tarik: "We have good results [against mousesports] and I think we have their number"
MIBR will face-off against mousesports in their group's upper bracket final for a spot in the semi-finals after beating Sharks and NRG in their first two matches at ESL Pro League Season 8 Finals in Odense.
In the interview, tarik talks about their first steps in Odense, including trading each other's map picks with NRG, having to face mousesports to make it straight to the semi-finals, the small slump MIBR had, as well as what comes next.
You're through to the playoffs after your first two matches, beating Sharks and NRG. Did you see yourselves as the favorites going into it this last one?
In our eyes, we were the favorites, although we knew going into the game that we shouldn't underestimate them because they're a strong team and they have had good results against us in the past, like at IEM Chicago. Going into the match we tried to make sure we stuck to our game plan and didn't focus too much on how they played. We did have an idea about the setups they like to run and the spots they like to play as well as small little details, but our main focus was to play to our strengths and make sure that everyone was comfortable. I think that showed a lot in the first map...
Talking about the first map, you won each other's map picks, and both were won by quite large margins. How did that go down?
On Overpass our CT side was exceptionally strong compared to the past. Everything was going in our favor and we were getting really good reads throughout the whole first half. We had a good understanding of what we expected them to do and they sort of came into our game. We ended the first half 11-4, then we lost the pistol round, but the first half was just really strong by us, and they didn't expect it. It looked like they had a game plan, but we stopped it and just closed it out in the second half.
Going into Inferno, our CT side was actually way worse than it usually is. FalleN was having some problems on B and we didn't react or make adjustments to play heavier towards B. I think it was sort of a one-off for both teams, and the third map was really a toss-up, it was a really close game that we were able to bring back when they were up.
How about tomorrow? You play mousesports, how is that match-up for you guys? They're a team that can play really well but aren't completely solid. How do you feel you match up against them?
They played surprisingly well against Na`Vi, they shut that game out in very dominating fashion...
Yeah, 16-6 and 16-4...
That was totally unexpected, as far as us against them, we have good results and I think we have their number. It's one of those teams that's a great match-up for us in terms of map pool but also in terms of the match-up itself. Our results on Overpass against them have been good, but we don't want to let that get into our head. We want to make sure that we go into the game expecting everything and making sure that we're fully focused and that we can put our best foot forward.
I'd like to take a look at the macro view of the team. You didn't have a bad Major, but you slumped a bit in the mid-late part of the season, and are now coming back up. How have you lived that from the inside?
I think we're still in the process of building the team as strong as it could be. I don't think we're at the point where we can say that this is our best form, there's still more to come. IEM Chicago and BLAST Pro Series Copenhagen were results that definitely let us down, and that's why making the final at ECS and putting up a good fight against Astralis was really important. Our results at this event will also be very important because I think everyone on this team has expectations, and we want to meet them. Closing out the year on a good note will be very important for us.
How hard has it been on you guys to deal with some of the criticism? There are some pretty passionate fans from both North America and South America following you guys... Has it been wearing on you?
Yeah, there are expectations that these fans have of us, and they want to see us succeed. They are very critical when we do bad, and even when we do well they want to see us do better. I totally understand their perspective, and it can add a bit of pressure, but I think we've been doing a good job of focusing on ourselves and growing at the pace that we believe is necessary. But we do appreciate the support.
As you said, Copenhagen and Chicago were rough, so did the run at ECS help you believe more in yourselves? Make you feel that you're a title contender?
It definitely gave us more motivation and it showed us that we have a good team and that there are small details that are costing us championships. Astralis really pushed us to our limits, and we really did to them as well. That final could have gone either way, similar to Blast Pro Series Istanbul. It's important for us to have these close scorelines, especially against Astralis, because it gives us more motivation and inspiration. Now we know that we can do it and that there are just a few things that have to be fixed.
You're going to Blast Pro Series Lisbon next, but you're taking swag who will be standing in for fer. Are you taking it as a bit more of a fun event, since you won't have your full lineup?
It's going to be tough for sure because we won't have any practice at all with swag, but regardless of that we're not going there to have fun, we're going there to win. We're going to put Brax [swag] in the positions we think make the most sense and give him some good game plans and try to play maps that will be easier for us. Our goal is to do our best and win the event, and it does suck that fer is going to miss the last event of the year, but it's something he held off for a long time and he just has to take care of it.
How did Brax come up?
The way we looked at picking Brax up was searching for someone who didn't have any contract issues and who spoke English. We all agreed that he's a great player, we all thought it would be a good idea, and he was available during the dates of the tournaments.