How dexter overcame adversity to win Flashpoint 3 with mousesports

As an inexperienced leader at the highest level, the Australian had his work cut out for him when he agreed to join mousesports and replace a legendary caller. After a rough start, he is finally starting to prove his doubters wrong.

mousesports found themselves in a rebuilding period at the start of 2021. The team's then in-game leader, Finn "⁠karrigan⁠" Andersen, decided against renewing his contract with the team and returned to FaZe, while Chris "⁠chrisJ⁠" de Jong was — once again — benched to make room for an up-and-coming AWPer, Frederik "⁠acoR⁠" Gyldstrand, signed from MAD Lions.

mousesports continued their audacious signing strategy with dexter (Photo: mousesports / Tobias Augustin)

To pull together an out-of-sorts team, mousesports signed Christopher "⁠dexter⁠" Nong, an exciting, yet risky shotcaller hailing from Australia. While his teams had shown promise internationally, upsetting the likes of SK in 2018 and Liquid and Evil Geniuses in 2019, the addition was a speculative one, especially considering that the pandemic had isolated him from top-tier competition for a year.

dexter was thrown straight in at the deep end following his arrival in Europe, in February. Despite common sense, as well as dexter himself implying that it would take time for the team to gel, last-place finishes at the highly-competitive IEM Katowice and ESL Pro League S13 — during which the new IGL averaged a 0.92 rating —, were enough for him to be under fire as an unworthy replacement for karrigan, one of the most revered in-game leaders in the game.

If the difficulties with the team and on the server weren't enough, dexter was also facing an adaptation period outside of Counter-Strike. He left Australia, a country fairly unaffected by the COVID-19 pandemic, to live on his own in Germany, where the outbreak was far from under control.

"Honestly, I did feel quite a lot of homesickness, I definitely underestimated the impact that traveling from a relaxed country such as Australia to a COVID hotspot would be like," dexter tells HLTV.org. "The three months of negative feedback and homesickness, all while being alone during this period, were easily one of the hardest parts of my life mentally.

"I wasn't depressed, but I always felt there was a huge weight on my shoulders that I couldn't quite shake — and it was only up to me to shake. So it took a long time for me to be even close to adapting and I'm not even sure how I am now. Better at the very least."

"Criticism happens a lot, but I think it was mostly my own self-criticism that took a toll on me," dexter adds, explaining how he quickly got into a negative spiral. "I wanted to try harder, therefore I had less rest, and was close to being burnt out so early into my tenure over in Europe." With a massive workload ahead of him, having to not only get the team back in form but also individually adapt to playing new spots on all maps, he stuck to it. "No matter what, I tried to improve my new positions and learning at the very least."

As an in-game leader with limited experience at the top level, having only briefly been inside the top 20 with Grayhound in 2019, dexter admits that he questioned whether his approach was suited for mousesports — a team featuring one of the world's best players in Robin "⁠ropz⁠" Kool that aims to challenge for titles. "I think I doubted myself [at the start], but I have also learned a lot along the way."

"The boys had a culture of having an amazing IGL in karrigan who knew what to do immediately: regardless if it was the right or wrong decision, it was a decision made," he explains. "Meanwhile, my playstyle and leadership skills rely on trusting a lot in my teammates' abilities and reading of their positions — what the CTs are doing and how they are placed —, and having an appropriate reaction. It is far more relaxed. So at the start, I definitely doubted myself because I didn't know if it was right to be calling like this."

Evidence that mousesports were on the right track came in Snow Sweet Snow 3 at the start of April, when the team claimed the title after beating fnatic and ex-Winstrike (now Entropiq), but the defining period of the team came at the end of that month. Because of the overlapping schedule of three tournaments (IEM Summer closed qualifier, Flashpoint 3 closed qualifier, DreamHack Masters Spring), they had to play 14 series over just five days, recording as many as four BO3s in a single day.

Under massive pressure and stretched to their limits, mousesports thrived.

"The atmosphere was good, everyone wanted to win but also understood how bullshit of a situation it was," dexter remembers. "You can only prepare so much for back-to-back series, mentally, physically, and in-game. We did our best all the time, but it wasn't easy to perform the best, especially as an IGL by your fourth BO3 of the day."

Looking at the results on their own, qualifying for Flashpoint while failing to make it to IEM Summer and finishing 9-12th in DreamHack doesn't seem like much, but the fact that their eliminating losses came against top contenders such as G2 and Natus Vincere puts mousesports in a much better light. Additionally, dexter stepped up individually, ending his streak of five events "in the red" to post 1.06 ratings in both closed qualifiers.

"I felt a sense of growth with everyone after that, something just changed for the better; we understood each other a little bit more," the in-game leader explains, admitting that the improvement wasn't indicative of the success that would follow. "It was a mini online bootcamp in some ways. But I never would have expected the results we had in Flashpoint 3."

dexter found his form during an action-packed period for mousesports (Photo: mousesports / Tobias Augustin)

The relationship between an in-game leader's individual performance and his calling in a match is a topic often speculated about during broadcasts of the biggest tournaments. In dexter's case, there is a strong correlation between his fragging output and his tactical impact.

"Being able to play well as an IGL is important in my opinion, you get more involved with the game and the way you want the team to work," he explains. "You don't feel like you're some sh*t outsider who goes 0-7 every game and instead of thinking about the game, you are thinking about why you can't frag and contribute on basic levels of CS. Just that confidence was so huge for me personally."

Flipping the switch and going from a bottom fragger to someone who posted a 1.23 rating against NIP in the grand final of a top-tier event came after a decision that dexter admits was weird — changing his peripherals.

"Being smarter with my gear choice helped a lot," he says. "I had some pain in both hands and I didn't know why. It affected my DM sessions and my confidence in my aim. It made me lazy, to say the least, regarding in-game performance. To find a solution, I talked to mousesports and decided to test some different Razer products that they provided me with to try to find the best ones, and the gigantic shift in shape and feel really helped my hand. After that, I was able to trust myself again."

mousesports had 11 days without officials after the "mini bootcamp" to prepare for the start of Flashpoint 3, the first Regional Major Ranking tournament in 2021. "Flashpoint was important because it had all the major EU teams. Being able to perform here would justify that our work hadn't been a waste of time and had actually been productive for our future as a team. A morale booster, to say the least."

With mousesports entering the tournament as the No.8 seed in the 16-team competition, not many predicted a deep run for them. But inside the team, expectations were high.

"We set our goals with our sports psychologist - everyone said different ones, but the most basic being that we wanted at least top 5," dexter says. "I do remember that Bymas and I said that the goal was to win (laughs). But realistically, top 5 would be satisfying in a way."

Fast forward three weeks, and mousesports managed a shocking run, dropping just one map on their way to the title. ropz and David "⁠frozen⁠" Čerňanský were both stellar, with the latter picking up his first MVP award, while dexter averaged an impressive 1.18 rating across 11 maps played — reminding everyone of the high-fragging in-game leader he was in previous teams.

When asked about the wins that the team recorded in Flashpoint, dexter highlighted what pleased him regarding beating each of Astralis, G2, and NIP.

"Astralis was a huge win for me personally, a lot of my understanding and experience in how CS should be played stems from watching them and gla1ve," dexter says. "So being able to beat them as a person who only watched their demos for two years really made me happy and proud of the team and myself.

"G2 was another titan to overcome. They had been beating us by small and large margins for weeks, so being able to lift that curse and beat them in a convincing manner was so important for us.

"NIP was a game of pressure on ourselves I believe, we had two players who were very sick on the day, so it was a final test of teamwork, in the light that we support and bring each other up as much as possible. Therefore I'm just glad we were able to finish the run by coming first, in such a big test of ourselves."

Just minutes after mousesports secured the title, dexter started his post-match interview by saying that "there is still so much to do, so much to learn", displaying his unquenchable thirst for development. While the team didn't go straight back to practice, instead taking some well-deserved time off, which the Australian spent in the mountains of Bavaria, he doubles down on his need to expand his knowledge.

"No matter what, I need to learn more and adapt to how other teams will adapt," he says, aware of the pace at which teams find new tendencies and exploit gaps at the top level of Counter-Strike. "I need to learn more about myself as an IGL and how to improve in different aspects, all while maintaining my own identity as a player."

Having failed to qualify for IEM Summer, mousesports are now shifting their attention towards IEM Cologne, which could be their last tournament of the season. Their focus ahead of the event is on mastering Ancient and sticking to a seven-map pool — one of the priorities for the team.

During an era of uncertainty and frequent changes, dexter's team rose to sixth place in the world, mousesports' highest ranking in almost a year. However, the Australian stresses that they have more to prove before they can be accurately ranked.

"I wouldn't know where to rate us myself, I think we need to play more of the other regional teams from CIS and NA, and play Heroic to see how we stack up officially," he says. The team's long-term goals are simple, though — becoming a top 5 team by PGL Stockholm Major in November. "I want to be top 5 consistently at least, of course any better is awesome. But getting to this level requires consistency in ourselves, and that will be the major test for us."

Slovakia David 'frozen' Čerňanský
David 'frozen' Čerňanský
Age:
18
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.13
Maps played:
1047
KPR:
0.77
DPR:
0.65
Estonia Robin 'ropz' Kool
Robin 'ropz' Kool
Age:
21
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.11
Maps played:
968
KPR:
0.74
DPR:
0.62
Netherlands Chris 'chrisJ' de Jong
Chris 'chrisJ' de Jong
Age:
31
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.02
Maps played:
1724
KPR:
0.68
DPR:
0.66
Denmark Finn 'karrigan' Andersen
Finn 'karrigan' Andersen
Age:
31
Team:
Rating 1.0:
0.92
Maps played:
1818
KPR:
0.63
DPR:
0.69
Denmark Frederik 'acoR' Gyldstrand
Frederik 'acoR' Gyldstrand
Age:
23
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.07
Maps played:
984
KPR:
0.71
DPR:
0.63
Australia Christopher 'dexter' Nong
Christopher 'dexter' Nong
Age:
26
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.12
Maps played:
835
KPR:
0.77
DPR:
0.66
sexter
2021-06-08 15:11
24 replies
ez for dexter
2021-06-08 15:12
16 replies
from zero to hero
2021-06-08 15:16
15 replies
so many mousesports "fans" were already asking for his replacement after the first two weeks of him joining and look at him now. this community is full of dumbasses
2021-06-08 15:29
14 replies
+1
2021-06-08 16:12
I been saying this, but you will always have bandwagon morons no matter what happens :/
2021-06-08 16:25
+1
2021-06-08 17:06
#97
 | 
Estonia simondoggo
+1 too many people are so eager to get rid of players who have lots of potential yet don’t show it at first
2021-06-08 17:47
I became mouz fan when he joined the team.
2021-06-08 18:05
+1
2021-06-08 18:40
#114
 | 
Japan LorisDF
I always believed in him, there was never a doubt in my mind that he would get better with time.
2021-06-08 18:44
#116
 | 
Germany Droidd
I said after acoR move "I can't wait for dexter" in mousesports community discord and they responded with dexter bad, karrigan > dexter. Now they love the man when they never gave him a chance before he even joined the team.
2021-06-08 18:46
+1,so truee.
2021-06-08 19:03
+1 Very sad to see so many fake mouz fans
2021-06-09 03:31
+1, anyone who knew who he was should've trusted the process. But no, let's start doubting him from the beginning even though he had to move from halfway across the world after being isolated for a year or so in a less competitive region, play and lead a completely different team, as well as needing to play completely different positions.
2021-06-09 04:07
Cya in 18 months when Mouz win anything again
2021-06-09 04:58
#168
 | 
Europe Daddy!
+1, was doubting the decision at first but still believed. But its yet to tell if it works out longterm.
2021-06-10 23:14
indeed, he's a good pickup for mouz.
2021-06-13 12:19
ez for sexter
2021-06-08 15:26
kek
2021-06-08 15:31
+1
2021-06-08 15:55
#64
 | 
Australia B_Tannen
YEAH THE BOYS
2021-06-08 16:03
Flash what?
2021-06-08 18:28
nice flair
2021-06-08 22:22
god sexter
2021-06-08 23:08
nice
2021-06-08 15:12
1 reply
#25
 | 
United States 3manu3l
very kool
2021-06-08 15:20
very cool 😎
2021-06-08 15:12
1 reply
Kool*
2021-06-08 18:27
Good job! lets see if they can keep it up.
2021-06-08 15:12
#6
 | 
Latvia HiImRenars
pogster
2021-06-08 15:12
who tf is dexter I only know SEXTER
2021-06-08 15:12
2 replies
#15
 | 
Asia Drag0nJ
Abdul "degster" Gasanov
2021-06-08 15:14
1 reply
abdul very russian name
2021-06-08 16:19
cry
2021-06-08 15:13
Very nice guy!
2021-06-08 15:13
#11
 | 
Asia Drag0nJ
ahahahahaha
2021-06-08 15:13
#12
 | 
Australia Coxyyyy
Where are the -dexter threads now
2021-06-08 15:13
4 replies
#130
RpK | 
Croatia Mikylm
+1
2021-06-08 22:04
#142
 | 
Indonesia lumayan
I support him since the beginning, not only dexter, even I also got the hate for posting pro-dexter thread on the early days XD
2021-06-09 03:27
2 replies
Dexter underrated. 15/5/21 confirmed.
2021-06-10 13:36
1 reply
#166
 | 
Indonesia lumayan
oh damn, didnt notice it is still there XD
2021-06-10 13:39
#13
 | 
France Haibara
Stopasianhate
2021-06-08 15:13
6 replies
#57
 | 
Finland suomiye
i'm anti-stopasianhate
2021-06-08 15:53
4 replies
racista.
2021-06-08 18:29
3 replies
#152
 | 
Finland suomiye
i'm literally asian
2021-06-09 07:42
2 replies
kappa
2021-06-09 16:59
1 reply
#164
 | 
Finland suomiye
chino
2021-06-09 21:48
🤣 What a timing to post
2021-06-08 15:54
honestly doing good work
2021-06-08 15:14
#16
 | 
CIS ph0b0z
SEXTER GOD
2021-06-08 15:14
very good
2021-06-08 15:14
#18
 | 
France Uexo
so sexy
2021-06-08 15:15
never doubted ez for god sexter
2021-06-08 15:16
EZ4SEXTER
2021-06-08 15:18
Dexter, have my kids pls
2021-06-08 15:18
1 reply
he already has one
2021-06-08 18:30
#24
 | 
Czech Republic y0fl0w
great read!
2021-06-08 15:20
#26
 | 
Indonesia FinZzz
Love this guy. Very humble and yet very good at what he does. Gj Mr. Dexter
2021-06-08 15:23
<3 Sexter
2021-06-08 15:23
great guy
2021-06-08 15:23
good fucking shit im proud of him
2021-06-08 15:23
ez4sexter
2021-06-08 15:23
EZ4SEXTER
2021-06-08 15:24
Snaxter
2021-06-08 15:24
#33
 | 
Serbia LtN))
Sexter God
2021-06-08 15:25
#35
 | 
Canada TimmyX1985
ok Dexter
2021-06-08 15:26
#36
 | 
Asia Drag0nJ
ez for Abdulkhalik "degster" Gasanov
2021-06-08 15:27
DEXTER DOUBTERS OMEGALUL
2021-06-08 15:28
#39
 | 
United States drac0z
SEXXXTER
2021-06-08 15:29
never doubted one bit
2021-06-08 15:30
god sexter
2021-06-08 15:30
#43
 | 
Portugal tugamrs
ez for dexxter
2021-06-08 15:33
GOD SEXTER
2021-06-08 15:35
Ok
2021-06-08 15:35
#46
 | 
Panama Bill_Bait
flukeXter FlukeSports
2021-06-08 15:35
2 replies
#49
 | 
Portugal tugamrs
astralis without devve kewk
2021-06-08 15:37
#74
 | 
Slovakia xaboff
Name checks out
2021-06-08 16:19
good interview, cool that he is so humble
2021-06-08 15:35
#48
 | 
France Zanouh
Respect.
2021-06-08 15:37
what a boss
2021-06-08 15:38
Ok, but still GODleksi > dexter
2021-06-08 15:39
This guy got so much hate from karrigan fanboys, now I hope the team does better than ever so people can finally realize what a fraud karrigan really is.
2021-06-08 15:39
1 reply
#109
 | 
India Specc_GG
Wouldn't call karrigan a fraud since he made the mouz roaster reach their peak but it looks like his glory days are coming to an end now.
2021-06-08 18:28
the part about being a fragging IGL I believe is absolutely true, you can't be absolute crap with your aim nowadays because let's face it, a lot of calling is down to luck as well as ability to read, maybe 50/50 and you need entries to make it work ultimately.
2021-06-08 15:41
Nicee!
2021-06-08 15:41
#55
 | 
United States JustBitsy
Been saying it since it happened. Dexter is the best sign of 2021 and no one else even comes close.
2021-06-08 15:43
2 replies
Device to NIP???
2021-06-08 15:59
1 reply
#67
 | 
United States JustBitsy
High profile but I am not sold that he will make NiP great now. Not saying he isn't great though.
2021-06-08 16:09
Jackie Chan performs :)
2021-06-08 15:45
#59
 | 
Poland Merkoo
Mr. Nong is very cool B)
2021-06-08 15:53
#60
 | 
Lithuania jakouu
sexterrr
2021-06-08 15:54
God Sexter
2021-06-08 15:59
#65
 | 
Sweden boyyscout
he is a great caller and supercute boy, i wish him the best
2021-06-08 16:03
#66
 | 
Indonesia begalracer
SEXTER GOD
2021-06-08 16:04
WE LOVE YOU SEXTER
2021-06-08 16:09
#69
 | 
CIS wmzgod
tier 3 asian IGL lmfao
2021-06-08 16:10
4 replies
#104
OK | 
Brazil okemas
0/8
2021-06-08 18:24
Flair omegalul
2021-06-08 20:46
Love g2 as a team but idk why team's got the absolute worst fanbase of the scene, even worse than NAVI
2021-06-08 22:23
Stop the bait! 0/8
2021-06-09 03:59
goat
2021-06-08 16:12
sexter
2021-06-08 16:14
#73
 | 
Indonesia LosD
SEXTERRRR
2021-06-08 16:18
#77
 | 
Philippines sijibats
SEXTEEEEEEEEEEEEEEERRRRRRR
2021-06-08 16:27
A great father and a great leader
2021-06-08 16:30
#81
 | 
United States xcalibot
LET'S GO POLAND PRIDE DEXTER!
2021-06-08 16:42
2 replies
stop it
2021-06-08 19:35
typical NA
2021-06-09 09:51
#82
 | 
Czech Republic sobrez
very cool 😎
2021-06-08 16:42
What a great mentality, a real professional. Hope mouz keep up the good form.
2021-06-08 16:47
#84
 | 
Brazil Elakk
well ropz is leaving so this team will collapse soon
2021-06-08 16:47
#85
Coffee | 
Netherlands p2dr
very likeable dude and I'm really glad its all working out, hope they stick together
2021-06-08 17:02
#87
 | 
United States vox_3
Dexter the man. Big up yourself bro
2021-06-08 17:08
just wait for LAN faze will destroy everyone
2021-06-08 17:08
wp wp
2021-06-08 17:14
#90
 | 
Georgia Megobari
sexter
2021-06-08 17:17
#91
 | 
United States Rayduh
Sexter
2021-06-08 17:22
VaMouz
2021-06-08 17:33
The savior of mouz
2021-06-08 17:33
<3
2021-06-08 17:35
#95
 | 
United States Festive_
YEAH THE BOYS
2021-06-08 17:36
Kick karrigan=instant event win Faze add karrigan=starting to fall apart Its not a coincidence.
2021-06-08 17:40
4 replies
Well its not instant tho, at the beginning Mouz were really bad and you know dexter isnt a well fragging igl, there were so many haters against him.
2021-06-08 17:48
3 replies
Yeah, but that was like literally the first month or even just first event, when he was a new igl for an international team with new callouts and vs better teams, he did suck and it was deserved but it wasnt really weird.
2021-06-08 19:14
#140
 | 
United States urm@m
dexter literally one of the highest fragging igls before he moved to EU lol what u on about? dude was dropping 20 bombs left right and centre
2021-06-09 02:55
1 reply
Well at least I dont really know about the stats before he came to EU, but what I've seen is he wasnt fragging well when he joined mouz in the first few weeks. And at that time mouz was having no success.
2021-06-11 02:23
EZ 4 SEXTER
2021-06-08 17:49
DAMN RIGHT EASY FOR SEXSTER , ROBIN KOOL GOAT AND THE BOYS #VAMOUZ
2021-06-08 17:51
Got to respect this guy. Moves country by himself to be the leader in a new team. Does shit at the starts which makes him work harder and then proves himself. Massive respect for dexter. I hope ropz doesn’t move teams and they can go on to have more success. Also and inspiration for the team a leader in and out of the game.
2021-06-08 17:52
Dexter seems to make a lot of cs fans question their sexuality. Good for him
2021-06-08 18:17
Dexter will get a top 4 finish at cologne at least for sure. Sexter will destroy them
2021-06-08 18:27
sexter
2021-06-08 18:33
so easy for sexter
2021-06-08 18:46
"Honestly, I did feel quite a lot of homesickness, I definitely underestimated the impact that traveling from a relaxed country such as Australia to a COVID hotspot would be like" Jermans: why u bully me?
2021-06-08 19:09
#120
 | 
United Kingdom slimfix
Such a good pick up, this team has lots of potential to stay at the top
2021-06-08 19:21
#121
 | 
Portugal TopFarmer
god sexter
2021-06-08 19:31
#123
 | 
North America dicennt
sexter mouz might win the major
2021-06-08 19:40
The amount of criticism he recieved in the first 3 months yikes
2021-06-08 20:09
asia brain + eu aim ez top 1
2021-06-08 20:11
DEXTER SEXTER
2021-06-08 20:51
God after all the adversity he still came out on top, admirable.
2021-06-08 21:14
#129
 | 
Poland sosiad
karrigan is the problem
2021-06-08 21:23
Faze has been meshing pieces from different puzzles for years with no results, mouseports has a lot of youth and skill, godspeed.
2021-06-08 22:45
#134
 | 
Europe t.o.p
respect
2021-06-08 22:47
HLTV when dexter joined mouz: omg kick this bot HLTV few months later: god sexter
2021-06-08 22:54
#137
 | 
African Union mikecool
morale of story = razor best products lmao
2021-06-08 23:26
The effort brought you good results... Deserved!!!
2021-06-09 02:42
#141
 | 
Hungary Shiron212
Well done!
2021-06-09 03:13
#144
 | 
United States B_A_
Happy for his success Hope the team continues improving
2021-06-09 03:39
Respect for dexter!! He deserved it
2021-06-09 03:57
That's my fucking boy.
2021-06-09 04:07
#150
 | 
Switzerland ayygurl
people need to stop shitting on players, they're humans just like you and I - so proud of dexter tho
2021-06-09 06:35
Much <3 vibes to sexter, he great
2021-06-09 06:46
pro
2021-06-09 07:43
#154
 | 
Vietnam OptGer
respect him
2021-06-09 08:47
sexter so smort
2021-06-09 09:50
you're welcome europe
2021-06-09 10:02
Mousesports reach major final but lose to naVi((
2021-06-09 11:46
#159
 | 
Hungary raffai
nice
2021-06-09 13:14
#160
 | 
India slavloli
Sexter>>>>Botigan
2021-06-09 13:18
keep it up guy! loving to watch mous
2021-06-09 14:49
flexter
2021-06-09 19:13
#167
 | 
Denmark theHeniek
god
2021-06-10 20:18
chinese people always succeed
2021-06-10 23:15
title should be how dexter was carried to win it
2021-06-21 13:17
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