mousesports won their group today after coming out on top in their clash with Liquid, a match that was more one-sided than expected as the European team, with a stand-in, won 2-0 without letting the North Americans reach 10 rounds on either map.
STYKO talked to us about what mousesports, who don't usually travel to events with stand-ins, was expecting from the tournament in Brazil, and how actually playing with a stand-in has helped his team unlock another facet of their game.
Let's start with the team's expectations coming to Brazil, what is the goal mousesports has in Belo Horizonte?
We arrived here with zero expectations because we're missing our star player, oskar. We decided to go with Jordan (n0thing) as a stand-in, who doesn't AWP, which means we had to rebuild everything. So yeah, no expectations. Our main goal was to make it out of the groups, which luckily we managed to do in the quickest way possible by winning the group. Right now we have pretty much nothing to lose. I mean, we already had nothing to lose, but right now it's going to be zero pressure.
And you get to keep the playoffs streak going...
Yeah, exactly. It's perfect.
Was it beneficial for you to come with a stand-in, and how is n0thing working with the team?
When we were thinking about coming here with a stand-in, we didn't have the right mentality. Right now I can say that playing with Jordan is affecting us in a really positive way. We can play less structured CS and still beat some of the best teams in the world. Basically, we can implement this with our full roster in the future, as well, having everyone pick the guns they feel like playing, making the plays they feel are the right plays to make, etc. We're learning to not question ourselves. If someone wants to do something, just do it, don't overthink about how enemies will react to the play, just do it, and even if it's stupid and you do it with 100% confidence, it might work. It's Counter-Strike, you know? It's weird sometimes.
As far as bringing n0thing on, we had two options, putting him in oskar's positions and keeping everything the same, or just changing and swapping the roles a bit. We decided to go with the latter. We swapped pretty much everything, especially on T-side, and decided to play FPL-style.
Was n0thing the go-to guy since the beginning?
No, we were going to go with NBK-. We had everything prepared for him, but something came up last minute and he had to take care of some stuff regarding his own future as a player. It's a shame he couldn't come, but it's also great to be playing with n0thing because even though he hasn't played in a while when he gets in the server you can really tell he is very hungry to win, which is really nice to see.
We crossed each other this morning and you were telling me you were about to go back to bed and sleep because of the afternoon game and how jet-lag makes you and your teammates tired in the afternoon. How is the sleeping pattern distortion going?
I've been doing this, playing Counter-Strike professionally, for almost three years now, and I can say this is the toughest thing a player has to deal with while he's abroad, especially going to places like Sydney or North America or South America. You have to adjust your schedule to your match. Sometimes you have to go to sleep late to wake up late, whatever it takes to force your body to think you're still in your comfort zone in Europe playing four hours after you wake up.
It's really tough, and there's no real way to do it correctly. You just have to learn about how your body works. Some players like to wake up really early and work out at the gym before breakfast and then sleep for six more hours, for example. Late matches are the worst because it feels like you have energy, but your communications and your actions on the server reflect that you don't really have the energy you thought you had. We learned that yesterday when we had the mid-day match and we decided to practice, after. During practice, we were all yawning and we just wanted to get it over with and go to sleep.
So did you get your beauty sleep today?
Oh yeah, definitely. For like seven more hours after breakfast!
Let's touch on the map pool for a second. Your Mirage and Nuke have been slipping a bit, lately, and you're showing up on other maps. After StarSeries, did you make a conscious decision to mix it up?
We didn't play much after StarSeries, we took a couple days off. It's just the way it goes, you know? When you have a really strong map like our Mirage, no one wants to play it against you. Everyone is vetoing it and you don't practice it because you don't need to, so you focus on other maps. You eventually hit a point in which teams start to beat you on maps like that because you don't practice that much. Then you forget the right rotations, the little stuff... miscommunications appear, things that were perfect a month ago but that are now gone because you're not keeping them fresh on the practice server.
They get rusty...
Yeah, exactly. That's the thing with our Mirage and Nuke, I'd say. We've been playing them against really good teams, but in the practice server we're trying to focus on other maps that are standing out for us right now. Like Inferno, surprisingly. Even with a stand-in, we're playing a good Inferno. We were playing it well in practice and thought it was just luck because our individual skill was on point, but we showed today that we're capable of beating Liquid on it, a really strong Inferno team.
Actually, that's the perfect transition. You beat NTC, which was expected, even with a stand-in. However, Liquid have been in really good form, playing good CS, did you think you were going to be so dominant against them? I mean, I won't call it easy, but it could have been much more of a struggle, right?
I'm going to say one thing, which is what I said in the beginning. We came here with no expectations. Every match is the same for us. We know Liquid is the better team right now. It would be a close match even with our full roster. When we came with Jordan, we decided to just focus on the pistol rounds, then the ecos/anti-ecos, then on getting that first gun round... literally just going round-by-round.
We didn't create a gameplan for the whole side because we didn't even know how it was going to go. We were kind of just doing everything in the freeze time before each round. Jordan was helping a lot with that, suNny had a lot of impact before the rounds started, and chrisJ, our usual caller, also had a lot of ideas. We didn't even have to take that many timeouts!
Do you think this has given you some sort of advantage over your rivals, this certain unpredictability?
Definitely, being unpredictable and being eager to force fights that are considered stupid in Counter-Strike, but that because they're stupid and you're doing them confidently, they work. I remember multiple situations in which we took stupid fights that worked and won us rounds multiple times. I mean, pushing through smokes with a flash... basic things that don't work against the best teams when they are ready for it, but when they're playing against us, they are not ready for it that often. It's about being unpredictable and cocky in-game.