chrisJ: "lmbt called everything on the Terrorist side of Cache"
mousesports were able to beat SK convincingly and move on to the playoffs. We talked to Chris "chrisJ" de Jong to hear about the team's run in the tournament so far.
The European team, who now sit second in the ranking, had a rough start in Marseille, struggling more than expected against Valiance and losing to NiP in three maps. Today, they were able to win against SK without skipping a beat and will be in the playoffs to try and make DreamHack Masters the third event in a row they lift the trophy at.
Chris "chrisJ" de Jong and the rest of his team were all smiles after their two map victory over SK, for which the team's in-game leader reveals they had done their homework. The Dutch rifler and AWPer also went into detail about how the group stages went for his side, and Miikka "suNny" Kemppi's rise as a star among a variety of topics.
We haven't gotten to talk yet until today, so just run me a bit through your preparation coming into the event. A lot of playing online matches and so on, but anything else in particular worth mentioning?
I would say our preparation was actually quite bad, because STYKO had eye surgery like a week or so ago, which meant we couldn't play as much as we wanted. I mean, we even played a few officials without him, so we prepared a bit less in that sense. I'm actually not sure we would have played that much more otherwise, but still, it wasn't optimal. We didn't bootcamp, but as you said with the online schedule it's really busy, so we're still playing a lot.
You're among the most stable lineups coming into this tournament, a lot of teams have been making changes. Do you think that's one of your strengths and makes you a favorite for this tournament?
Yeah, I think it helps, for sure. Maybe we didn't prepare so much, but we have a lot of playing time together now. We have a lot of rounds on every map in our head that we know can work against certain opponents, and other rounds that work against other opponents, so we're basically prepared for a lot, and since we've been winning lately there's no tension in the team at all. Everybody is relaxed and just ready to play their best at every tournament.
Obviously, our coach [lmbt] is making some adjustments to our tactics, and players themselves are playing things a bit different than usual just to catch people off guard, but we have all of the basics for the team down and that's definitely an advantage.
So you took on the in-game leader role as a bit of a necessity and you've been doing it for quite a while now, how are you evolving and what is your relationship with lmbt? You're also fragging well in matches, so are you getting more comfortable with it?
I think the main thing is that lmbt and I work really well together. I totally trust his input. I mean I called before on Dutch teams a long time ago, obviously on a completely different level than this, but that didn't really count as true in-game leading experience so I just knew I had to learn a lot, pay attention to what he says, and try my best. It's going well now.
Also, here, at DreamHack Masters, we can have the coach call. He didn't call anything on our Mirage CT-side, but on T-side Cache he called everything because we don't play so much Cache and I don't have a routine calling on it yet, which is different than let's say Mirage or Train where I feel more comfortable calling. It's coming along well I think, but I just feel like I have so much left to learn, and at the same time, the team is playing so well that it's the perfect time to get even better with calling. I think it's going in the right direction.
So when you came to the event, was the goal to win it? For instance, karrigan the other day said it's your tournament to win and show you're the best team.
I mean, when you win the last two tournaments, not winning now would be a disappointment, so we're coming here to win for sure, that's how it is.
When you played Valiance we saw the classic mousesports choke-and-recover, where you played a really good first half but then struggle to close it in the second. What do you think causes that?
I don't know, against Valiance... honestly, I don't want to put it too much on the fact that we underestimated them, because we came in fully focused and we knew they're pretty good. When we're leading by a large margin it can become a problem for us, we can start to give it away because everybody starts to take more liberties and things can start to fall apart.
On the other hand, I really have to credit Valiance because they played well. Tactically, they played way better than I expected them to. That's why I myself was rotating really poorly, often because I thought they would be worse and they were playing well. Before we realized "OK, they have a good T side," it was already like 13-11 or something and they were coming close. In the end, we figured out how they play, and that's something you just have to do in the match sometimes, we're not going to prepare too much and overthink things, but we learned during the game and we ere able to adjust to it.
Do you think the opposite happened in Train against NiP? You guys started out winning 5-1 on CT side, you had it under control, but then you failed to read their game properly and they were able to bring it back with a solid late first half and you didn't adjust.
Yeah, we also didn't prepare for them and we lost Train against them before in one of the online leagues. We didn't learn anything from that match because they basically did a lot of the same stuff. STYKO and me got caught off guard in alley multiple times, which when you watch one demo of NiP you should realize that they go there a lot and you can't just stand there in the middle of alley and do nothing because dennis is going to come and run you over, and that's what they did.
They were playing well and they were playing their game and we weren't ready for some of their stuff and yeah, maybe because we were leading 5-1 we thought we were going to have a good CT side, and then we were just not ready for them to be so confident and just them doing their pushes, which in a way is what they always do but they do it really well, so if you're not ready for it they'll beat you.
So you didn't prepare that much against Valiance or NiP, did you prepare at all against SK when you found out you'd play them? Did you do your homework or did you just come in to play your game?
No, no, no, against SK we came prepared, especially because we felt like we lost against NiP because we didn't prepare enough. I did some more work, I watched some stuff about how they liked to play, and so did our coach. He had a plan about how to play on Cache, because he thought they might pick it, and obviously we thought we'd end up on Mirage because we both like that map. We were ready on those maps, and also to play a third, so I guess the preparation certainly helped this time.
Are there any key things you saw and applied to the match today?
More just generally how they like to play, like, okay, sometimes they like to throw smokes and go somewhere else, or they like to get together and push at this point in a round or at this point in a game. Of course, we keep things in mind, like that fer is always going to push underground and stuff like that, or he's going to push somewhere and you always have to be ready for it. You talk about those things again before the match to have it really set in your head, and it worked really well because we were pretty much ready for anything they could do.
To close it out I just wanted to talk about suNny a bit, he's a great player and he has been showing that he's a great player for a while now, but I think more and more he's becoming more present in people's minds when they think of him as a star, and it's more expected that he plays at the level he is. So what do you think has allowed him to make this progress and become this solid star player?
A lot of credit just goes to him, the guy is just working really hard. Even now after winning a few tournaments, some people might get lazy or something, but suNny is still fully motivated, playing a lot of CS every day, and trying to learn from his mistakes. As I said before, even if we don't change a round or a gameplan completely, he's adjusting. He's doing things a little bit differently to catch opponents off-guard. Obviously, the way he's feeling right now, which is really confident, is also helping, but he's just working hard and it's showing.