daps: focus on getting out of groups
With the looming presence of ESL One Cologne, which will be kicking-off next Tuesday at the Lanxess Arena, we talked to Damian "daps" Steele and Óscar "mixwell" Cañellas about their preparation and expectations for the Major where they will face Ninjas in Pyjamas in their opening match.
OpTic to kick off their first Major run in Cologne against NiP
The Canadian team has been bootcamping in Germany for the past week, where they’re getting ready to face some tough opposition as they share a group with two-time back-to-back Major finalists Natus Vincere, NIP who have never been eliminated from a Major before the quarter finals, and the somewhat lesser but still perennial FlipSid3.
You have been bootcamping in Germany for the past few days. Could you tell us a little bit about the training regimen? What are you putting emphasis on during this bootcamp?
Our training regimen for this bootcamp has been focusing on just playing more as a team by scrimming a lot since we haven't really had the opportunity to play that much due to going to 5 events in a row. We are putting a big emphasis on our CT sides as they have been really hit or miss depending on the map and a big reason for our CT sides being weaker is we haven't been able to scrim that much during this past month which is why we are trying to play more over theory crafting.
Devilwalk joined you guys for your bootcamp. What is his current role? Will he be calling for the team or will you (daps) remain as IGL?
Devilwalk's role in the team at the moment has been helping us fix little mistakes/timings that we may mess up within our game that we may not see as players, he also has helped us a lot with our CT sides which is something we struggle with a lot. I am not sure what Devilwalk's experience is in IGLing but I will remain the IGL unless we feel the need to change that down the road.
You’re in the group with Na`Vi, NiP, and FlipSid3. NiP beat you three times at ELEAGUE, while you beat FlipSid3 at the main qualifier for the Major. Then Na`Vi have consistently been one of the elite level teams in the world. How do you think the group play will go, and are you optimistic about your chances of moving on?
Since the group play is mainly BO1s I feel we have a good chance against any of the teams depending on the map that gets randomly picked. If we get to the BO3 portion of the group stage that will be much more of a challenge, but we are confident!
What are the team’s goals, and what results would you be happy obtaining?
Our main goal for the major is to focus on getting out of groups, which won't be easy considering NiP and Na`Vi's current roster have always gotten out of groups. If we do manage to get out of groups we will take it one BO3 at a time and see how far we can get.
The results at CEVO and ESL Pro League weren’t particularly strong (5-6th in both), but the team seemed to be a bit readier at the main qualifier for the Major, where you guys clinched your birth into ESL One Cologne. How has the team grown in the past few months, and do you think you’re substantially stronger now?
I think Gfinity and ESL Pro League were very important stepping stones for our team. I think the win that gave us a lot of confidence was beating Astralis on Inferno at ESL Pro League and that kind of started a streak of consistency for us. Even though we may not have placed that high at some of the events we were at least playing every team close to an extent and creating chances for ourselves to win matches.
Who do you think are the favorite teams to contend for and even take the title?
I would say the favorite teams to win the major would be SK, fnatic, Na`Vi, and G2 based on current form.
Do you think there are any dark horses that could have unexpectedly deep runs in the tournament? Who?
Considering how some of the groups turned out I feel mousesports, dignitas, and Virtus.pro may make it farther then people expect.
Is there any advice you could give young players from peripheral countries who may go unnoticed because of the lack of opportunities in their region?
If you're a player in a country that struggles in CS and doesn't really have a top team just try to stream as much as you can and become the best player in that team you're on. You will eventually get noticed if you carry every game, even if it's lower level competition. You will also have to learn English if you want any chance at joining an International/North American team.
mixwell, how does it feel to be the first Spanish player to attend a Major? Does knowing that people back home will be following you specifically add any extra pressure?
mixwell: It’s great, having a Spanish player in the Major proves that with hard work you can reach anything, even with less resources. I hope Spanish players realize that we are not putting enough effort to compete at an international level, if I did it anyone can as long as you have a good work ethic and mindset.
I feel the pressure of performing because I really want to go far and show everyone what I can do and make everyone that believed in me proud, but in game you have to leave these things behind and get inside your bubble to perform.
As part of our pre-Major coverage, we have already released two parts of our preview as well as this interview. Stay tuned in the next days for more coverage and check-out the Group A and Group B previews.