We spoke to both Braxton "swag" Pierce and Tyler "Skadoodle" Latham from iBUYPOWER regarding the $250,000 CS:GO tournament of DreamHack Winter.
iBUYPOWER made their way to their fourth major event by once again topping the North American qualifier, but have since then made a roster change, swapping two players.
How well prepared do you feel for DreamHack? Did you change a lot of things in how you play or simply focus on refining your current style? Did you take part in the official Inferno Online bootcamp, considering the problems having all teams on-site might bring?
Braxton "swag" Pierce: We got to bootcamp at Inferno Online for 5 days which has definitely helped a lot, though we would like more given the short amount of time we’ve been a team for. We won’t try to change too much, we just want people comfortable in what they are doing and I think we will be fine. The good thing is since we are a new team, people aren’t sure what to expect out of us and I think thats what is going to help a lot.
What’s your stance on the stickers? Were you surprised at how much money teams made from them for ESL One Cologne? Do you think more of the money should be allocated towards prizes? As things stand, the Legends capsule pays (per Cologne) more than winning the event.
Tyler "Skadoodle" Latham: I agree with everything Valve is doing with the stickers, I am though surprised on how much teams are making from them but I also hope they continue with this for future events. I don't think the money should be allocated towards prizes because the sticker money can help teams with future travel cost to more events and sticker money alone will motivate more teams to train hard for the DreamHack qualifiers.
How do you expect your group to play out? Can you talk about each of the teams in your group in detail, what you expect from your potential match-up against each of them, and how do you expect to fare?
Braxton "swag" Pierce: I'll start off with dignitas, these guys are very solid and will be our toughest oppenent I think, although I do believe we can beat them depending on the map we play. Next is Copenhagen Wolves who just got a spot from winning the qualifer, I think we will match up well against these guys, they are all good players but we just need to play our game and we should be fine. Last but not least PENTA, I'm not to familiar with these guys but I think they will be our easiest game during group stage, but we can't underestimate anyone and must play our best at all times.
Our recent article “Major problems” brought up multiple issues such as the online qualifiers (cheating, DDoS), inconsistent format (best-of-one groups) with very few matches, etc. What is your stance on the qualification system and the tournament format? How would you like to improve the majors?
Braxton "swag" Pierce: I think you guys make a lot of good points. Qualifiers are always strange if they are online due to the DDoS issues and possible cheating, LAN qualifers should be a must, especially if it's a big tournament like this. I really think Valve should copy the format they do for The International in Dota, seems like the best way.
Another big issue for debate right now is the CZ-75. Suggestions for it have ranged from altering its rate of fire and damage, to even making it an SMG while upping its price. Do you think it should be changed, and if so, how would you recommend Valve do it?
Braxton "swag" Pierce: This gun is definitely too strong right now and needs a change, I would say either one of those would be a big improvement. It’s really annoying when someone can play aggro/make mistakes and not get punished due to the fact of having this gun as backup.
Obviously going into the event the favorites are fnatic and LDLC, but so far the favorites have never won a major. Is there someone else who you think could surprise us and win it all? Who do you expect to place in the top four?
Braxton "swag" Pierce: I really want to see how NiP does with their new roster. I expect to see fnatic, LDLC, Virtus.pro and Na`Vi in the top 4.
What do you make of this cheating scandal? Were you surprised players might have been cheating at tournaments, or did you expect it? Do you believe the players caught cheated in LAN tournaments, and do you believe more players cheated who simply haven’t been caught, yet?
Tyler "Skadoodle" Latham: The cheating scandal is a huge surprise for me personally because I would have never thought that some of these players would even consider cheating in tournaments. I can not say whether these players were cheating at LAN tournaments but nonetheless cheating in anything is wrong and especially if you're cheating players out of big money I believe their punishment should be bigger then a VAC ban. Now that this whole scandal has happened it's definitely changed my perspective on things and I think we should take a bigger leap towards preventing this.
Who will be leading the team now that DaZeD is gone? Can you introduce your new players to the fans who may not be aware of how they are as players, and tell them what to expect of them?
Braxton "swag" Pierce: Keven "AZK" Lariviere will be taking over as the in-game leader, although we all tend to give input and help out. nitr0 is one of the younger team members who has been playing CS for a very long time and is looking to make an appearance at this DreamHack. desi is more of a methodical player and tends to stay alive in late round situations, and is very excited to show what he can do at DH Winter.
iBUYPOWER have been placed in group B, where they will take on Copenhagen Wolves in the opening round. They will face either dignitas or PENTA in round two.