Maikelele: "With Delpan we can win"
We spoke to ESG's Mikail "Maikelele" Bill to find out how his team is preparing for G3, what happened in the ESL One qualifier, and more.
ESG broke out under the SK Gaming banner at DreamHack Summer, and recruited fan favorite AWPer Marcus "Delpan" Larsson to replace the retired in-game leader Faruk "pita" Pita.
Since then they've had some promising online results in SLTV StarSeries X, including wins over Epsilon, Virtus.pro and Titan -- and a draw versus LDLC, to further up their stock.
Last weekend it suffered a nose dive though, as ESG lost against dAT team in a controversial match, and later failed to qualify for the next major by losing to Na`Vi.
We contacted their star player Mikail "Maikelele" Bill to find out what's going on in the team, how their preparation for G3 has been, and more. Read on to find out his thoughts.
Can Maikelele's ESG surprise again at G3?
How has replacing pita with Delpan worked out for your team so far in your opinion? Have you become better, more consistent, or raised your ceiling as a team? Or on the contrary, have you become more inconsistent in your opinion?
Maikelele: Replacing pita was hard because he was a really into being an in-game leader, but on our results we've done a pretty good job lately despite our loss in the ESL qualifier. I think we lacked a little bit playing against lower teams but so far we've been pretty consistent if I can say it myself. Bringing Delpan to the team is really good because it's much more firepower atm.
How is SKYTTEN as an in-game leader compared to pita? How would you describe the two and the differences in their style? Do you have a favorite between the two?
Maikelele: SKYTTEN is quite a good in-game leader but it's more individual play right now with SKYTTEN as an in-game leader and we help him together so he will grow even faster to become a really good IGL. Pita was a real leader so it's different, he's more tactic based when SKYTTEN is more individual based, but in time we will have a pretty good mix between everything.
Despite a strong start to SLTV StarSeries X with multiple upset wins, you faltered against dAT in ESL One Cologne European Finals and failed to qualify for the major. What happened?
Maikelele: I think we just thought we would win it easy. We played the first game around 13.00 CET and waited for like 8hours with 30+ weather outside and when we started our game we really wanted to win but I think we all was really tired even if we didn't want to be honest with it.
Flamie was really good and he was just so on point all the time and it's hard to get owned by a completely nonamer (from our side) so we started to talk in teamspeak about him and because of tiredness we just started to whine and then we did the mistake to start writing in all-chat, we all are really sorry for what happend but we're all human and do mistakes I guess. But flamie I'm sorry, you played really good and I hope you have a successfull tournament in Cologne. See you in the next qualifier.
There was some controversy regarding comments you and Delpan made in the match against dAT. Do you wish to address this somehow? Has having some time to re-think the whole situation over changed your outlook?
Maikelele: When we played against dAT I had a lot of messages from MSL about pimp posting stuff about flamie that he was vac banned (I'm telling this because pimp started to write about me in their warmup against mouz). He started to post links to different flamie VAC banned account and it just got in to our head that he was VAC banned and he played really good so we just started to whine about cheats in-game.
But as I said we're all human and we did a really bad mistake to write in all-chat. Me and Delpan are really sorry for what happened in the game and will ofc behave in the future, WE'RE SORRY!
Delpan has made a serious return to CS:GO in ESG
With G3 now being the event for you this month as you won't be going to Cologne, does that give you an advantage over teams who are focusing on ESL One instead and eyeing it even as they attend G3 in London?
Maikelele: Well I think many of the top teams are preparing just for ESL, I think some teams are going to try how different things will go. But honestly every teams is going for top1 so it will not be easier than any other tournament. Still this is a $45k tournament and that's huge, it only seems like a small tournament because of the $250k tournaments and I think this event will be one of the best events this year. I think we might come top3 atleast if we play like we want to.
Do you feel ready with Delpan on the team now, or do you reckon you will need more time to feel like he's well integrated into the squad? Are there still things to iron out?
Maikelele: Brining Delpan to the team isn't a big problem, he's an aggressive awper that likes to take quick frags and he's a good rifler as well. I was surprised when he was the one that wanted to pracc all the time so he's been a part of the team really fast. But the winners of champions league weren't built in 6 months, I think we might need a little more time but right now we're bootcamping on Inferno-Online in Stockholm for G3.
You lost the SK Gaming sponsorship shortly after DreamHack Summer. Has this affected your team in any way? Have you noticed a change in motivation perhaps? Do you already have a new organization lined up?
Maikelele: Losing SK was not a big deal, it's kind of common in the esports world that organisation walks away left and right. We're still the same team but with a different name and our motivation is even higher now because we're looking for a strong organisation.
What do you expect of G3? Realistically, how well do you expect to do? Who do you think will win the event? Do you have a guess on who might surprise or disappoint at the event?
Maikelele: I expect big things at G3. With Delpan in the team I think we can win the tournament but at least top3/5. I will not guess a winner ;) I hope London conspiracy will do a good event with their strong online results lately.
I just want to say again I'm sorry for the behavior in the dAT team match and I know we lost alot of respect because of that. We will start to rebuild that respect again. I promise!
ESG's campaign at G3 will begin at roughly 11:30 , when they will face Virtus.pro in the second round of matches. HLTV.org will be on-site to cover the tournament.