nexa: "We antistratted the sh*t out of everyone"
The Europe Minor is already delivering upsets, as the big favorites of the tournament, mousesports, were upset by Valiance 16-14 on Mirage in spite of a promising comeback attempt from Chris "chrisJ" de Jong's side.
Shortly after the match, we got a hold of nexa to first go back a few months to when the current Valiance got together and how they built the new squad and naturally find out what they did in the opening match to beat mousesports.
Before we get to the Minor itself, let's go back a couple of months to the combination of Imperial and Valiance. Firstly, for three of your players there's the issue of being in their first English-speaking team, how have they been able to deal with that?
At the beginning, it was really hard, especially for huNter and LETN1 since they had never been in international teams. As far as ottoNd is concerned, I'm pretty sure he had played in some international team before and he's from Finland, you expect him to speak decent enough English to play on a team. It was quite difficult especially because LETN1 is our IGL and then all of a sudden — he's like 30 years old, right — for the first time in his life, he needs to speak and communicate and tell everyone what to do in English. It was quite rough, but slowly we've been adapting, everyone has, our communication has gotten better day by day, game by game. We're right here now, so I would say it's going pretty well.
Do you think there are still any issues with that or have you moved past that already?
There are obviously issues, all the time there are some issues, but they are improving every day, it's getting better and better. You can't make everything perfect, so we're just looking for mistakes and when we find them we work on them and improve them.
When it lineup got together, did you build on Imperial's foundation or Valiance's given that LETN1 is the IGL?
My idea was that Imperial was on the verge of disbanding, we couldn't find an IGL, we tried so many people and there was no one that fit the team, and not just that, but also who is a decent IGL. I heard from huNter that they're planning on benching Impulse and jayzaR and emi is supposed to go to an analyst role. I just came to the idea, I know their playstyle, I've played with them before, they're a heavy execute-based team with a lot of strats and then I know how we played in Imperial when I was leading, or kRYSTAL and AcilioN, our playstyle was just loose, free, everyone was pugging and shooting heads. The thought in my head was that if we can combine the best of both of those playstyles, we could make something really great, and so far I would say it's been going really well.
Tell me about the leadup to the Minor when it comes to practice and especially how the break affected you.
I think the only one who went on a break was LETN1, the rest of us just played FPL. I wouldn't say it really affected us a lot. I think LETN1 needed the vacation to clear his head, to improve his English, to work on some stuff other than CS that would help us improve later on in the game. I wouldn't say it affected us at all, I think it actually helped us, just getting a break from each other, playing individually, getting up to form, getting ready for the Minor. I think the break benefitted us a lot.
Have you done anything special leading up to the Minor compared to what you would do for other events, then?
Well, we definitely did a lot more antistrats because we knew who our opponent was going to be. We know our group, right, we knew all the teams who are going to be there and who are our potential opponents and we just antistratted the sh*t out of everyone. It's the only different thing that we did because when we were in Imperial, we would just focus on our own game, we didn't really do that many antistrats and look at the opponent, we just focused on ourselves and getting our players comfortable in their roles, playing individually on a high enough level that we can actually win duels against really good teams.
When it comes to antistratting, is it more LETN1 and emi who do that or is it the whole team doing it individually as well?
Mostly it's emi, he antistrats the team, everything we need to know, pistols, strats, ecos, antieos, whatever. He just fully antistrats them. But also every one of us individually just watches the teams' demos and they watch for — for example, we just played Mirage and I watched ropz's demos to see where he goes and how he plays. You could see that in the game, I was pushed up close ramp in every round on the CT side, I even pushed close T spawn because I antistratted him and I knew what positions he plays. The same goes for suNny and chrisJ on B, we knew how they were going to hold, we had EspiranTo push underground, we had our AWP take aggressive B apps. We just did a really heavy antistrat and that's why I love being the underdog, I think I did an interview when I was at StarSeries and I said that I really enjoy being the underdog because of things like this. People can't really antistrat you because they don't know what to expect from you and you can antistrat the other team in anything you want to know.
Would you say that is the reason why you managed to beat mousesports?
Yeah, it was definitely the antistrat.
What was the morale like towards the end when you were dropping the 15-10 lead and it looked like mousesports were going to pull it back? Did you ever lose your cool or was it always calm?
We were always calm. We almost lost it when we threw a round at around 15-10 or 15-11, but I just told everyone 'boys, just relax, we're going to win this, just calm down, forget about this round, let's do an eco here and then we're going to win the next gunround.' I've been in those situations before and if you start panicking and start arguing and thinking about how you lost the rounds, you're just going to put yourself in a state of hell. You're just going to keep losing more and more rounds.
Is that what we can expect against Vitality, as well?
I don't want to spoil anything, but yeah, you can expect a good match.