MICHU: "Both players and organizations are responsible for the current state of the Polish scene"
Two unfruitful years with Virtus.pro have come to an end for MICHU, who announced his departure from the Polish team shortly after it was dropped by the Russian organization. The 23-year-old rifler is now looking for new opportunities, potentially outside of his home country.
MICHU, who averaged a 1.11 rating in 2019, says that his individual form is a result of hard work, but that "it's hard to be fully satisfied" when the team results are underwhelming. Talking about the struggling Polish scene, MICHU says that players need to "start working" instead of just talking, pointing at Karol "rallen" Rodowicz and Paweł "dycha" Dycha as good examples.
The Polish rifler still didn't experience playing at a Major, so he noted that as one of his goals for 2020. To get there, MICHU is ready to play in an international team, as he has been taking English lessons for a year, and relocate outside of Poland if necessary.
When were you informed that Virtus.pro was not going to continue with the Polish lineup? Were you caught off guard or was the move expected as your contracts were running out?
As a team we weren't sure about our future till the very end, actually we found out about it after the news about new roster had been released. We weren't surprised though, there were a lot of rumors a few days prior, so we realized that the organization could eventually do this, but we didn't think it would happen before our contracts expired.
Do you think the organization's decision was a fair one? Was there more this team was capable of doing if you continued under the banner?
The decision was absolutely fair. Our recent results were really poor. Losing to many weaker teams, getting eliminated in the first rounds of open qualifiers and losing our spot in ESL Polish Championship are only some of the reasons. In my opinion, there was nothing more we could do, there were too many different views and characters inside the team in order to win international trophies.
You have been with Virtus.pro since 2017, back when pashaBiceps and NEO were still in the lineup. Could you compare the experiences playing in the 2017-18 and the 2019 rosters? Did reforming the team with young players change things for the better?
My arrival was supposed to be a panacea for a "little crisis" inside the team. I had a lot of respect because I joined a roster composed of a lot older and experienced players. I benefited a lot while playing with them. I was looking at their plays and ideas on how to approach the game.
The beginning was really good, communication was great and we had the same goal, but Snax decided to change the team and join mousesports. Since that time the "rejuvenation" of the lineup had begun and it resulted in NEO and pasha stepping down.
At the end of 2018, we formed a completely new team and after just a few months we needed some changes. During that time we were switching players, striving for perfection, which eventually never appeared. In the beginning, the game of Virtus.pro was based on experience, individual skill, and unique ideas, but continuous roster changes forced new players to learn the playstyle from scratch because they didn't have big experience in official matches and LANs. That extended our preparations and we were getting tired because when we would finally feel that everything was ready, we had to start from the beginning.
You have been the standout performer for Virtus.pro this year, averaging a 1.10 rating. Putting the team's issues aside, are you satisfied with the form you have been displaying?
It's nice to be the standout performer, everyone strives to be the best version of themselves as a player. Despite the poor results, I think that I've been working hard individually and that's one of the effects. But when the team doesn't work as it should and results are far from expectations, it's hard to be fully satisfied with individual performance.
What is the atmosphere like in the Polish scene at the moment? As a country that had an elite team for so long and has now struggled for the past few years, is there a deflated feeling? Are players still hopeful they can return Poland to the top level?
Many people in Poland believe that we have a lot of talented players and I agree with that. We have many skilled guys, but we lack people with a proper attitude, motivation and those who are able to fully commit to the game and become professionals. And what's the most important, instead of just talking, they need to start working and treat the game like it's a dream come true and a big chance that you can't lose at any cost.
The Polish scene has a high number of paid teams, as well as domestic leagues and tournaments going on. How does that impact the scene? Often people say that not having enough resources limits players and teams, but in the example of Poland, it seems to be holding them back?
The budget of the organization is important when it's managed properly and is focused on getting better results. In my opinion, both players and organizations are responsible for the current state of the Polish scene. Everybody wants good results, but we need more professionalism. Polish teams lack some facilities such as sports psychologists, who could make players realize what else do they need and what should they learn, a psychologist could also show them how important discipline and hierarchy is in a team. Both I and the guys from Virtus.pro learned a lot about ourselves and building relations in the team. Thankfully we worked together with psychologist and it was one of the best experiences in my life.
Is a big Polish shuffle going to happen? Is it possible to make a Polish team that could be in the top 10 and who would be in it?
I think this is the right moment for the shuffle. There are many good players that could create something really solid. I think it was rallen and dycha who stood out recently. This duo could end up in a roster that would really achieve a lot.
What is next for you? What do you aim to achieve in 2020, be it on an individual or team level?
I don't want to get ahead of myself because right now I'm a free agent and it's hard to set the goals. My aim is to play on the international scene on a regular basis and compete with top teams as equals. Besides, I've never played a Major, so I think it's about time. :) In the near future, aside from individual practice in CS:GO, I'll be continuing my English lessons.
How good is your English right now, are you ready to play in an English-speaking team? Would an international team be a priority for you after some disappointing years in the Polish scene? And is moving to North America an option for you?
I speak English at the communicative level. For over a year now I've been learning it on language platform and attending weekly individual lessons. It's still not perfect, but if I got a chance to play in an international team and speak English every day, I'd improve faster. I would certainly need some time to adapt, but I feel ready.
I'm open for any offers, if I got a chance to play in a team that aims to win international tournaments, moving wouldn't be a problem.