ioRek: "20 times harder now"
We sat down with Clan-Mystik veteran Jeremy "ioRek" Vuillermet and discussed with him his team's preparation for DreamHack Winter.
Clan-Mystik were without a doubt the surprise package of the last ESWC finals, winning the prestigious event against all odds with a 2-0 victory over fellow countrymen VeryGames in the Grand Final.
In Jönköping, the French team will have to work hard to make it past the group stage after being paired with Swedish duo LGB eSports and fnatic, and Ukrainian giants Natus Vincere.
In this interview, Vuillermet talks about the similarities between winning the ESWC title with CM and clinching the WCG crown with emuLate in 2007, the team's preparation for DH Winter and expectations for the Swedish event.
When you were practicing for the ESWC, did you feel it was possible to win the event? Or was it a surprise to you, too?
No, we just felt that we were playing a solid game and some individuality could carry us when needed. Even those three days of bootcamp helped us a lot because everybody was playing seriously with the ESWC group stage in mind. Maybe when I first saw the bracket, I felt that "with some luck we could reach the final and then everything is possible".
Do you think that other teams underestimated you, including VeryGames, whom you had lost to in the French ESWC qualifier?
Maybe Astana understimated us a little but I feel like we had really good practice matches against them and they could see how prepared we were. They probably didn't expect kioshima or kqly to be at this level offline, though. About VG, I think they know we can be dangerous but, maybe unconsciously, they don't have the same pressure when they're playing against NiP than they do when they are facing us.
In 2007, you won WCG with emuLate, but the team were never really able to repeat that international success. Aren’t you afraid that the same thing may happen now again?
This could easily happen because the team is too young to really know what we are capable of. I think it was different with emuLate because we had two of the best players in the world in mSx and MaT, and we knew it before winning the title. Without tensions in the team, I think we could have won another big title. We reached the DH winner bracket final pretty easily that year but could not really take the final step. We also placed third at SEC in 2008, and there was the injustice with the ESWC (the fault is not really on neo&co, more on the admins) I think we were way stronger than at WCG but we did not have the opportunity to prove it. That crushed us, and then things got harder and when you compete versus players with salaries who can play the game full time, you can't afford to play less. However, because of exams we had to, unfortunately.
Clan-Mystik win ESWC 2013
What memories do you have from those days? Have things changed that much in these last six years?
Some memories came back with the ESWC title. This feeling when you go through the semi-finals and you know you can win the title. Then, on the stage, we had the same feeling as in 2007, when I felt I was playing from home and everything around you disappears and you just focus on your game. I love it and that is why I came back to play CS:GO. To do this and to prove to myself I can achieve anything when I am 100 per cent committed.
How did you prepare for this tournament? Did you only practice online, or did you also bootcamp?
We have only practiced online, and it has been harder for us, not really sure why, too much confidence after eSwc, opponents being greedy online (more than usual), etc. but we did not bootcamp, because of our studies.
Have you set a goal for this tournament? How far do you think you can go?
We have not set any goals. I think some of us want to prove to others that winning the ESWC was not a lucky shot. My personal goal is to go through the group stage because then everything is possible and the confidence we gained from ESWC will help us from this point. I just don't care about others, that is what I did in emL.
Do you think it will be harder for your team to win this tournament now, considering that other teams are more aware of your potential?
Yes of course, 20 times harder, maybe it will be harder to go through the group stage than it was to win ESWC. I have seen some team using some of our flashes, anticipating our moves, and it was not even official games, so I would say a big YES.
Considering that CM and VeryGames recently won ESWC and MSI Beat It, respectively, do you think that you are the teams to beat?
No, I think NiP & VG are still the teams to beat. With the recent addition of kucher and considering their online results, I would say Astana Dragons come just after ... and then maybe you can think of CM.
How far will they go at DH Winter?
You only started playing CS:GO on a serious level in May. What was the reason for that? What was the secret to get in shape so quickly?
I would say hanging out with good players. I tried playing with LDLC but it was too soon for me, then I played with krL, bistou, sf and GMX even though I was really bad at the time. And finally I quit my job (not because of this game), so I had plenty of time.
Who do you think that will wind up in the top three in this tournament? Who do you think that will surprise, both positively and negatively?
NiP, VG and Astana from what we saw online. IBUYPOWER and nfaculty would be the good surprise. Good teams from Group B are going to be disapointed, I'm really looking forward this group.
Do you think that the $250,000 prize purse is an extra source of pressure for all teams?
There will be an extra pressure in the group stage because you can reach the 10k just by going through it.
What is your opinion about what happened with VeryGames?
It is sad to see that such a professional organisation like VG has to shut down when you see how much CS:GO is growing. On the other hand, there are some organisations out there who have a lot of money (EG, for example, like many have said), and the players in VG deserve to be in one of the biggest organisations out there and have a good salary.