Maikelele: "LEGIJA is a great fit"
In another one of our ESL One Cologne pre-interviews, we talked to Mikail "Maikelele" Bill about the team's recent change of the coach/in-game leader role, Kinguin's preparation, goals and much more.
Nearly a month ago Kinguin announced that Danniél "dalito" Morales would be leaving the team due to his VAC ban, but it took them three weeks to reveal the replacement following tryouts.
Nikola "LEGIJA" Ninić, formerly mousesports' player and coach of Nihilum, was chosen to coach and lead the team in-game, filling the shoes of his predecessor in full. Take a look below to see what Mikail "Maikelele" Bill had to say on his adaptation within the team and more in another one of our pre-interviews before the major:
How have you prepared for ESL One Cologne? Are you going to or did you bootcamp beforehand or have you only been preparing online? Have you focused on anything in particular? (e.g. teams, specific problems at recent events)
We've been practising a lot online and not bootcamping for several reasons. The only thing I can mention is that we've focused on getting LEGIJA more comfortable for ESL Cologne I would say.
Maikelele believes Renegades will be the dark horse in Cologne
Is there anyone who you think is underrated and could surprise in Cologne?
I personally think Renegades will be super interesting to watch at this Major, I think they can surprise and go far in the tournament.
What are your team's goals and expectations for the event? Where do you draw the line of what you'd be satisfied or happy with?
Haha, funny how my fingers started to write "we're aiming to be the number one in this tournament", that's the only answer all teams can say. But being realistic is that we have to go goal by goal this tournament, first of all we want to go through the groupstage and then game by game.
The level of teams has been evening out recently, a number different names have been in the grand final at events in the recent months (EnVyUs, TSM, fnatic, Na`Vi, Virtus.pro, Cloud9), who will be the favourites to make it to top four in your mind?
I have a strong feeling that we could go far this tournament, but if I can't say Kinguin, I think that NiP and fnatic will be in the grand final. NiP players have been playing a lot lately and fnatic are fnatic.
What do you make of the change in the group stage format? Is it better to have a chance to play against more than three set teams before the playoffs? Is it going to be harder to prepare for such groups?
First of all I can say that FACEIT League at Dreamhack Valencia was probably the best format I've seen at a tournament in a long time. Having the winner games in BO1 and loser games in BO3. I would love to see that happen at majors or BO3 all the way. But this is a new thing and maybe I will say the same after this tournament as well.
Train has been in the pool for quite some time, but ESL One Cologne will be the first major to feature it, how has it developed over the recent months? Was it figured out in terms of playstyle, strategy, etc.? Is the current map pool diverse enough?
I personally love Train as a map, they could maybe adjust some small things like the pixels on the trains that a smoke can land on or the ladders. But overall it is a good map pool and I think it's the best so far (maybe add more maps in the future).
What are your thoughts on your group? Can you go through each match-up and say how it is likely to play out?
First game we will play against Luminosity, the Brazilians. I've played against them once and that was in the group stage at MLG X-Games with NiP and I think they've become much stronger since then. I think it'll be a tough game but I also think we can manage to win the game.
Yet again this major has not seen a prizepool change, even though the sticker money is likely to get bigger, would you like to see it get increased?
Of course, I mean if DotA 2 can have $18.5 million in the prizepool I'm sure we can get atleast $5 million. But it'll happen soon, I'm sure about that and I think Valve really wants to make a change, they are cool dudes and love their own game so much.
With the proliferation of both online and offline events, and having had at least one big event every weekend or every other weekend for the past few months, and with many teams travelling around Europe and North America—or both—, how do you think it will affect teams' performances?
Before major tournaments teams are always quiet, teams can only see other teams when they're practising against them. I'm sure we will see some special tactics on the maps that will be played.
The upcoming major will be LEGIJA's debut with the team
Lately the outrage against certain weapons has decreased (e.g. CZ-75 at the beginning of the year, Tec-9 during the second quarter of 2015), are you satisfied with the way Valve balanced them out? Are there any weapons you'd like to see nerfed or buffed?
The only thing I would like is to decrease the movement slowdown while scoping with an AWP. I think it's good that they did the update, but I think it's too much. Something similar to when they updated so you get slowed while getting shot at. Buff mag7 :(.
Do you think the new anti-doping measures being taken by the ESL are going to change anything from past events, has this been blown out of proportion since Semphis' statements, or is it necessary?
I don't think any team will play worse now because of this, my guess we will see when the results of it are released (if they are). I still don't know how Adderall could make you a better CS player (since I've had ADHD my entire life and know about this kind of medicine).
We saw hints of improvements right after switching the in-game leader to dalito mid-FACEIT Finals, how have you dealt with his exit from the team?
Dalito is a great friend of mine and I will miss him a lot, but I guess he payed the price of getting that VAC ban. But I still don't think he did it since I've known him since 2007 when we started to play with each other. He's a lovely person and I know that he's probably the person that loves CS more than anyone in the whole community. If he could he would live in the CS world for sure :D
You recently announced that LEGIJA will be your new coach, as well as in-game leader, how are you getting used to each other? How does his approach differ from dalito's? Will your short time with him be enough for you to be a serious contender in Cologne?
LEGIJA is a great fit to our game I would say, he brought something that we didn't have. I think it might take a while for him to adapt 100% and to adapt he needs LAN tournaments, as well as practice. But with time he will help us fulfill our goal we have as a team for sure.
Thanks everyone, follow me on twitter and love me back, because I love you :)
Here's a list of all pre-interviews we have conducted so far prior to ESL One Cologne, check it out to see if you missed any: