Cloud9: Won't be happy unless we win
In one of the last two interviews prior to the major, which is set to begin tomorrow afternoon, Cloud9 breaks down all things ESL One Cologne.
We only have about 18 hours left before action begins in Cologne's MMC studios, but we still have two more interviews left for you to check out, including Cloud9 and Titan.
In the following pre-interview, Cloud9's trio, Sean "seang@res" Gares, Mike "shroud" Grzesiek and Tyler "Skadoodle" Latham, as well as manager Tres "stunna" Saranthus, break down all things ESL One Cologne:
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)
Sean "seang@res" Gares: We took a few days break following the North American qualifier, then we hit practice hard. We've been bootcamping at the n!faculty house for the past week and have focused heavily on creating new tactics. In addition to this, we've done a lot of research on both the teams in our group and the stronger ones outside.
"We are a TEAM, and not all teams can say that." says seang@res
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?
Sean "seang@res" Gares: Personally, I wouldn't be "happy" unless we win the event. No matter what stage of the event you lose, you will always think about all of the little things that you could have done differently. With that being said, I think a semi-finals appearance would make us "satisfied"... After the sting of the loss wears off.
You had a run of three back-to-back finals at ESL ESEA, ESWC and FACEIT Finals and a 3rd-4th finish at CEVO Finals, do you think there's a chance at a run for the title in Cologne? Do you think now could be the moment for North America to show they are a contender on the biggest stage possible?
Tyler "Skadoodle" Latham: If all goes well we definitely have the chance to make a run into the finals if we play to the best of our abilities. We're overall confident in playing any team in this event and we have the chance to win something big for North America.
What are your thoughts on your group? Can you go through each match-up and say how it is likely to play out?Sean "seang@res" Gares: Our group is extremely tough because of the styles of VP and mousesports. Both teams have excellent tactical backings with extremely talented aimers. Despite our prior problems with these teams I can certainly see us advancing clean from our group. We've put in tons of work to make sure we're familiar with their playstyles and will be ready for any tricks they try and throw our way!
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?
Sean "seang@res" Gares: I think the change is pretty pointless. It makes the major a bit more exciting for existing fans, but it adds such a confusing element for new fans. As someone who hasn’t played a single game of Dota in my life, I truly think that they have a much better format.
The addition of fREAKAZOiD really seems to have made the team come closer, when with Semphis and ShahZaM there didn't seem to be the same closeness and understanding outside of the game. Is this level of comfort a factor in-game as well? Could it in part have been one of the reasons for C9's recent run of good form?Sean "seang@res" Gares: Personally, Ryan adds such a fantastic element to this team. He is a fearless entry fragger that will listen to any command I give him in-game. In addition to this, he adds a factor of simplicity when I try to overcomplicate easy problems. He keeps me level-headed and always is motivating the team to keep focused. Lastly, adding Ryan has made our team so much more enjoyable out of game. The atmosphere on the team feels perfect outside of game, which has translated to our in-game play. We are a TEAM, and not all "teams" can say that.
How has the summer been treating you, travelling back and forth from the EU to North America? Has it been draining? Do you think that puts you at a disadvantage with teams that play mostly or only in Europe?Tyler "Skadoodle" Latham: It's been quite a journey for us, we've gathered plenty of experience in and outside the game. Mostly the only disadvantage we have now is that teams will be extra careful with us and they will be scouting our plays, thankfully we've gotten a bootcamp and we have re-stocked our inventory.
Is there anyone who you think is underrated and could surprise in Cologne?
Mike "shroud" Grzesiek: I personally think the Polish team eBettle is underrated and show promise after playing them a few times during our bootcamp. They also already beat HellRaisers and Titan in the qualifier, and could definitely surprise in this major.
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?Sean "seang@res" Gares: During our bootcamp it seemed as though NiP were one of the strongest teams in the field. I think they could definitely make a deep run in this tournament. Outside of NiP, I think VP, TSM, and Fnatic are all teams that have a great shot at top four. Match-ups in the quarter finals, or group re-draw, will determine the fates of every team listed.
n0thing has stepped up and should play a pivotal role in Cloud9's results
Yet again this major has not seen a prize pool change, even though the sticker money is likely to get bigger, would you like to see it get increased?Tyler "Skadoodle" Latham: Overall prize pool increase would be great; however, I think it’s important that Valve realizes that they should branch away from traditional team stickers and into new territory. I was really hoping that in addition to the player signatures that Valve would have elected to use “sprays” instead of stickers.
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?
Tres "stunna" Saranthus: The new set anti-doping measures, in my mind, are long over due in gaming. The use of performance enhancing substances in competition have been prevalent for years in gaming and not just in Counter-Strike. I wouldn't say that this has been blown out of proportion, but inevitable when you think of the growth and advancement of our sport.
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?Tres "stunna" Saranthus: The travel between events definitely has an impact on these players. In the stretch where we went to those six events back to back, we had little to no time to prepare in between cities outside of verbally, unless an option came on the table early at a venue or with a sponsor. When you consider online leagues, it really does make it difficult to compete in all of the leagues you'd like to given the travel schedules. We reluctantly dropped CEVO this season but it was something we had to do based on the upcoming travel schedule.
What final thoughts do you have on ESL Cologne and going forward into the last stretch of the 2015 online and offline seasons?Tres "stunna" Saranthus: Well, the major is something that we have kept on the front burner this entire time, but it's been important for us to take one tournament at time and we will continue to do so. The tournaments following this one are to be taken just as seriously and we know that as this game continues to grow, the relentless travel schedule will continue. There are big things in store for CS:GO coming and we are happy to be at the forefront of it all and pioneering our way through it, alongside the other elite teams.
I'd like to take this time to thank the ones who continue to push us along on our goals and aspirations. Cloud9 CS:GO has came out strong in the past few months and for the fans that have been there since day one should have nothing less than a huge smile on their face and we hope to keep it there. Also, we can't forget to thank the sponsors who put us here in the first place: G2A.com, LogitechG, HTC, Loot Crate, Intel, HyperX, BenQ, ZAM, Alienware, & LoLwiz. Oh hey, Mr. Mira, you rock too.
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. As mentioned above, only one more interview is coming up later tonight, which is with Titan's Edouard "SmithZz" Dubourdeaux.