chrisJ: "We have most of the basics down now[...] We can actually play some proper CS together"
We caught up with mousesports' in-game leader Chris "chrisJ" de Jong following their 2-1 series victory over fnatic to talk about their run in Atlanta thus far and what to expect leading up to their semi-final bout against Astralis.
The European mixture left Cologne in a wary 9-12th place-finish but quickly bounced back in Atlanta, beating FaZe in their opening series at ELEAGUE Premier.
After being taken down 1-2 by Natus Vincere, mouz managed to go the extra mile in their three-map series against fnatic, securing the final spot in the semi-finals to make the playoffs of a LAN event for the first time with Janusz "Snax" Pogorzelski.
In the interview, we chatted with chrisJ about mousesports' run in Atlanta thus far, how well they've groomed their CT side at this tournament, and the team's preparation and expectations leading up to their decisive match against Astralis.
You're coming from Cologne, where you finished 9-12th, and you kicked things off here with a series win over FaZe. How did the team feel to come in and take down FaZe right off the bat?
I don't think the win was anything super special. We just really didn't feel like Cologne had set so much about how good we can be. We only had one day to practice for Cologne, but for this tournament in Atlanta we had a week, which is still not enough time. We went through a lot of stuff and we have most of the basics down now. We can actually play some proper CS together.
Anyway, yeah, we were happy we beat FaZe because we had not beat them in a best-of-three offline. So that was nice, but then again, they had just started playing with Olof again, so obviously they were not going to have their roster at full strength.
After FaZe you went head-to-head against Na`Vi and had a pretty good start, securing their map pick on Inferno, but after that things started to deflate. What are some things that went wrong on Train that may have carried over onto Mirage?
Our T side on Train right now is not at all where it should be yet. We just aren't fluent at doing everything everywhere on the map, which is how we won Train often before, like, put pressure here, pressure there or somebody will find a gap on the other side of the map. We just don't have our synergy going quite yet.
Even though our practices went quite well, we just haven't managed to perform quite like that in official matches. Maybe it's also because Na`Vi are good on Train, so credit to them, but we obviously have a lot to work on. Personally, it kind of swooped me a bit because I totally felt out of it on Train and I didn't get back into the game, so, yeah... it was tough.
Now looking at the series against fnatic. You didn't have the best start on Inferno, which resulted in losing the map, but you turned things around on Train. What finally clicked on Train that gave you guys the momentum going into Mirage?
At first we weren't thinking about picking Train because we had lost the last two or three maps we had played with Snax on Train. Even though we weren't solid on Train... we still decided to pick it because we felt we are only going to be better.
Our coach realized a few things about how fnatic play Train, so we just played the setup we knew would be able to beat them because they are not as good as Na`Vi on Train. They don't quite have that big of a playbook, so that's why we decided to pick Train. Then, the things that the team talked about prior to the match worked for the most part.
We spoke with you in Cologne regarding some concerns about the CT side with Snax's addition. You have now secured a semi-final spot here in Atlanta. How are you feeling about your CT side thus far in this tournament?
I believe we have improved our CT side. Before, when we were playing with STYKO, we were having really big problems at some point with our Mirage CT side because we couldn't string rounds together, ever, and our opponents kind of figured out how we were playing. At some point our CT-side just didn't work anymore, so we tried to change stuff, but it didn't work, so now with Snax, we are playing our Mirage CT-side differently.
Snax is basically playing STYKO's position, while oskar is playing where I played, then I'm doing what oskar did before. We switched things up in that sense because, for example, oskar didn't really like playing window/A because he felt like he didn't have much of an impact or room to play. Now I feel like he can do more of what he wants to do and he has that freedom in the team. We created something new because our old-style seemed a bit overused.
Now that you have secured a semi-final spot. There are a couple of off days before the playoffs start. What are you going to do as a team and individually during those off days?
We are going to practice each day, play a few maps and talk about stuff - obviously prepare for Astralis. We aren't going to relax or anything, we want to f**king beat them (laughs) or at least give them a good fight since that's something we haven't really done in the past. We realize it's going to be a hard match and we are going to do everything to give our best.
Talking about Astralis, what are your expectations going up against the Danes?
It's going to be really hard...We were hoping to top our group to make things easier for us in the semi-finals, but our goal is to win a tournament and we are going to have to beat them at some point. So, it's going to be a hard match, but I believe in our new line-up. We have a chance to beat Astralis.