reltuC: "establish [CLG as] #1 in NA"
We had a chance to talk to CLG's Stephen "reltuC" Cutler about the team's direction after their win over G2 propelled them into tonight's second semifinal match.
Stephen "reltuC" Cutler took some time to chat with us after closing out the third map, de_cobblestone, against G2. We went over the changes in the CLG, how that has affected calling and communication, and where they hope it all leads them.
So you guys consolidated yourselves as a top NA team, but it seemed when you went to play internationally you were missing something to get you to the next level, perhaps a bit of firepower. Pujan "FNS" Mehta left the team, Jacob "FugLy" Medina joined the team, how is that working out?
Yeah, FugLy definitely adds some firepower. He’s taking over my old role, so he plays more support allowing me to lurk more, which definitely helps us since Pita is calling now. I can understand our game because I called previously, so I understand most rotations and stuff like that. I do need a bit of practice on timings, but overall I think the team is way better.
Is not having any of the players calling better? Was it a hindrance to have one person dedicated to calling and being completely focused, whereas now you’re free to think about your own game?
Yeah, definitely, when I was calling it took my mind off of individual play because I had to worry about what everybody else was doing. I wasn’t too sure about coaches calling previous to this, when Pita said he wanted to call, but I was up to try it and I think it helps the players play much better overall. The only problem there might be with someone calling like that is that you don’t have the same feeling as the players have. For instance being confident doing certain things, especially when certain situations occur, so say I’m feeling on fire and I want to peak some place, I might not be allowed to because he doesn’t have the same feeling. So you just have to play for his style, which is working out fine for us now because we’ve been practicing really hard. We were [bootcamping] in Sweden right before coming here.
So Faruk "pita" Pita’s calling, how does it work? Is he calling throughout the whole round? How is the mid-round communication and feedback? What’s happening when executes are happening, or during the chaotic moments?
Well, that’s always been a big problem for us as a team. Pita says we need to be more relaxed. We might be making panicky calls when we don’t even need to be panicked. The communication is definitely getting better, and he’s really helping us out with that.
For mid-rounds, everyone gives what they hear, and what I say. I’ll give some insight, but I let him call his game, because as a caller before, people are always trying to… not trying to overcall me, but you might get ideas in their head and then they might not go off their gut feeling, and usually the gut feeling is the best way to go.
You guys took EnVyUs to three maps, twice, the first one being very close on de_cache. You also were able to take out G2. What were the expectations going into these matches? Were you expecting these results, or are they exceeding expecations?
Going into EnVyUs we were hoping for close games, taking a map. I wouldn’t say we were totally confident like “oh, yeah, we’ll beat them,” but we were happy the games were close and we took some maps off them. For the second nV game we had been around here for like 17 hours, so it was kind of a struggle mentally, but we still managed to take a map.
As far as the G2 match today, we feel like we match up well against them. We’re around the same skill level, and we feel good about our hard work paying off. Especially closing games, that was a big problem for us last year.
About closing, what has allowed you to get that extra push?
I think it’s the mindset Pita puts us in. The reassurance. We never had a coach before Pita, nobody ever told us: “Guys, relax, no need to be a hero here. Just play together and we’ll win.” For instance we were up 11-4 after the half [in the last map of the G2 quarterfinal] and they won pistol and they won the first rounds. Pita kind of motivates us, [reminding us] we haven’t won yet, we need to play our game and actually finish this out.
So where are your crosshairs set for the future? Majors were a bit rough for you guys, is placing better at them a goal?
Yeah, we would love to make it out of groups at the majors. Last year we made all the majors which was a big thing for us, so now we have to take the next step which is to make it out of the groups every time.
We also want to establish that we are the number one team in NA. It was up for grabs last year. A couple months it was Cloud9, a couple months it was Liquid, a couple months it was us, when we were playing the hottest. Now we want to establish that it’s us.
Do you think you have a good chance at that?
I think Liquid is going to be a lot tougher now that they got s1mple. I think their roster is definitely more complete, but I definitely think we can take them out. They’re kind of like our rivals because before C9 was always the number one NA team, so we were always fighting for number two. Now we’re still fighting, but for number one, so no matter what they’re our rivals. I guess we’re a bit friendlier with Cloud9 than we are with Liquid.
Lastly, Josh "jdm64" Marzano has been playing great Counter-Strike, opening up the play a lot for you guys. Is that something you really rely on?
I would say most of our play is based around him getting an AWP, so we kind of cater to a lot of his needs. It has been working out so far, but there’s going to come a time when it doesn’t work out, and I hope we can adapt quickly enough, because I think that’s one of NA’s biggest problems in general at international tournaments, adaptation.
Right now he’s playing really well, but I think we’re fine without him dropping 30 every map. I dropped 30 one map today, hazed dropped 30 another map. Everyone’s stepping it up when Josh can’t get picks.
You can catch reltuC and company when they play Dignitas later on tonight for a spot in the final, which will also feature the winner of the semifinal between Astralis and EnVyUs that is currently under way.