Rejin: "Sometimes we set our expectations higher than what is healthy"
After the match, we got a hold of Rejin and quizzed him about his past and how he came to coaching, his role in mousesports and the way he works, and naturally about the team's participation at the Berlin event.
I realized there isn't much information on your career beyond your start as a coach with Tricked in 2017, can you talk me through how you came to coaching, what led up to that period with Tricked before mousesports?
My network in Denmark has always been really good. I used to play with all the top players in Denmark, like gla1ve, MSL, karrigan back in 1.6, so my network was really good there. I've always been an in-game leader, meaning that I have a good understanding — hopefully (laughs) — of the game. When I realized that I was kind of getting too old, I went to the Philippines for half a year and came back, and that was the time when the whole scene actually exploded. And when I came back, I thought I was going to make a comeback, but I realized it was almost impossible without playing constantly, or being full-time.
I just thought about what else I can do, so I started to coach in Copenhagen Wolves. That must have been in 2016 or even 2015, that was my first time doing the coaching role, trying to get into it, see what it was. And then Tricked picked me up half a year later, I was with them for three months and I stopped again, and then they had me full-time in Tricked. It was kind of a messy way, but now I'm here (laughs).
What has the transition been like from a team like Tricked, someone who has mostly been fighting for a place in the top-30, to mousesports, who plays at the highest level now? Was it difficult to adjust from that?
In the end, you're doing the same thing. It's just about adjusting yourself to the team, figuring out what your role is within being a coach because there's a lot of analytical work going on and also keeping the team together, all these human, social things. So I think for me, it was quite easy, I was used to playing at that level, so it's okay, I'm not really surprised by it. Of course there are things you need to learn and there are some different factors here, like the prep work you have to do, sometimes you only have like five minutes to prep your team because you don't know what map it is and stuff like that. So there are these things I'm constantly learning about. But I think the transition itself was really good.
When it comes to coaches, it's often a question of if a coach is more on the strategical side or motivational. From the outside, it looks like it's very balanced in your case, can you explain what you're in charge of in the team, what your role is?
In practice, helping karrigan a lot with mistakes and going over that. I have teammates who listen to you and they don't argue — that much, some more than others (laughs), but they really listen to me and when I have an idea and they just do it, they don't question it no matter how stupid it is. They're going to try it and sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn't. With the hype, I always felt like the old mousesports was like they're sitting there and just go "nice, guys". For me, I've always been very vocal even when I played, yelling a lot and really hyping the team. It's also why karrigan knows me from back then and he likes that, so I think it's a balance like you say.
You had quite the scare against NoChance at the Minor, at one point being very close to getting eliminated in groups, was there anything from the tournament that you addressed in the break?
I think most of it was not being prepared individually. I don't know how to say it, actually, because we were prepared individually, but we just didn't hit our shots and didn't show up. We made the right calls, but we just didn't hit anything, and then it's hard to win a match of CS. We reflected on it, looked at the match, and we just got destroyed because we were individually bad. We actually talked a lot about how to be ready from the start. We have the sport psychologist with us who is also helping us get into the game from the get-go. Now we beat forZe here and I'm not going to say it's purely that, but hopefully it's helping out.
As we saw earlier today, a lot of teams have problems preparing against CIS teams and that kind of a playstyle. How did you approach forZe as one of those teams, one that isn't constantly playing at the highest tier?
With especially the CIS region you kind of have to expect everything because they are really playing YOLO CS, they don't care about if there's a smoke or if it's a stupid peek or whatever. So being ready for everything in a way, it sounds kind of silly because you always have to be ready for everything, but I think there's just something about these teams that can catch you off-guard, same as you saw with Syman and DreamEaters making upsets, not because they're playing bad or anything, but they were probably just surprising those teams more.
Also, I think at the Major, teams change a lot compared to what they had the last tournament, so it's hard to do the prep against them. You can only take these small edges where you know they're probably going to do this and that, just be ready for everything, more or less. Of course I did all the analytical work as much as possible, but it's hard to put too much emphasis on it, especially after the break, when people will come up with new things, so it's a balance you have to figure out. It comes down to you preparing the team for what might happen, from what you have seen before.
Speaking of analytical work, do you have some sort of a backbone behind you, as well, or are you doing all of that yourself?
Mainly it's myself who does it, but sometimes I have a guy. We're testing some guys to see how it works, but I really only trust myself in this because if I say it to the team, I want it to be bulletproof. Right now it's mostly myself, but I also have one guy working in the background.
The team has gotten a lot of recognition lately, though at Montpellier ropz said that he thought the team was being overhyped. Is that how you still feel now, a few events later? What kind of expectations do you put on yourselves?
Sometimes we set our expectations higher than what is healthy (laughs). I always talk with the team about that, but it's also right, I think it's good to set expectations, being the best team in the world and stuff like that. I think now the period of overhyping us is kind of over. We're still a young team compared to the older teams, but I think now we should be able to show who we are and what we can do and also go further in the tournaments.