mezii on leaving the UK scene: "International teams are definitely the way forward to unlock the full potential of a team and its players"

We spoke to William "⁠mezii⁠" Merriman to discuss his move to GamerLegion, his personal goals for the future, and the current state of UK Counter-Strike.

A year of solid performances and consistency from mezii has begun to spark interest around the up-and-coming British rifler, who is gradually carving a promising future for himself. After impressing in 2019 and into 2020 by averaging a consistent 1.17 rating across his time with national sides London and Vexed, the 21-year-old has taken his next steps with a move to international Counter-Strike in the form of GamerLegion, where he hopes to continue his development on his path to "play at the highest level".

mezii is the latest talent to surface from the UK

Emerging talents from the UK have been few and far between in recent times, with the most notable names coming from Owen "⁠smooya⁠" Butterfield, Mateusz "⁠mantuu⁠" Wilczewski and Thomas "⁠Thomas⁠" Utting - all of whom enhanced their skillsets by making the jump to international teams.

In this interview, mezii breaks down his signing with GamerLegion and how the team came about, the differences from playing in British lineups and an international roster, what it is like to play alongside his teammate Patrik "⁠Zero⁠" Žúdel, as well the downturn of the UK scene and why it has struggled to stay on par with the rest of Europe.

Earlier in July, you signed with GamerLegion alongside your long-standing teammate and fellow countryman, Adam9130. What are the differences between playing on UK teams and on an international roster? What has the transition been like?

The main differences would be the overall attitude towards the game, staying positive inside and outside the game. A lot of UK players find it difficult to stay mentally strong when things aren't going their way, but within this international roster, we are all a positive bunch of players.

The transition was pretty easy for me as I obviously do not have trouble speaking English in the game and the style wasn't completely different to what I am used to, so overall it was quite smooth.

Do you recognise any distinct differences between the play style in UK teams and how your current teammates want to play?

There are few distinct differences, we tried to learn a lot from EU teams in Vexed and we practised against some of the best teams, so when it came to this GamerLegion team there were a lot of similar ideas being brought to the table from us UK players and the EU guys, with the overall style being pretty similar to what I had played in previous UK teams.

What was the process like leading up to signing with the organisation? How did the team come about?

This was a weird time for me, not really having an instant offer or plan after the Vexed team falling apart and also the UK scene really being in an awful place, you would think it couldn't get any worse... I knew I needed an EU offer to continue improving and making steps to where I wanted to be. With this goal in mind, I joined Prodigy Agency, and the traction was great. Numerous tier 1 teams were interested and I had some meetings. However, with the COVID situation at that time in the UK (not allowing me to travel) and the overall state of CS:GO, it was moving slowly.

I had an opportunity with GamerLegion to play the upcoming MDL season with them and it went pretty well; we kept our spot and that was the goal as we were mixing at the time. Once the season finished, I decided to join GamerLegion as I really believe it is the right project for me currently to grow as a player.

Before joining GamerLegion, you were in free agency after parting ways with Vexed following a 10-month tenure. What led to the collapse of the Vexed roster?

It was tough for us in Vexed as we were unable to reach our full potential and play full time in that period. We had Kray who was working full time and I was studying at university, so we could only play so much as a team or individually. This led to a lot of disappointing seasons in ESEA, making a lot of Advanced playoffs and MDL Relegations but just not being able to take it to the next level and qualify for MDL. This disheartened a few of us and Kray decided to stop playing competitive CS due to not being able to balance full-time work and CS, which is understandable. L1NK went to play Valorant where he has been really successful, so I am really happy for him.

GamerLegion currently sits at 58th in the rankings - what are the short-term goals for this team? What about long-term ambitions?

We are still a very new team and trying to adapt to playing in an international team so there are a lot of mistakes we are in the process of fixing, but we definitely have a goal of a better ranking. Short term we are looking to achieve top 30 and I know we can definitely do it, it just takes time. As for other goals, it's hard to have a lot of goals, especially at the moment with no LANs going ahead due to COVID, so we cannot say 'we want to qualify for this LAN'. But we are competing in some online cups and we are looking to win and gain some experience as a team in officials.

You were a standout player in your previous teams, such as London and Vexed (1.17 ratings), and have continued that trend here in GamerLegion (1.18). How have you managed to keep up a consistent level of performance? Can we expect more from you individually?

For me, I have always tried to keep a consistent routine with CS in all aspects: aim, movement, learning new grenades and ensuring I don't fail smokes, and so on. A big thing also is keeping basically the same settings. In my opinion, keeping settings the same and carrying out a frequent routine will definitely help you become more consistent with your performances and it is working for me so far. As I mentioned before, throughout my time in London/Vexed I was studying at university and it was only at the end of May I finished my education, I definitely feel people can expect more from me now as I have even more time to commit to CS and improve my game to unlock a higher potential.

You mentioned in an interview with Hawka during the early days of the team that communication was still a bit rough. Is it better now?

The communication within the team has definitely got a lot better, for the EU guys in the team they have got used to speaking in English and all the callouts, but we still need to improve our overall comms now the foundations of callouts/positions have been set. Even for me and Adam, there are some callouts we have had to learn that the EU players use, so communication in pressure moments can get quite hectic when you forget or call the wrong position (laughs).

Having a lot of experience in the UK scene yourself, what would you say is needed to take it to the next level? And why is it struggling to keep up with the rest of the European scene, especially considering that talented players have emerged in recent years, like smooya, mantuu and Thomas?

I feel there is quite a lot needed in the UK to take it to the next level. Firstly, too many players focus on the wrong things - statistics. There is quite a lot of selfishness within the UK and they think 'If my stats are good then that’s all that matters,' or they think the only way of measuring individual importance is through stats. This has a domino effect on team performance as they aren't as focused on improving the team as much as their own individual play. Moreover, I think there are a lot of teams and players within the UK not using practise time efficiently or looking to improve in the right areas. There are more than enough demos that can be downloaded on HLTV for your team to find the foundations on a map or demos for an individual to watch how to play a position or certain situations. Teams focus too heavily on getting the flashy, cool new strats that will work one time and individual players focus too much on deathmatching and aim training rather than learning new grenades, angles, reactions. Endpoint are the first team to get things done correctly and it is paying off for them, so it’s good to see. It’s just a shame there are not teams within the UK scene to compete with them and push each other to improve.

Are there any young UK talents that you think will burst onto the scene in the near future?

It’s very hard to think of any young UK talents at the moment, as most people know it’s not a scene with a deep pool of talents anyway, also with Valorant coming along most of the scene went to that game. It’s in a weird place at this current time, the UK scene is in its worst state in terms of depth of teams and players, but on a positive note we have Endpoint who are the best UK team that there has been in CSGO.

Do you see this team as a stepping stone in your career? What are your personal expectations for the future? Do you plan to continue to play for international teams?

I definitely plan to continue playing with international teams as I feel it’s the only way I can improve further with not much happening within the UK scene. I also think that international teams are starting to become more popular now and are definitely the way forward to unlock the full potential of a team and its players. I am always looking to achieve the best possible results out of any team I am part of and it is no different with the current GamerLegion team, I really believe in this lineup making an impact and achieving the goals we set. My personal goal is to play at the highest level and compete at the Majors, it's always been a big dream of mine and I will try my hardest to get there.

You’ve been the top performer for the team, but the headline player when the project was announced was Zero. What has it been like to play alongside him? What does he bring to the table?

It’s been super enjoyable playing with Zero so far in the team, he is an extremely positive and funny person so it’s great for the atmosphere inside and outside the game. In terms of in-game, he has incredible aim which means anchoring sites becomes easy for him, but he has been out of competitive CS for a little while so there are some smaller things he is having to catch up on. He has a great work ethic to improve each day and be better than he ever was earlier on in his career.

mezii and GamerLegion will next compete in the seventh cup of the Eden Arena: Malta Vibes series, where they will face the likes of Dignitas, Winstrike, and Movistar Riders on August 12-16.

United Kingdom Mateusz 'mantuu' Wilczewski
Mateusz 'mantuu' Wilczewski
Age:
23
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.14
Maps played:
456
KPR:
0.77
DPR:
0.64
APR:
0.11
United Kingdom Owen 'smooya' Butterfield
Owen 'smooya' Butterfield
Age:
21
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.16
Maps played:
561
KPR:
0.78
DPR:
0.64
APR:
0.10
United Kingdom Thomas 'Thomas' Utting
Thomas 'Thomas' Utting
Age:
22
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.04
Maps played:
630
KPR:
0.73
DPR:
0.68
APR:
0.17
Slovakia Patrik 'Zero' Žúdel
Patrik 'Zero' Žúdel
Age:
22
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.03
Maps played:
658
KPR:
0.69
DPR:
0.63
APR:
0.12
United Kingdom William 'mezii' Merriman
William 'mezii' Merriman
Age:
21
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
1.10
Maps played:
170
KPR:
0.74
DPR:
0.64
APR:
0.15
Yea sure it is. NiP, Fnatic, Luminosity/SK, Astralis definitely agree
2020-08-10 10:17
Astralis
2020-08-10 11:04
how the fuck did #1, #2, #3 and #4 get deleted
2020-08-10 19:25
all those teams didnt have to go for international players bcs they have/had good player base. you cant say the same aboud UK scene or other scenes like cz/sk, estonia etc etc
2020-08-10 12:03
#35
 | 
Sweden quacke
Also excluding Astralis they were all competing in the earlier days of the scene with little competition. Some argue the Luminosity/SK-era was simply down to all the previously good teams entering a slump (NiP, fnatic for example), like a transitioning period.
2020-08-10 12:18
Thats not the point. Point is that every great team was always from one (or two but very similar) country/-ies. No international team has ever been dominant for long period of time as these were. Yes, FaZe, mousesports had great runs at their time but that didn't really last that long. That guy said "the way forward to unlock the full potential of a team and its players", while in reality it's absolutely opposite. Players and teams always reach peaks when they are from same country/region.
2020-08-10 12:33
#42
 | 
Sweden quacke
I think you misunderstood the article: mezii is saying international teams are HIS best option, not in general.
2020-08-10 12:35
NoA
2020-08-10 16:17
I mean to be honest, they just found skilled players within that region and going international is stupid, it handicaps them forcing them to use a secondary language when the teams can be more fluid with everyone speaking the same language, that's the major reason Astralis, MIBR, etc. had massive success and also never made the move for an international squad. I am not saying that alone is the factor they win tournaments but that is a prime reason why.
2020-08-14 13:29
which potential??
2020-08-10 10:21
#9
 | 
Czech Republic Hoja26
Might seem like that for him, cause he's British, but there's a real laungage barrier for EU players.
2020-08-10 10:23
#22
 | 
Spain N0Love
Yep
2020-08-10 11:01
Completely agree
2020-08-10 11:04
he's talking about uk scene so yeah makes sense
2020-08-10 16:50
#86
 | 
Sweden Lagge15
I disagree. In almost all games I rather play in English than in Swedish, especially in team based online games.
2020-08-11 00:01
#92
 | 
Czech Republic Hoja26
Yeah I can imagine learning some callouts but in a pro team we're talking bootcamps, team buildings and basically livong together, talking the same launguage really helps the chemistry. For example Guardian was benched from NaVi because his russan wasn't that good, even tough he can play in russian.
2020-08-11 12:24
#93
 | 
Sweden Lagge15
I worked for about 2 years in IT department of a big bank i Stockholm and I spoke English as my ordinary work language and I was more comfortable speaking English than Swedish back then. I don't see an issue with speaking English as a "primary" language as long as you are consistent with it. Except for my horrible pronunciation I would say I am almost as comfortable in English than I am in Swedish, and most people in Europe should be... unless you don't use subtitles on movies and tv shows, but dub it instead. The cultural differences can actually strengthen a team as much as it can destroy/weaken a team.
2020-08-11 13:08
a lot of potential, can't wait to see his progression
2020-08-10 10:25
#11
 | 
Switzerland x676
right
2020-08-10 10:26
#12
 | 
Poland SebL
Yeah changing settings is not a good idea, I agree. You need to get used to your setting. This GamerLegion roster have potential, they just need more time.
2020-08-10 10:27
#36
 | 
Sweden quacke
The only setting I change is my crosshair from time to time. Just minor adjustments, it's been roughly the same for almost 3 years I think.
2020-08-10 12:19
#54
 | 
Poland SebL
And it's good. Ofcourse the minor adjusments are needed sometimes, but changing res etc. every month is stupid.
2020-08-10 13:34
LAST HOPE.UK
2020-08-10 10:30
-1
2020-08-10 12:45
#14
 | 
France Il_padrino
Lmao International teams. The top 5 agree xD
2020-08-10 10:42
#18
 | 
Greece Graecos
Actually, BIG speaks English due to Xantares and G2 speaks English as well. Despite having only two different languages, they are international teams.
2020-08-10 10:46
I'm pretty sure they speak German, and xantares is also learning and speaking german
2020-08-10 11:24
#30
 | 
Greece Graecos
Recent statements said that they planned to speak German in the end when they released smooya. That's all, I'd be surprised if they turned to German that fast but I might be wrong =)
2020-08-10 11:26
#87
 | 
Sweden Lagge15
Xatares didn't speak either English nor German when he car to BIG. He went to nightschool learning both. I think they more or less switched overnight after Smooya benched himself
2020-08-11 00:03
#89
 | 
Greece Graecos
In an interview after a match during the beginning of lockdown in Europe, they said that they were sticking to English for a little while, waiting for Xantares to be ready to speak German with them on the server. As I said to someone in private, speaking a language with native speakers is not the same than speaking with other people who learnt that language as well. It's way more complicated due to pace, accent, expressions, etc... But as you said, in the end, they're supposed to switch to German completely.
2020-08-11 09:48
International teams how many majors?
2020-08-10 10:44
1, back in 2004 with noa. It doesn't work.
2020-08-10 11:12
#17
 | 
Greece Graecos
He speaks the international language. Ofc, it's simple for him. Idiot.
2020-08-10 10:44
Obviously UK players have that theory lol
2020-08-10 10:50
young LEGEND of CS
2020-08-10 10:51
#21
OK | 
Albania Edjon
i read every word in a british accent
2020-08-10 10:55
i read every word in poor
2020-08-10 12:46
#72
OK | 
Albania Edjon
why so easily triggered?
2020-08-10 18:22
seems to me like you are triggered 3rd worlder :)
2020-08-10 18:22
#74
OK | 
Albania Edjon
ok newfrog, judging by your previous comments the only words in your dictionary are "3rd world, poor, im rich", maybe if you werent so simple-minded you would realise how pathetic you look got any insults related to me instead of albania?
2020-08-10 18:24
you are the pathetic one trying to make fun of my superior country
2020-08-10 21:13
typical british pleb
2020-08-13 01:11
retard
2020-08-10 20:53
#84
OK | 
Albania Edjon
i can bet hes a fakeflagger trying to make brits look shit, people like him are disgusting and this site worse
2020-08-10 21:58
To clarify, his opinion on international teams is based on the fact that he is a UK player and from a UK scene perspective. His point is not necessarily that International Teams are the "best", but mainly "HIS" best options, and for many players. The title is not highlighting that, but you need to read the full interview to understand.
2020-08-10 11:11
jerome's got his boy's back as per
2020-08-10 12:58
Wow, clueless man.
2020-08-10 11:12
"A lot of UK players find it difficult to stay mentally strong when things aren't going their way, but within this international roster, we are all a positive bunch of players." UK players toxic as usual xd
2020-08-10 11:14
#37
 | 
Sweden quacke
Sounds like they have a lot in common with how innocent described the Polish scene.
2020-08-10 12:21
'other' flag, we know you are russian and calling us toxic okay buddy
2020-08-10 12:47
Nope you are wrong, I am not ruski. Also russians being toxic doesn't mean UK isn't toxic
2020-08-10 13:08
uk toxicity compared to other countries is close to nothing, we join a cs game and people are already making british queen comments etc eurpeans are very toxic i think uk is the least toxic country
2020-08-10 13:30
UK is on another level of toxicity, they will always shittalk you when you're trying to clutch etc. and most of the time, they think they mastered the game, when they are not even level 10 on faceit. Just say a few russian phrases to russian people, and they will be nice to you whole game
2020-08-10 14:35
If i ever chat shit its because i know im better than everyone else in the lobby. I'm constantly fragging 40k+ where as my russian teammates are looking at 10-12 kills :)
2020-08-10 14:36
#59
 | 
United Kingdom galaxyv2
i shouldnt have to speak a certain language to gain their respect when they are playing european matchmaking
2020-08-10 14:38
at least you can gain russian's respect, its impossible with some of UK players
2020-08-10 17:01
#75
 | 
United Kingdom galaxyv2
i disagree i hardly ever flame ingame unless provoked and the same for all the other uk players i play with maybe you just play with the toxic uk people, theres toxic people in every country after all
2020-08-10 19:00
Of course if you are from UK, they wont be toxic to you, so its not a very accurate example
2020-08-10 19:01
#79
 | 
United Kingdom galaxyv2
not towards me, for example when i play with a trio with 2 randoms, they aren’t toxic
2020-08-10 19:25
I play with solely UK friends, and I don't even know what the fuck you're smoking, UK kids are toxic as fuck. My friends play with me to avoid playing with other UK lads.
2020-08-10 20:50
#88
 | 
United Kingdom Hammondo
UK is amazingly toxic..
2020-08-11 00:09
who is this?
2020-08-10 12:22
Mezii Alex Smooya Thomas Mantuu perfect !!
2020-08-10 12:28
even uk player dissing uk. but when hltv users diss uk, uk cry so much holy crap.
2020-08-10 13:04
#60
 | 
United Kingdom galaxyv2
theres a difference between saying ‘UK bad hahahah so toxic no scene’ to stating the obvious ‘UK scene has a toxic work ethic’ we have talented players, just not enough support in the lower scene
2020-08-10 14:41
UK-cs has been a joke 4k disbanded alongside mangi and harriman
2020-08-10 13:07
*pt intensifies*
2020-08-10 13:31
who?=
2020-08-10 13:48
Dosage of globalism. Thanks hltv ! Deleting wrong emotions when?
2020-08-10 14:14
Hltv going globalist.
2020-08-10 15:08
Interesting. Because Smooya mezii ALEX Thomas +1 decent player Could literally destroy GamerLegion and become a sold tier 2 team. There is enough talent to build a top tier UK team
2020-08-10 15:50
The issue isn't about talent when it comes to UK teams, it's the fact that they've all got such a colossal fucking ego that they can't function in the same team for more than a week without exploding.
2020-08-10 20:51
#63
 | 
United Kingdom Peath
Beat mezii in a charity event once )) Fr though UK scene is horrible, almost impossible to find a roster in the lower tiers that'll stick together for a season of ESEA
2020-08-10 15:57
WHY MESSI?
2020-08-10 15:59
#65
EliGE | 
United States fyi
In the future UK super team 5 man roster
2020-08-10 16:15
Haha "UK scene" No such thing. CSGO has been out for 8 years, the fact that UK has still never had a top20 team is laughable
2020-08-10 16:19
Esports are hated by the UK public. Teams and players gain zero support and are instead ridiculed by the media and anyone above the age of 30 for earning money playing games. Until this ethic ends the UK will never have a scene. If I ever bring esports up at work... they just snuff the idea of it Its promoted that you wont make any living playing in esports
2020-08-10 16:34
plus most people own consoles not pc's
2020-08-11 12:10
international teams never work in long run cuz its just MUCH better to speak with your native language especially in high pressure / close situation where in english you need to think first and cap ur gamesense abilities
2020-08-10 16:54
Whot da vck is mezix
2020-08-10 19:16
#90
 | 
Slovenia evrazem2k
who??
2020-08-11 11:08
I don't think people who don't live in the UK realise what the gaming culture is like here. No one gives a fuck about gaming, especially PC gaming (You can play games on a computer?). Your average gamer in the UK buys the new COD and FIFA every year without fail on their console. That's pretty much it
2020-08-11 15:52
#95
 | 
Yugoslavia RiggedShit
Well this explains why uk players are so toxic in pugs. They play only for stats bait team mates etc, doesnt play for team and then blame others if they have less kills than them. Ez the most toxic players in pugs.
2020-08-12 16:13
#96
 | 
Brunei cyLoL
Who car Uk toxic men))
2020-08-12 18:43
#98
 | 
Czech Republic manik999
Haha of course, top 5 right now just national teams. Did intertional team ever won a major though ? xdd
2020-08-13 19:54
Gambit
2020-08-14 10:39
#102
 | 
Czech Republic manik999
3 Kazachs in team when they won a major. Your team has a certain national flag when you have 3 players from one country
2020-08-14 21:17
#101
 | 
Indonesia Exodd
Obligatory UK CS LUL
2020-08-14 19:25
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