dexter: "I chose mousesports because of the opportunity to grow without pressure [right away]"
We spoke to the Australian player ahead of the IEM Katowice Play-In and heard about his expectations for the event.
Stepping into the shoes of Finn "karrigan" Andersen is no easy task, especially for an in-game leader coming from outside of Europe, isolated from top-tier competition for a year. But Christopher "dexter" Nong is looking to take on that challenge, parting ways with the team he represented the last four years.
In our interview with the 26-year-old, he shared his thoughts on the decision to leave his region behind, settling in with mousesports, and adapting to the new squad. "For now, my main priority is understanding communication, my teammates, and hoping they understand the pace I want to play," dexter says, adding that there is no pressure on them to perform straight away.
You parted ways with the Australian squad after being part of the Grayhound-Renegades project since 2017. The end of the cooperation was commemorated with a short video that follows the team's rise over the years, starting off as total outsiders, becoming fan-favorites, and finally a serious threat internationally - as well as a dominant force back home. What was it like to leave that project behind? Are you happy with what was accomplished?
It was a bit sad, it takes a lot to leave such a great group of guys back home, we’ve built so much together and when something that was out of your control like COVID hits, then it puts you in a difficult position where you must make a choice for your own career/livelihood rather than just pure fun and games.
I’m definitely not happy with what we accomplished, I feel like we had a lot more to show the world and I’d love to always represent an Oceanic squad like that again, to represent our small region.
Talking to Renegades in the past, it seemed like you were all happy to stay in Australia, close to your regular life, and fly out overseas for tournaments and bootcamps. Is the pandemic-related situation the only reason why this thinking changed?
There are two main reasons, one was definitely the pandemic putting a halt to our careers in Australia, but I felt after being stuck in Australia for a year that I needed more to gain in CS, I was hungry but with nothing to ‘eat’. So when the mouz offer came up, I figured it was the best opportunity for me to achieve my goals with my career and grow as a player and IGL.
What is your living situation like now? Do you plan to stay near the mousesports HQ in Hamburg or is this just a temporary situation?
Right now I’m staying at a hotel until my apartment gets sorted in a few days. From there I’ll move into my own home and be able to do my own routine easier and increase my individual skill. So until that happens, working from the mousesports HQ, which is a great facility, will do. I’d just love to get into my normal life routine again with my own apartment in a few days.
Regarding joining mousesports, was that the only international offer you got at this time? What made you accept it and join the team?
No, I actually had multiple offers from a few teams. But the end reason I chose mousesports was because of the opportunity to grow without pressure [right away].
Looking at the current mousesports roster, how do you see the roles working out, both on the CT and T side? Do you have new look that you want to bring to the table, or should we expect a similar style to the old mousesports team?
I feel I want to add in a new look to the team, things will take time and the basics that we’re working with now is just the start. Everyone has such an insane amount of individual skill, something I’ve never ever seen before. I just need to find my place within my calling to regulate it so that fewer mistakes happen.
Most people recognize you as a high-fragging in-game leader, but playing with a different constellation of players and against better opposition, that level could be hard to maintain. Do you think you will be able to perform similarly in mouz, or will the calling aspect be your priority?
I’m in a completely new position as an IGL, I literally have new spots on T/CT on every single map from what I used to play. I don’t expect myself to become individually the best right now, because there’s so much to learn and from a high caliber of teams. So for now, my main priority is understanding communication (EU comms), my teammates, and hoping they understand the pace I want to play.
So I guess we’d have to see in 3-4 months time, I have no expectations of myself individually right now, other than to grow as a player in these spots and find my flair.
Despite being the oldest player on the lineup, you don't have as much experience playing the biggest international events as the likes of ropz and frozen, for example. Is there a concern that you will not be given enough respect from your teammates to lead them properly?
There shouldn’t be a reason for people to not respect me as an IGL and if there wasn’t a respectful understanding from everyone it would be a waste of time. Therefore, I’m always willing to learn new things and the approach they bring to the game as well, and I hope they do from me. But once I get the ball rolling in my new apartment and get things more straightened out, I’ll be implementing my style on the guys for them to understand and grow better.
What are you looking forward to the most now that you've joined a European team? What are your goals for mousesports?
To put it simply, I want to reach the point where we have a fleshed-out playbook/understanding of each other. So that we can change only minor details in our antistrat and be confident in our plays/strats. That’s my goal as an IGL, while after that point, anything is in the air, winning and competing against the best will be everything to me.
Your first tournament with mousesports is the IEM Katowice Play-in, and fate has decided that your first match would be against your old squad, Renegades. What are your expectations from that event, and that opening match specifically?
That match like any other in Katowice for us is just another game. People will love to hype up the game and put pressure on everything that BO1 result will give us. But in reality, there’s no pressure or expectations right now, we’re a new squad with so much stuff to work on. So no matter the result I hope we as a squad use it as a stepping stone for more learning for future competitions.