Brehze: "Sooner or later we will be looked at as one of the top teams in the world"
The North American side, who displayed great form at the StarLadder Berlin Major where they went out in the semi-finals to Astralis after group-stage victories over the aforementioned Danes and Liquid, and who knocked Natus Vincere out of contention in the playoffs, started their run at ESL One New York with a win against the new FaZe roster. They will now once again face Denmark's top side in the Group B winners' match for a spot in the playoffs.
In the interview we touched upon the post-honeymoon period with Peter "stanislaw" Jarguz, the keys to Evil Geniuses' recent success as well as hiw own good form, the team joining a brand new organization, what steps the team could take to become title contenders, and their first match in New York, among other topics.
Let's roll back to the Major for a second, where you showed a lot of promise. From then to now, what has happened behind the scenes, in practice, adapting more to stanislaw and vice versa.
We're not changing that much. Sure, we're adding a few things here or there, but what it really comes down to is that we're all really confident and playing really good CS individually, which is why we performed so well at the Major and why we got a good start here.
Talking about confidence, the headline in Tarik's Major interview was "I don't really care who we play because I know we are going to win the Major no matter what." What makes you guys that confident?
Just getting big wins. We went out of the last two Majors without doing so well and going into Berlin we were kind of... not nervous, but we knew that we could make it far if we could get the pressure off our shoulders. Making it to the top 8 and then the semi-finals was a really big confidence boost for us.
Talking about making it into the semi-finals, that has been your ceiling for the most part, you're a team that can consistently make those 3-4th place finishes. What do you think it is you need to get that little extra push to become tournament contenders?
I know we can win titles, but our individual performance just drops when we get to the semis or when we hit the stage. We seem to always breeze through groups, that's really easy for us, we just need to find that consistency on the stage.
What do you think it is about the stage that makes you not perform at your highest level? ImAPet talked at some point about perhaps talking to a sports psychologist, is that still on the table?
Everyone's different, people handle the pressure differently, some people feel it more than others and I don't know exactly how to pinpoint or fix it. We definitely talked about a sports psychologist in the past, now that we're under a new organization we may try it because in NRG we didn't really use it. Maybe under EG we'll be able to look more into it.
Talking about the NRG to EG move, it took everyone by surpise. How did it happen and how do you feel about representing such a storied organization.
It happened as fast as it happened for everyone else spectating it. It happened in like two or three days. They offered a price, we talked to them, and we said that we wanted to go play for them. It all happened so quickly, we weren't expecting to play for EG at this event. They wanted it done instantly, they wanted us to play under their name and in their jerseys, and I'm just happy we get to play for such a prestigious organization.
Has it affected you in any way? Is it an extra motivation or is it something you don't put too much thought into?
We definitely want to play well for the organization since it's our first tournament under their name. We want to make a good first impression, but we're not thinking too much about it, we're just playing our game and not focusing on the outside stuff.
Once you get a new player on a team there's a honeymoon period, are you past that now? What has the team's progression been as of late?
I feel like we're over the honeymoon period, but I also feel like we haven't hit our peak yet. There's still a lot more room for us to show our potential and we're not even at our best level yet. I think we can still surprise a lot of people in the future.
Standing next to you and hearing your communications, there's a lot of talk with stanislaw calling, tarik adding ideas, and Ethan helping with mid-round input. How does that flow of information work?
stanislaw is always making the final call, but tarik will always help when stanislaw is dead and Ethan will also do some mid-round calls. We just don't want to make it too messy where everyone is calling stuff and it gets crowded, so we let them focus on the calling and CeRq and me just kind of do our own thing. Nothing crazy.
Another thing that you guys were working on was being more thoughtful about CeRq's role as an AWPer and when the rounds should be played around him or when you should make other players that aren't so AWP-centric. How has that evolved?
The thing about CeRq is that he's a very aggressive AWPer, so whenever he has a play in mind that he wants to do we always tell him that he can do it and that we'll do that play for him no matter what because we know that he's such a crazy AWPer and can take over a round. We give him the freedom to do whatever he wants and he just has to tell us.
How about personally, you've been playing really well of late, you had a great performance against FaZe, how do you feel about your growth as a player?
My role in the team has been really defined and I know what I'm doing, which is why I think I'm playing so well. I just know what to do at all times and have such a good team around me to be free and make all the plays I need. It's a great group of guys that help me perform better.
Do you think it's true of the rest of the team, as well? Everybody knows what they're doing and learning more and more about their specific roles, could that be what is pushing you to keep getting better?
Three of us have been together for so long now, and the new additions fit in perfectly with our team chemistry... so yeah, we all trust each other and we know that if someone makes a call we know it's the right thing to do in the round no matter what. We have a lot of trust in each other and I think that's what helps us perform so well.
After Berlin you showed that you're closer to being a top contender and tarik said you're a team that deserves respect from opponents. Do you agree with that and are you starting to feel like teams are actually respecting you more now?
Yeah, I think teams are going to start watching our demos because I think we play every single play style and that's why we surprise a lot of teams. If not already, I feel like sooner or later we will be looked at as one of the top teams in the world.
Let's touch on the match against FaZe to close it out. As far as preparation goes it was probably pretty impossible, so how did you go into it?
As you said, we didn't really know much about them. We didn't know what to expect or what maps they practiced or not. Our biggest concern was whether we wanted to play Vertigo over something like Train. We ended up playing it because we thought that as a new team they probably didn't practice it that much, which I think showed when we played it.
On Nuke they came out pretty strong on the first half and took a decent lead. Was there some fear at some point that they would be a very strong team?
Well, the last time we played FaZe on Nuke they completely destroyed us, but we've always been confident in our Nuke. We think it's one of our best maps, so we weren't scared to play them on it. They got rolling and a lot of rounds on us, their slow play style kind of killed us and we realized we needed to change something up and get in their face and play more aggressive. That's what we did, we got a couple more rounds in and after we got pistols we started coming back.
Like FaZe, you can play slow, but you can switch it up. Is that what makes you a tricky team to play against?
Yeah, some teams will play only one style, like a fast style, but if a team can play both slow and fast, that's when you become really deadly. We're good at that and it's why it's hard to play against us.
You played broky in his first Big Event series, anything you noticed about him?
I don't know much about him other than he plays FPL and was in Epsilon. He put up good numbers on Nuke and was top-fragging for his team. I didn't notice anything crazy but I think he's a good talent and will do well in FaZe.