In the history of great Counter Strike players, few stack up to the enormous amount of talent that has been displayed throughout the years by Danny "fRod" Montaner. Twice named eSports Player of the Year in 2005 and 2006, fRod has been a staple in American Counter Strike since his early days in United 5 where he first wowed audiences with his amazing ability to completely take over matches.
Now, several years and countless accomplishments later, Danny continues to wow us with his undying passion and knowledge for the game, as well as his ability to still dominate opponents with one of the best awps in the World. Fresh off a victory at the LG KODE5 USA Regionals, and with two major events in the EM III Grand Finals and KODE5 USA Finals on the horizon, Danny was kind enough to take some time away from his busy practice schedule with his team to answer a few questions for Gotfrag.com.
After two seasons with the CGS playing Source, you, along with most of your team, returned to competitive 1.6 play by joining the Evil Geniuses organization. Was the transition back to 1.6 hard for you, or were you able to pretty much pick up where you left off?
For the most part, the transition was somewhat easy for a few reasons. Firstly, we played cs for over 8 years at least each of us and secondly, source requires some similar concepts such as precision, timing, gun control, and strategies. We know that we have a lot of work to do since we are working hard on some of the concepts that need more attention in 1.6, such as chemistry, rotations, timed strategies, etc. to make sure we are staying as fresh and diverse as a squad as possible.
Montaner in CGS
In hindsight it looks as though the move to the CGS for you personally was a smart choice. Even still, are there any regrets you might have about leaving CS 1.6 while you were still at the top of your game, or are you just glad to be able to have the opportunity to choose your own path when it comes to competitive gaming?
For me, I have no regrets in what I do, because I put a lot of thought into my actions since I take this game extremely serious. The thought of having a league that could potentially make gaming into what we have all wanted was something that I couldn't pass up on. Doing whatever I can to make gaming get bigger each day has been one my many goals throughout this game, because I know the importance of progressing as much as we can for that common goal.
After returning to 1.6, your entire team, minus Ronald "Rambo" Kim, became part of EG.usa. Replacing him was team EG member, Jordan "n0thing" Gilbert. How has Jordan's play style fit in with the rest of the team and what has he added in terms of depth?
Having added Jordan has definitely given new light and that extra edge that we need, namely a complete roster of players sharing the same goals and wanting to achieve those day in and day out. We are continuing to work with Jordan, but mainly as a team, to improve every aspect of our game to ensure proper growth as a unit, in terms of chemistry as well as our arsenal of strategies. Jordan brings a great deal of skill and smarts to the team, as well as an open mind that is willing to learn.
In just a few short weeks the KODE5 USA Finals will take place and you will be battling several other top American teams for a single spot at the KODE5 Grand Finals in May. Do you feel that EG.usa is prepared to punch their ticket to Russia?
I feel that as a team we are ready to compete and play our hearts out, especially when we are together on LAN since we are used to it from living together for over a year. Whenever the pressure is on, I feel we can perform better as a team, and especially when we are looked at as underdogs. We are playing over 6 hours a day 5 days a week since we have made this team and started practicing back in January. I havenít played this much as a team for so long since back in my United 5 days over 5 years ago. It feels great to progress together and goes back to my earlier point of having our whole team together on the same page day in day out.
Montaner KODE5 US Qualifier
EG.usa and x3o have been playing very well on LAN lately, however, the two teams have yet to meet. Do you feel that x3o will be your biggest challenge at the KODE5 USA Finals, or is there another team you will be looking out for?
I feel every team there will be a challenge for us, since this will be a great test for us as well as great practice for us as a team. Our greatest challenge will definitely be ourselves though, mainly to stay focused and execute how we practice, we will do just fine.
If you do happen to win at KODE5 USA, what do you think your chances are, going up against the international competition at the Grand Finals? Is the team ready to take on the best teams in the World?
We look at this game in a different way from a lot of teams out there. For the most part, our practice is to prepare ourselves for the highest form of competition, training, execution, and strategies in our game. With that being said, this unit and core dating back to the coL days, has always kept a focus on ourselves and keeping this high level of playing, so we are ready to face any team, no matter the difficulty level. I feel we can do well at the international level, but we must continue to practice hard and pay attention to a lot of the detail that we talk about.
After having played against the best teams in North America and seeing the best teams around the World, do you think that the skill level is the same as it was back in 2006 when you were with coL, or has it changed? How has it changed?
I donít really feel anything has changed in the international level, except maybe some new faces and new teams, but other than that, nothing much. A lot of the teams are extremely skilled, but that is expected since we understand that anyone who plays this game trying to achieve a great placing will be trying as hard as we are, which will never change. I am looking forward to playing against all the new faces as well as the old faces which provided a great deal of competition!
You have always been known as the ultimate opportunist in competitive CS. What does the future hold for fRod?
Right now I am trying to bring my game up to where it was and make sure I can be the best I can for my team and the EG organization. I have been playing this game for almost a decade now, and I feel this has given me a great amount of experience and has provided myself with a great amount of enjoyment and fun. I definitely want to be playing at a high level of competition for as long as I can, because I simply enjoy playing so much, and want to do all that I can to help progress eSports as a whole. I have many goals that I have yet to accomplish, and I will be trying as hard as I can to accomplish those, as well as possibly create more!
Any Shout Outs or anything else you'd like to add?
I would like to thank EG for giving me a great opportunity to make a comeback to the greatest game ever created and promise not to disappoint! I would also like to thank EG's sponsors, Intel and Kingston! Also, give www.tao-frod.com
a look. I have gotten a great amount of feedback, and honestly havenít received a single complaint from anyone who has purchased a copy. This is extremely rewarding for me, since I put a lot of time into this and so many gamers have enjoyed this!
Danny "LANfRo" Montaner
What's with the fro?
LOL, well it is gone and I got a fade already and will continue to get a fade every few weeks like I always did. I just spent over 2-3 hours a night for over 4 months writing about 1-2,000 words for the guide. Sometimes, well actually every day, I would want to try and catch up on as much rest as I can especially since we had a lot of practice while playing some source and 1.6! Donít worry; it will never be that way again, so those photos will be a keep sake!
Special Thanks to Danny and Alex