Ethan: "I think I finally found my role in the team"
We had a chat with the Most Valuable Player of StarSeries i-League Season 8, Ethan "Ethan" Arnold, about Evil Geniuses' grand final triumph and the 19-year-old's exceptional performance at the event.
Evil Geniuses added the second title in the last three tournaments to their tally at StarSeries, taking down fnatic thanks to a huge turnaround on Dust2, where the North American side was down 0-9 to start things off, and a perfect offensive half on Mirage to secure the grand final series 2-0.
Ethan clinched his first MVP medal shortly after the title decider and we interviewed him about the unique veto ahead of the final and whether Vertigo was at all in consideration for the first pick, the massive comeback on the opening map, and his personal recovery from an underwhelming period in the middle of the year.
First of all, I wanted to ask about the veto for this grand final, where you had the unique opportunity to pick whatever you wanted. Was Vertigo at all in consideration considering it's normally fnatic's permaban?
No, I think that was like one of our third options, actually. I think we were going to ban Mirage and then it would probably be Overpass because they'd pick it. But no, Vertigo, we haven't had too much time to practice it just in general, and that was already one of our less practiced maps, so that was out of the question.
Tell me about Dust2, how did you pull off that massive comeback from 0-9 down?
During the first six rounds, stan got picked like three times crossing in a smoke and I told my teammates that I messed up too in a couple of rounds that we should have won. As long as we stay positive and own up to our mistakes, we know we can win it, I feel like.
Was there any particular key to the dominance from then on, when you went 16-3 from that point?
It's all about staying positive, that's one of the main things that Peter brought to the team, always staying positive, and that kind of spread throughout everyone. Everyone does that now, so I think that's the main reason we're winning games now, that everyone is keeping a level head and it really helps.
Talk me through Mirage, too, what was behind that strong T side to come back from the slow first half?
I think the first half was 6-9, so going into the T side, we knew that if we won the pistol we would be right back in it. And we did, everyone was hitting really nice shots, everyone was making plays and keeping confident, level-headed and focused.
You had a bit of a personal dip in the middle part of the year before you went on a break. You've been looking a lot better since then, especially with this being possibly your career-best tournament, how did you recover from that period?
After the break, we just focused on getting Peter up to par with everything that we had and everything gameplay-wise and strat-wise. I transformed myself into a support player to accelerate that process and I think I finally found my certain role in the team. Hopefully it keeps going.
Two titles out of the last three tournaments, where do you guys see yourselves at this point among the competition considering the No. 1 spot is pretty much up for grabs now?
For the end of the year, we still have a bunch more tournaments to go through, so there are a lot of chances to rack up the points on HLTV. I think with this win we probably passed Liquid, so I feel like it's just a matter of time. I think we're doing really well right now, especially with the head-to-heads with Liquid and Astralis in the last couple of tournaments. Malmö we kind of erased out of our memory other than reviewing.
Did you just see Malmö as an off tournament, then?
Yeah, we definitely brushed it off. We took as much as we could from it, we only played like three maps there, so we used the rest of the time to do a mini-boot camp and that was productive in every way.