(This article starts a series that will run over the next few weeks. Its goal is to look back at the teams and personalities that have made for some of the greatest and most intriguing moments in the history of the WGLNA.)
The WGLNA Season 2 finals are now less than five days away and as the four best teams in the NA prep for that event. Today we look back at the rich history of the league. In the beginning of the eSports era of World of Tanks, one team stood out for being dominant. A team named Fulcrum. Two-time, back to back, WGLNA champions, Fulcrum was the team that everyone wanted to beat but often, failed to do so. Later on, they picked up a sponsor and changed their name to Fnatic. Though the name changed the character of the team had not.
At the helm, as Captain of Fulcrum (Fnatic), was David “Nagatron” Williams. The same man now known to many newer WGLNA fans as part of the casting duo from a few seasons ago who stood alongside Christian Toma. http://TheDailyBounce.net was lucky enough to sit down and talk with him a bit about the beginnings of the WGLNA, Fulcrums members, their place in the early days, and any legacy he felt they might have left.
- How did the core group of Fulcrum come together? Who were the foundation of Fulcrum?
Fulcrum was essentially created by merging Friction and I’s tournament teams. Sov13t, Relics and I joined officially with Friction, Hugo and Zero when they came to Forge from NDP after long conversations, over a period of a few months, when Friction and I worked together daily in clan wars. Friction and I were two of the most successful Clan Wars leaders for quite a while so we basically made a deal that as soon as the Absolute Power tournament concluded we’d merge and try to make a super team.
I also consider JackQueRudo and AntonioHandsome core members of my tournament team but they weren’t able to start for a few reasons. Antonio was in Spain and we weren’t sure if that would be a problem while Jackie was doing a backpacking trip around Europe. Both very likely would’ve been starters had things gone differently.
- In the early days of WoT esports, even pre WGLNA, what were the challenges you and Fulcrum faced? What were the challenges those early rules presented?
We started off losing pretty bitterly in the Ural Steel Regional tournament. We came close to winning it several times, but the clock kept getting in our way and then one bad turn of events in RNG pretty much closed it out. This actually cemented us a team and made us try even harder for the upcoming WCG tournament. We wouldn’t have made those mistakes a month later.
- Success for Fulcrum came early. Was there any specific strategy, or tactics you went back to when the challenges came? What made Fulcrum the dominant force of their time?
Before Season 1 there was a Major League that took the place of what was supposed to be the first season of WGLNA. During that we definitely specialized in excellence in small team tactics while focusing our larger strategy around our strengths in scouting and artillery play. Wargaming ended up making huge changes that ruined this entire approach, but during the year up to that we were a serious force to be reckoned with. I felt we could’ve had great success on the international stage at this point. After that we were pretty much just trying to retool our team to fit the current meta, but we were never as solid as we were at that point.
- Every great team has a key rival. Who were the antagonist for Fulcrum? How intense was the competition between you and them?
We mostly were concerned with international teams. We always wanted to go toe to toe with Na Vi and perform at a high level. Locally there were a few teams that we felt were developing well and could take our place at the top. SIMP was obviously the team we had the biggest rivalry with locally, but we actually felt Hammer Time and Cunningham’s were better at different points throughout. We always overthought and underperformed in our matches against SIMP and I think the other two suffered that as well, but to SIMP’s credit they were resilient and obviously skilled enough to create that effect. It’s hard to really explain our relationship and perspective of SIMP since it started long before WGLNA began and would take a while to detail accurately.
- Was there any one team mate who was the glue for the team, other than yourself? The one who could bring folks a laugh, a focus, a kick in the pants when needed?
A lot of people on the team had parts to play here. Hugo, Zero, Relics and AntonioHandsome all were people who could bring a laugh and keep things light and fun. Friction and Sov13t were guys who would push people to play better and work to build systems to help that happen. During Season 4 JackQueRudo really stepped up to try to get everyone to work harder. I did a little of everything, but for the most part I played the diplomat, tried to foster respect, necessary chain of command/responsibility and manage the general morale of the team. I feel I began to fail in this role between Season 2 and Season 3 after WCG.
- Even with all the changes that have occurred since you last played, do you believe that Fulcrum would still be formable in today’s WGLNA?
If we’re talking about magically moving the same spirit and motivation from the early Fulcrum days to now, then I’d say absolutely. If we’re talking about firing it back up, discovering what baggage still exists, knocking off the rust and trying to get our head back in the game then I have no idea. So much of competition is mental that it’s hard to predict until you get practicing and see how people behave.
- This is a team that stands the test of time based on its championships alone. What do you think or do you think Fulcrum has left a legacy?
I’m not really sure. I obviously have a different perspective on how we performed so I can’t really speak for the community at large. We threw a lot of games and that’s what I remember the most.
The legacy we wanted to leave was to be the NA team that performed well internationally, the team that lead the way to play hard, play fast and take reasonable risks. I frequently argued with league members that if we’re camping we’re doing this for nothing. Nobody wants to watch that and if nobody is watching then the league can’t grow. Format changes to the league (Assault/Defense instead of Standard mode) have since helped address some of this problem, but this was a very large topic for several seasons that caused a lot of tension between teams.
- Are there any words you wanted to share for your fans or words of wisdom for the current teams?
I’d want to thank all our fans for sticking with us through the ups and downs. I recently got to meet one of our earliest fans GhiaJoe at PAX South and that was a really cool experience. It’s an honor to have people you’ve never met so compelled to cheer you on.
For current teams, all I can say is that respect is what matters the most. Being a team is like any other relationship. It takes real work to keep those dynamics healthy, but without them you are guaranteed to fail when the pressure is on.
Fulcrum is a team that will be remembered as the most dominant early era team around. It was not until they were pressed hard in the Season 3 finals by Hammer Time and others as well as suffering defeat to SIMP in the final match did they begin to look mortal. Let’s just say that if WGLNA ever did a Hall of Fame, Nagatron and Fulcrum would be on the first ballet. They were The Team that got the ball rolling. These days you can follow David Williams on Twitter at @NagatronTV.
The only team that has a chance of achieving a back to back title win is Elevate this Saturday, April 8th, 2017, on http://live.wgleague.net/ . Will Comps, Wallhacks, Jerm, Oxmathus, and company secure the same success and gain the glory that once was in the domain of Fulcrum alone? Can history be matched or will the unpredictable nature of the WGLNA strike again? Be sure to tune in to find out