mithR: "I'm not here to teach karrigan how to call, but I can create a structure that demands the best from every player"
Last week, Torbjørn "mithR" Nyborg was appointed as the new head coach of mousesports, filling in the vacancy left by his countryman Allan "Rejin" Petersen, who was handed a 19.8-month ban by ESIC for using the spectator bug while working with Tricked.
The 31-year-old coached the likes of Tricked and ALTERNATE aTTaX before earning a move to North at the start of 2019. A disappointing period with the Danish organization ended when North underwent a big overhaul at the start of 2020, with mithR returning to coaching in April, when he began to work with Australian team Renegades.
As the pandemic shut down big international events, Christopher "dexter" Nong's team turned to their home region, beginning a tournament winning streak that is still active, leaving mithR wondering what damage they might've done in Europe had they gotten the chance to compete with the best in the world. With no end in sight for the global health crisis, the opportunity to join mousesports was too good to turn down, mithR explained.
The international team have been nowhere near their late-2019 and early-2020 peaks ever since the switch to online play, lost their star AWPer Özgür "woxic" Eker, and are now faced with rumors of Finn "karrigan" Andersen potentially rejoining FaZe. "I won't let rumors affect our work ethic in the coming months", mithR stated, with his focus being on creating goals and routines to ensure the team improves moving forward.
You said farewell to Renegades after five months spent with the Australian team, during which you dominated in the region. What was it like working with them and what did you take away from the experience?
I felt like Renegades was the first team — if you don’t count the one-and-a-half weeks I was with Apeks —, where I could truly work with the values that I believe in. A place where I didn't have things forced down upon me and had to do certain things, but where the management and team were fully supportive and put their trust in me. I have also gained a lot of experience over the years, so I feel like that I am now at a place where I know what I stand for, what I want to work with, what kind of routines and structure I believe in, and how to keep improving individually and team-wise. I think I have coached teams where I wasn't confident enough in my own abilities, but the coaching culture is also beginning to change into something where coaches have more to say and are equals with the team, and are not "below" the team in some sense.
If Renegades were playing in the international circuit, would you have considered staying with the team? Do you think they would be competitive in a region like Europe?
I think I would have [considered staying]. I was eager to see what kind of damage we could do, and I felt like the boys and I worked hard to improve despite the conditions. Obviously moving to mousesports is a step up for me and in my career as well, but I would probably have considered staying if we could have participated in some international events. It's hard to say, though, as the offer came during a pandemic, so the decision was pretty obvious to me that I had to go.
When did the offer to join mousesports come? What was your thought process like when you were offered the opportunity?
When mousesports announced that Rejin had been released I had a feeling that they would probably reach out. I had been wanting to work with Finn (karrigan) for quite some time and he was also on the top of my list at the end of 2019 when it became clear that we needed a leader in North. My thought process behind it all was pretty much that I stood without a choice and had to make a decision on whether I believed that the pandemic would be over any time soon. I had hoped that I would be able to attend some events with the Renegades boys before I would move on to a European team, but with the second wave of the pandemic coming over Europe, I felt like I couldn't say no to such an opportunity. I have also always been a fan of the mousesports organization and cyx is my favorite AWPer from 1.6.
Your addition to mousesports didn't make big waves, with some fans finding it an uninspiring move on the organisation's part. The sentiment is that you are more of a supportive coach than one that would take the reins of the team himself and create a new tactical structure. How do you look at that skepticism? Is there some truth to it?
If I were to be affected by what fans think of me all the time then I wouldn’t be able to do a very good job, I think. There has been a lot of talking about whether one is a supportive/motivational coach or more of an analytical/tactical one. I don't really believe it's that simple, but I see myself a little bit of both. I don't really look at skepticism and won't respond to that. My focus is on the team and moving forward. In the end, our results will show whether or not I am succeeding.
How do you plan to help mousesports primarily? It is very hard to rate the impact of a coach, but what should people be looking out for to see if you are accomplishing what you set out to do?
In my opinion, the primary job of a coach is to secure growth and there are a number of ways to do that. I'm not here to teach Finn how to call, or Robin [ropz] how to clutch a 1v3, but I can create a structure around the team that demands the best from every single player and that they work hard. I create goals that we work on as a team and evaluate in a certain way, create routines that improve consistency, and make sure that we stay curious, motivated, and continue improving. Next to that, I'm also good at coming up with new ideas for the tactical aspects of the game such as new pistol rounds, CT reactions, principles of play, etc.
How do you assess the current mousesports roster? What makes them good, and what do they need to figure out in order to be better?
I think it’s still too early for me to say really as I am still just getting to know them and getting settled. I need to take it step by step right now and get to know the tendencies of every player before I can jump to any conclusions, but I have some ideas that I'd like to add. The individual skill of the players is the highest I have ever worked with, and the same goes for the team level, but there is also definitely a lot of room for improvement.
Talking about the roster, chrisJ's AWPing has left a lot to be desired, and reports have linked karrigan with a potential move to FaZe, and Bymas is a part of the active lineup, albeit originally signed as a sixth/development player. Changes in mousesports seem inevitable: what part are you going to play in them?
I feel that as a coach you need to be prepared for any scenario. In Renegades we knew that dexter was being hyped quite a lot and would probably get some offers from some international teams sooner or later, and if I wasn't prepared for that then I wouldn’t be a very good coach, I think. One of my duties is to constantly be aware of what talent is out there and think not only about tomorrow, but also about where we should be a year or even two years from now. I won't respond to rumors, because that's all it is. I won't let rumors affect our work ethic in the coming months, because there are still tournaments left where we want to perform and work on improving.
As for chrisJ, it's still pretty new for him to be the primary AWPer, but he is very important to the team. I think the 1v4 clutch versus Astralis shows some of what he is capable of.
The team's next challenge is GODSENT in BLAST Showdown and DreamHack Masters Winter follows shortly after that. mousesports are currently ranked 16th in the world. What are your plans for the end of the year?
I've only had one official game with the team where I was actually on the server so far, but our plans for the end of the year are just to perform as best as we can. We are working hard and efficiently, and I feel like the G2 game could easily have gone our way had we just made fewer mistakes in a couple of rounds. I really felt like we were losing to ourselves and not so much because they outplayed us. Right now we have made a list of weaknesses we feel we have on certain maps, and we are working hard to improve them. Small adjustments here and there, and then we are eager to show our worth next week.