Quake World Championship 2023 is only five months away. Over a hundred people have signed up in the last two Global Qualifiers, where new players with their first shot in Challengers and veterans with years of experience clash with each other for a spot in the most prestigious tournament of the year. Every year we see new faces get a chance to prove their worth against the best. However, there’s one player whose absence in the Finals would leave people asking: “Why does it feel like someone’s missing this year?”
Latvian Quake player Pavel “bukster” Bartkevics has attended six Premier Quake Champions events throughout his career, three of which have been Pro League curcuit-finals. But in the pursuit of earning his spot in the highest league in competitive Quake, he’s fallen right before the finish line almost every time.
In an interview with Bartkevics by Pavel Kymla on Quake Pub, the Latvian’s situation was described as “hanging on that edge of Challangers and Quake Pro League”. Kymla saw it as an achievement having made it to so many high level events, whereas bukster himself expressed that he wasn’t necessarily proud of having made it to the LAN Finals without qualifying, saying:
Honestly it’s not much of an achievement you can be proud of, because the goal was to get into QPL and I failed to do that couple of times.
To put things into perspective, below you’ll find the Pro League-curcuit events where bukster has been close to either getting into the league or qualifying to a Finals, where he’d then have the chance to qualify into the league.
2020-03-01 – bukster qualifies for QPL S1 Stage 2 Finals, but falls to Xron in his opener and misses his first opportunity.
2020-07-25 – bukster finishes 3rd in QPL EU Challenger Stage 4 Challenger Finals. Top 2 qualified to Quake World Championship 2020 where they had a chance to earn their spot in the league.
2021-04-25 – bukster qualifies for QPL S2 Stage 2 Finals, but can’t hold cnz back in his opener, thus missing his second opportunity.
2021-07-10 – bukster once again finishes 3rd in QPL EU Challenger S3 Finals, one match win away from qualifying to Quake World Championship 2021 and an opportunity to get into the league.
2022-08-18 – bukster qualifies for Quake World Championship 2022, but loses his opener against sib with a 1-2 scoreline and misses his third opportunity to earn his QPL spot.
Now, as we are seven weeks into Season 4 of Quake Pro League, bukster has finished top 8 in the first Global Qualifiers, losing 0-2 to Keltz and GaRpY respectively. In two days, the third Global Qualifier will take place, and bukster is all set to take on his third opportunity this season to qualify to the 2023 World Championships. At the time of publishing this article, there are a few notable names signed up that Bartkevics would have to get past to make it to the biggest LAN tournament of the year, such as QWC 2022 attendants Yup and RMV as well as Barcelona KeenCon 2022 Quarter-finalist Rohm.
So, will 2023 be the year where the Latvian finally breaks free and earns his long-awaited spot in the Pro League? Making it to the Finals would be the first step, and there are currently three more opportunities for Europeans: Global Qualifiers #3 and #4, and the European Qualifier.
Want to see the bracket for the third Global Qualifier for QWC? Click here.