In another one of our pre-Mad Catz Invitational interviews, we talked with Lemondogs' captain André "berg" Kjellberg.
The very young Lemondogs squad has been in top shape during the last few months, recording 3rd-4th place at DreamHack Winter and 3rd place at THOR Open. They also hold the 4th place in our world ranking and will be considered one of the candidates for a top 3 placement at Mad Catz Invitational as well.
We caught up with their captain André "berg" Kjellberg a few days before the tournament, to hear his thoughts about their preparation, expectations, the recent lineup change and more.
The first question on everyone's mind before a major tournament is always an easy one – how much have you prepared for it and what exactly did the preparation look like this time?
Our preperations for this event have been pretty good I think, not as productive as we would have liked though. We have practiced 4-5 times a day for past 2 weeks.
Do you think you have a limit to what you can accomplish at Mad Catz Invitational? What placing would you have to achieve to not leave Vienna feeling disappointed?
We always wanna get top3 at every event, doesn't matter what teams are going, we are aiming for top3 and if we can't do that then we need to go back to practice and talk about what went wrong, and just keep playing because that's what makes a team really good.
Take us through your group and your opponents (Group D – 3DMAX, LDLC.com and e-Sports.rs), what do you expect from each match?
I expect some tough matches versus LDLC and 3DMAX, I have never heard of e-Sports.Serbia so I don't know about them, but we won't underestimate them. I hope that we can top our group without any huge problems, but we will see.
Are there any dark horses among the Mad Catz participants that you think could show the world they are actually a top team? And do you perhaps have any interesting predictions about some teams doing worse than expected?
Darkhorses, Na`Vi, I know that they are considered a top team but they haven't really performed that great when they first switched to CS:GO and haven't really had any luck yet, but to be honest they have been improving a lot lately so I expect them to finish pretty high up. I don't really know about any team that won't live up to their/the community's expectations.
You have been in the top 5 on our team ranking for three months in a row now, currently sitting at 4th. Do you think that's exactly where you belong? And what do you think about the ranking in general and about possible future moves on it, which teams will go up and which down?
Yes, I think that we belong in the top 5 but it's kinda like, there's NiP and then the rest of the teams. It's really hard to predict who is going up higher and who is going to drop a few spots.
Of the teams above you in the ranking, you have been unable to defeat NiP or VeryGames yet, while you still haven't played against ESC Gaming. You will probably have to beat at least one of them in Vienna to get to some prize money, do you feel ready for that?
We are definitely ready to play any team at Vienna to get top 3, I don't think there's any team that we really fear except NiP, every team is really good and it's going to be a hard weekend for everyone I think.
Other than those three, do you aim for some particular scalp? Have you built up any rivalries so far? Your matches versus Anexis have been frequent and tough for both sides, how do you expect it'll go the next time you meet them?
We haven't really built up any rivalries yet, maybe Anexis, other than that I don't really know.
Since your last LAN attendance back at THOR Open in December, you made one change in the lineup, adding Anton "waver" Wiberg at the beginning of this year. How is that working out so far, and what did he bring to the team?
Anton has brought some really good individual play, and that's why we wanted to play with him and we all knew him from CS:Source, and we felt that it was a solid replacement for Spitfire.
waver shaking frozt's hand after a tie
Mad Catz will be waver's first LAN event with Lemondogs
Looking back at the last few months, despite your great LAN performances you were snubbed by the two major online leagues – ESEA Invite and SLTV StarSeries. How do you feel about this and about online tournaments in general? Also, you seem to have not really made an effort to qualify for EMS this season, why is that?
I think during the ESEA-I was going on we hadn't been to any LANs so I didn't really care that much about it. I was really surprised that we didn't get an invite for SLTV but I guess it's their decision... As for EMS, we weren't aware of the qualifier that was played a few days ago and that's it I guess.
The one online league you did take part in recently was Fnatic FragOut and you got knocked out in the quarter-finals by Virtus.pro after one of the most exciting best-of-three matches so far in CS:GO. Can you explain a bit what happened there, what went wrong and how it all played out?
The match versus Virtus.Pro was one of the best and funniest matches I've played, even though we lost. I don't really like to make excuses for losing a match, they simply were the better team that time.
One fact that is often overlooked regarding your team is that your average age is only 18, which certainly makes you the youngest of the world's top teams. How much do you think age and experience matter in competitive CS? What are the things that you expect will improve in time?
I don't really think that age matters that much, it's the experience, the team with the players who have been in the top scene for a long time knows how to improve after they lose a match or even fail a LAN. What I've learned so far is the mistakes you make, you catch up on them pretty quickly after you watch some demos and make sure to talk about it with your team so they understand why you are losing the rounds instead of whining about it.
Do you at all read what people say about you on community websites, and does it feel like you get the credit you deserve for your results so far?
I usually read comments on HLTV about the matches we play and things like that but I don't really care if anyone flames, that's just life. As for deserving credit, yea I really think we do because not more than 8 months ago we were a bunch of "nobodies" and we have improved a lot in CS:GO in my opinion.
After Vienna, what other tournaments are set in stone for you? And what is in store for the more distant future?
After Vienna we will go back to practicing for CPH Games, and I'm not sure if we are going to NLAN or the new ESH which is hosted in Birmingham this time. Other LANs I don't really know but we wanna attend every LAN we can.
Do you have any final words for this occasion?
Thank you for the interview! I want to thank Lemondogs and all their sponsors for helping us get to this Lan.
Lemondogs will start their Vienna campaign on Saturday, February 23rd at 14:30 against e-Sports.rs.
HLTV.org will be on-site to bring you complete coverage live from the Mad Catz CS:GO Invitational.