valde: "mithR's main focus has been to help people improve confidence-wise"
North have looked shaky so far in China, going 0-2 in the first two rounds after series with NRG and NiP, with their opening loss to the North American side featuring a 16-0 thrashing on Train, before the same map saw them struggle against Panda in the third round.
When valde's team beat the Chinese, after all, with a comeback from a 10-15 deficit on Train and a convincing showing on Dust2, we talked to the 23-year-old about the first few days of play in Shanghai and we also got a better idea of what the team's new coach, Torbjørn "mithR" Nyborg, brings to the table.
It hasn't been a very good look for you here - NRG and NiP are well-established top-ten teams that you will go toe-to-toe with on any other day, but with Panda we wouldn't have expected you to struggle so much. What has been going on?
I think it's hard to tell because I actually feel like we've been having some really good preparation. We bootcamped twice before this tournament during the last month and I think our practice statistics are actually really good, so I'm not sure why we got off to a bad start here, but here's hoping we can make it to 3-2, still.
What was it about Panda in particular that made you so uncomfortable on Train?
I think we've been really bad at pistol rounds. Losing both pistols made us get a bad start on both T and CT side, so that's obviously part of the reason, but I also think we were hesitating too much and we weren't trusting our gut feeling. A couple of times someone on the team said like 'hey, I think they're going here,' and then we just didn't respond to it at all. So yeah, just being a bit slow and not really being there from the get-go and losing pistols will just make you have a bad map, I guess.
Train has been an awkward map for you here, first a 0-16 loss to NRG, then you actually beat NiP on it after they picked it, and now you had to come back from 10-15 against Panda. How come you are so inconsistent on it here?
I actually feel like we are really confident on Train, but our official results have been really mixed. One game we can own people on the map and then we get 16-0d the next day. It's been very up and down, but yeah, I still feel confident in our Train if we find our groove. If we're there from the get-go, it's a really good map for us, actually.
Can you tell me about your new coach, mithR? What does he bring and what is perhaps the difference between him and ave?
Our new coach is very energetic and his philosophy is to get people hyped and get people to have a lot of confidence when they play. Obviously, as everyone knows, this game is a lot about confidence. If you're in a good state of mind and if you trust your gut feeling, then you will more often than not make the right decision inside the game. His main focus has been to help people improve personally and confidence-wise, so I feel like that is the main thing he brings to the team, and then obviously he also does some anti-stratting and so on. He's a very nice coach to have and I'm actually really pleasantly surprised by his work in the past few months.
Previously he had been outside of Denmark coaching ALTERNATE, did you know much about him beforehand?
I actually knew him quite well from some of the smaller Danish LAN, I've met him and spoke with him before, but a lot of the other guys didn't know him at all. I think it was just that we needed some fresh blood in the organization and I feel like he earned his chance, basically, being with a lesser team, so he definitely deserves to be here.
Seeing as you mentioned the confidence, has that been an issue with your results being shaky lately?
Yeah, for sure, it's no secret that if you keep on disappointing yourself and also the fans and so on, it will probably hit your confidence a lot. We're all just humans in the end and of course none of us like losing. We've really been working on the mental side of the game because we had some really rough results during the past year, so it's been a lot of rebuilding in the new year.
Do you have any particular goals set for the near future, perhaps not specifically for this event only?
Yeah, we're trying to do that as a common thing to set some goals for each tournament so you don't just play. You need to see some progress, obviously, once you keep working, so I think our goal here is to get to the playoffs and then we also have a thing in mind that we want to win our group in Pro League. I think that's the short-term goals and then long-term, obviously we want to be a top-five team in the world, but that's in the distant future right now because we really need to step up our game if we want to become a top-five team in the long run.
Do you have any sort of punishments set if you don't meet the goals? Is there any kind of system in place?
No punishment, no. Goals are there for a reason, you've got to achieve them at some point because we're not satisfied with being a top 10-15 team in the world, we want to be where it's fun and we want to contend for the big titles, so it will require a lot of work if we want to make that happen.