mousesports struggled through the group stages, beating fnatic and Gambit in three map series', before winning their semi-final match against NRG and coming back from behind in the BO5 grand final against Liquid to hoist the ESL One trophy.
In the winners interview, suNny walks us through the importance of coming back against fnatic in the first match of the tournament, the growing pains after bringing Janusz "Snax" Pogorzelski on, and the team's mid-term goal of becoming a solid team going into 2019.
Let's start off with the progression throughout the tournament. You won your group despite a shaky first two matches, and then you were eventually to beat Liquid who was a favorite to take the whole tournament. Tell me about the evolution of the team.
After the Major we were really depressed and we talked about how to get things rolling again, but the key part I think was the comeback against fnatic during the first match because that was a confidence boost for everyone. It was never technical stuff with us, it was all individual mistakes because of some pressures, it felt like many people on the team had to prove themselves. For example, the rumors about oskar getting benched, or everyone talking about whether Snax can return to his form or not, so we all had a lot of pressure on our shoulders and that was the reason we were so bad at the Major.
Here, I think we got better after each game. It was similar to when we had STYKO, we got good when we played tournaments because on an international team you can't talk in really fast situations so you just need to rely on your teammate understanding when you do things. So yeah, I'd say every match here was very important, but I'd say the comeback against fnatic was the reason we won today.
Talking about the comeback against fnatic, today was similar, coming back on Dust2 and then taking Mirage after. Did you get a similar confidence boost?
It might sound pretty stupid to say, but what happens to us really often after we win the first map of a series is that we get sloppy on the next maps. It started on Nuke, I'd say, we had some clutch situations with insane miscommunications, people saying they were holding certain positions and not actually doing it. We started to lose rounds and it got to into our heads, especially on the CT side pistol on Nuke when nitr0 clutched a 1vs2 against oskar and chrisJ without kevlar. It got into our heads and we let the whole side slip.
About the comeback, this happened with the old squad as well, but the thing is that when we're with our back against the wall, then we give everything. It sounds weird to say because you have to give everything every round of a LAN tournament... Let me give an example, imagine I've gone through lower 5000 times in CSGO, but when you have your back against the wall, you remember all of the ways you've died going from lower to short and mid, so you're really focused and telling every detail to your teammates. That level of focus is very hard to reach if you're not playing with really high adrenaline. So yeah, I would say that our comeback against fnatic was the reason we started to believe that we can do it, and the last two maps of the finals were like that, everyone was communicating really well.
It seemed you were struggling a little bit after Snax came in, and as you said there were pressures about him being able to play back at his old level and so on. Tell me what clicked this time around teamwise.
Obviously, we didn't play perfect CS, we almost lost the opening match, so I don't want to say we're back yet, but it's a really big confidence boost and we need to take the best parts out of it. The biggest issue when Snax came in was communication, it wasn't that it was his fault. For example, there were a lot of situations when STYKO was on the team in which he would speak for other players. Like, if I'd push up mid and couldn't talk he was communicating and managing the players letting them know what's going to happen next.
That changed when Snax joined, he communicates fine for himself, and he understands us, but removing Martin showed that our communication was flawed and that he was a big part of why we were successful. Also, if you change a more support-oriented player for one that likes to do things there are some details which change and have a big impact on rounds.
Finally, what's in the sights? You're going to Kiev straight away, so what are the goals for the team, now?
When we did the player change we thought we'd play ESL One Cologne, which would be the warmup tournament, and that we'd then be instantly back to our level. We set too high goals for ourselves, and we set some new ones after Stockholm, which is building a great team for next year. I'd say that all of the tournaments this year are going to be more like practice. Obviously, we still want to win the trophies, but the goal is to get in tip-top shape and have a great map pool before the first tournament of next year.