Jerry: "After this long break we started to face some psychological issues"
After forZe found themselves on the losing end of an opening bout against North at DreamHack Open Anaheim, we caught up with the team's in-game leader, Andrey "Jerry" Mekhryakov, to discuss some of their issues during the game, their preparation during the off-season, and potential opponents in the tournament.
forZe made their 2020 LAN debut in a best-of-one matchup against North in Group A at DreamHack Anaheim, falling to the Danish squad 8-16 on Nuke to set up an elimination match against Endpoint on Saturday.
In this post-match interview, Jerry gave some insight as to what the game plan was heading into forZe's match against North, what went wrong, and how a lack of official matches during the off-season left the team emotionally stunted in their opening match.
Let's start with the match that you just played against North. This was your first official match against them and things were a little shaky on the T side. How did the game go and what was and your mentality going into the server like?
The thing is we have a pretty good map pool against North and we already knew that we were going to play Nuke. We had a really good plan as to how to break down their defense, but sometimes, when you don't have many official games for two or three weeks and then you play on LAN, it can get a little frustrating.
We knew that if we had a good wall of smokes outside and went down, we could force them to rotate down and then go back to A. That was the original plan, but something went wrong with the smokes. facecrack sometimes missed a molotov he shouldn't have, and all those little issues gave us only four rounds on the T side. We got four, and I'm pretty sure that four rounds are enough going into the CT side, and after we lost the half I said, "Guys, it's alright, let's get the CT side, it's a CT-sided map, it's easy, we'll just have to take the pistol."
In the pistol round we were in a 4vs2 situation and there was miscommunication as well. I think aizy was in hut and we tried to push lobby. We had the original plan to push three ramp but we couldn't do that, I don't know why, I need to discuss this with my team. We had a really good plan and it worked really well, but we lost 4vs2 because of miscommunication and that was the first factor that led to us losing.
Then we tried to come back, we were down 8-14 and North used a fast wall of the smokes and rushed down. We were ready, xsepower was waiting for that, but again, there was miscommunication. He thought that they would push a little slower and wasn't ready for four people. Miscommunication again, a frustrating first game, and now my work is to fix it.
Coming in off of such a long break and into your first LAN event of 2020, what was your approach to the tournament like? You also have a couple of bigger events coming up now, like the ESL Pro League, so how was your preparation for those in the off-season?
We had three weeks of practice, so that was our preparation. We just practiced six days a week, four or five praccs, depending on the situation inside the team. We think that if we're going to practice something new a lot, it's going to help us win. But there is always the psychological side, and once we reached the tournament after this long break without official games, we started to face some psychological issues.
We have to fix them now, and for ESL Pro League we are going to bootcamp for one week, I'm pretty sure that's going to be enough. But now, the main thing that inside my head, I have to figure out how to fix this frustration inside my team.
Speaking of that frustration as well, last time we talked to you at DreamHack Winter you discussed getting more comfortable in attending tournaments as a team and the preparation going into them. Now that you have had a little bit more to adjust, do you think there's a reason why that preparation and your comfort levels are still a bit shaky in the server?
That's an easy thing. We're used to playing a lot of official matches and to having just one week of preparation before a LAN event. The normal thing is to also have like two days to prepare before an online tournament. But this time, for the first time in our team's history, we started to practice a lot, just scrims, scrims, scrims, no official matches, no emotions about how to be inside the official game for three-and-a-half weeks. I think that, in my head, I'm obsessed with official matches and we didn't have that. There was some frustration because we need to play official matches.
I think that was the case in the game that we lost here, it's because we didn't play any official matches, and now we have a second match coming up, it's going to be best-of-three, and we will have some time to prepare for it. If we play two or even three maps, whatever, we need to win it, and then we will have the emotional form back and we can get out of the group and reach the final. I hope so at least [laughs].
Your losers match will be against Endpoint, have you prepared for them specifically going into this tournament?
If we talk about the approach and how to prepare for them, I will get back to the match about North. As a captain, I will watch demos of the opponent and see which things they keep repeating, how they rotate or what kind of smokes they throw. I'm looking for key rotations, tendencies, patterns.
If we're talking about Endpoint, my answer for now is no, we haven't prepared for them well, because if you're trying to prepare for the team that's not playing many LAN events or online matches, you will fail a bit. Opponents can do something different you didn't expect, so against a team like Endpoint, you have to expect anything.
The key point here is when the team is at a top 20 level, you have to watch some demos, look for some patterns and figure out how to work against them. But if the team is outside of the top 30, you have to just be ready for anything, play your own game and be confident.
You're one of the teams that qualified for ESL Pro League through MDL, and now they've done this whole revamped structure where they've reduced the number of teams in the league. Can you give me your general thoughts about the restructuring of the league? What will your objective be going into the season?
I think ESL didn't do well, this thing with the reduction of the number of teams. They cut off 24 teams and that's not good. There were a lot of rumors about that, but in general, if you're ESL and you decide to do that, you need to have a really good tournament and you have to prove that you did everything well.
My general thought is, okay, they've done it, it's the past already, now you have to think about the future and if you do well with the rest of the teams, maybe those who were left out will think, "This is a really insane tournament, I'll just qualify back." I don't know which teams were cut off, but I don't think they had a really busy schedule, so yes, in general, ESL did badly.
But if it does not affect your schedule, I can just say it's not that bad for teams, and they can qualify for that if they just look at the level of tournament they were cut off from because ESL showed no respect for you. Now you have to cheer up, now you have to show that you're capable to get back through those qualifiers. That's my opinion.