Jerry: "We didn't bootcamp; we didn't create something new, we just tried to upgrade what we had"
The Russian team came into the tournament as the 21st team in the world, following a dominant showing at the CIS Minor and some impressive online play. The first game in Berlin didn't go so well, though, as they were dominated by mousesports, but forZe bounced back with victories over Grayhound and FURIA.
Following forZe's resounding win over the Brazilians on Nuke, we sat down with Jerry. The 21-year-old gave us his thoughts on the effects of confidence, psychology, and synergy on the success of a team, explained the team's approach to practice, and more.
After the Minor finished and you knew you are going to the Major, how did the preparation go? Were you happy with practice results? Obviously, practice is only practice, but it is some indication of how the team is playing
We were satisfied. We didn't use a bootcamp, our players were thinking that a bootcamp was needed only if you need to create something new in the game. If your game style is good, you just need to upgrade it, you don't need to create something new before the new stage. Your game style is the thing that teams will try to prepare for. But the thing is that our game style is not just one dimensional. It can go different ways, it has different patterns. We can start the round as we do always but the ending of the round is going to be different. That is the first thing.
The second thing about satisfaction was that we played a lot of practices against tier 1 teams. It was Vitality, Astralis, ENCE and all of those teams showed us that we are nothing in tier 1 competition. (laughs) Yeah, we won against some of them, we played draw with some of them, but we are not satisfied at all with the results. We knew that they are better than us, but to answer your original question, we practiced five or six practices per day and we played nine days in a row, that was our preparation. The main thing was that we didn't create something new, we just tried to upgrade what we had before.
In the interview before the Major you touched on a consistent way of practicing, my question is what is that practice schedule for you guys, individually or as a team, that allowed you to get to this point? Can you give a bit more insight into it?
The main thing is that our players have one hour for warmup before every practice. But, the thing is that how they spend that time depends on them. Like almazer, for example, he likes to play Deathmatch for 25-30 minutes and then he just relaxes and looks at his monitor. That is all he does. But the thing is, he likes that, and when he does that, he plays really well, so I can't force him to play more. Because he says: "When I play more I'm getting tired" etc., so I have to be good to follow them.
xsepower doesn't need much warmup as well. He likes to play 25 or maybe 30 minutes as well, and then he is watching videos or something like that. So most of our players, not including me, they are not playing much. They are playing for enjoyment. When your team is always satisfied, they are all enjoying the game, that is the key to winning, at least at the tier 2 level. We will try to upgrade to tier 1, but we need to bootcamp for that. So it is not that easy.
About practice, all we do in practice is trying to get our own gamestyle to work against each enemy. Like if we play against Astralis on Nuke we know they have a really good structure, they have really good fakes, so my call to the team is like "if they do wall of smokes outside, or if they are doing some noise in the door on A site, you don't need to rotate. I'll try to get all of the info". Because I'm the rotator player, I'm playing Main and I'm trying to get all of the info I can. I tell my team: "You guys don't rotate. You just play your positions." And we will try to outplay them because they fake so much, they are Astralis, a really good team on Nuke.
So when we played against ENCE we knew that they were going to play a little aggressive but with structure as well. For example, FURIA, they are playing just aggressive, no structure. (laughs) So when we played against ENCE I said you guys you can do whatever you want, if you want to push Squeaky just tell me and I will make my call for it. If you guys want to push outside, I will make my call for it. That is what I'm doing, I'm trying to get my team in a mood where they are satisfied. That is the point of our training now, our practice now. We want to be satisfied when playing the game, enjoy the game, that's the thing.
Everything you described now doesn't fit the classic stereotype of a CIS squad, especially the lower tier. How come you have become a team like that?
As I said before many times, all you need to do in Counter-Strike is have good psychology, good mood. What I mean by that is, when you are winning against some good team, like PLG Grand Slam where I last time did an interview with you, we won against G2. We thought, "All right, we got some good practice behind our back, we got everything, we got 65 hours played in the last week", and we tried to show them everything we had - and wow, we won. We saw a result. That is the thing. Then we played against fnatic, and, yes we lost, but we showed again that we can handle them. That is the first thing that you have to have in your head, confidence. So the first thing is confidence, the second thing is psychology. And when you have both of those, you can practice whatever you want because you can feel an advantage over other teams: in aiming, in thinking.
But as you said before, there is a classic model where you play a lot of practices, where you are bootcamping, and we will come to that, we will do it, but a little later. Because now we have to get a really good relationship inside the team. Every team should have synergy and if they don't have synergy, if they don't have a good coach and if they don't have a good in-game leader, it is not a team. They won't find success over a long time, they will just go POOF and disappear. That is my job here, I'm trying to make a good relationship with every player, even if I don't like them as a person. To do my job well I have to have a good relationship with them.
Where do you think you stand in the whole CIS scene? In the rankings at the moment you are higher than AVANGAR, are you the second-best team in the region? Tell me a bit about the relationship between you and other CIS squads.
I can say that AVANGAR has a similar gamestyle to us, they have structure, they have Jame that is always playing on the back, covering his teammates, they have qikert who is doing insane entries with buster and the rest they are supportive players, they maybe die when they have to die, they get the information, they go first, that is their structure.
About relationships, we have good relationships with all of the teams in our region, maybe except Na`Vi, because we are just not communicating with them, we are not meeting in every tournament because we are not at the same level as they are. So I think the best thing in the relationship between CIS teams is that when we play each other, anything can possibly happen. Maybe AVANGAR can't lose to us 16-5 to us because they are an experienced team, but a team like Syman, as you saw before, they won against Vitality, they are a good team on Dust2, and yeah, NBK- said in the interview "We played like pussies", ok, that happens, it is a psychology thing as I said before. But the thing is that Syman lost today maybe 16-5 to NRG, right? Just five rounds.
The same thing happens in CIS derbies, Syman can play against Dreameaters and one team can win over the other 16-5, everyone will be like "Wow, how can that happen, they are same level teams? It is not possible". But when they go back and play an online match, it could be 16-14 for Dreameaters. That is the thing in the CIS region.
CIS players have a lot of motivation, I could compare them with Brazilian players and maybe Spanish player because we need some fire, some energy to win. When a team from the CIS region doesn't have energy, it is like you don't have aim, you don't have hands, you don't have fingers. It is really necessary in this case to have energy.
Also, I would like to say that Na`Vi, they have Zeus and this guy has made them a tier 1 team. This guy is working so hard to keep those guys together, to keep their game as a structured game, a good game, a game with synergy. I think every good CIS team has to have a good in-game leader. If they don't have one, this is not a team.
You touched on not being at tier 1 tournaments interacting with Na`Vi so I'm going to ask about this being the first stage of the Major, your first experience at something this big, especially because you missed IEM Chicago after you qualified, because of visas. So what is the experience like being here at the same event with some of these tier 1 teams?
As you saw before, we lost to mousesports, but I looked at the VOD after the game and I saw that we didn't play our game. I saw that we get an entry and then we just rush like... I don't know, I someone I don't want to say. (laughs) And this is not our game style, and this is the thing, we came here and we thought: "Right, we will do our job, we are ready, we are prepared, we will do everything great" - but something goes wrong. Now, after we won against FURIA on Nuke, we are feeling much better because we lost to mousesports on probably one of our best maps, Inferno.
But we lost not because mousesports were so good, because woxic hit some insane shots, because ropz lurked so much. No, we lost to ourselves, we get an entry, we get maybe two entries, but then we just go at the same position we got the entry and mousesports just rotated, like every good team would do, and we die in 5v3 situation. And our lurker that is facecrack didn't play well, me as the in-game leader, I failed so much as well. I thought, "Right, we got two entries so we will just go fast there, and if they push, we will be looking for that and kill them". But karrigan did an insane job, he just pushed through the smoke two or three times and just showed up like "Hello, I'm here!". (laughs)
So now we are much more confident because FURIA is playing Nuke really good, as everyone knows, FURIA is the team that won against Astralis on that map, not the first time, but they won Astralis and it is a good result on that map. But, that was the surprise factor. Now, I've watched a lot of demos of FURIA before the game and I saw that those guys are playing so aggressive and if they just sit a little they will not know what to do. That is what we did and it worked, so I can't say it is their best map. Maybe in the middle of the pack, but not the best. But we won, my teammates are happy, what could be better?
You are confident you can go through into the next stage now that the BO3s are coming in as well?
Yeah, we got a good map pool for BO3. We have many maps, everyone knows we don't play Vertigo, I can't say much, but the rest of the maps are prepared, for real. (laughs) So I think we are capable of going into the next stage, we are ready for it and we have confidence. It is all in our hands.