oSee on rejecting offer to stay in Cloud9: "floppy and I felt like it was too big of a risk as we enjoy playing with our current roster"
We caught up with the Cloud9 AWPer as the team enter a period of uncertainty ahead of their impending exit from the organisation.
Josh "oSee" Ohm and the rest of his Cloud9 teammates were recently informed that they would be released by their organisation, who revealed on September 6 their plans to restructure their entire CS:GO division.
With Cloud9 set to sign a majority-European roster, beginning with the additions of Henry "HenryG" Greer as general manager, Aleksandar "kassad" Trifunović as coach, and Alex "ALEX" McMeekin as in-game leader, we caught up with oSee to discuss his thoughts on the time the roster has spent under the organisation.
The 21-year-old AWPer shared why he and Ricky "floppy" Kemery chose to decline an offer to join the new Cloud9 roster, what he believes has led to his return in form, and his thoughts on criticism that has been aimed at his team in general as well as at in-game leader Johnny "JT" Theodosiou.
I wanted to address your impending departure from Cloud9 right off the bat. How are you feeling about that whole situation and how it came about, and how is the team feeling about the future as you look towards finding a new organization?
I’m just going to put it out there and say that the Cloud9 organization and our roster didn’t have the greatest relationship. We ran into a lot of disagreements on how things should be run and we felt like our demands weren’t always met. I think it was partly our fault as well because we didn’t always listen to them and we weren’t performing as well as we could’ve been, so I don’t blame them for the decision they made. They still treated us with a lot of respect and I enjoyed the time I had under such a prestigious organization like Cloud9.
We still think we have the potential to become one of the best teams in North America. We just need the experience that all these other top teams have as we are still a young team and with time we feel like we can be at the top. Cloud9 and HenryG have been helping us lately to try and find us a new organization and I could not thank them enough for still caring about us. Only time will tell where our new home will be.
Henry "HenryG" Greer stated on Twitter that he was interested in keeping you and floppy on the new Cloud9 roster but you both declined. Can you talk a little about the two of you making that decision and what it means to you to keep the five-man lineup together?
So after the meeting where we found out that Cloud9 were looking to switch to an EU-based team and were going to drop us, our manager told us that HenryG wanted Ricky [floppy] and me to try out for the new lineup. I have to really enjoy playing with my teammates, so not knowing who was going to be on the roster or how the personalities of the team would mix I decided it was too big of a risk to leave the current lineup where I know how everyone is, inside and outside of the game. You’re spending hours and hours every day practicing with these people — if you don’t mesh well together, it could lead to many problems.
If they were to have picked up a core of three and asked Ricky and me to try out, then it might have been a different story, but because of how they wanted to completely rebuild the team, we felt like it was too big of a risk as we enjoy playing with our current roster. After talking for a brief moment, Ricky and I both came to the conclusion that we did not want to move to Europe and completely switch the environment that we have been so used to the past year.
Your consistency dipped for a period of time in the early ATK and Cloud9 days, but in recent months you’ve put up solid performances and seem to have found your groove. Did something change in the team to help get you back in gear, or why do you think you’re able to consistently find impact now?
In the past couple of months I’ve been trying really hard to improve on my game, whether it’s my decision-making or just my raw aim. I had never really watched many demos of other players before, to see what they do in certain situations, and so once I did I started to see what other pros were doing and to understand why they do things rather than just trying to copy them.
Counter-Strike is such a situational game that trying to copy other players won’t always work. You have to see the reasoning behind every decision they make and everyone has a different playstyle, so I think it’s more about picking out small things and reinventing it in your own way. I have also started to play Deathmatch a lot more since I joined ATK and I could feel my aim getting more consistent. I still feel like I have a lot to improve on but I think that’s a big reason why I have been performing more consistently recently. I’ve also been trying to improve on my communication and build good habits in practice and that’s a contributing factor as well.
From the fan perspective, outside of the team, it's easy to place blame on JT for some of the team’s failures when you just look at the statistics. Can you tell me a bit about what he brings to the team, and some of the things people may not be able to see or tell without knowing how the team operates internally?
Yeah, so I see a lot of blame placed on JT, with people saying how he’s the reason why we haven’t been performing well lately and saying we should replace him when people really don’t know how much he does for the team. It’s easy to blame him after seeing just the statistics but I truly believe he’s one of the main reasons why we’re even in the position we’re at right now.
He’s constantly bringing new strategies and ideas to practice so we’re not as predictable and he’s always the one to do the “dirty work.” He’s always finding ways to try and improve us as a team and he’s one of the most selfless teammates I’ve ever played with, so for people to blame him for our recent performances is really unfair. It’s a team game after all and everyone has roles where they are going to get more kills, and he’s in one of those roles where he sacrifices a lot for the success of his other teammates so I have a lot of respect for him as a player.
Shortly after Cloud9 announced they would be looking for a new roster, HenryG announced in a Flashpoint interview that your assistant coach and analyst Joshua “m1cks” Micks would remain with the organization to help out their new lineup. In the months you worked with m1cks, what did he bring to the team, and how do you feel about him parting ways with your roster now?
People don’t realize how much an analyst can help a team out. A lot of top tier teams going into a match change how they approach a game depending on how the other team plays, so having a dependent analyst looking at a team's tendencies is crucial. He would always have succinct notes about every team we would play, whether it be reads he would find or just common spots the opponents would like to play, so he was a big part of our team’s success. He was also a person that was really easy to get along with. Overall, I really enjoyed his presence on the team. I was devastated when I heard he was parting ways with our roster but I completely understand his decision and I wish him the best of luck with the new Cloud9 lineup.
Historically, your team has done quite well on T sides, but struggled to put up the same level of play on CT. From your perspective, why do you think that is such an issue for the roster?
I think our CT side can be an issue when we get off to a bad start. When we lose pistol and start the half off 0-3, I feel like we can get in our heads sometimes and not make the same aggressive plays we usually would if we were up. It’s the same when we’re up a lot of rounds and the other team starts to come back into the game. We start to play scared and we don't take the same risks we usually would. It’s like we’re more scared to lose the game rather than take the necessary steps to win it. We’ve been trying to work on this issue for quite some time now as we acknowledged it as a problem a couple months ago and I think we have gotten a little better.
Overpass has emerged as the best map in your pool, where you currently hold a 19-7 record while taking down the likes of Liquid, MIBR, and Evil Geniuses. Can you touch on why that map seems to be such an outlier for you in terms of consistent performance?
Overpass wasn’t the best map for us when we first created this lineup. It was still a strong map for us but when we went to Europe to bootcamp for Dreamhack Leipzig and IEM Katowice, we were struggling to find consistency on it.
The teams we played in Europe played a much more aggressive style on Overpass so it forced us to be hyper aware of every possible situation that could occur and we had to make sure there were no holes in our default. We started to focus heavily on improving our Overpass going into these events and seeing what would work for us and what wouldn’t in the six weeks we were there, and I think that is a big reason why Overpass is one of our best maps now.
Looking forward, you’re currently playing in EPL and you also are in fifth place in the RMR standings with IEM New York still set to play out. How do you feel about the team’s prospects now that you won’t have Cloud9 behind you?
We will still be finishing EPL and IEM New York as Cloud9 but after these two events, we will no longer be playing under their name. I think playing under such an iconic name in the Counter-Strike scene hurt us a bit as a team. We had big shoes to fill as the previous rosters had a good amount of success and even had the Boston Major run, so the expectations were high.
When we first joined the organization, we were performing well compared to many people's expectations and we were receiving a lot of praise, which boosted our confidence as a team. However, when we started to underperform, there were many people talking bad about us and it affected us a bit mentally. As much as we tried to block out the noise and focus on improving, it got overwhelming at times knowing that you weren’t living up to the standards people set for you. We’ll see how we perform in the upcoming events after IEM New York but I think it will benefit us as a team overall.