Texta on the Oceanic shuffle: "I think Tainted Minds have the best lineup"
With day one of the tournament behind us, Chiefs have progressed to the quarter-finals after breezing past Sad Story in the Group B opener, 16-3 on Mirage, and coming out on top of a nail-biting match against last year's champions, Flash, in the winners' match, on Inferno.
In this interview, conducted after the victory over Taiwanese side, IyeN revealed his reasons to join Chiefs, while 17-year-old Texta gave us his insight on the current Oceanic roster shuffle and more.
Let’s kick off with how your preparation went coming into this event.
Texta: So obviously with the additions of IyeN, Mohammed "MoeycQ" Tizani and Jesse "InfrequeNt" Barker, our preparation was limited because of the number of tournaments we had: ESL Pro League, ESEA, ESL ANZ Championship and so on. We had to cram in a three-week period of online scrims and practise before we flew out to play the WESG Oceania qualifiers.
How have you adapted to the Asian play style since you last faced them?
Texta: Asian teams are super aggressive, so we’ve been pumping in a lot of scrims to adjust. It was something we came in knowing as MoeycQ has a lot of experience against these Asian teams. We are very aware of their aggressiveness, but you’re still surprised when it happens despite expecting it. We’ve played the game for so long so we are used to certain things, some thinking habits. Some of the Asian teams... it seems they don’t even kill, they just run at you. It’s crazy, but we have adapted well.
What are your expectations for this event?
Texta: We would be pretty happy with top four. From our point of view, the quarter-finals is a must. We feel that our group is the easiest out of the four. I think we got seeded really well. Whatever happens, as I said earlier, our practice is limited and we understand that. We'll be a bit looser with our play style.
Are there any teams you are looking out for?
Texta: Flash obviously, because they won last year’s event, but with a different lineup. Then BOOT-d[S] and MVP PK. I think MVP PK are the best team here, so hopefully we verse them in the grand final if we make it. 5POWER would be my last pick.
Next up, let’s talk about the roster changes on this team, with three new players on board. What caused these changes and who made the final calls on
the latest pickups?
Texta: Firstly, Mike "ap0c" Aliferis thought that Tainted Minds had a better infrastructure and he thought that maybe some of the Chiefs players did not put in 100% effort or were committed enough. He felt restricted and wanted to go to Tainted Minds. At the same time, Tyler "tucks" Reilly had a similar thinking pattern and decided to go with Mike as well, as Tainted Minds gave them the choice.
Then we decided to bring in InfrequeNt, MoeycQ and IyeN. We had used IyeN for the eXTREMESLAND ANZ Regional Finals because Sam "flickz" Jones had health problems and couldn’t attend the Melbourne LAN last-minute, so we thought he would be our next-in-line as a pickup. He’s got a lot of raw talent and slot into the team well.
To answer your question about who was calling the shots, it was probably 90% me and 10% Sam (flickz), but we were on the same page. With Kyran "dizzyLife" Crombie, he personally decided to step down because of his lack of motivation in general, so we respect that. We were perfectly happy with playing with dizzy had he continued playing. The next best player was Jesse (InfrequeNt), who we picked as our main AWPer.
With tucks and ap0c leaving, we needed an in-game leader. We could have potentially picked a newer (and less experienced) IGL with fresh power, but we weren’t comfortable with that considering all these upcoming events, ESL Pro League, eXTREMESLAND and WESG. We wanted someone who had experience with Asian players, so we thought MoeycQ would be a great fit. However, we knew he had restricted time because he’s got a family and can’t commit 100% to the game in terms of practice hours. Our schedule was 5 to 9.30PM, five days a week. With MoeycQ, we had to move the times to 7-11PM and translated our games around him instead.
He has great work ethic and experience and is someone who I played with during my time on Athletico. Our mentalities are similar, and this is something that I also feel with Tyler and Mike.
IyeN, you and the other two new players on Chiefs hung around the upper echelons of the scene for the past few years, and you previously shined as a star player under the AVANT and Corvidae banners. During this period, you experienced some ups and downs. What kept your motivational drive going?
IyeN: I think this is the best team I’ve been in so far. When I got the offer, I had to take it because now I’ll be playing more international LANs, we qualified for one straight away. The individual players are so much better, and I could not say no to that because I know I’ll be achieving a lot more than I ever have, so it was an easy choice.
This is the largest shuffle the Oceanic region has had, with every notable team, including Renegades, being affected. Who do you think came out on top?
Texta: Grayhound are impacted massively and lost gear, considering the experience I have with sterling. I think that he’s not up to the level that Grayhound need, and that they will struggle with him because he is super passive, doesn’t understand when to play aggressively and really struggles to learn.
I know this sounds harsh, but it’s how I see it from my experience with him. Obviously, he could have developed on Legacy, but from my point of view watching his demos and his time on Legacy, there was a lot of baiting and he is just not really a good AWPer if you compare him with Sean "Gratisfaction" Kaiwai, who in my opinion is really good. Renegades came out on top with his addition. I think he could easily be one of the top AWPers in North America, top three or four if given the right amount of time.
It’s unfortunate for Grayhound, they didn’t have many options to choose from. Gratisfaction had so much impact with the AWP, his first peeks would be so annoying, pushing around and being so sharp. They’ve lost half of their X-factor on the team and now they only have one more X-factor left in Christopher "dexter" Nong’s rifling. Grayhound have dropped off a lot in terms of their players, but who knows how they will bounce back with the leadership of Erdenetsogt "erkaSt" Gantulga and dexter.
ORDER have shown a lot of weakness and dropped two maps to Tainted Minds twice (online) in ESEA and EPL. With their old lineup, they wouldn’t have lost. ORDER are worse than Grayhound, they got screwed so hard that they kicked their best player, Simon "Sico" Williams, who had way more impact than Jay "Liazz" Tregillgas, in my opinion. Liazz is a support player, he’s a lurker and cleans up. So if the team isn’t getting any entry frags, Liazz doesn’t do anything and can get shut down easily because of that. I don’t know what they are going to do about that, and they are picking up Charlie "zeph" Dodd, who has a massive amount of weight on his shoulders. Hopefully he can step up, but I don’t think he has the capability to fill those big shoes.
On paper, I think Tainted Minds have the best lineup. It’s pretty straightforward. ap0c is the best in-game leader and the list goes on.
The Australian scene has been exposed to a lot of PUG systems in recent years with the introduction of ESEA Rank S, Intradark and now InstaFrag (Oceania's version of FPL), is this bringing in more up-and-coming players?
Texta: It’s a platform that players can use for exposure. When you come from a system like that, you’re a “pugger”…
But there’s also a high chance of toxicity occurring, too.
Texta: Definitely, with up-and-coming players, you can see it a mile away. People being abusive and calling them cheaters and sh*t. When I came up into the scene, I was grinding ESEA a lot, and now it’s just regular PUGs and everyone used to call me a cheater and sh*t talk to me. Overall, a lot of these players are young. You have to factor in that if they’re grinding the PUGs, they can play anytime they want, people will need to understand that if they want to keep the toxicity down.
Name one up-and-coming player in the Australian scene who could potentially be in a top team in a year’s time.
Texta: Apparently he’s 18-year-old.
IyeN: And on HLTV, it says he’s 31. He hasn’t been to a LAN yet. There are like three LANs he has qualified for, so let’s see if he turns up for them and we’ll able to see his potential.