Brehze: "I think any team we play here will probably have a hard time beating us"
Evil Geniuses are back in action after enjoying a long break from CS, entering BLAST Premier Spring after a ten-day bootcamp in Poland. Refreshed and looking to showcase an expanded playbook, Peter "stanislaw" Jarguz and his men will kick the tournament off with a match against OG taking place later this evening.
In our concluding media day interview we spoke with Brehze, who gave valuable insight into the team's struggles from 2019 and how it aims to improve on them in the new year. He also touched on what was achieved during the pre-event bootcamp, and theorized on why 100 Thieves have a difficult time playing against them.
A recurring conversation when it came to EG as a team was that you lacked practice coming into events due to a packed schedule. Now that you've had some time away, how are you feeling? How productive was the break for you?
A break was much needed for us, we went to a huge number of events in a row, and we haven't had a break in so long. This was the longest break all of us have had in a long time; it was good to step away from the game. We had about a month and a half off, so we had a lot of time to have our vacations and just not play CS. We literally spent the whole year playing CS and it was really draining.
Now we're right back in it again. We had a productive ten-day bootcamp in Poland before coming here, where we played against European teams and some new teams as well. I'm really excited to start this tournament.
Over the course of the bootcamp was the team able to work on the playbook? Did you feel the need to expand it at all after last year?
Yeah, we definitely needed to make some changes to our playbook because, as you said, we had no practice and we had no time to change anything. We definitely looked at our strats and got rid of some, adding new ones instead. Also, the map adjustments played a big part in our strategies, we had to change a lot of the maps. For example, Mirage is going to be played differently now.
We just had to relook all of our maps and see which ones we wanted to play for this tournament and which ones we were comfortable with.
During the autumn of last year, the team had a two-week period where you were the No.1 team in the world. Having tasted glory, what has the team set as ambitions for 2020?
After reaching the number one spot, it was kind of surreal to all of us that we played CS for so long and no one has ever been that high up in the rankings in our team before, only maybe Peter (stanislaw) and Tarik. For Ethan, CeRq and I, we've never been in the top five or top three for that long, so when we reached that number one spot, it was definitely a new feeling.
It's a feeling where you understand that you can be the best team in the world and we have the players to do it. For 2020 we just have to find that consistency because we know we can reach the level of Liquid and Astralis, we just need to be consistent in our play. We're still trying to figure that out, but I think this year will go a lot better than last year.
You touched on consistency, which has been a running problem for the team in 2019. Seeing as you've been together for a while, extra time is unlikely to impact much, but in terms of improving that aspect of EG, what plans do you have?
One of the problems that we had was that we would always jetlag ourselves going from Europe to America and China. We were in different time zones all the time, our bodies were completely messed up. One thing we'll be working on this year is if we're going to two European tournaments back-to-back, we'll just stay in Europe instead of going back to America.
We'll take it as a chance to bootcamp longer and stay in Europe longer so we don't have to reset our bodies; ultimately just practice in Europe longer. That's one thing that we're going to be doing this year. Then, there's obviously not going to as many events and burning ourselves out - that was our biggest problem last year. Those two big things will help us a lot in the long run.
BLAST Premier is kicking off soon, and in your group, you have 100 Thieves. They have struggled against you over the course of 2019, and AZR added in our interview that the team feels a mental block when going up against you. What do you feel makes you such a strong opponent against them?
Honestly, the thing with CS is that every team has one opponent that they experience a mental block against or they just somehow can't beat them. I think for us when we were playing Astralis at our best, they had a lot of trouble playing against us, AZR said they have trouble beating us. If we had to pick an opponent, it's Na`Vi. In the past, they would always just destroy us. It has changed a little bit recently, but every team has that one opponent that is like kryptonite and every time you play them it might be a little bit of a struggle. I don't have a specific answer, I just think that every team has that one kryptonite opponent.
Lastly, you'll be facing OG in your opening series here in London. Seeing as they're a bit of a question mark, what is your approach going into the series?
We've never played their lineup before. We've played some of their players on their previous teams, but from watching them, they look like a pretty strong team, they have some pretty strong names and good talent on the team. We're not going to take them lightly. The good thing here at BLAST Premier is that it's going to be BO3s, so that plays into our advantage because I feel like we have a really strong map pool, especially after this bootcamp. We really worked hard on all of our maps to make sure all seven are playable. I think any team we play here will probably have a hard time beating us, I'd say.