mousesports will play their fourth match of the group stage after having won against AVANGAR, lost to Liquid, and eliminated BIG in a two-map affair. Now, chrisJ & co. will have a chance to make it to the quarter-finals if they can beat the Brazilian side Luminosity in a best-of-three match.
We chatted with chrisJ extensively about some of mousesports' ailments, having Martin "STYKO" Styk back and the decision to part ways with Janusz "Snax" Pogorzelski, the atmosphere in the team and how things sometimes click and sometimes don't, and their run at IEM Chicago.
First things first, how is it having STYKO back on the team?
I'd say we're all happy that he's back. As some of my teammates have said before, he brings certain qualities to the team that may not be clearly visible from the outside, but we now realize the worth of it better. I feel like we haven't really gotten off to a great start, but I don't think it's because of him. For example, the result at StarSeries with Snax was also not just because of Snax, the team has some issues, in general. We need to realize what we need to focus on better, but we're happy to have Martin back because we know how worthy he is.
So is there a bit of a weird atmosphere in the team, thinking you can do better but not quite getting there? Why do you think that is?
I touched upon it before, and so did suNny, we sometimes don't play enough and other times we play too much or go to too many tournaments. Even now, the reason we canceled EPICENTER is because the LAN schedule is rough, but then on top of that, you have the online schedule, so we've basically had 0 free days for like two months or something like that and it's just too much. We had a good period playing with STYKO before, when we were really good on Mirage, but then we never practiced it because we were going from tournament to tournament and playing online leagues, and if you don't practice and change things other teams will catch up, you'll get worse, and you'll end up getting frustrated. Now, we're trying to avoid it, although it's quite hard. Sure, skipping EPICENTER gave us a week of practice, which we had with STYKO, but I feel like we're still a bit overplayed. We're not as hungry or motivated as we can be and it's showing.
How do you think you can get that motivation back, is there anything you can work on actively?
We're working on it. As I said, we're trying to not go to too many tournaments, and in in the future, we're going to be paying more attention to that in order to have breaks and so on. You can see the statistic with Na`Vi, when they go into a tournament too quickly after a deep run at another tournament, they go out in last place. I think it's something that can affect all teams and we're not used to it from back in the day. We didn't play as many tournaments before so we would just think, "OK, let's go to every tournament and try to win as much as possible," but it's really hard to be super hungry for every tournament. Especially with all the travel and so on, you just get tired. Trying to find the balance between playing enough but not playing too much is the main thing.
I saw a tweet or an excerpt from an interview a while back in which one of you mentioned needing to become more of a team, or trying to have more team spirit, or something along those lines. Do you agree with that?
Yeah, I mean, outside of the game we're not like a classic team. We're not doing everything together, often we don't even eat together. Usually, in the practice rooms, a couple guys will order one thing together, and the others will order something else, it's not like all five of us will eat together and sit together and talk. In that sense, we're a bit separated, but I think that's just how some players on our team prefer it, they want more privacy. I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing. Having a bit more team spirit could help, but then again we've won like this before, so I think it can work again.
You've had a mixed bag of results here with victories against AVANGAR and BIG, and a loss against Liquid. Do you feel like the old lineup with STYKO or do you still have to work some stuff out?
We can still win if we go on some miracle run, which is what we did in New York quite recently. Sometimes, at some point during a tournament, things will just click. All of a sudden we'll have team spirit, everybody will be super motivated, working together and fighting as if every game were the last game of their lives. For example, against Liquid, I don't feel like we had that at all. Personally, I wasn't feeling that great, I've been a bit ill, but I don't want to use it as an excuse because everybody always has something. One guy has jetlag, another is feeling sick, so you have to just play, but the fact is that we just didn't show our best face. Liquid were just better than us yesterday and that's how it is. We wanted to get revenge on BIG, so we were obviously more motivated to really beat them (laughs). But yeah, we're just taking it match by match to see if we can get that hunger, and we really want to make the playoffs now that we have a chance to do it.
Talking about reaching the playoffs, Luminosity will be the team you have to beat to get there. I don't think you've played them at all with the current lineup, so do you actually know anything about them? Have you watched them at all?
I haven't really watched them, to be honest, but we know their players. We know they have an explosive style and that they're a very emotional team. They scream a lot when things go well, but we can use that against them if we get on a roll. I think it's going to be a more momentum-based game than usual, other than that I don't really know what to say about them, as I haven't really watched them, but if they made it this far here, they must be a pretty good team and we'll try to prepare as best we can in the couple of hours we have.
Now that a little bit of time has passed since the Snax move, can you give me any of the details of how the decision to make changes came about?
I feel like we got Snax at the wrong time. As I said before, we have some issues in the team which Snax alluded to in the statement he made after he got benched, saying we're not able to solve things as a team and that we have bigger problems than our fifth player. I think Snax can be really good, and he showed it in some matches with us, but overall he couldn't really live up to his potential on this team. I don't know if it's about the role he had, the team, or maybe that his English wasn't super good. I feel like he had a lot of good ideas but he couldn't explain the, that well in detail, so if you really want to call something fast in a high-pressure game your English needs to be quite good. It was fine for him to speak normally, but he needed a bit more time to get really good and be able to make those "better-explained calls," so to say.
I also think Snax needs to be more of a star player, and in our team, with suNny, oskar, and ropz, who was going to support him? I didn't really make sense because these guys have already proven on the team that they can be the star players and that it works with them, so I think we just made a bad decision, taking him, and I don't mean to say that he's bad, because I liked playing with him, but it just didn't fit. It hurt both sides because he couldn't show what he's capable of doing and we weren't able to get a step further, so it was quite sad in the end, but I hope he gets a good team because I think he still has it in him, and he wants to prove that he can still be good. I'm sure of that.
To round it out, we already talked about STYKO coming back, and some of the problems you have, but do you think you can become the team you were before?
We just need to practice more with STYKO again. We need to get to that point in a tournament where everything clicks and we understand each other again. STYKO was out for some time and we adapted to playing with Snax. He was in Cloud9 for a while, and what's even happening now is that he'll call something and we'll think, like, "what? what?" and apparently in Cloud9 they had a few different names for spots and random stuff like that and so we get a mish-mash with people not understanding each other (laughs). It'll just take some time, and it's a bit rough regarding the timing. I mean, it's always going to be like that because the CS season is so busy so the second you get someone in the lineup you need to play officials and online matches and you're losing to teams you don't want to lose to...
Before we came to this tournament we lost 2-0 to Windigo. Props to them, they're improving, and they're good, but we should at least win one map against them, so it's just annoying in a way because if we would have had a bit more time with STYKO we'd have the basics down and we'd be able to beat teams like that with more confidence. We just need more time with him, and we're going to give ourselves that time because we know how well it can work.