ropz: "I think a lot of people are overhyping us"
After successfully qualifying for the Europe Minor during their bootcamp, MOUZ kicked off their run at the ESL Pro League Season 9 Finals in Montpellier with a victory, taking down MIBR on Inferno, 16-8, after a slow start on the CT side. Their next rival will be HellRaisers, whom they will play for a spot in the playoffs.
After MOUZ' initial victory in France we talked to ropz about the progression of the team over the last months, the importance of events like these Pro League Finals for a roster like theirs, how this team is different from the German organization's last quintet, and about their opener against the Brazilians.
Let's start out by touching upon the importance of this particular event for the team, and what you want to take out of it.
This tournament is one of the most important for us because ranking-wise it means a lot. If we get a good placement here we will get more invites in the future, which is why we decided to bootcamp before this and before the Minor. We've been practicing pretty hard for this event and we think we can do good here.
And how did the practice go?
The bootcamp was good, the mood is good... The most important part was qualifying for the Minor, which we did during the bootcamp, and that kept the mood up. Everyone is hitting their shots, the practice is good, and I think it's showing that we were a much better team coming into today's match.
You've been together for a few months now but you haven't played that much. You won Tours, which was a good Medium Event to win, and you made it through to the Minor, but where do you see yourselves in the whole ecosystem?
I think we're around the top 10, at least in the ranking system, but I think a lot of people are overhyping us. I even saw some betting odds making us top 4 for this event somehow, people are putting high expectations on us, and I like that, but we're also just working hard to try and reach that. All of the teams are trying to get back to roots since Astralis aren't technically top 1 anymore, although I feel like they still are. We can definitely get into the top 5 if we get a good placement in this tournament, and then Cologne is our next most important tournament as far as determining our place in the ranking. This and Cologne are the two most important ones.
When the team made changes it was a huge overhaul, as one of the original players, how do you see this team now that you've had some time together? How is it to go from playing to win, to this newer structure?
Personally, I definitely feel a lot more confident as one of the original players. I know how the system should work and what is needed in order to win. Teamwise, it's much less stressful since we got karrigan, he's putting the team together very well, everyone knows their place, what to do and what not to do... frozen is very young still, but he's showing he's an "old" player already in our matches, so I think this team is really great. We all have the same goal, to be the best, and we're just working really hard to reach that.
What do you think the projection of the team is, and how far can you go with this current setup?
I'm not sure, I think a fair goal would be to make the Major playoffs to retain our spot. Ranking-wise I think we can break top 5 or top 3 if we do well at tournaments like this. A lot of teams are just trying to grind right now to be the best and there are so many big tournaments that all of us are practicing so much for. If we can keep going we can make top 3-5.
You said this tournament was important ranking-wise, but with some of the mid-top teams missing, there are many looking for a strong semi-final finish. Do you think that would be a big boost for whoever can do that?
Definitely, once you start beating the middle-ground teams it's a big confidence boost because then you know that the only step left is to try to win something and beat the best, so the more maps we can win against these middle-ground teams, the more confidence we'll get, and then that will help us get more wins from top teams. Right now everyone is trying to take down Liquid and Astralis, the two top dogs here, and it would be nice to play against them to test ourselves and what we're worthy of, so hopefully we'll be able to see that.
Tell me a little bit about the MIBR match. They were a team that some people expected to grow and become better with time, but they're kind of in rough waters now. What was the match against them like, and what were you expecting?
We saw after the veto that Inferno was through and I personally thought it was going to be a tough match, which it proved to be at the start, but then we got ourselves together somehow. They won a lot of shakey rounds from us in which we made some mistakes, we were down 2-6 and were able to bring it all the way to 9-6 before the half, which was a good comeback by us. You didn't really see this happen in the old mousesports, but this is a new roster and the mood is just much better compared to the old roster.
This team can handle these situations much better, and this match proved it. After going down 2-6 we won 14 rounds to close it out 16-8 so it was a really great comeback by us. I feel like MIBR are a really strong team and I'm not sure what's not working for them. Personally, I still kind of fear them because they have the Brazilian superstar lineup, and I hope everything works out for them.