Stewie2K: "When pride is on the line, nothing else matters"
We caught up with Jake "Stewie2K" Yip during the final day of ESL One Belo Horizonte, where the North American player opened up about his experience in Brazil.
Several months after putting the team together and not having been able to lift a trophy at a big event, SK missed the opportunity to do it in front of the home crowd at Belo Horizonte, where they went out to mousesports in the playoffs.
In the interview, Stewie2K talks about his experience of traveling to Brazil with SK, the patience needed to fix issues, the friction the team and the organization are having, and some of the keys to the losses in Belo Horizonte, among other topics.
How good was it for your confidence to win some smaller tournaments, such as Moche XL in Portugal?
I think it was good for us in terms of confidence. Attending these events helped us improve the little things, such as communication and fixing small mistakes we make in-game. Honestly, we're not going to these small tournaments to win easy money or anything like that, some of these tournaments mean a lot more than that. In Portugal, for example, there were a lot of fans and it is one of the best tournaments I've been to, I feel like.
Has the communication been improving in the team now that you have played several tournaments? Do you feel it's changing, getting better? Or is it still an issue?
I think it's going to be a long process, it's pretty slow. It's been a couple months now, and there being communication issues kind of makes it so slow, but now I think we're progressing at a normal pace. We're still struggling with the little things like playing on stage, these are things we need to work on and they'll come with experience. We just need to play more, attend LANs, and try to get further.
It has been a bit over two months now. How patient are you going to be with this whole process? How long are you going to be able to struggle?
It's hard. I think at the start, when they picked me up, they knew it was going to be a long process, and not something that was just going to happen any time soon. Hopefully, we can keep being patient because the more patience we have now the more success we'll probably have later. When patience gets low tempers may start flaring. We may argue more and more, but that's how teams work nowadays. That's how you solve your problems. It's about talking about the problems that you need to talk about instead of keeping it inside of you like a bubble that's ready to burst. That's bad. But I think we're working pretty well.
You're wearing the Immortals jersey, and the relationship with SK seems to be a bit of a struggle. Have these out-of-game issues affected your performance at all?
Ever since I joined the team there were some problems, so I'm not really a part of it. I don't think it's affecting us in the game, we're just tired of working for an organization that we won't be with in the future. We just need to focus on our game and not on any problems. Then, hopefully, once the problems end, our progress can speed up.
Talking about Belo Horizonte. You started slow against Space Soldiers, then got rolling, how was the evolution? How did you come into the tournament and what happened in the end?
The tournament meant a lot to us because we were trying to play in front of the crowd and put on a show for them, The first game was kind of like an icebreaker for us, there was a lot more pressure. We wanted to win so much that we didn't do the things that we would normally do in practice. We tried to anti-strat a little too much and after the game with Space Soldiers we talked about it as a team and said we need to focus on our own game, we need to play relaxed, like we do in practice, and that's how we're going to win.
The mousesports match you lost, what were the keys of that game? Where did it go wrong for you?
I think Dust2 was a good pick for us because we had seen them play Dust2, which is not one of their best maps, especially with a stand-in. The thing about Dust2 is that it's such a puggy map that everyone knows how to play it. Everyone grew up on that map, so they know what to do, the basics... us, we made a lot of crucial mistakes. The scoreline doesn't really show what the game was. We had a close game. We were 5-4 and broke their money, but we lost a crucial round because we tried to make individual plays or became a little too hesitant in certain situations. That's what cost us Dust2. On Train, we lost because our Terrorist side was not good. That's basically it.
Coming to Brazil, with a Brazilian team... when you came with Cloud9 you were probably in a bit of a bubble. How has the experience of coming with a Brazilian team been? Has feeling the Brazilian culture up-close taught you anything about your teammates?
Families here are really welcoming, they make you feel at home. That's something I kind of grew up with at home, as well. When you're part of the family they love to talk to you, they support you with all their heart, and that's something I learned about them here.
As far as what Brazil taught me about my teammates is that when pride is on the line, nothing else matters. For these guys, coming home to a Brazilian crowd, it means a lot. Now that I'm part of this team, they make me feel like I'm at home as well. Since now I can see that pride is on the line it makes me want to win as much as they do.
What's the preparation going to be like going into ESL Cologne?
I think we'll go home for a little break before traveling to Cologne. I think the main thing will be to get some rest and start preparing for the tournament, to keep improving because so far these results... we went out in groups, then we started to make it to playoffs, quarter-finals, semi-finals, so hopefully this time we can take Cologne. Back then they beat me when I was in Cloud9, so now I hope I can take the final with them.
As far as the preparation itself goes, will you do anything special?
I actually don't know, but I think we'll be playing at home. I think the preparation will be the same as it has been, we'll try to improve the little things in practice, and just keep scrimming.