emagine: "We're obviously not happy with our performance"
Our last interview from IEM Katowice is with Chris "emagine" Rowlands, whose ORDER played their first big tournament last week. We sat down with him to find out more about the team's experience in Poland, what lies in their future, and the current state of the AU/NZ scene.
Although Alistair "aliStair" Johnston and Chris "emagine" Rowlands had played big tournaments before, IEM Katowice was a first for ORDER as a team and the remaining three players, Simon "Sico" Williams, Jay "Liazz" Tregillgas, and Jordan "Hatz" Bajic.
We had a chance to speak to emagine about the team's experience in Poland, where the Australian squad played FaZe and NiP. He also went over ORDER's near future and the state of the Australian and New Zealand scene.
What are your thoughts on your performance overall here at IEM after your losses to FaZe and NiP?
We're obviously not happy with the performance, we were hoping for better results than we had. The FaZe one, that was just a complete whitewash, we had a couple of rounds early in the half where some clutches didn't go our way, like the 3v1 with NiKo and the was a 2v1 with GuardiaN in an eco round. So we sort of lost some opportunities to get into the game early and that hurt us in the FaZe match. And obviously NiKo just had a lights out game, he made it extra hard for a team like us.
In the NiP one we were actually way more confident, I know GeT_RiGhT eluded that we had practiced them a lot, so in our bootcamp they were probably, out of all the European teams, the team we practiced the most. So we felt really confident versus them, but once we actually got in the game, it just didn't go our way. The start of Train was really slow, I think we were down like 1-6. As soon as we brought the double AWP out on CT it became a little easier, and then T side just sort of fell apart. We had a gameplan to approach inside early on and we did win an early round there, but then after that it just fell apart. I think the main thing for us was just a lack of experience, I think the pressure got to a few people, some of these guys are really fresh, they've never been to a tournament like this before. The more opportunities we get like this the more we'll improve at this sort of tournaments.
Aside from the experience, what do you think were perhaps the biggest gaps that you had in your game, does anything in particular come to mind? What have you taken away from this?
It depends on the map. On Mirage especially against FaZe, they just walked over our mid as T, so we're going to try to fight on middle a little more, put a lot more pressure on mid so they can't just take map control for free and then split on us. I felt that seemed to be happening a lot. The NiP ones we need to watch the VODs properly, go over them and disect them, but I think we just need to perform better individually as well. We had a pretty poor performance on all of our players as well.
You guys have made it to WESG with a different lineup, which is coming up in less than two weeks, what are you expecting from that tournament?
At WESG we'll only have three members of our team, so it's not our full team, and obviously that means it's more of a fun tournament for us. We don't take the nationality ones too seriously, we have a New Zealand player and aliStair came in late, so it's more of a fun tournament, we'll be going in pretty relaxed, try to keep it similar to the qualifier, play fast-paced and just catch teams off-guard.
What are your plans for the nearest future, will IEM Sydney be your biggest focus in the next couple of months?
IEM Sydney is a big qualifier we're gunning for, they're still trying to fiddle around with the dates, they'll try and work it in with WESG. In terms of events, there's a hidden event coming up I can't speak about, IEM Sydney is our main one, so we have roughly a month to prepare for that, so we're going to be looking over our demos from this, try to fix our mistakes and prepare for IEM Sydney the best we can.
What's the state of the AU/NZ scene at the moment? How healthy is the competition, the support from organizations, the amount of local tournaments, or even opportunities to make it to bigger events like this?
I think the Australian scene as a whole has gotten a lot stronger in the last two years. Two years ago no one was salaried, there were no salaried teams, so money has come in, similarly to NA, almost an exponential money growth and that's resulted in the general level improving a lot. Domestically there's not too many leagues that people really take that seriously to be honest, so for Australian teams it's all about these sort of things, Katowice qualifiers, just those opportunities. In terms of the actual teams in the scene, there are probably three or four teams that can beat the other on any given day.
What is the importance of an event like IEM Sydney, not just for the teams but for the scene in general and the fans?
It's massive, it was a giant turnout at IEM Sydney, all the fans got behind it, everyone absolutely loved it. This year there will be three Australian teams and three Asian teams, so there's going to be a lot of local force behind it I'm sure. The expansion of teams lends itself to really giving the Australian teams a good chance to show themselves rather than the now-and-then things like this, to get three teams at IEM Sydney is just a massive deal.
What about the Gfinity Elite Series? It's more of a grassroots-type thing, but that's also important for the growth, what do you make of that format and idea?
I have yet to see how that plays out, they have some strange things, they have a substitute system they're trying to implement, but I have yet to see something solid of how it's going to look, how the schedule will look, I need to see more information on that before I can really call if it's going to be good or not. But I think it's a big step forward to have those bigger competitions coming into the region.