Freeman on replacing BnTeT: "There were only a few choices in China and some of them had contract problems"
With losses to mousesports and 100 Thieves in Katowice, the Chinese side have finished playing their LAN debut with their newest player, Seon-Ho "xeta" Son, after bringing in the former MVP PK star to replace BnTeT earlier this year.
We managed to get a hold of Freeman after the elimination match to ask him about what the team saw in the Korean player and why they didn't add a Chinese player instead to remove the language barrier.
He and TYLOO's manager, Hu "CruSad3" Si Le, also confirmed that their coach, LiKan "ryk" Luo, is currently stuck in Wuhan due to the coronavirus outbreak, which has also affected the squad's travel plans in the near future as they will next play the Asia Minor Greater China qualifier in early March.
First of all, can you tell me about how the loss of BnTeT has impacted the team and what the process of finding a new player looked like to replace him?
It definitely had a big impact on our team, mainly because he was not only a core player in our team but he was also the in-game leader. Basically, we had to change the in-game leading role and, at the same time, we needed to get a new player. In the process of finding a new player we decided to get a strong AWPer for us because we didn't have a main AWPer for a pretty long time. We thought we needed to make that change.
Why did you decide on xeta, then, considering you had the chance to finally break the language barrier and get a Chinese player instead?
There were a lot of factors going into this. First of all, of course we looked at xeta, he was one of the best AWPers in Asia from the days he played in gosu and MVP. He definitely had the potential to compete against the best in Europe, even, so that was what we saw in him. At the same time, there are a lot of reasons why we couldn't get a Chinese AWPer. There are only a few choices, I would say, that had the potential to be the best in Asia or in Europe, and some of them had contract problems, so there were external reasons going into that, as well.
You touched on the in-game leadership issue, as well, can you speak to how it works now, who is in-game leading and who has input otherwise?
Right now, Summer is the in-game leader. Meanwhile, xeta is also helping him a lot in this aspect and also myself, I also help him to run this team much better.
I heard that your coach, ryk, is stuck in China because of the coronavirus outbreak. Is that true?
CruSad3: He's in Wuhan, in the province where the virus outbreak was. He's completely fine because he stays at home the whole day. When we were bootcamping in Ukraine, he was online with us, joining the server, helping remotely. We would prefer to have him in Ukraine, but there were travel restrictions.
Can you tell me about how that situation affects your travel plans in the near future with the Asia Minor qualifiers coming up?
CruSad3: We have the Greater China qualifier for the Asia Minor and then we need to play Pro League. We're not going to fly back to mainland China, we will fly to Hong Kong after Katowice and play the Asia Minor qualifier, and then we will fly to Europe for a two-week bootcamp and play Pro League, that's pretty much the situation for the next month.
You've just been eliminated from IEM Katowice, how would you evaluate how the team played here in the two series against mousesports and 100 Thieves and what progress you have made with xeta?
Freeman: We are a new team right now, we have a new IGL, a new player, and also we are dealing with communication issues. So, we didn't put a lot of pressure on ourselves for this event, we just wanted to play our best and find the problems and mistakes, try to fix everything and get ready for our next important event, which is the Minor qualifier. That's very important for us, so we're taking it step by step, not hurrying anything.