match day we are prepared for victory.
  4. I expect them to give their best. Now, in the eliminatory stages, nobody affords any wrong step.

United Kingdom / danisthirty

  1. I couldn’t be more proud of what the UK team have already achieved, or more honoured to be playing my favourite boardgame alongside such an awesome bunch of people! We’ve had to fight hard against some very tough teams to get here, but there’s plenty of fight left in us yet and we’re excited about the incredible journey on which the WTCOC is taking us.
  2. As a team, our most significant strength is our captain’s rugged manliness and handsome beard. But we have other strengths too. We don’t have a single “star” player who we rely on more than anyone else, but have a high standard across the team and consider ourselves as equals. Our group chat has enabled us to get to know each other and become friends, and as friends we support, help and respect each other. We’re focused on developing the team rather than ourselves, which means we share a lot and learn from each other’s mistakes as much as we do our own. We believe in ourselves as a team, and we don’t fear anyone! (it’s mostly my beard though).
  3. There are no “safe” matches, so we prepare for every match as though it were the final. We try to find time to go over recent games on a weekly team call so that we can discuss our decisions and what we might have done differently. Once lineups have been shared we also seek to watch some of our upcoming opponent’s recent games to get an idea for what kind of player they are, and what we might expect from the duel. One final preparation is to make sure there’s a cold beer on standby, ready to be enjoyed immediately after the match regardless of the outcome.
  4. We have nothing but respect for the Romanian team and their attitude to the competition. Finishing at the top of Group C would be an incredible performance for anyone considering the opposition, so it’s certainly not something we’re taking lightly. I’m sure we will give them a tough match, but I’m good friends with Mars15 so even if they beat us I’ll be very happy and excited for them to be going on to the semi final. We’ll leave it to the Carcassonne gods to decide which of us will proceed!

Japan vs Czech Republic:

Japan / progressive_topline

  1. The rating is 80%. As the previous champion, we should have won all the games of group qualifiers, but we lost one.
  2. The depth of the players, the abundance of talent, and above all, the teamwork.
  3. We always find out the following about the opposing team: the performance of all the players in the tournament, the order of the lineup,the team’s performance in the previous and Euro 2020, the ELO of all the players, and their performance against our teammates.
  4. Do your best and be on time! 

Czech Republic / Hurtle_cz

  1. It took us couple of matches to get used to rythm of this tournament. Despite not so convincing start I can now proudly say we belong to the best teams in the world. Moya and Marty are excellent delivering consistent performance throughout the tournament which makes the rest of your team complete victories.
  2. We raise team spirit on our discord channel. I was having a blast talking to Marty during Moya´s nail-biting decider against James. We think our lineups through. I discuss the order of players with several people in the team and look for the best option.
  3. Just do the same as always. Study our opponent, come up with the best lineup and let the game unfold.
  4. Only the best. Prior to the tournament I guessed team Japan would fight for top ranks in the tournament and I wanted to play against them. Going to our match they are definitely favourites. We have nothing to lose and that´s why we might beat them.

Russia vs Lithuania & Latvia:

Russia / Someone_you_know

  1. I think that in general we played below our level, but the difficulties only further motivate us.
  2. My team is very experienced and is able to achieve results in the most stressful situations. 
  3.  We analyze the lost games, and also make a selection for each next round. We also try to guess the seating arrangement of the opposing team and seat our players to the most convenient opponents for them (and often it turns out).
  4. The opponent in the quarterfinals loses to us only in the experience of participating in such competitions. The team of Lithuania and Latvia is incredibly strong and, in my opinion, is the favorite of the tournament. I think we will have an exciting and very close match.

Lithuania & Latvia / Muzhachello

  1. From the 1st game we are fighting for the gold medals, and we won’t stop. As for the smallest country there (only 2.8 + 2.2 million), we are trying to show that we are powerful.
  2. Our strength is Liudeselis (12 of 12 wins) and a lot of practice. We have 3 masters now, and this is one of the best results now on WTCOC 2021. 2 of us collected more than 800 elo. Alexey – 839.
  3. We make training every week and we always try to catch the best players on BGA. All of us grow a lot of elo during the championship, because we spend a lot of time on brainstorming & group analysis online.
  4. I think it will be a very interesting and hard game.

Catalonia vs Poland:

Catalonia / defdean

  1. I think our team is among the underdogs of the teams still in race for the title but we are fine with this status. Less pressure on our shoulders.
  2. Our strength is clearly the group and not the individuals. From the 10 players of the team, we are 8 players knowing each other personally. We’ve played live tournaments (before COVID) together, we get along very well and that makes our team more powerful.
  3. As much as possible, we try to study the game style of each opponent so that we don’t need the first game to adapt to their style. This way we are prepared from the very first tile.
  4. Poland is clearly one of the toughest opponents. They have a very high confidence due to their perfect score (6-0) during the first phase so they will be the big favourites. We’ll do our best to avoid a 5-0

Poland / TerranPL

  1. I enjoy the performance of Team Poland so far, of course! We’ve worked hard to prepare for every single match and managed to win all the group matches with excellent win/lose ratio. The opponents in group B were demanding and allowed us to learn more about our weak spots, both individually and as a team.
  2. We’ve managed to forget about individual competition and joined WTCOC as actual team, we support each other. Our big strength is that we have a lot of strong players in the team and can always have a good replacement if someone feels out of shape at the moment.
  3. Each player has their own ways to train of course, but we also have a team way to prepare. In order to form a roster for WTCOC 2021, we had 3 big tournaments played only between finalists of Poland Championship 2020 – not only to figure out who should join the national team, but to make it a good opportunity to train hard before WTCOC. We also host the internal training tournaments on a weekly basis, to make sure that the current top5 will play in the next match.
  4. Now since we are in the quarterfinals, we only expect the rivals to give us a good and demanding fight. Catalonia is a stronger team today than it was last time we played (in Euro 2020, we won 3-2 back then), but Team Poland also made very significant progress. I am pretty sure it will be a great match and we will do our best to win!