Call of Duty Championship ANZ Interview - Albert ‘NakeeeZe’ Nassif

Albert ‘Nakeeeze’ Nassif, of ANZ power-house squad Team Immunity, is one of Australia’s most successful and recognisable Call of Duty athletes. As a Call of Duty Championship participant in 2013 Nakeeeze has shown off his Call of Duty skills on a National & International scale. Nakeeeze will be competing in the 2014 Call of Duty Championship Australia Qualifiers in hopes to head over to LA for the second year in a row.

We sat down with Nakeeeze to ask him about his squad going into the Call of Duty Championship Australia Qualifiers and his thoughts on the Call of Duty Championship.

Welcome Nakeeeze, thanks for taking the time to let us ask you a few questions. First off, would you like to introduce yourself?

My name is Albert “Naked/NakeeeZe” Nassif, I’m a 21 year old Australian Call of Duty Professional, currently representing Team Immunity. I live in Sydney Australia working full time as an optical dispenser. I live with my girlfriend Ebony in the house I bought in 2013 for the next few months before it becomes an investment property and quite obviously I love to play Call of Duty with my team mates.

When did you first discover Call of Duty? And from there, how long was it before you started playing competitively?

I began playing Call of Duty during the start of World at War, I swapped from another popular FPS “Halo 3” after playing the entire series from the start. I began dominating public games then it wasn't too long before I was asked to join a competitive team. I was in my final year of schooling and quit playing Xbox near the end of WaW and returned just before the release of MW2. After pub-stomping for half of the game's lifespan I started taking competitive more serious. Near the release of Black Ops I decided I wanted to step my game up by attending my first ACL PRO LAN event when Black Ops was on the circuit, fast forward a few years and I have 7 ACL PRO LAN wins, 5 other event wins as well a multitude of Online victories. Not to mention representing Australia at the Call of Duty Championships in 2013, which is my career highlight.

What drew your attention to Call of Duty over every other game? And what has kept you competing for all these years?

To sum this question up short and sweet: I am a competitive person, I like to win, and even more I hate losing. Call of Duty is the pinnacle of console competitive gaming at the moment and i couldn’t see myself anywhere else.

What has been the greatest high-point of your Call of Duty competitive career? Your favourite tournament victory or experience?

For me it's a no-brainer: the Call of Duty Championship ANZ Finals and Call of Duty Championship in LA. Winning an all expenses paid trip to Hollywood to compete against the World's best teams, $4000 and my favourite of all, the awesome Trophies we won (seen above) which I will have as a constant reminder. I’m really hoping to overshadow last year's victory in the coming months.

Lets look at the entirety of the Call of Duty Championship. Qualifiers are being held all over the globe in the aim of finding 32 of world’s best teams to compete in Los Angeles for a massive $1,000,000 prize pool. What do you think this competition means to the Call of Duty community? Do you think this tournament has changed the way fans and players view Call of Duty?

This competition alone yields enough prize money to support many professional Call of Duty players for the year without any other source of revenue. For some people it means they don’t have to work that crappy part time job and can focus on winning events and creating content for the fans. This tournament has definitely changed the players views, being 18+ is almost a necessity to be in a top team as you want your team to be able to attend all major events, and there is none bigger than the Call of Duty World Championship.

The breakdown of regions invited to the Call of Duty Championship stands as Americas – 13, Europe – 13, Asia Pacific – 4, Africa & Middle East – 2. Do you think this is an fair breakdown that represents the talent of each region involved?

I think that it is more “fair” on the part of the the rest of the world. Last year the “Call of Duty World Championship” had 16 North american teams and this year it has a total of 13 including Canada and South America. I definitely think it has been much more fair on the United Kingdom/Europe who rightfully deserved more spots. One could argue that the “World” is being more emphasized than the world “Competition” as North America does hold the most quality teams though.

Comparing the skill of the NA & European community to the skill of the ANZ community: how do you think we stack up against our overseas counterparts?

As always, It’s an upward battle from the get go, we have barely any top teams to practice against. It also doesn't help that sometimes other top teams like to avoid scrimming us so we “don’t know their strats”. They need to understand that to better your own team and better the community we need to verse each other. Ignoring top team scrims will only keep us weak when we go to International events and haven’t had enough practice against solid opposition.

Do you believe that if the Australia & New Zealand competitive player base was exposed to the same large and experienced community that the NA & European communities already possess it would help close the skill gap between our regions?

There is no doubt that it would help close the skill gap, but I couldn’t say that we would start winning or placing up the top of events until we can all afford to quit studying and our jobs to play and live full time off competitive Call of Duty like some North Americans do.

The North American scene has seen a merid of team changes since UMG Philadelphia. Who do you think has come out on top of these roster swaps leading into the Call of Duty Championship?

This one is a no brainer for me. Complexity will still be at the top in my opinion, closely following will be nV, and then I could see Curse.Lv or OpTiC behind them.

Looking back to ANZ now. The Call of Duty Championship Australia & New Zealand Online Qualifiers are held on February 1st and 2nd. Team Immunity is currently signed up for the Australia Online Qualifier, are you confident that your team can come out of this event with a Top 3 finish?

I always have the utmost confidence in my team, If you don’t think you’re going to do well, you won't. The Online Qualifier are a bit tricky with Single Elimination, however I’m sure if we do what we have been doing for the past 13 months it will pan out like usual. My only comments are that a Best of 3, Single Elimination competition online can always lead to some really unlucky and unfortunate upsets, which can all be redeemed at the Live Event Qualifier.

What teams do you expect to perform well and take a spot to the Call of Duty Championship ANZ Final from the Online Qualifiers?

With confidence I can say I expect the top four to be, in any order: Team Immunity, Trident.iNS, Trident T1Dotters, AVANT GARDE. Unless they knock each other out earlier, or have internet difficulties, which would not surprise me in the slightest.

The last chance for Australia & New Zealand residents to qualify for the ANZ Final is the Live Event Qualifier held in Melbourne on February 8th - 9th. Are Immunity going to be competing at this Live Event? And which teams can you predict that may fall short in the Online Qualifiers but secure their spot for the ANZ Final at the Live Event Qualifier?

Immunity will be in full force at this event, looking to take out the 5k MLG Pro points on offer, and that coveted spot to the ANZ Final in Sydney. I can see Trident.iNS struggling online but bringing the goods on LAN as they have always been a LAN proven team.

The Call of Duty Championship ANZ Final is where we will see our region’s 8 best teams compete for $15,000 and the privilege to travel to LA for the Call of Duty Championship. Based on the current team lineups in Australia & New Zealand can you predict which two teams you think will top our region and get to represent ANZ?

At the moment i’d have to say ourselves, and the next closest team would be Trident T1Dotters. They have put in more work than any other team and I’d be lying to say they aren’t our biggest threat at the moment. Although they haven’t had any LAN experience besides one player, this will easily be their biggest weakness and the pressure could really get to them. I do expect to see AVANT and Trident.iNS start scrimming more soon and catch up to the rest of the pack.

What would it mean to Team Immunity to be able to return to the Call of Duty Championship?

It would be a chance to redeem ourselves. Last year we attended with two fill ins, minimal preperation, and played arguably our worst on our worst maps. It wasn’t a good taste of defeat knowing we didn’t do the best we could. This year we have without a doubt the best player in the Southern Hemisphere representing us and Australia: Myself (just kidding, Shockz). Having 3 out of 4 of our core team helps a lot, we’ve also got our ACL Nationals Championship 4th Rampage who has been a great addition to the team, and with a little more time I see us solidifying the cracks in our gameplay and preparing us for a possible Top 8 finish which I believe we can achieve.

Time for some speed questions! Favourite Call of Duty of all time?

Black Ops or Black Ops 2, so close for me I cannot pick.

Favourite Gun from any Call of Duty game?

MP5k - Black Ops

Favourite Map from any Call of Duty game?

Summit. This map was the greatest map for me and It was perfect for Dom/SND/CTF, which was our Blops rotation.

Favourite teammate of your Call of Duty career?

Shockz. Honestly the guy is a freak to play with and he is hilariously funny to listen to when he is happy or angry.

Most skilled teammate of your Call of Duty career?

Shockz without a doubt in my mind.

Favourite Call of Duty player to watch?

Yet again, Shockz, whether its on LAN or Online, he manages to pull off some stuff that is ridiculous. Ask anyone that's played against or with him and sometimes it’s demoralising to team with.

Best Call of Duty player in the world?

At the moment It would have to be coL Karma or coL Crimsix, I don’t think anyone could deprive the coL guys of that status.

Best Call of Duty player in ANZ that is not in your team?

Over my years of competing and teaming with players I cannot go past zeeeeQ/Haxoid. He struggles online a lot with his bad internet speeds, but at LAN he shows why he is one of the best and has been for many years. Teaming with him in the past I know he can hit nades 10/10 times and has great commuincation, one of Australia’s best pressure players.

Thinking back on the 2013 Call of Duty Championship: are you happy with how your team played and placed? Do you think your placing accurately represented the skill level your squad possessed?

Yes, and no. Yes because with minimal prep, half a normal roster, and versing full teams who had been playing together months prior to the event I unfortunately didn’t expect us to do well. No, because we are a lot better than the result we ended up with, but you can’t sulk, you take away what you learnt and come back harder and stronger next time, which we are ready for now.

Do you think if Team Immunity qualified for the Call of Duty Championship in 2014 you would place higher than 2013? And how well of a result do you think your squad is capable of?

As mentioned earlier, I’d be amazed if we didn’t outplace ourselves from 2013. We’re putting in far more work than previously and I think the competition is slightly weaker than it was last year with half as many North American teams.

Lastly, if Team Immunity competes at the Call of Duty Championship in 2014 is there any particular team or players that you’d love to play against?

Well of course I’d love to stear clear of the best teams in the world until the later rounds, but also I would love to verse teams such as: CompLexity, OpTiC, Team EnVyus and Curse.Lv as they’re the big named teams on the Circuit and an upset on our behalf will be big for exposure in Australian & New Zealand Call of Duty.

Thank you for taking the time for this interview Nakeeeze! Before you go is there any shoutouts you’d like to give?

Firstly to the team, I’ve been with them for over 13 months and I won’t be playing Call of Duty without them. Considering my age this will be my final team before one day handing my spot to someone more worthy when the team agrees. Secondly to the best org in the land Team Immunity for supporting us for almost a year now. Our sponsors Intel, Redbull, BenQ, SteelSeries, Geil, Antec and Gigabyte. Our manager and owner Reg and Tony. Last but certainly not least, ACL PRO and Activision for putting on the Call of Duty events in our region this year and making dreams come true. May the best team win!

Hopefully you enjoyed the second installment of the Call of Duty Championship ANZ Interviews. Stay tuned for more interviews with Call of Duty players and personalities from the Australia & New Zealand community!