chrisJ: "It felt like Virtus.pro were really prepared for us on Mirage"
We caught up with Chris "chrisJ" de Jong after his team took down Virtus.pro in a three-map series, and discussed the rumored roster change and the mousesports' recent online performances.
The team's in-game leader Chris "chrisJ" de Jong spared some time after the game was brought to an end and touched on the talks about Dennis "dennis" Edman replacing Martin "STYKO" Styk, losing to AVANGAR in the Katowice qualifier and the Virtus.pro matchup.
At the Major, the first tournament of the year, you placed top 8. Getting out of the groups is a success in a way, what was the feeling in the team after that?
I think that everybody was really happy we made top 8, it was good for mousesports and for me personally, I was really happy that we didn't throw it away again. Because we did throw away some chances during the tournament. It was kind of scary, obviously we were happy we made it.
But then again, when you look at the tournament results we had in the month or two before that, where we reached the finals twice, then top 8 is just not so good, right? We hoped to reach the final or the semi-final, that was the hope of everybody in the team. It was a bit disappointing but it was a good result to work further from I'd say.
After the Major the offseason started and the player transfers were going on. Your team was involved with that rumored dennis transfer, that didn't happen in the end. Did that kind of hinder your results and the way the team was feeling going into the start of the season?
Honestly, I think this whole supposed thing... For example, when STYKO reads something like that it might affect him as a player. It happened to me before, I got benched once and it's not the first time people say "Ok, you need to be removed". And people start to talk about it a lot online. Maybe it affects him personally to some extent, which is understandable, but I don't think it really affected the team much.
Because we took a break and we maybe took some of the opponents... I wouldn't say that we, for example, underestimated AVANGAR that much, but we did not go into the match with the same winning mentality as we sometimes do. I guess we were still a little bit too relaxed, and after the Major this "Yeah we are legends now, we can relax and beat people online easily" thing was maybe in our heads.
Obviously, we had some hard talks after these matches because the Katowice qualifier is really important to us, we really wanted to go there and it didn't work - because we didn't show enough effort. Yeah, I'm not sure really what affected us but I think that we are all on the same page again, we know that we need the right mentality to win the games.
With that in mind, what was the preparation for this tournament?
I wouldn't say that there was any specific preparation coming here, especially because our first opponent was Virtus.pro, it's really hard to say how they will play right now, with MICHU, what roles they would switch and stuff like that.
We basically tried to not overthink anything, in a sense like "OK, VP is going to play like this, or MICHU used to play here, so they will do this". Obviously, we talked about some stuff, about what they used to like to do and, actually, we practiced against them while the draw was being done. We practiced Cobblestone at that moment so we did see some things from them and they saw some things from us that they would maybe otherwise not know.
In that sense we just tried to get the right mentality again, the right mindset to play good, play as a team, play our game. Our game is not only, like we maybe tried to do against AVANGAR, just running around trying to kill people on our own. We really need to do things as a team, talk to each other, get the communication going. And I think it went a lot better already in the EPL matches.
Before this match, there were some interviews where I guess you bantered a bit or some people would say you were a bit disrespectful towards Virtus.pro. What was the deal there, was it just hyping up the team a bit as well?
Yeah, I don't think I said something that disrespectful, I just said that I don't think they are going to be that good. I still think they were a good team, but to be a really good team these days it's really hard, right? Like I said, I don't think it's going be fixed by one lineup change if the general mentality in the team is bad, or if that many players are underperforming.
And I don't think it's disrespectful to say that any of them are underperforming, right? They showed before that they all can be really good, so it was kind of weird to me that then the reason is only one player. But maybe they had so many problems with him that it was him being the problem, but what can I say? They did play better today, that's for sure, then again they didn't play so long with MICHU, he was really stepping up pretty crazy in some rounds. For sure he is doing a really good job in the team, but I feel that if they want to get back to championship level they need to work a lot, every one of them needs to.
The last map of the series against Virtus.pro was Mirage, it started a bit rough for you guys but you managed to pull back, what was the turning point there?
We had a rough T side for sure, it felt like they were really prepared for us on Mirage, I mean, one of the rounds we got was a impossible round from Tommy and me, they gave that away, but other rounds we tried to do our normal A execute and they were so ready for the retake, they flashed every position that we usually are in so we had no chance to hold it off.
So then we tried to play a little bit different, play really aggressive. That's not different from our normal style, but usually we try to mix in more passive stuff, but we felt that if we get the plant and get into the afterplant which is 5on5 or 4on4, they are going to be really ready for us. So we were going to try to get as many duels early into the round. That kind of worked for us, it got to 8-7 which is an OK T-side I would say.