NiKo: "changes didn’t go as planned"
With Dreamhack ZOWIE Open Leipzig starting tomorrow, we talked to two of mousesports's players ahead of their first LAN event of the year to hear about their expectations.
Changes for mouz during the off season saw Fatih "gob b" Dayik being subsituted by Timo "Spiidi" Richter, and forcing the team to adapt to the new circumstances. Team veteran Chris "chrisJ" de Jong along with now-IGL and young star Nikola "NiKo" Kovač took some time to answer a few questions about the changes in the team.
NiKo will be in the limelight at DH Leipzig
mousesports's year kicks off in Leipzig, where they will have the tall order of facing off against Virtus.pro in their first match. The rest of their group includes Astralis and dignitas, making moving on to the playoffs certainly a challenge.
There have been a few changes in the mousesports camp since last year, the most notable being a roster change and changes within the roles of the players in the team. Spiidi was brought back onto the squad, so my first question is: where is he going to fit into the lineup?
NiKo: I don’t really know how to describe his role, to be honest. If I had to put him in a role it would be support. He is playing that role really well and he actually improved a lot in a short period of time. He can play way above expected in certain games for sure, let's see!
Right after gob b left the team, it seemed Kapio was going to be calling the shots. However, you have tweeted about calling recently. What is the current IGL situation?
NiKo: Our changes didn’t go as planned. We lost Navid "Kapio" Javadi right after we removed Fatih because he realised it wasn’t worth it for him to give up the job he has now for CS:GO. After that there weren’t any options left and we decided as a team that best option would be that I take the IGL role for now, untill we find the right man to coach us.
Is an IGL/coach situation possible? We just saw at the SL i-League StarSeries XIV finals coaches being incorporated into the game on a 6th computer. Is that something mousesports has been thinking about, or do you want to keep it to the traditional five players in the server?
chrisJ: It is something we are thinking about for sure, but it has to be the right person. It is the whole reason Kapio came into the picture. Sadly, Navid doesn’t have enough time to dedicate to CS:GO this year so we will have to look for another option if we want a full time coach.
From a strategic standpoint, is the team still holding on to gob b's style, or is the change in leadership moving the team toward the looser style of leading which has become more popular as of late?
NiKo: We haven't changed much since Fatih left as my role is not permanent, so we will use what we have, our skill. The players have more freedom now, everyone needs to show up if we want to achieve good result out there.
Your first event of the year is on home soil (for three of the players, at least) at Dreamhack Leipzig, which the team has been bootcamping for for the past week. How has the bootcamp gone? What are the team’s feelings coming out of this week of preparation?
chrisJ: It felt like the bootcamp was too short, we only made serious progress on a couple of maps. We feel ready for the event, though, since we are solid on quite a few maps and have confidence in our skills.
Your first match will be against Virtus.pro, who beat you in the final at CEVO Season 8 finals where you took a solid second place. Do you think your new lineup has more of a chance against them now than then? What are the team’s expectations of your first LAN of the year?
chrisJ: At the CEVO Final we got blown away by VP, we just didn’t have enough energy and the plow started to roll too hard for us to stop it. We have beaten VP before on LAN, though, so I’m really confident we can repeat that feat with our new lineup. We are expecting to advance to the semifinals, anything else will be a disappointment.
You have a major qualifier in a month's time in Columbus and you still have one shot at qualifying for IEM Katowice right after Leipzig—how important is doing well at this weekend's tournament compared to getting into those bigger events?
chrisJ: I would say Columbus and Katowice are a lot more important for us. That doesn’t mean we don’t care about Leipzig so much, we are a new team and are looking to find a good start to the year and build our confidence. If we play well here in Leipzig we will definitely bring that momentum over to the qualifiers for Katowice and Columbus.
Do you think mouz being number 12 on our world ranking is a fair showing of where the team currently stands? What are the goals and markers the team wants to hit during the year?
chrisJ: It wouldn’t make sense to rank a new team much higher. I feel we need to prove our ranking nearly from scratch again. We are aiming for at least top 8 this year.
Are there any last statements you would like to make?
chrisJ: Thanks a lot to all our fans who continue to support us even though we had to make some hard decisions in recent times. Also thanks to mousesports and their sponsors BenQ, UNiKRN and SENNHEISER.
Don't forget to check out our preview for DH ZOWIE Open Leipzig for more information about mousesports and the rest of teams in attendance.