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TrackMania

The comeback that ended up in a world title

29. November 2018

27After Zerator Cup 2017, Martin ‘’Kappa’’ Krompolc decided that he didn’t want to spend his days in front of the screen playing Trackmania anymore, and left the game. But, October 30th 2018, Kappa became the new world champion. What made Kappa change his plans and how was his road back to the top?

The early days

Martin ‘’Kappa’’ Krompolc’s Trackmania career started 10 years ago. He was introduced to the game by some fellow classmates who needed more players to get the correct amount of players in a match. Since that moment, Kappa has loved the game. Already three years later he got approached by eSuba. The focus then shifted from online events to offline events. But unlike his team mate now, Marek ‘’tween’’ Pacher, Kappa’s career in eSuba was a short story.

‘’When I was 17 years old, it was the year 2013, I got an offer to play Gamers Assembly for the first time. They paid for me. Accommodation, the travel, the entrance fee and stuff. Before the LAN, mžy mother told me, I am not allowed to go. Because she doesn’t know the eSuba guys, and doesn’t trust them. So I wasn’t allowed to go, and that was a big problem for eSuba. So that affected my relationship with the team. Because when I got invited to ESWC 2014, the year after, they told me that they are very sorry but I am not hakkiJunior or tween and I am not needed anymore. And it was kinda risky for them. Because, what if I told them, I wasn’t allowed to go once again, you know? So that made me rage quit from the team.’’

  • Martin ‘’Kappa’’ Krompolc

Kappa was now without a team. Battling between searching for a new team or quitting the game completely. Kappa ended up finding a new home in FunTeam. A team that focused on online events. FunTeam eventually became MnM Gaming. A team that could support Kappa for offline events. This was the start of a turning point in Kappa’s career. Kappa attended to The Nest in 2015 as an MnM player. During that event he made a promise to himself.

’I made a promise to myself, that I want to attend ESWC, for once in my life, before I quit the game, and that was a game changer. Because that was gonna be my last event in my career. It sounds silly now, but it was the plan. So I trained my ass off. I played 8 or 9 hours a day for the qualifications, and then for the event. And I almost made it into the grand final. I was finalist and got an unfortunate bug, and didn’t qualify to the grand final. And that was the point where I realized that I can be better than that. I can be better than I ever thought.’’

  • Martin ‘’Kappa’’ Krompolc

From player to champion

The event following his run at ESWC 2015 was Gamers Assembly 2016. For the outsiders, Gamers Assembly is viewed as the second most prestigious event in Trackmania, and gathers the best players in Europe. This time Kappa was able to make it into the grand final, and had the chance of winning his first major title in the game. The grand final was a match Kappa dominated. In fact, in the grand final he had 6 attempts to close it out, and claiming the title. Sadly, Kappa wasn’t able to finish first in either one of the finalist attempts, and ended up 3rd in the end. Maniaplanet World Cup was the last event to be hosted in 2016. Once again, Kappa fell short at reaching the grand final of the world championship, and finished 5th.

Martin ‘’Kappa’’ Krompolc next to GA 2016 champion Dennis ‘’Massa’’ Løtze (Courtesy of Gamers Assembly)

The year after Kappa claimed his first major title. In february of 2017 he won Gaming WinterFest, and the curse had been broken. Kappa used his momentum from Gaming WinterFest, and took it with him to Gamers Assembly 2017. This year the event was viewed as the most prestigious one, since there was no world championship hosted. Kappa ended up taking his second title in a row, and became the champion of Gamers Assembly 2017. The Kappa we saw in the last rounds of Gamers Assembly 2016, and the Kappa we saw at Gamers Assembly 2017 were two different people.

‘’In 2017 at Gamers Assembly, it was already a different me, because of the Gaming WinterFest victory.’’

  • Martin ‘’Kappa’’ Krompolc

Martin ‘’Kappa’’ Krompolc after winning Gamers Assembly 2017 (Courtesy of Gamers Assembly)

Leaving the game, or?

Following his double win at Gaming WinterFest and Gamers Assembly, Kappa was also able to qualify into the Zerator Trackmania Cup 2017, and made it into the semi finals. Everything seemed to be going well, and it looked like Trackmania had a new king at offline events. But Kappa had other plans. He felt that real life was more important, and it was time to stop playing the game.

‘’I decided to quit my active career after Zerator Cup 2017. It was all planned. I didn’t want to spend that much time by playing the PC game anymore. My goal for 2017 was to win as much I could. Because I had a year off from school. I attended three tournaments, and won two of them.’‘

  • Martin ‘’Kappa’’ Krompolc

However, already in March of 2018, a familiar face showed up at Gamers Assembly. Kappa was back in Poitiers, France to defend his title. He had prepared well for this event, and was once again ready to battle against the best.

‘’I decided to defend my championship title. It was kind of my duty, you know. Not just win the title, and then disappear forever. But I wanted to give the others the opportunity to get it out of my hands’’

  • Martin ‘’Kappa’’ Krompolc

The event didn’t turn out like it did in 2017, and Kappa finished 4th. Kappa left the event with a different feeling, than he had in 2016 when he placed 3rd. This feeling made Kappa realize that he couldn’t continue like that, and he had to stop playing the game. At least until he got his motivation back.

‘’When I got 3rd in 2016, I was actually crying in the backstage there. And the difference between that and 2018, where I played so bad, but didn’t care. It’s all about the state of mind. How much you want it.’’

  • Martin ‘’Kappa’’ Krompolc

Martin “Kappa” Krompolc at Gamers Assembly 2018 (Courtesy of Peiks)

The champion comes back to become world champion

In September of 2018 the news about Team Sampi joining Trackmania broke. An organization founded by the football player Jakub Jankto entered the scene of Trackmania. Quickly five of the very best players in the game joined. Including Martin ‘’Kappa’’ Krompolc. Team Sampi was the factor Kappa needed to have, before making a comeback. An organization that would make him see the light in the end of the tunnel. And once again, the motivation was back for the Czech player.

The first event he would attend to was Giant Cup 2018. Kappa was well prepared, and had his eyes on a new grand final, and a new title. The event turned out to be a disappointment for the Czech player, and he was knocked out early on. He left Paris, knowing that if he wanted to come back here in one month, and compete for the world title, he had to qualify in one of the open qualifiers. Going into the first out of two open qualifiers, many considered Kappa as the biggest favorite to make it. However, he was not able to.

‘’The defeat was really uncomfortable for me. But I am not the kind of person that gives up too early. I knew that there is also a second week, and it felt like the opponents are doable.’’

  • Martin ‘’Kappa’’ Krompolc

The second qualifier went much better for Kappa, he was able to win the qualifier in a solid fashion. Even though, he showed that his level from the first qualifier to the second had increased, he didn’t view himself as a favorite going into Trackmania World Championship 2018. Names like CarlJr and Pac weren’t on his mind. But he still wanted to put in as much effort as he could, and wanted to make this trip to Paris, France better than the last one. And after the most intense grand final we’ve seen at a world championship in Trackmania, Martin ‘’Kappa’’ Krompolc was able to finish it off, and became the new world champion. A 10 year old journey with up and downs, had now resulted in the biggest achievement you can reach in the game; a world championship title.

‘’After all the years spend in the game it’s a great achievement. I could finally retire peacefully. I mean, I’ve done that so many times, but this is the first time I don’t want to stop, and I actually wanna improve’’

  • Martin ‘’Kappa’’ Krompolc

Written by Eirik Holdal