hooch: "Playing without an organisation has made us stronger"

The Russian side have been making strides in Europe's second tier and recently qualified for ESL Pro League.

EPG Family headed into the ESEA Premier Season 36 Europe playoffs oozing with confidence after topping Group A with a 7-1 record. The Russian team, who had been inside the top 30 in the world rankings since February, had everything covered inside the server, but something was brewing. On March 31, the players unilaterally terminated their contracts with Winstrike citing "constant breaches of contractual obligations" by the Russian organisation. They became free agents and started playing on their own.

hooch is disappointed with some offers that his team has received from CIS organisations

Under the name ex-Winstrike, the team made it to the grand final of the double-elimination playoffs through the lower bracket, having lost the upper bracket final to SAW, who secured a one-map advantage heading into the best-of-five title decider. Despite this, Dmitry "⁠hooch⁠" Bogdanov was confident that the team could win the tournament. "The game plan was pretty easy after we knew that we were deciding who would veto first," the 34-year-old told HLTV.org.

"We knew that we just needed to get a good start and win the first map, so we could reset the scoreboard. We won our pick (Mirage) and we had a game plan for Nuke, because we knew they would pick it. We knew what they were going to do, but we lost some rounds where they just smashed us on the B ramp. But coming to the T side, our guys showed great discipline and our game plan just worked."

After winning Nuke, EPG Family made quick work of SAW on Train and became the ESEA Premier champions, securing the highly-coveted spot in ESL Pro League — which hooch hopes can be a motivator for organisations interested in the game.

"It's a huge tournament with lots of big names, and even though we are not a partnered team, we are still going to challenge the best teams in the world," hooch said.

"It's a big opportunity to show ourselves on the big stage. I just hope that people have realised that we have potential and think about signing us. Playing in a tournament like ESL Pro League can help to promote and organisation and sponsors. For us, it's an opportunity to play against the best teams in the world and learn from the experience to become a better team."

hooch is looking forward to coaching ex-Winstrike in ESL Pro League

The search for a new home since leaving Winstrike has been an arduous one. A few weeks ago, the players were confident that they have found a new home, only for the deal to fall through at the last minute because the organisation, based in the CIS region, shockingly didn't have a budget for the team.

The 34-year-old coach said they were rushed into signing contracts by the organisation, something that, according to him, is common practice in negotiations in CIS esports. He believes that there are organisations trying to take advantage of the team's situation to force them into a bad deal.

"There are big differences in negotiations with CIS teams and teams from Europe or Asia," hooch explained. "CIS organisations are pushing us to accept bad conditions compared to European or Asian organisations. They're really aggressive while negotiating. For example, they present their offer and give us just one day to decide.

"I feel like they just want to give us a small amount of salary and get the maximum amount of sticker money they can get. Some of the CIS organisations that contacted us even want to put a clause that allows them to release our team if we get out of the top 30. I don't understand it, because we have proved to the scene that we are a promising team that has been in the top 30 for three months. It doesn't feel great to be treated like that and that's why we'd rather move to a non-CIS organisation, even though we love our region."

Despite all the turmoil, the mood in the team is as great as ever. With ESL Pro League still a few months away, EPG Family will continue to go through the grind, hoping that one day the phone will finally ring.

"Playing without the support of an organisation has made us stronger," hooch said. "We've got nothing to lose, so it's just about having a great time and making sure that we give our best."

#4
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Russia Slavaa
They deserve to get an organisation
2021-05-04 15:12
12 replies
+1
2021-05-04 15:20
#30
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Latvia heywire
Not until proven lan.
2021-05-04 15:25
8 replies
then why are gambit players in an org?
2021-05-04 15:53
7 replies
#43
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Latvia heywire
Because they had a rebulid and did it for cheap?
2021-05-04 15:54
5 replies
but they arent proven on LAN and we dont even know what these guys want as a salary? also you dont know gambit salaries either.
2021-05-04 15:55
4 replies
#49
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Latvia heywire
It's way different, gambit was under gambit roster and got moved up to the rebulid they probly did it way low budget, ex-winstrike honoestly look like a top 10 online and you have to remember it is all online they look like a top team, i wouldn't pick them up now as they probly demand a lot.
2021-05-04 15:57
2 replies
Yes because players who have been on winstrike and hard legion really have been living in luxury...right lmfao
2021-05-04 16:50
Hooch literally said that they don't want a lot,they probably just want a liveable wage that actually gets paid on time (Overdrive said that they got paid 1 month worth of salary every 3 months in Winstrike)
2021-05-04 17:27
We don't know exact numbers, but we know that Gambit and Virtus Pro have a dynamic salary that depends on where in the rankings team is. Don't know what rankings are included and the exact scales though.
2021-05-04 17:29
#97
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Russia M1shV4T
cuz they played on lan xd
2021-05-05 00:53
+999
2021-05-04 15:46
Ence should pick them up.
2021-05-07 09:00
hoochymama
2021-05-04 15:12
1 reply
not right, right is hoochama
2021-05-10 03:11
lets go
2021-05-04 15:13
#8
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Russia mshkoda
keep strong guys
2021-05-04 15:13
3 replies
Does anyone know what their tag, EPG, stands for?
2021-05-04 20:28
2 replies
#89
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Russia mshkoda
idk =/
2021-05-04 20:43
It's crazy to think they still can't find an org especially when you look at some of the teams that have orgs...
2021-05-04 15:14
7 replies
+1 how can trash team have org buts they are without an org
2021-05-04 15:15
1 reply
#54
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Russia Voldarck
+++ really funny situation
2021-05-04 16:30
+1
2021-05-04 15:16
They already had offers,but a certain org fucked them over. I'm sure they're gonna get an org,they have an EPL spot,org owners would be fools to not sign them.
2021-05-04 15:19
1 reply
Yeah typical shady CIS orgs :/. By far the best/most promising team that's been available to sign with no buyouts required in a while. I just hope when they do sign its with a good org and they don't get fucked over again
2021-05-04 15:24
+1
2021-05-04 15:20
+1
2021-05-04 16:40
Does that mean that getting signed by an org will make them weaker again?
2021-05-04 15:14
2 replies
yeah no one gonna sign them now
2021-05-04 15:16
#17
 | 
South America iDead_asdd
org money no org no money So every event they play goes for the money
2021-05-04 15:17
cloud9 hello
2021-05-04 15:14
1 reply
+1
2021-05-04 15:16
#16
 | 
Italy NotNew
Same for O PLANO
2021-05-04 15:16
#20
 | 
Europe Selfi
Extreme. Really well done. Wake up SK-Gaming!!
2021-05-04 15:25
GL
2021-05-04 15:20
Titan sign them and get g0dbert
2021-05-04 15:20
2 replies
Titan is a poor org
2021-05-04 16:13
1 reply
Literally bankrupt
2021-05-05 09:17
#25
 | 
Germany Droidd
they deserve better
2021-05-04 15:21
Gambit Youngsters
2021-05-04 15:28
#32
 | 
Serbia Garbrandt_
These guys deserve a org
2021-05-04 15:29
Hooch kekw yes men very stronk
2021-05-04 15:33
Time for C9 to buy an actually promising roster POGGIES
2021-05-04 15:49
3 replies
C9 or any NA org that has left aint coming back anytime soon
2021-05-04 15:54
2 replies
true true, but i can dream, can't i?
2021-05-04 15:55
1 reply
yes ): I also dreamt of a world where a cs roster had more than 3 months together before disbanding. + Poney to major, but that happens anyways 🐎 too stronk
2021-05-04 15:56
Great team with huge potential, gl
2021-05-04 16:19
#56
 | 
Romania own420
do they get all the money they win from tournaments is the question
2021-05-04 16:41
#57
 | 
Luxembourg TheBudi34
HL sign them
2021-05-04 16:41
"Some of the CIS organisations that contacted us even want to put a clause that allows them to release our team if we get out of the top 30." no way looool
2021-05-04 17:12
4 replies
Another ridiculous bs from CIS: VP player salaries are based on their hltv ranking.
2021-05-04 17:19
3 replies
completely based on hltv ranking?
2021-05-04 17:22
1 reply
Yes
2021-05-10 12:48
Wasn't it about avangar? Edit nah it's VP hltv.org/news/30877/jame-on-memes-about-..
2021-05-10 12:48
Good lucky, russian brothers. Greetings from BR.
2021-05-04 17:13
cmon hellraisers. sign them!
2021-05-04 17:35
No org, new meta?
2021-05-04 17:52
someone need to make regulation in CIS organization rules. getting kicked if u out from top 30 was a worst deal lol.
2021-05-04 18:06
#84
 | 
Brazil Anarchybr
They deserve an org.
2021-05-04 18:28
#86
mir | 
Estonia u3ffe
do they got fpl invites?
2021-05-04 19:05
Good team
2021-05-04 22:51
unluko
2021-05-04 23:14
#96
 | 
Estonia thisba!tes
TSM, wake up buddy
2021-05-05 00:47
#98
 | 
France Uexo
gud team 4 sure
2021-05-05 01:29
Forze disband and sign this roster
2021-05-05 05:24
1 reply
pretty sure hooch s dreaming abt it. hes a die hard spartak moscow fan and forze is under spartak' wing
2021-05-05 11:07
I think that with some time they will get organization. I think it's just the matter of time. GL EPG Family.
2021-05-05 12:09
#103
 | 
Hungary Shiron212
Just looked at their results No way!! This team is looking surprisingly good
2021-05-05 21:01
#106
 | 
CIS sergioff
juliano is so delicate and cute , she like a flower
2021-05-06 21:01
2 replies
+1
2021-05-07 14:25
#110
 | 
CIS sasha1608
nah, she is too overrated imo
2021-05-08 03:21
it has made them stronger and poorer
2021-05-08 19:15
#112
 | 
Russia TRAV1SZ
HOOCH <333
2021-05-09 18:30
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