ORDER were able to take Natus Vincere all the way to 30 rounds, and even had a 10-1 lead early in the match, but the Australians weren't able to stop Denis "electronic" Sharipov & co. from taking Mirage 16-14. They then lost to Ghost in two maps, and were eliminated from the contest in Odense.
In the interview, Hatz goes over how the last Oceanic shuffle has affected the scene, how ORDER prepared for and played at the ESL Pro League Season 8 Finals, and touches upon some of the issues plaguing the development of the region.
We're going to have to travel in time a bit for the first question, which goes back to the shuffle earlier this year when Gratisfaction and liazz were picked up by Renegades. There's no clear-cut best team right now in Oceania, so who do you think benefitted the most out of the shuffle?
I think everyone was affected, for sure, but in terms of roles... to find someone to fit liazz's role was much tougher than for Grayhound, since sterling is a pretty good player and he slotted perfectly into that lineup. I think zeph slotted well into our lineup, but he doesn't have the same role and style as liazz, so we had to swap some roles, while Grayhound instantly slotted sterling into the AWP role. As far as Tainted Minds, they've had several lineups, first with tucks and then with USTILO, and I think they're still working stuff out as well. It's a bit of a mix, but I do think Grayhound came out on top.
As you said, you guys got zeph, one of the younger talents in the region. For those who may not know him, can you tell us a little bit about him?
He was playing for AVANT originally. He didn't have too much LAN experience, but we did know he played a few national LANs and he was normally the better player on that team. Everyone thought of him as the first option.
After the shuffle, do you think it made all of the teams in the region a bit weaker?
Yeah, I think so. It came to a stage in which teams had to bring uprising talent. There are only a certain amount of players at the top, and then some will get picked up by Renegades, which leaves some shoes to be filled. People need to be brought up, and it was just one of those times where that was the case. It made an impact, but over time we'll be able to see better results and it will equalize. It's all about getting experience to the new talent.
There are a few teams fighting to qualify for tournaments, for instance, you're here but not at the Minor, etc. Do you think that's good or bad for the scene? Is it better to have one or two solid teams, or spreading it out over several teams?
I think it should be spread out among more teams. As ORDER we want to be everywhere, but in terms of isolation of practice in Australia, it would be better for everyone to get more experience and get better. Having everyone be able to improve would just make the quality of practice much better for us. For us or Grayhound or Tainted Minds, we don't normally practice much against each other because we have these big qualifiers coming up and we don't want to show what we're going to do in the actual officials, but we do need to practice what we're going to do in said officials. It's kind of a hard situation, but I think if it's spread across more teams we'll be able to have better practice and more variety of practice.
Do you think teams should practice each other, the teams you'll go on to play in the qualifiers? If not you just play less talented teams, so how do you think you can solve the practice issues?
I think it's mainly about attitude. If we practice against a lesser team and go with the game plan and practice regardless of what happens... obviously, we won't get punished as we would against Astralis or other teams like that, but yeah... it's a hard situation. We do end up playing lesser teams to not show our strats against Grayhound because after playing so many qualifiers everyone just starts countering each other.
Do you get to leave your region at all to practice?
No, we don't get out much, mostly just at these events. That's why we bootcamp for a week beforehand, so we can get experience against European teams and stuff. Obviously, it's a whole different level of practice, and it's so valuable for us to practice against these teams. In the future, there may be a chance in which we go out to maybe Europe or NA to have a bootcamp for a month and play qualifiers in those regions. Other than that, we're pretty much stuck in Australia.
Moving on to the ESL Pro League Finals. Did you have any specific preparation before coming here?
We had an eight-day bootcamp. We prepared a lot for the first match against Natus Vincere. We looked at the vetoes and kind of understood which map was going to go through, which was Mirage, so we played it a lot during the week. We played a lot of Overpass as well, but we focused on Mirage. We fixed a lot of things and improved a lot on it. We plugged in all of these little holes that were exposed by practicing teams like Astralis and so on during the bootcamp.
We were well prepared, but we didn't want to fully focus on trying to anti-strat Na`Vi. We focused on our own game and our own game plan. I think we should have closed the game out, but we had a good showing.
Yeah, 16-14, pretty close. They made a big comeback, so tell me a bit what happened? How did you crumble and why couldn't you close it out?
Some of us have watched the VODs. We had a look over them and it came down to a lot of really close 1vs1s in the first half when we were 10-1 up and they ended up getting the last four rounds of the half. I think they won three 1vs1s, electronic won a few, and we couldn't really help that. During the bootcamp, our CT side was the weakest part of Mirage. We tried to fix it and we knew it was weak, which is why we started on the Terrorist side when we won the knife round. So yeah, they ended up winning the pistol and the antis, making it 10-8, and won a few gun rounds...
I think electronic just had a really good game, he was really annoying to play against and he was just finding holes within our rotations and cutting them off. Also, the lack of experience to close it out, our communication and teamwork lacked the slightest near the end in high-pressure situations, making us crumble a little bit, which made them close the game out.
Moving on to Ghost, after playing a close map with Na`Vi. How did you go into that game and what were you expecting out of it?
We were really confident going into the Ghost match, especially after the Na`Vi game. After looking through the map pool we basically knew what maps were going to be played out. We looked at a few demos to know what style they play, which is a very fast kind of on-the-site bursty style, so we knew we had to play our individual spots well and more towards the sites. We kind of expected to do better than we did on Cahe, it was unexpected that they picked to start on T-side, which is normally our weaker half. They got the ball rolling and it was pretty much a whitewash, but on Train... I think we threw Train. We were up 13-8 up at one point, and I think overall it was just an experience and we just have to improve and keep learning.
Where do you think you stand on the world scene? And you can also bring that back home and where Australia currently fits into the global scene...
Our team, personally, I feel like we should be able to beat teams like Ghost, or teams that aren't fully on the top in NA or EU. In regards to Australia as a region, I think every team has improved so much... like Grayhound beating SK at IEM Sydney this year, and us almost beating Cloud9. But yeah, as soon as ESL expanded to 16 teams the Oceanic qualifier popped up and I think that really helped the scene to improve overall. The Australian scene will become better and better, it's just a matter of time.
Now that you've played here, with the year coming to an end, have you thought about what's ahead? Future goals?
We had a few events that we missed out on, the Minor being the big one, or the PGL Grand Slam, so we don't have many events looking forward. We usually make goals when we look at events and the performances we want to put on, but overall we want to look at the games we played here, and our bootcamp, and revitalize our roles within the team. There isn't much to look forward to, although we do have Gfinity. We're going to have a big break, but coming into the new year we'll look forward to IEM Sydney and the rest of events, but right now it's just about improving as a team.