RUSH: "NAF has taken the reins"
Leading up to DreamHack Masters Las Vegas, we managed to get Will "RUSH" Wierzba to answer a few questions about their recent roster changes, the IGL situation and their opponents at the $450,000 tournament.
OpTic ended 2016 as the best ranked North American team, but had a poor showing at their first event of 2017, the ELEAGUE Major. After finishing 12-14 at the tournament, OpTic lost their in-game leader Peter "stanislaw" Jarguz and have picked up Spencer "Hiko" Martin for the upcoming tournament—DreamHack Masters Las Vegas.
In a pre-event interview, William "RUSH" Wierzba talked about the in-game leading situation, Luis "peacemaker" Tadeu, and the addition of Inferno to the map pool.
Starting with the obvious - you recently lost your IGL stanislaw to Liquid. Where does this leave you as a team, who will be taking on calling moving forward and how did you make that decision?
It's an obvious blow to lose a teammate, especially one that has been on the team for over a year (IGL for ~6 months). In terms of calling NAF has taken up the reins currently with the help of peacemaker. He's been doing pretty well considering it's his first time doing it and I have faith that with the help of peacemaker he'll only get better.
You have added hiko as a trial player and will attend DreamHack Masters Las Vegas with him. What are your expectations, how do you plan to use him? Is he just going to be plugged into stanislaw's roles or do you intend to change your game to make him more comfortable?
We plan to give Hiko as much freedom we can while maintaining our current system. It helps a lot that stan was our lurker, as that is Hiko’s main role. So basically it's a mix of Hiko taking some of stans roles while gaining some that he's comfortable with.
Together with hiko, you are trying out peacemaker. How has that addition been working out so far? You played without a real coach for a long period of time, is there anything that changed now that you are using peacemaker?
We haven't had an extreme amount of time to play with peacemaker but we've put in a lot of time with the days we've had him. Having a third perspective is very helpful. I think it's especially helpful that he used to IGL and can help NAF fit into the role over time. To be honest when we had stan I don't think a coach was 100% necessary but given the spot we are in now, it will only serve to benefit us.
RUSH is confident about OpTic's chances on Inferno
At DreamHack Masters Las Vegas, you are placed in a group with North, compLexity and a team you played a lot recently - Astralis. How do you feel about the matchups, what are your expectations?
It will definitely be hard to beat both Danish teams especially considering Astralis is in god form right now. North is also very strong as they have just picked up aizy. Complexity is a team no one expects to do damage, but if we underestimate them they could also upset so we'll have to treat them like any other team. I expect we can make it out of groups, but it will not be an aizy task by any means.
The tournament is pretty stacked overall, with post-shuffle North, SK and fnatic in attendance together with Astralis, Virtus.pro and Natus Vincere. Do you think there is the favorite for the event? Where do you rank your team?
Even though Astralis won the Major I'd say any of the top5 teams can win this tournament. SK with felps has been really good in practice and I'm sure teams like Na`Vi have been putting in the time. In terms of our team, I think the goal would be playoffs given our circumstances but, personally, I'm hoping to make another final.
DreamHack Masters Las Vegas will be the first LAN event that will use the new map pool with Inferno instead of Dust2. Do you think that benefits you, as you have not been a strong Dust2 team in the past? What are your thoughts on the remade Inferno?
Dust2 was always among our weak/vetoed maps. Now that it's gone, it's a benefit to us. It still remains to be seen what teams are strong on the new Inferno because even though it's the same layout as before, everything from smokes to angles is different. We've been able to put a good amount of time into the map. I believe it will be one of our strongest maps.
Lastly, with a lot of time to reflect on the Major, what do you think went wrong for you there, especially in the elimination match against GODSENT? Is there anything you would’ve done differently now?
I feel like vs. GODSENT nothing went our way, on top of everyone being pretty subpar individually. In the second half it was 10-8 for them and we ended up losing every round after that with them having 1-2 alive almost every round. If we would have won 1 of those rounds they would have been on double eco and who knows what would have happened. But props to GODSENT they played way better than us and deserved the win.
Professeur writes for HLTV.org and can be found on Twitter.