London. It’s a place that will put a smile on any Call of Duty fan’s face, thanks to last year’s riotous major that showed just how passionate the UK CoD community really are.
The pints, the ridiculous costumes, and the infamous “What do we think of LG [Luminosity Gaming]?” chants created an atmosphere that was hard to forget. Last year, there was general support for any team that had a British player on it. But with the Call of Duty League and franchising now descending on London, those fans have one place, and one place only, to focus that support.
As one of just two European franchises in the 12 team CDL, London Royal Ravens have the UK on its back, and no player is more pumped for the occasion than the team’s talismanic player, Matthew ‘Skrapz’ Marshall. Skrapz’s comical and honest approach makes him a stand out name in the CoD esports community, as does his part in the immensely interesting storyline of the journey he and his twin brother, Bradley ‘Wuskin’ Marshall, have taken in the scene over the last three years.
From teaming up at Fnatic and UNILAD, to competing against each other in a dramatic FaZe Clan vs Team Reciprocity series at last year’s World Championships, to coming full circle and once again sitting alongside each other on a roster, the twins have been through it all.
This weekend, Skrapz and London Royal Ravens have the home advantage as they host the first Home Series event of the CDL. The Loaodut got the chance to chat to Skrapz about playing in front of the London crowd once again, playing alongside his twin, helping aspiring CoD pros, and what he thinks about some of the CDL’s biggest stars.
The Loadout: Launch Weekend for the Ravens. Great first result, but you were outdone by your biggest rivals, Paris Legion. Were you happy with how things went in Minnesota?
Skrapz: Well we went into that weekend with minimum practice – I’d say we were probably the least practiced team of anyone there, we had a lot of issues with visas and stuff like that but since we got that sorted we’ve been going hard the last few weeks, especially since we got back from Minnesota.
I’d say it was an off series against Paris, we obviously came out all guns blazing versus New York and when we played Paris we were just sloppy. Come out a totally different team and obviously that showed and we got done in. Hopefully we’ll get the chance to play them again at the weekend, there’s no doubt it’ll go differently and everybody knows that. I think it was just an off series.
First series of the season, first sweep of the season.
— London Royal Ravens (@RoyalRavens) January 25, 2020
So this weekend you’ve got the home advantage, which maybe you didn’t have to the same extent in the CWL last year as you were representing orgs rather than a franchise…
I mean last year, we had a lot of support, like my FaZe team and my brother’s team [Reciprocity] they got a lot of support but obviously a lot of it is always going to go to where Seth [Chicago Huntsmen’s Seth ‘Scump’ Abner] and T2P [name given to Scump and Matthew ‘FormaL’ Piper] go, they get all the support. No doubt it’ll be like that this weekend again, but the difference is we’ll get as much as they do now. I would say there’s a lot of hype around it. There’s no better feeling than listening to the crowd going mad when you’re playing – it’s great.
So it’s good to have a lot more of the focus and support on you now?
Yeah, it is. You don’t pay much attention when you’ve got the headset on, but when you get one or two big kills and you can just hear them screaming I just get shivers; shivers through my whole body. I can’t wait for that.
During the offseason, at what point did you learn that there was going to be a London spot, and how quickly did you end up becoming a part of it?
Well we [Skrapz and Wuskin] were on the verge of signing for other teams.
All US teams?
Most of the offers were but the Paris team was one of the offers as well. We were on the verge of signing but last minute we got a message about a London spot being bought, so our manager [Michael ‘Swizz’ Butterworth] said ‘hold out, this is gonna get pulled off.’ Eventually it happened, they got the spot, and we were just like ‘well this is a no brainer.’ Next thing you know, we’re signing with London. I don’t regret it at all, it’s a dream come true.
Who are you tipping to be MVP this season? I know it’s early on but from what you’ve seen, who would you say?
I saw a video yesterday, it was a video of pros getting asked who their best player is at the minute and they were all saying Simp and Abezy. No one said Cellium though. I think personally Cel is the best player in that team [Atlanta FaZe]. He’s a huge talent with a bright future, so I’d put Cel in that category.
I’d also say Dylan. Nobody’s seen yet what he’s really like. I’ve never seen a player like him. [He] doesn’t let go of those sticks, kills everything in sight. There’s a few people you could guess but that’s who I’d put on my list.
I’m gonna reel off a few of the guys in the CDL. Off the top of your head, you’ve got to describe them in just one or two words. Got it?
I’ll try… Go on…
I don’t wanna sound cringe, but, the king.
He’s a top player, but his attitude stinks sometimes… But he’s a top player, I’ll give him that.
Talent, also a very good player.
Twisted! That’s the only word for Matt. Twisted.
Boxhead… [laughs] Nah, Crim, he’s like Damon [Karma]. The GOAT.
And finally… KiSMET…
Nah, I’m joking. Very passionate. He’s a good guy, I’ve spoken to him before, haven’t got a problem with him. He’s really passionate about what he does and you’ve gotta respect that. So when he’s beating us in Minnesota and he’s shouting over at us, you’ve gotta give him that. He can do it – he’s winning, so gotta give credit where it’s due. Good player.
Nice to see him embracing the European rivalry?
If you could poach one player from the rest of the CDL to play alongside you, who would it be?
Hmm, going off of just Call of Duty history and being someone I’ve always wanted to play with, it’s gotta be Karma [Damon Barlow]. I’d love to play with him.
Who when you first started getting into competitive COD who were you looking up to, who was your inspiration?
Damon. It’s always Damon, every time. Every time somebody asks me that, even when I started playing, out of all the players it’s Damon. He had that clutch in him, every time you watched him he was doing something crazy, always pulling his team out the fucking shitter, and he’s a 3 times world champion. Always Damon.
If I may, let’s talk about last year’s champs. The famous storyline – and the famous picture – between you and Wuskin. Is it now better to be on a team with him so you don’t have to have those situations again, or will you miss competing against each other?
The only thing I regret about teaming up with my brother, well, not regret – that’s a bad word to use – the only thing I’d wish for now is to be playing against him.
I used to look forward to it, every time I got the chance. But other than that, I wouldn’t have this any other way – this is how it’s meant to be and hopefully we can win a championship together. That’s the goal.
Compete with Wuskin on a team for the rest of your CoD career, or never play alongside him again and win a championship?
So if we were on the same team, that team would never win a championship… Erm, never play with him again. And he’d do the same thing.
Getting goosebumps thinking about this London event. Sat next to the bro while you lot are throwing beers about..🏆 pic.twitter.com/9NHRKrNWir
— wuskin (@wuskinz) January 29, 2020
You’re often quite vocal on social media about how thankful and blessed you are for being in your position…
Every time, man.
You’ve also given quite a lot back to other aspiring CoD pros, like you helped amatuer teams fly out for the Challengers event in Minnesota last week. Why do you feel like you’ve got to give back?
I wouldn’t say it’s giving back. I’d say it’s more that I remember being in that situation, I remember having nothing. I remember getting promised this, that, and the other, and I never got those things and it was really demoralising, so seeing videos and tweets of people saying how they’ve been fucked over, and how they can’t get to events… It’s not a good feeling. And if I’ve got a spare bit of change in my bank account, or if I’d just been paid then I’m more than happy to help out. It’s not gonna affect me at the end of the month, it’s not stressing my pocket – I just want to help.
I don’t know, just seeing them [the amatuer teams] there that weekend [at Minnesota]… Guys like LewTee were buzzing and came up to me and said how thankful he was. Just helping out and seeing other people enjoying themselves is worth every penny. It’s not really about giving back as I’ve worked for everything by myself – didn’t get anybody’s help, I grinded to where I got today. So to help out others who are currently less fortunate than me is such a great feeling.
The London Royal Ravens Home Series will kick off tomorrow at the Copper Box in London at 11:00 GMT [03:00 PST/ 06:00 ET]. You can watch all the action on YouTube Gaming.