We caught up with Robin "ropz" Kool and picked his brain on his recent move to mousesports, growing as a player in FPL and adapting to life in a professional team.
Robin "ropz" Kool has been formally announced by mousesports as their newest player, with the German organisation hoping to have another gem on their hands after selling Nikola "NiKo" Kovač to FaZe earlier in the year.
This will be the first real team for the Estonian talent, who has made a name for himself in FPL. In January, he topped the league's ranking, finishing 14 points above his now teammate Tomáš "oskar" Šťastný.
Read on to find out what ropz had to say about joining mousesports, his first weeks with the team, his goals for 2017, and more.
In your recent AMA, you mentioned you could drop school for a successful team that could provide “a good-looking future” for you. Is that what is happening here? Are you putting school on hold for the time being?
No, not at all. I was contacted by one team which I considered doing this for, but that did not happen. mousesports' schedule fits mine perfectly, I can continue studying on a normal schedule and nothing changes for me. I am just very busy now because half of the day is practice and the other half is school.
Jesper "JW" Wecksell mentioned that you were courted by some “really good teams”. What made you ultimately decide to join mousesports over other teams?
I had a lot of teams to choose from, from both Europe and North America. I ultimately decided to pick mousesports since it was the best European offer I got, and their schedule fits me perfectly, so there is no change to my lifestyle.
How long have you been playing for mousesports? What are your first thoughts on the team?
We started practicing in late March, so I have been playing with them since then. I think the team fits me quite well and they are nice guys. I have a lot to learn, though, there is a lot of new stuff for me that I have to remember, for example most callouts are new to me.
This will be your first-ever top team. Are you not afraid that, by skipping some middle stages in your development (playing for smaller teams online and on LAN), you may lack some experience when it comes to playing on a real team?
Yes, I definitely think I lack experience. But I have been around and watched competitive play for a very long time, so I believe I can learn quickly. I think pressure will get to me in the first couple of events. I always want to perform, but it is hard when something is completely new to me.
How would you describe yourself as a player? What will your role on the team be?
Overall, I would say I am really passive. I like to take my time and consider every possible opportunity and analyze the outcome of every decision while ingame. I will be a lurker in most of the situations, but I will of course take on some other roles that are based around strats.
Do you think your case could serve as inspiration for other young players trying to break into the professional scene?
Absolutely. My case is an example that anyone can be good and compete with the players up there. Anyone who has the will to become pro should keep on grinding and playing to get known in the scene. It is very hard to get in the spotlight, but if you are good enough then it is only a matter of time.
What is your opinion about FPL? Does it work as a system in terms of identifying new talents such as yourself, or is there still some prejudice towards players who have not yet played competitively at a top level?
I believe FPL was made to discover new talents, so as a system it is working great. I am not the first person to get such opportunities through FPL, there have been many others. I think people act too hard on the newcomers, though. As they say, there will always be some Asian kid who is better than you at videogames, so pros should be really nice to young players. I did not even want to keep playing at some point, but it was the only thing I had.
You were recently invited to play at FACEIT’s headquarters. Was there any particular purpose behind this trip?
The main reason was to clear the cheating accusations. FACEIT provided me with a new computer and new equipment identical to mine, and I just played. It turned out really well because I believe I played even better than [I normally do] from home.
In our 2016 'Top 20 Players of the Year' series, two players (Nikola "NiKo" Kovač and Dennis "dennis" Edman) tipped you to make a breakthrough in 2017. What goals have you set out your for yourself this year?
I want to prove everyone that I am actually capable of doing against pro teams what I have done in the past. It already feels good to play well from the FACEIT HQ and prove everyone wrong, so I want to play well at events really badly. Since we are invited to the Major qualifier, I will try my hardest to qualify for the Major. It is really weird, though, going from a regular pug player and doing random stuff to playing for a team which can potentially attend the Major. I don’t think I will be in the next 'Top 20 Players of the Year' series since we are almost have way through the year, but maybe next year.
You have always mentioned how important education is to you. Do you think top players in general should be more mindful about their education, given how short an esports career could be?
It certainly depends on the player, because if someone is really good and he gets really good long-term deals, then he probably does not need to think about education for the rest of his life. For me, though, I am very young and I have no clue where I will be two years from now. So having a good education is very important to me, because I am not guaranteed for a lifetime. Right now, esports are getting bigger and bigger, so in the future I think decisions can be made easier considering organizations are also getting bigger and they can offer better conditions.