Another pre-interview prior to the quickly-approaching MLG Columbus major is with Cloud9's players and manager, who took turns answering questions about the $1,000,000 championship.
How have you been preparing for MLG Columbus? Was there a bootcamp prior to the major or have you only been practising online? Is there anything you focused on specifically?
Tres "stunna" Saranthus: Leading up to Columbus the guys have been playing in EEPL matches or online tournaments almost seemingly every couple of days. With such crammed scheduling, it's impossible to get away for a true bootcamp. The only logical place for us to bootcamp would be Europe so with the major being on home turf, it didn't make sense to go. The last two weeks have been an effort to break down the weaknesses on both T and CT sides and patch them to make the team ready for the big show.
Recently teams have stopped bootcamping prior to big events or only do it for short periods of time, mostly for less than a week, why do you think that is? Is it as important nowadays as it used to be? What are the pros and cons for your team?Tres "stunna" Saranthus: Going into this major we wanted to try something different. In the past, we've been through bootcamps with lengths of an entire month to just one week. Now that we are in the team house, the enviroment is much different. The current pace of North American CS:GO is pretty steady in regards to events and organizers keeping the schedule packed so getting away isn't really an option.
We elected to bring Andrew "Irukandji" Timmerman in to help as a trial coach, but so far we are nothing but pleased. Unfortunately, his dental school obligations will keep him from moving into the team house as well as miss some travel. In addition, we have also brought in a small analyst team to help prepare. So far, the results have been showing in our recent online performances and we hope to carry it over into the major. In a nutshell, we brought the bootcamp to us this time around.
There are many tournaments going on nowadays, usually at least two significant ones per month, does that make it hard for teams to be able to adapt and improve their gameplay significantly? Could it be part of the reason why CS:GO has become more based on individual plays rather than tactics?
Jordan "n0thing" Gilbert: It's definitely tough, especially for the Europeans who play each other in so many different events. Usually as an American you have a sort of element of suprise playing certain foreign teams. Although, during this past summer I think we ran into a similar issue where extra work was required to keep the team fresh, and we kind of got stale. Being even slightly stale or predictable can add up quickly in CS:GO matches, where you can essentially lose a match by losing a few key rounds. I don't know if things are necessarily more individual than ever before, but I do think individuals need to keep paying attention to what is being exploited in the current state of CS, also known as the "meta". One unexpected death at a key area in the map can turn it into a very difficult round.
Do you feel comfortable with the group that has been assigned to you? Can you go through each of the possible match-ups (Na`Vi, Virtus.pro, G2) and tell us how you should fare in them?
Jake "Stewie2K" Yip: These teams have memorable history and are considered top teams in the world. I feel like we have an opportunity to make it out of groups and compete against these teams at a high level. Na`Vi will be tough because they're so experienced, smart, and they utilize GuardiaN so well. Cloud9's previous history with Virtus.pro isn't good, but with this new way of doing things on our end I think we can come out strong and unpredictable. We've played G2 before with this lineup and having extra time would allow us to be more prepared.
Could there be a better system of seeding other than based on the last major and the qualifier? Current format practically ignores all competitions taking place in between the majors, which is five months' worth of events in this case…
Ryan "freakazoid" Abadir: No I think this is the best seeding possible because some teams come alive during the major and play best under that atmosphere. I think the other way could be a round robin of 2 groups of 8 and let that be the seeding. To me those are the best 2 options.
What expectations and goals have you set for yourselves at this event? What placing would you be satisfied with and what would be unacceptable?
Jake "Stewie2K" Yip: From our perspective, we have one of the tougher groups and we think we could make it out of groups. We believe that we could put up a good fight at the least. On one of the positive ends, we are a deadly team because we have a certain element of surprise about us going into this major. Speaking for myself, I would be satisfied with being out of groups. Some unacceptable things would be getting blown out or losing matches because of rounds that we shouldn't lose like eco/force buys. However, we look forward to giving the best fight we can to the opposing team.
With how different teams have stepped up lately (LG and Na`Vi especially) and others are stagnating or even dropping off, who do you have as favourites to make the top four? And, on the other hand, is there an underdog who could surpass fans' expectations?
Tyler "Skadoodle" Latham: I believe everybody is expecting LG, Na`Vi, Fnatic and Astralis to place top 4. NiP have been working hard and I can see them performing well if all goes to plan.
Can anyone stop this seemingly unbeatable fnatic lineup (barring group stage losses), which has won the last six tournaments they attended? If so, who? How do you see your own chances against what has become one of the greatest teams of all-time should you meet them?
Ryan "freakazoid" Abadir: I think they are beatable, but the biggest thing they have is the confidence and swagger when they play. They know they are going to win and that's what sets them apart from other teams that lack the experience and confidence. I think LG has the best chance at beating them and I'm always going to say our team can beat them. I have the same self belief, but most likely stronger because I understand what confidence and self belief can do for anything you do in life.
There will be four American teams in attendance (SPLYCE, CLG, Liquid and Cloud9), more than ever, is this the time to shine for North America? Which of them have the biggest chance to advance to playoffs and possibly upset one of the big names?Ryan "freakazoid" Abadir: We all have the chance, it just depends who is going to perform under pressure and under the lights. To me dealing with pressure and being mentally confident are the biggest things in this game. I believe any of the American teams have what it takes to upset teams and go far in the tournament. We just have to believe we can do it.
You have received a substantial amount of criticism for your lack of strategy on the Terrorist side, and n0thing admitted that he needed help with leadership. How have you dealt with this issue? Are you on the lookout for a coach?
Tres "stunna" Saranthus: Prior to the major, the main emphasis has been placed on finding a system that works. Sean was a big part of this squad, but he wasn't the whole squad. As of late it's been about figuring out just what needs to be done to succeed and we feel that we are on the brink of finding that sweet spot. I am beyond proud of n0thing for stepping up to the IGL role in the absence of not having an established in-game leader on hand. We don't expect to have him call forever; however, while he's on the job he will have the full support of the players to his left and right. With any luck, the brilliance of Irukandji will also help to push the team further along. No one on this line-up is content with just the results of the summer of 2015.