daps: "Building teams from scratch is not easy and this was probably the last time I did it"
The roster change was one of the main topics of discussion with daps, who also revealed that he is trying to implement a different style to the one he used in NRG, one with more autonomy for each player.
I'm just going to go straight into the main talking point about Cloud9 recently, which is TenZ leaving the team and the discussion in the community about should he be removed, was it a bad move, and stuff like that. So, how did it happen from your perspective and what didn't work out with TenZ?
I mean, without going into too many specifics because I could obviously just say a lot, I would just say he is not ready. I'm someone who has probably played with the most young talent out of most IGLs, so I'd say in terms of overall attitude and experience, he definitely just isn't ready to play at a pro-level. I'm not saying he could never reach that level, but he's a lot farther behind than any young player I've ever played with.
Despite things not working out with TenZ, more was expected from Cloud9 when you made this roster than you managed to accomplish in these past couple of months. You didn't play that much, but the events you did play, like EPL and ECS, were kind of disappointing, so what were the issues aside from TenZ?
Yeah, I'd say we're not really trying a revolutionary style of playing that's different, but it is different from how I've run my past teams. The way we've been trying to approach the team has been more of a... it's less of me doing everything with a coach, it's more people have to have some sort of self-reliance on each individual to create structure and then if all five players have a good structure and are able to play off each other well, then the system will work. But if people don't buy into that system then the system completely fails.
So, I am running the team differently than I did on NRG and that's probably part of the reason, I mean there are other problems that I'm not going to comment on, but it's been a struggle for sure, it hasn't been easy. Even if you take my time on NRG, we failed for a full year before we did anything. Building teams from scratch is not easy and this was probably the last time I did it because it is just a huge hassle. What came out of the old NRG core was me, FugLy and Brehze, and failing for a year sucks, especially for the fans because the other C9 rosters failed for a while after the Major, so obviously it is hard on them, but that's just the reality. If you don't have a core and don't lose together ever, you won't get better. You don't just put five random people together and start winning tournaments, it's not realistic at all. So yeah, without going into too many details that's the gist of it.
You touch on giving more autonomy to each player in the new system that you didn't use before. Why did you go to a different system compared to the one you had in NRG, why did you decide to change up what you had before?
I would say that Tim and I are the biggest voices on the team. So we talked about how we think we can maybe improve what I've done before, not just rinse and repeat, you know, I'm the IGL and most of my teams have been built on me being the sacrificial lamb type thing, like I'll run in first and get the info. The new system... we approached it this way because this is probably the most experienced team I've put together. Most teams I've played on or built, I usually have like 2-3 inexperienced players or younger players. On this team, TenZ was the only inexperienced player.
So we sort of thought since we have four people within us that are experienced to a certain point that we can expect excellence out of each other quicker, but there's a lot of issues as it's harder to gauge improvement trying to practice this way because if you play in a super-set system, you generally will only come across a few problems and you'll have protocols to counter all those things, and it's not like we don't have protocols, but it's more free-flowing. There's going to be a lot more scenarios where it's a unique or odd scenario and if you don't fail in this system enough, there's going to be scenarios where we play a match and something that's never happened before happens and it's like "Oh shit! we just lost the whole match because we never experienced that in practice". So I think that's the biggest negative of this system, I think you're going to progress a lot slower, so that is something I have to reconsider, I guess.
Comparing to NRG, which was a team in CS:GO that didn't have a large fanbase, Cloud9 is synonyms for NA CS even though other teams have overtaken them achievement wise, the fanbase is there and with that comes the pressure and expectations. How has that been for you personally, the fan perspective?
I mean, it's not something that affects me because I was on the original OpTic when we first signed and OpTic fans are just as loud as Cloud9 fans are, to a point. Obviously, if you're a fan of Cloud9 as just the brand, you're going to want your team to win, you know. I want my sports teams to win and I'll obviously say shit if bad changes are made and it's like - I'm pissed too. So I understand the fans' frustration because the rosters before us haven't worked out as well. But the reality is that the team that won the Major does not exist anymore, we are under the Cloud9 name but it's a completely different team. I think most fans are pretty reasonable and understand that it is not the same team - just because Tim's on it doesn't mean anything. But yeah, it might have affected other players on the team, so I can't speak for them, but for me, it's what you get when you're a professional player, you should expect that.
You decided to trial Subroza, who is a player that people wouldn't theory craft or maybe put in their dream teams for an upgrade for Cloud9, so from that perspective it's kind of a surprise. He's not an unknown player at all, but still, how did you decide to pick him and what is the thinking behind it?
Obviously most fans and people from the outside only see stat pages and past experience, so it's unfair for me to judge their judgment, but Subroza's a guy who's honestly a complete package in terms of everything I've heard. I've never heard a teammate say a bad thing about him, he's a cool guy in and out of the game, he's composed when he's doing terrible, he's not tilting or being destructive to the team environment, he has the potential to be insane with his mechanics as people have seen flashes of it, and he communicates a lot.
Honestly, it's more of a shock he hasn't achieved more in the game because he has a lot of the traits a lot of players wish they had in their teammates. There are top professional players who have terrible attitudes, but you can't replace them because they're irreplaceable. So, I say if Subroza can find consistency in his play, he could be a top player. I guess our mindset for giving him a shot is that we did need someone for ECS, it's not like we're going to trial a European and bring them over for ECS, and we all know him to a point and he's never really played with players who have won anything before. He was on CLG and then Ghost and then Lazarus/Swole Patrol, so we just thought like he's a guy that has a lot more positive traits than people will see and we wanted to give him a chance.
Evil Geniuses are now the number 1 team in the world and they won a couple of events. How has it been for you to see their progression after leaving the team and was it kind of a bittersweet moment seeing so much success right away?
I would say it could be bittersweet because obviously on paper it's like "oh, they won after daps was replaced" or whatever, but a lot of the teams they are beating, they beat when I was on the team as well. I don't want to take anything away from Stan, I think he is a really good player, and he does play better than I do, especially in recent times. They're my friends still, you know, it still makes me happy to see something I was a part of turn into that, but yeah, it is sort of unfortunate because they are beating teams that we beat when I was on the team. It's like maybe it could have happened if I stayed longer, maybe it wouldn't have, but who knows. At the end of the day, I'm still happy for them because they deserve it and they've put a lot of effort in.
Lastly, for BLAST Pro Copenhagen, what are the expectations you have set for yourselves?
I'd say the expectations are just to take it one map at a time. I mean, we haven't been able to play with Subroza that long, we've been trying to change some roles with people and we're trying to add a little bit more structure to the system we have been playing, but we don't want to completely revert to a set style of calling strats out of spawn all the time and being more predictable in certain ways. I would say we're just going to see how this event goes and evaluate, I guess.