Hicksy on the Toronto crowd buff, Scrappy, and Major V confidence
Toronto Ultra has European blood injected into their DNA like a serum that oozes flair through their core, and despite an overhaul of their roster at the start of the season, fresh-faced and hungry talent have snapped up the chance to represent the violet-tinted squirrels.
As the Call of Duty League Major V begins with an electrifying pace and a nutty trophy beckons over the stage demanding a new owner, Toronto Ultra's newest recruit has quickly fallen in love with his new home and is relishing every second in front of his adoring fans.
Charlie "Hicksy" Hicks has surged into a top-four team as his Rookie of the Year case is flying under the radar, only bettered by his duo Thomas "Scrappy" Ernst, and as he took to the stage in front of his home fans for the first time, the UK-born SMG superstar is feeling more than confident.
Hicksy is 'feeding off' the Toronto Ultra Crowd Buff
With Toronto Ultra hosting Major IV, Hicksy and co were treated to a royal guard of honour before their first bout versus New York Subliners, and having been in this same place last year but only in front of 50 fans on the Challengers pit, the switch to the big league's is something that he's "feeding off".
"This is the first time I've ever experienced it before. We had it last year in Challengers last year with maybe 50 people in there, which is still insane for Challengers, but this it's way different. It's an insane feeling. After the game, you take off the headset and stand up and you see everyone, it's the best feeling.
"Yesterday we had really close control, but after the map, we got to stand up and see everyone. A hundred per cent you feed off it."
The Ultra squad has often been snapped playing football with fans at Majors and soaking in the atmosphere, and on their home turf, Hicksy says that they're relishing every second.
"We're always doing little bits, kicking a ball around and stuff. That's what we do. We take pictures with people and have been out a few times today, we love that side of it too."
But playing in front of your home fans can be daunting. In fact, its become somewhat of a CDL curse as of late that teams can't win when they host events, and having had quite some time hindered online, it might be overconfidence creeping in when the chants are in your name.
But with Champs just around the corner, history could repeat itself with the Major V winners having the momentum to take home the rings too, and for Toronto, they're making sure to keep a lid on the home crowd hype.
"It definitely could be a thing of getting a little bit too excited. Obviously, like with the walkout we did yesterday, it's only natural that that will just like raise your heart rate here and get excited about the game.
"So you have to be able to reign it in as soon as you get up there and calm everyone down again. As long as we do that before each series, then there's no reason we can't go all the way."
Hicksy confident for Toronto Ultra after New York win
Having stepped into the SMG department alongside arguably the most underrated player ever Tobias "CleanX" Juul, their first match at Major V was pivotal in getting the ball rolling through the upper bracket.
It was Hicksy too who took over the series, being the only Toronto player with a positive K/D at 1.13, constantly shutting down the phenom that is Paco "HyDra" Rusiewiez, and the Ultra slayer is now full of beans going into their next bout.
"The vibes are good," Hicksy said. "Obviously, the main thing is getting the win, it doesn't really matter if it's 3-0 or 3-2, it's the exact same as the Major III that we won, where we lost the last game of the qualifiers and then beat New York first round."
Up next is Atlanta FaZe, who is looking like a more polished outfit than before, and having already pocketed HyDra, Tyler "aBeZy" Pharris is next up on his hit list.
"We're always confident. Major III, we beat them, and Major IV it went to the last map, and we know we definitely could have won that series as well. So it's always close against them and if we play our game, then we can definitely get it done."
With FaZe having mastered Search and Destroy, Hicksy has also revealed that Ultra are knuckling down on the most decisive game mode, which could be their ticket straight to Championship Sunday.
"The saying for years has been 'Search and Destroy wins Championships', and we know how important it is.
"In terms of working on it, we haven't really done anything crazy. We've done the exact same as we did before each major. A lot of time in SnD is kind of things that you can't practice the go right or wrong, things you can't really control and it is what it is.
This time of year always throws up some interesting results too, as we've seen with Flordia Mutineers beating OpTic Texas and London Royal Ravens upsetting Boston Breach, and should Ultra push past FaZe into the Winners Final, Hicksy claims the two most in-form teams are in the other side of the bracket.
"In terms of teams that are looking good, Florida are looking really good right now, recently in practice and they've been on top form the OpTic 3-0 yesterday. ROKKR as well, that whole winner's final on that side of the bracket is two teams that have found form at the right time of the year and they're both looking pretty good right now."
The Rookie duo that is hunting down more chips
With one last Major up for grabs this season, the Ultra rookies are looking for one final push in front of their fans, and it's the Hicksy and Scrap partnership that might just be the cutting-edge difference that pushes CleanX and Jamie "Insight" Craven to the distance.
Having risen through the ranks with Scrappy, Hicksy now hopes that they can get one more chip this year, at least, continuing their undefeated run in a championships grand finals.
"That's my boy. I've played with him for over a year now if you add up the two different teams. Yeah, he's my boy. Won a lot in Challengers with him, had a great time all the way through on the come up, and then this year as well it was nice to win the chip with him. He's a great teammate and an unreal player."
The duo has blossomed into one of the best bromances of the CDL, and having showcased their talent, they'll likely be playing together in front of their fans for quite some time.
Addressing the fans directly, Hicksy added, "We'll do our best this weekend, and hopefully try and get a win. That will be an insane way to end the Majors this year, and yeah, thank you for the support this weekend."
Toronto Ultra's run continues on Saturday, May 27, where they will look to get one hand on the squirrel trophy in front of their namesake mascot.