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  Valla  2006-03-13  
He's a player so good that ]SR[Murdoc dubbed himself 'Valla Jnr'. There can be few people that don't rate Valla as one of the greatest DM3 players around at the moment (and possibly of all time), but he is not such a well-known figure in the community. I took the opportunity to hunt him down and ask some questions for a hot 'intervjue' ((c) sassa).
1. Hi Mr Valla, thank you for taking the time to talk to me. Iím going to start by asking you to tell us who you really are Ė whatís your name, where do you come from, what do you do when youíre not skipping merrily around DM3 with an evil gleam in your eye?
My name is Martin Thollander and Iím 21 years old. Iím currently located in Stockholm, Sweden and as of lately I donít do much more than look for work on a weekly basis. Apart from that I usually waste some time at QW or write music / rehearse.
2. As a relative latecomer to the European scene, I am only familiar with you from the days of Chopstick Ninjas, Team Freedom and now of course, Fragomatic. Can you give a little more background history to your QW career?
I began playing in 1997 with my two younger brothers. We formed some shitty clan right when we started called The Firestarters, oh what a shitty name that was. We used to play Regular Quake until we all got kinda tired, thought like, why is the game so dead?! So I just threw some funny question to some random guy playing FFA asking where the likes of Doomer, Okkun etc where playing. He then told us about QuakeWorld and how everyone had jumped on to that. So that was a natural change for us, and we were all stuck after playing ffa with Nator and so on from Icon of Pain. My brother also had the opportunity to get raped by Doomer on dm4, unforgettable :)
Later on, around 1999, I began playing with Znappe and we probably formed 100 different clans or something in 2 years, haha. But that was however when we began to launch a more serious approach to the game. Around 2000 we formed the clan Blisters, which could have gone quite far, we played some good practice games, and we were realitively unknown back then. But just two days after we formed the clan we got thrown out from playing at the University of Stockholm due to some shitty issues. And that was pretty much the end of blisters as I began playing 2 months after that on ISDN with the worst ping ever and Znappe would still be without internet for 6 months or something.
So our campaign in Smackdown season 2 was quite ruined, we didnít do all that good and the clan died and was resurrected on a few different occasions with different players.
In 2001 however, I think this was the turn of everything, when both me and znappe had left Paranoia to form Enslaved with clawfinger and my younger brother, hanky. This lineup only lasted for a month or something, due to hankys lack of skill and not being too serious about this whole thing we decided to recruit Foppa. This was quite a genious move by znappe, since Foppa brought in Exile not too long afterwards and later on Pietro decided to help us out. We played some really good games with Enslaved and this was probably the first clan where we atleast had some thoughout tactics and knew what to do on all maps. The skills of pietro and exile really helped us as well.
We reached the quarterfinals in Smackdown Season 3, loosing 2 maps to 1 against Orkney clan with the likes or Brutal, Akke and Dag on their team. However I really thought we should have done better, but for me and znappe it was our first important playoff so we were kinda nervous :)
3. Have you ever tried playing any other online multiplayer games? How successful were you?
Yes, I began playing Counter-Strike in mid 2002 when I quit QW. I mostly quit because everyone I knew was playing Counter-Strike and it felt kinda shitty playing some game alone. I think I played Counter-Strike for maybe 1 and a half year, and while I might not have been top-notch I thought I was on quite a high level. As a clan we did beat some really good mixteams, but never had a chance to play against any of the elite clans.
We had thoughts of participating in the CPL tournament in Denmark, but it never happened.
4. What setup do you use for QW? GL or soft? Logitech, MS or Razor? Give us the juicy details!
Right now I use GL Fuhquake as the client and Microsoft Intellimouse Explorer 3.0 with 500 Hz USBPatch and the old version of the Microsoft drivers. As mousepad I use Steelpad 4D which is basically like fUnc Surface only a little larger and cheaper.
5. Youíre known as one of the best 4on4 players in the scene at this time. But are you a fan of any other QW game modes such a 1on1?
Yes I play 1on1 very often with Xterm. But I usually stay out of tournaments due to my motivation for serious dueling. Sometimes I might be seen playing serious games with players from my clan, but mostly I just +forward through the game. As for 2on2 I donít play it very often. Might happen once in a while if Znappe, Nepra or Xantom approaches me.
6. Until your move to Fragomatic at the end of NQR7, you were mainly playing as Ďbig fish in a small pondí with the likes of CN and FREE. What made you decide to make the move to a true top clan?
As for leaving Chopstick Ninjas for Freedom it was basically all for friendship. But I wasnít very active back then either and had just started playing again so I needed some practice and Freedom was superior to CN in terms of activity so that move kinda opened things up for me. While in Freedom I never had any thoughts of leaving. Xterm asked me around summer 2004 if I wanted to play with Fragomatic but I declined without much thought since I was happy with Freedom. However around December 2004 Freedom had basically died when Znappe worked nightshift and Flintheart went away for 4 months or something. Left was me and Sweeper and I later on decided to leave and try something new. Xterm asked me again if I wanted to play with Fragomatic and I simply said, yes.
But had Freedom stayed active, I think I had never made that move, simply because Freedom was Div1 back then, and that I was happy playing with people I knew very well.
7. I know that many people view you as the best DM3 quadrunner in the current QW scene, but which players taught and influenced you to play DM3 in your own unique way? Did you study demos while you were an upcoming player?
Yes I watched demos daily back in 2000 when I had no internet. I simply downloaded them from school and brought home. As for players that influenced me I must stay Pietro for his roaming tactics on all maps, akke for his fast way of moving around on maps and dag for his serious approach to qw. But I have to mention that even Paradoks was a big influence with his mad shafting back in the days, that made me practice shaft more often and as of lately Iíll also mention reppie, angua, fix and even people from Fragomatic that taught me new ways of playing. But as for quadrunning I usually watch demos from the opposite teams pov and watch how they move in different situations, this is actually something I can recommend since most players have their unique way of camping and so on. And things become much easier when youíve studied your enemy before a game, you play in a more relaxed way.
8. Youíve improved a lot on DM2 and E1M2 since joining Fragomatic Ė do you put that down to the increase in skill of your teammates, or have the wily tactics of Manulito et al rubbed off on you and made you a more thoughtful player?
Well, as everyone knows, DM2 and E1M2 requires far more teamplay than a map like DM3 where you can basically sneak around the whole map with a shaft or something. As for DM2, yes I suck on that map, and still does. But at least Fragomatic taught me the correct ways of playing it. When it comes to E1M2 Iíve always thought it was my strongest map, heh. And I still actually think it is. It suits me better than DM3 at times and I feel more safe playing that map since I know most clans donít put much time into practicing it.
9. What do you feel are your main strengths as a 4on4 player? And your weaknesses? Where do you think you can improve?
Iíd say my strength lies in my way of learning new things. Iíve always been open to learn new ways of playing and I can cope well with the critique you get from being in a top clan. But also that Iím quite serious myself and put a lot of time in the things I do, like QuakeWorld for example. As for weaknesses Iíd say I do some bad moves per game. Mostly selfish things or being to anxious. But my teammates usually straighten things out and then teaches me a lesson afterwards, haha.
10. Fragomatic always strikes me as being a very solid team, as well as having great individual players like yourself and Xantom. What do you think it is that makes Fragomatic so difficult to beat?
We have some well thoughtout tactics and with a consistent lineup of four players where everyone knows what to do helps us out a lot. As players we play very frequently, either mix, duel or 2on2 and that helps us improve our aim and stay in shape. But most of the time I even think we flood better than most MM3 teams and really helps everyone out just as if we had MM3.
11. I think Iím right to assume that Fragomatic are one of the top clans that doesnít use voice communications in their teamplay. Do you think that ĎMM3í will be something that you could ever consider? Do you think that it helps or hinders teamplay?
Right now we donít use voicecom but have thought about converting as well. Donít really know if thatís gonna help us out, but we might give it a try in some practice games.

I think MM3 helps out teamplay alot for those clans that don't wish to talk all that much about tactics. MM3 makes it far easier to coordinate attacks and help each other out. Basically hearing someone yell for help makes it way more definite and you then react faster to it and go there to help out without much thinking. But it can also be for the worse because you can't concentrate as well when hearing people talk all the time and voicecom programs usually add some delay, so what you hear might be delayed up to 2 seconds at times, which can be quite critical in fast games like QW.
As a final say, I've played some games with Freedom using voicecom and they worked out ok, I'd like us to try it out atleast and then we'll see.
12. Fragomatic are my personal favourites to win NQR9. Do you agree that you have a great opportunity to win the competition, and who do you think will be the toughest opposition?
I think thereís maybe 5 or 6 teams that all, on a good day, can win NQR9. But weíve looked in shape as of lately and I wouldnít be surprised if we made it. As for clans that are the toughest Iíd say itís the teams with MM3. The Viper Squad, Lege Artis, Slackers, KOFF. But I also hold CMF and FS high. I usually hate playing those teams because they play quite similar to us with mad flooding and always backing up own RLs.
13. I remember that I first became aware of your DM3 talents when commentating on Freedom beating Slackers on DM3 in an AdMortem game back in early 2004. That is quite a memorabe game for some, and I guess it brings back fond memories for you as well. Are there any other games that you look back on and remember well, whether they were because you played well individually or as a team, or because it was a really tight game?
Yeah I have a few, most are practice games tho. But I remember those two DM3 games against Lege Artis, various practice games against Slackers and one DM3 against Fragomatic when they were practicing before their game with CMF in NQR7.
Apart from that Itís probably games with Blisters and Enslaved + various duel games.
14. What has been your greatest achievement in QW?
Reaching playoffs in Smackdown 3. Nothing beat that feeling, playing with IRL friends and we were talking about it in School for I donít know how long.
Winning with Fragomatic however, was my first real achievements in QW where I won something. But Iíd say I was way more proud of beating Euthanasia in a practice game in 2000 really :)
Itís all down to how well you know your teammates, like Iíd wish I had won anything with Freedom, but that never worked out :-/
15. Which clan has been the toughest to play against in your whole QW career? And what about the toughest player?
Flaming Fist by far. Donít think any of my clans ever came past 90 frags on any map against their top lineup. Sure, we werenít the best back then, but still, they were the shit.
As for player itís probably dag, played DM6 once against him and it just went down hill, heís superior at everything really. I might also mention playing against Reppie is quite tough as well. His aim is so out of this world, not to talk about the luck and flow he has! :)
16. I often spy you spectating games. Are there any upcoming players that have caught your eye who could soon be ruling the roost in division 1?
Yes there are a few. MM from SM especially. Heís quite an interesting player. Could probably play in Div1 next season if he has the intention to. His aim is incredible and he has good knowledge of 4on4 already. TheEvilDog is another player I hold quite high actually, heís probably top div2 right now and could with some practice play in div1 next season depending on activity and so on. But apart from that itís probably players everyone knows already such as TheChosenOne and Mutilator. But Iíd say SQZ and Znappe are atleast top div2 and could play in div1 as well.
17. If you were captain of the Swedish all-time 4on4 team, which 3 players would you have alongside yourself? Iíll let you pick different players for each map if you want.
Hm, really, I wouldnít even want myself, haha. But okay, my pick would be nabbe, angua and xantom. Iíd prefer to have fix or reppie instead of me really, but I think that team would manage well on all three maps. Nabbe is a good defensive player that can roam around as well. Heís usually seen as the one correcting mistakes of his teammates. Angua and Xantom are two similar players really. Angua might be the one who has a more serious approach, for example, the 100% perfect play he has with all the necessary tricks for all maps. But Iíd say they play quite similar in terms of fast movement, both quadrun extremely well and can also keep positions if necessary.
18. Are you a fan of any maps besides the big 3? Would you like to see any custom maps brought back into the top level of QW?
Actually Iím not a very big fan of new maps, mostly due to my lazyness when it comes to practicing them. But however I always liked CMT4 and CMT3 so those two would probably be the only maps Iíd look forward to :)
19. Youíve gone back to play for Freedom in the ladder a few times lately. Do you see yourself returning to play with Znappe et al in a league such as EQL or NQR at some time in the future?
No, Iíve told them that as well. Fragomatic will be the last clan I play in. Unless I want to try something new, but itís most likely going to be a new DIV1 clan if thatís the case or a completely new one with friends.
20. Do you have any tips for 4on4 players who are striving to improve and work their way up from the lower divisions?
Studying demos is important. At least according to me, but not a lot of players do that I believe. But itís kind of hard to give out tips really :) itís just down to practice, I can only mention the thingís Iíve done to improve, such as playing against better clans, later on study demos, playing mix often, duel or 2on2 for skill improvement. But itís also that some players have different ways of playing. Most are more defensive and not gaining a lot of frags, these players will have a harder time to get their name out since frags is mostly what people think about when they first see a player, sad but true.
21. What do you think of the current QW community? Do you enjoy listening to TeamSpeak coverage and reading the opinions of Ďpunditsí in the scene?
One thing is for sure. Commentary is the best thing being introduced to QW. I always enjoy listening to commentary. While I might not do it live, I always check out the mp3 recordings later on. As for the rest I think you should do interviews more often. What player doesnít really matter to me. Usually the predictions are okay, but those for DIV1 could always be done better, really :) But I might agree with them that DIV1 is quite predictable and if they want to try out new things in their predictions, for example FOM as 2nd in Group A, then Iím fine with it! :)
22. And finally, you have been known as many many different names, even in the short time that I have been aware of you in QW. Here are some of them: Whajna, Valla, Reverend, Ningizzia, Player, Maíat. Why do you change name so often, and what inspires you to choose those aliases?
Haha, I usually just used most of those nicks for fakenicking in mix games, but later on I got so used to them that I made a change. Honestly, Iíve only used Valla once in QW. That was in Chopstick Ninjas. I liked whajna a lot better than the nicknames I have right now tho. But I never make a change back to an old nickname. As for inspiration itís usually bands, songs or just my admiration for mythology.
As for last words I wanna bring a big shout out to everyone playing QuakeWorld and especially my old clan Freedom. Had my best years of QW in that clan.
Also a mention goes out to the old team VVV that roamed DIV3 in NQR7. Love those guys! But also Murdoc, Dragon and Purity whom I still speak to often. Great guys.
gaz - 2006-03-13 09:57:18
gaz - 2006-03-13 11:14:14
streetrobban - 2006-03-13 11:14:54
do you also use the new quakeworld-helmet? it improves hs-skill...
murdoc - 2006-03-13 11:17:08
omg, the interview i've been waiting for my whole life! nice one ;)
qmole - 2006-03-13 11:17:49
Really nice interview :)
flintheart - 2006-03-13 11:28:20
really nice interview, \o/ valla! freedom4thewin :<
TheEvilDog - 2006-03-13 11:37:58
lovewords from the dm3master himself <3, very interesting and well done interview.
Ningizzia - 2006-03-13 12:10:34
I forgot to finish one of the answers when gaz wanted me to email him what I had done so far of the interview. I gave gaz the missing piece of the question and he said he would update it, hopefully its done soon :-e
almeida - 2006-03-13 12:23:44
he said my old nickname clawfinger yaaaay :D
almeida - 2006-03-13 12:24:52
the best interview ever.. . well done martin :)
znappe - 2006-03-13 15:37:19
heh, nice.. as flinta said, freedom4tehwin 8)
sassa - 2006-03-13 18:39:30
myca - 2006-03-13 23:38:44
Cute interview Vall :-0
Murd im waiting for interview with you ! ;E
Hagge - 2006-03-14 00:57:24
omg an interview with the legendary valla 8) some great stuff as always \o/ doesn't matter if it's a dm3 game or an interview Be
gaz - 2006-03-14 01:11:58
Why are you angry Sassa? :P
qqshka - 2006-03-14 01:20:42
sincere interview, Valla :P
blaps - 2006-03-14 01:50:42
nice interview with what seems to be a really nice guy! just a small note on the stuff about mm. valla says mm has "good knowledge of 4on4 already". i think it's a widespread misconception that mm is some newcomer. he's not though, he's been playing with sm since nqr4 (in those days using the nick pmen).
ui - 2006-03-14 02:03:09
This was truly a great "intervjue". Good questions, long answers and no bullshit. Plx giev moer!
angua - 2006-03-14 02:30:56
kind words valla :)
blaps, widespread or not... there are always people who aren't aware of how long you've played. This come from NQR5: "I mean angua is a great player.. but he's not ready for this big games yet :<" - Then I had played for, let's see, 7-8 years... in NQR6 it was replaced with "rising star". But then again, you can't keep track of all players. Gr8 interview gaz.
Xerial - 2006-03-14 03:06:41
I remember that Angua. You had just returned from a long break and we played with X vs hmm, well some good div1 clan. People just wanna analyze other people. Thats good, its just that sometimes they analyze a centimeter of a kilometer if you know what I mean.. Anyhow, nice to read. Kram martin!
gaz - 2006-03-14 04:30:10
mushi - 2006-03-14 05:26:14
very nice read
Tjall - 2006-03-14 09:58:23
Good interview indead. Im impressed by such good valla's memory. All those dates o_O
fake - 2006-03-14 10:43:33
unex - 2006-03-15 00:12:06
we came, we roamed and we owned div3!
gaz - 2006-03-15 05:31:15
puritrev made sure of that
flinty - 2006-03-16 04:21:32
haha all those dates tjall? man you should see our private blisters-channel then... znappe and valla talking qw-memories 24/7 from -97 -98 as if it was yesterday! lineups, scores, battles, members, servers, everything... crazy mofos! :)
Tjall - 2006-03-16 06:51:11
Respect 8)
znappe - 2006-03-17 17:09:31
heh, when u live qw for 8 years your head gets fucked up ;)
GRENDEL - 2006-03-18 09:02:14
best interview ever! >_>
andy - 2006-03-19 01:27:08
Good interview!
hetman - 2006-03-22 02:18:14
A very nice interview from the greatest player nowadays (4on4 dm3 is what counts most). The thing I find especially cool is the link in the history of GM Pietro and GM Valla.
The rise of GM Valla reminds me of GM Aronian in chess.
As a last comment, I guess that GM Valla and fans deserved this interview much earlier. :P :)
newb - 2006-03-24 16:58:59
Valla can you uplaod your cfg somewhere? :)
Ningizzia - 2006-03-29 04:53:54
Havent checked here for a while, sorry for a late answer. But talk to me on irc if you can?
port80.se.quakenet.org #fragomatic
Nick: M-a-R-T-i-N

I'll upload it incase you don't use irc.
znappe - 2006-03-30 03:22:43
omg, busy eller martin?
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