Subroza: "steel can bring so much to North America"
We caught up Yassine "Subroza" Taoufik ahead of his team’s lower bracket match against compLexity on Sunday.
Yassine "Subroza" Taoufik's District 7 were sent to the lower bracket after a 2-0 loss to eventual winners ownage. They then advanced past Lol Yeah and RONIN in relatively close matches before falling short against Complexity in a keenly-contested encounter that went to all 30 rounds.
In this interview, the 20-year-old looks back at his time with CLG, and discusses the recent changes in the upper echelon of North American Counter-Strike, the impact that the returns of Joshua "steel" Nissan and Braxton "swag" Pierce could have in the region, and more.
You were kind of plucked out of Main and placed onto a high profile team — do you think in some senses you made it to the Pro level too soon?
Definitely, and I knew that was the case before joining, because I scrimmed with them a lot. I did my best to adapt, and I had good players to help me adapt like Stephen "reltuC" Cutler and James "hazed" Cobb. They were really nice and willing to teach me, I think if not for the two of them it would have been pretty awful. It was still hard, but they made it less hard than it should have been.
The other young player brought into that team with you was nahtE, what kind of a relationship do you two have?
Ethan "Ethan" Arnold and I had a pretty good relationship, because we were both in the same boat. The three players we were playing with, even Kenneth "koosta" Suen, had more experience than we did. The two of us were joining to learn. We would talk a lot and play the same spots, and we both knew we would make mistakes. When that happened we would go over it pretty calmly.
You played under two different coaches during your time in CLG, Grt and ImAPet. How would you compare them?
Garett "Grt" Bambrough looks at what other teams do and tries to counter it, and shows you how to play a spot by going into a server with him. ImAPet’s style is more to watch a lot of demos, I think he watched every demo on HLTV, like ten a day when he was our analyst. He would show us setups from higher-level teams, which I think made us much better.
ImAPet has moved onto OpTic now, what do you think of that move?
I think he is the best choice that OpTic had, like I said, he watches tons of demos of top teams and tries to bring the structure of those teams to his own teams. I think that is what OpTic needs, because they have insane firepower, I think if they had more structure, they could become the best team in North America.
Since leaving CLG you’ve returned to the old group of players you were with previously. How has it been transitioning from Pro to Premier?
The goal is obviously to make it to Pro, we didn’t expect it to happen in our first season [of Premier], but we saw that we were performing really well and that we could do it. We made the playoffs and upset the top seed (Eclipse), we blew a BO3 against Splyce, which I still think we should have won. They went on to beat Enigma6 in the finals, and we practice against E6 a lot, with pretty good results.
With this team, it isn’t the same as with CLG, there we were all getting paid and playing all day. On this team team people have work, people have school. When I switched, we couldn’t play as much as a team because of those real life issues. I think if we were able to go all-in, we could have won playoffs last season. But knowing that is the situation we are in, I try to work a lot while the team is not there, watching demos with Stephan "vEz" Vezina, so that when everyone gets online we can have an idea of what we want to do and run through it.
Speaking of Enigma6 (now Rogue), what do you think of the changes to that roster?
Well, they have definitely made an upgrade, just on the basis of Spencer "Hiko" Martin and Tsvetelin "CeRq" Dimitrov. I’m still not a fan of big roster changes like this, though, I do not think it will guarantee them success in Pro. I think they can hold their spot, but they will definitely struggle.
How about Bee’s Money Crew and Splyce?
I think that BMC is a really good team, aim-wise and skill-wise they have a lot of talent. This event they’ve been learning from steel a lot, I talked to Connor "CONNOR93" Glover earlier, and he says they are at an all-time high, because he is making them understand more of the game than they used to. I would call them a sleeper team going into the next season. For Splyce it is tough to say, the two pick-ups they are making are really good together, and I think Taylor "Drone" Johnson is insane.
You mentioned steel, swag is here as well — what are your thoughts about ESL unbanning them?
I think it sends a sign to other tournament organizers that maybe they should consider unbanning them as well. Steel can bring so much knowledge to North America, like he is doing with BMC here. swag is so skilled that he can carry a team by himself, he could completely turn around any team that he is inserted into.
Another of the unbanned players is DaZeD, who has expressed interest in playing with your former teammate nahtE. What do you think the chances of that happening are?
The possibility of that happening is probably low, I don’t know if Ethan would want to play on a team that can’t make a Major. But I can see why Sam "DaZeD" Marine would want him, he picks things up really fast and has great aim and movement. I highly doubt that CLG would let him go, though, especially after ImAPet's departure. The team with DaZed, swag and Keven "AZK" Lariviere will definitely be scary.
District 7 currently sit on the cusp of making ESEA Premier playoffs, with a record of 9-6 and one match remaining.