mirbit: "If we keep up the hard work, I have no doubt that we will reach the top 30 with this lineup"
A former member of PANTHERS, Berzerk and EURONICS, mirbit enjoyed a breakthrough year of 2019 with Sprout, who earned a spot in ESL Pro League and reached the final at Charleroi Esports and Copenhagen Games during his seven-month tenure with the squad. After leaving the team, he tried his hand at international Counter-Strike, but his trial period with Windigo was cut short as the organisation ceased operations one month into his stay, leaving the German player's future up in the air.
mirbit landed on his feet as the new year kicked off with a move to ALTERNATE aTTaX, taking the spot that had been left vacant by Mateusz "mantuu" Wilczewski. After a period of success that has seen his side shoot up in the rankings from 224th to 39th following a series of promising performances, the German team is looking to go one step further and break into the top 30.
In our interview with mirbit, the 23-year-old shed some light on his time with Sprout and what led to his departure, the aftermath of the Windigo team collapse, and his thoughts on BIG reaching no.1 in the rankings, among other topics.
You started your career in smaller German teams, including Berzerk and EURONICS, before making the step up to higher tier Counter-Strike with Sprout at the beginning of 2019, where you took on more challenging opponents. What was this transition like for you? And how would you describe your time with Sprout?
I didn’t really have a hard time adapting to better competition since I was grinding a lot of FPL back then. The most challenging aspect was my role and position change. Earlier in my career, I was being put in situations where I could shine and play more frag heavy. This changed when I joined Sprout. I had a lot of supportive roles and positions so I took pride (and still do) to help the team in any way possible and still put up decent numbers. We had a really good run and were the most successful Sprout lineup up to this day (#19) and I have made great memories and friends along the way.
Despite having a successful period with Sprout, you parted ways with the team after eight months, when you alluded to wanting to pursue new opportunities. Looking back, do you think it was a good decision? Do you have any regrets?
Towards the end of my time with Sprout, I was not feeling comfortable within the team anymore. A lot of playoff exits and failed chances caused some tensions within the team and tow b‘s departure to BIG basically sealed the deal for me. It was time for something new and I was confident that I will reach those heights again with the right players and organization. I don‘t regret my decision but it leaves a bitter taste knowing that my old team and I haven't been able to get back to that level yet.
Would you say you have a rivalry with your ex-teammates in Sprout, especially since you are separated by just ten places in the rankings?
Obviously the competitor in me wants to be on top and surpass my old team, but I’m good friends with those guys and I wish them nothing but success.
You later played internationally for Windigo for a brief period on trial, playing with the likes of poizon, hAdji and Calyx. How large of a change was this for you personally? How would you compare it to being on a German roster?
Having so many different nationalities and play styles on the team was really special and difficult to figure out at the same time. especially considering that we had about a month of preparation before ESL Pro League. Spending time with bubble (IGL) and Shockwave (Coach) talking about the game and different approaches, it became pretty obvious to me that the ‘German play style’ I knew was super structured and coordinated, without implying that a certain play style is good or bad. We tried to find the ideal mix for our lineup where we could utilize everybody’s strength.
Do you think you gained valuable experience from your stint with Windigo?
Yes, 100%. I got some different perspectives and gained valuable experience through my time with those amazing players and at the events we attended. I‘m confident with a more stable organization and some time we would have become a solid contender roaming around the top 20.
While in Windigo you featured alongside poizon, who had been tipped as a future star before joining Complexity. How would you describe poizon as a teammate and player? Did you believe he had the ability to perform at the highest level?
Valentin is a super nice and calm guy. We had some great moments in Windigo and I never doubted that he had the potential to perform at the top. He is one of the players — if not the player — with the highest mechanical skill I have ever played with, and manages to stay composed even under high-pressure situations.
The Windigo project collapsed and the organisation ceased operations, with you later securing a move to ALTERNATE aTTaX. Do you see this move as a step back in your career, considering that with Sprout you were consistently inside the top 30?
In a certain way, yes. With Sprout, we were constantly playing good events and were battling with BIG for the number one spot in Germany and with Windigo I competed against the best in the world in the ESL Pro League. ALTERNATE aTTaX was mostly competing on a national level back then. So after my arrival, I had to adapt to the new circumstances and we started the grind to climb the ladder together.
What are your ambitions with ALTERNATE aTTaX heading into the second half of 2020 considering the team's rise to 39th in the rankings following your performances in ESEA Advanced and the subsequent MDL season?
Depending on how everything will play out with the pandemic going on I definitely want to break through into the top 30. The most important thing for us is to work on our game and grow individually and as a team to get more consistent. If we keep up the hard work, I have no doubt that we will reach our goals with this lineup.
Do you feel the team has benefitted from the exclusive online format that has been established in response to the coronavirus pandemic?
In my opinion, the online format complicated a lot of things for us. With all the changes to the ranking system, a lot of CIS teams could farm points by playing each other [in regionalized tournaments] without the same kind of opposition other teams from Europe had to face. Now we are in a weird place where we feel like we are closing in on the top 30 but can‘t really reach it yet due to those changes which I mentioned. On top of that, the core of the team was always composed and performed pretty well on LAN, which we can‘t show for now.
Finally, I’d like to talk about BIG. They have displayed phenomenal form in the past couple of months since the switch to online play, becoming the first German team to reach no.1 in the rankings. What are your thoughts on BIG as a team? And how important do you think their recent rise to the top is for the grassroots scene?
From what I have heard they are putting an insane amount of time into the game and it obviously shows. A lot of things fell into place for them to reach that number one spot and it‘s totally deserved. Other top teams are going through roster changes and struggling throughout this online phase while BIG seems to thrive under the current circumstances. Regarding the future of the German scene: I hope some players and teams in the German scene will get inspired by their newfound success. I’m optimistic that with more ambition and a tougher mindset there will be more German teams competing at an international level in the future.