Maikelele: "We know what we’re capable of and I am sure we will surprise"
NoChance were one of the biggest surprises of the closed qualifier for the Minor as they beat Windigo and Heroic - two teams almost 40 places above them in the rankings - to secure one of the final spots at the Minor, which will take place next week.
The European mixture, who remain on the lookout for an organisation to represent (prospective organizations can contact them by email), have been handed a baptism of fire as they will face Martin "STYKO" Styk's former team of mousesports in the first round of Group A, which also features CR4ZY and Sprout, two other teams currently inside the top 20.
In this interview, Maikelele opens up about returning to a high-level LAN environment, his expectations for the Minor, the struggles about finding a new organisation and being out of the Swedish scene for almost two years, among other topics.
This will be only your second LAN event since the team’s creation. For you, it is also your biggest event since the EPL Season 4 Finals, which you attended with NiP. Could you describe what you are feeling heading into the Minor?
Since NiP, I’ve been really trying to get in the groove again, but it’s really hard nowadays because the scene is stacked, even in the lower tiers. I know what has to be done but that is the hard part. When we managed to qualify for the Minor it felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. By qualifying for this kind of tournaments, you gain a lot of motivation, and that’s very needed within the lower tiers of CS:GO. We all have a good feeling we can qualify for the Major, but it will be really hard. Everything is hard, so you just have to fight for it.
Your online results have been somewhat mixed. Did you expect to qualify for the Minor, considering how stacked the closed qualifier was? Why do you think that you were able to show your best Counter-Strike in that qualifier?
The thing is that our goal has been to qualify for the Minor and potentially the Major. All the online tournaments we’ve been playing have been only for practice. But you still have a competitive mindset, so even if you’re only playing the smaller online tournaments you still want to win, and that has somewhat given us mixed results. A month before the open qualifiers, we decided not to play online cups and just focus on preparing for our main goal.
When we played the closed qualifier we were all very motivated, the mood in the team was great and, for us, qualifying was not a fluke. We all hyped each other up, and communication was on point. We knew it would be hard, but we also knew that teams would underestimate us big time and that we had a small advantage because of that.
On Twitter, you recently wrote that the team had found a sponsor to help cover the bootcamp costs. What can you say about this sponsor? Is it an organisation that is willing to house the team or just a sponsor for the bootcamp?
I can’t really talk about it but it’s not an organisation, it’s a company that is making this bootcamp possible. Information regarding which company it is will be announced soon. Big thanks to them for helping us out so we can actually prepare like a real team.
With that said, we’re still looking for an organisation, you can mail us at: NoChanceCSGO@gmail.com.
It was reported that the team was “in advanced talks” with Heretics, but talks broke down. Could you explain what happened?
We were in talks with them and everything was pretty much set in stone until they backed out because of funding issues.
In theory, a team like yours, with renowned players with Major experience, should be very attractive for organisations looking to enter the scene. Why has it been so hard for you to find a new home?
I think generally it’s such a big gap between tier one and tier two/three organisations today. We have been in talks with a lot of different organisations, but due to unforeseen circumstances, we have been unable to close any deals.
What are your thoughts on Thomas, the team’s newest - and least experienced - player?
I scouted Thomas for a while, to be honest. I suggested playing with him when we lost frozen and Radifaction, but the team was more keen on getting a more experienced player so we got STYKO at that time. After nukkye's departure, I suggested him again. We tried him out and it turned out to work well. I think he’s a very skilled player, he’s very good at taking duels. He lacks experience and sometimes gets a little bit lost, but you can always work on that. The thing that is hard to work on is communication, but since English is his native language, his comms and ours are clearer. He is a great guy with a great future. It would not surprise me if he becomes a top tier player someday.
You are about to begin a bootcamp in Malmö. What are you going to focus on during this week of preparation?
Yes, we’re currently bootcamping at TheFinalTribes' headquarters, they were really nice to make this happen. Big shoutout to them!
We will mostly focus on ourselves but also our on opponents. We had not been able to bootcamp before this and we have also only been to one LAN together and that was not even with the lineup we have now, so the LAN-environment experience is something we’re lacking at the moment. Hopefully, we can get things sorted out and we’re a team with hungry players so we’re putting 10/12 hours every day here. We hope it will pay off.
What are your expectations for the Minor? When you look at the other teams in attendance, how far do you think that you will be able to go?
We have high expectations, we really think we can make this happen. Most of us have played Majors and been on some of the other biggest stages. We know what we’re capable of and I am sure we will surprise. The only thing we have to do is to believe in ourselves and if we do that, I think we can qualify for the Major. Fingers crossed!
You will have several former teammates of yours in attendance: frozen, RuStY, Xizt, aizy... Are you looking forward to facing these players?
I don’t really care, to be honest. I know they’re good players and it would be nice to beat Xizt because it would mean that I have beaten fnatic, who have always been somewhat of a nemesis to me.
Despite your solid LAN record, you’ve found yourself out of the upper echelons of the Swedish scene for quite some time. Do you think that your reputation is tarnished among Sweden’s best teams?
The Swedish scene is different than the international scene. I don’t have any grudges with anyone. I just have an easier time working with non-Swedes.
Do you see NoChance as your last shot at redemption?
Not really. My motivation is literally higher than ever, and since I started taking care of myself, health-wise, I have found my drive again. I believe I can reach a higher level than I did in the past. I want to get back to the top, where I have been before, and I know I am capable of that.