sycrone: "I think this event we'll make a good statement"
Following the departure of Robin "ropz" Kool from MOUZ as the Estonian star made a move to FaZe, a period of rebuilding began for the German organization. Keeping youngsters David "frozen" Čerňanský and Aurimas "Bymas" Pipiras as well as in-game leader Christopher "dexter" Nong, the squad looked towards academy player Ádám "torzsi" Torzsás and veteran Frenchman Nathan "NBK-" Schmitt.
After a short period and two events, the team pivoted away from NBK- and promoted JDC from MOUZ NXT. The team has not yet reached the heights they hit when ropz was on the lineup, failing to qualify for the Major, but still took down Outsiders and played close against Vitality.
With that rebuild came a new coach, who was brought on to build MOUZ's academy team. We sat down with Dennis "sycrone" Nielsen to discuss the progress of the team since the Regional Major Ranking event as well as the building of the original MOUZ NXT lineup.
The veteran Dane was happy with the addition of JDC so far, and spoke on the benefits of dexter's style as an in-game leader. He also gave an in-depth look at assembling the very successful MOUZ NXT lineup.
I wanted to start off with the game you guys had earlier today with ENCE. The T side was a little bit rough, and I imagine you guys expected a better result there. Do you think you guys had a specific problem in shutting down hades or something else that let that game slip away from you?
The biggest problem against ENCE was that they were really good at hitting A. On our CT side we really struggled shutting down door. We tried different solutions and we had a few pauses and timeouts to talk about it, but we didn't come up with anything good enough to shut it down. It was something we talked about after the game, so I think if we played them again it would probably be a different story. It was something we also prepared for, but our preparation just didn't bear fruit you could say. T side, just didn't get it going. I think we had a few okay scenarios where we had advantages actually, but we still lost them.
Now in the game against Movistar, things started really rough on Ancient, but then you guys turned it around. What was that adjustment that let you start making that comeback to win the map?
I think just before the game, dexter said something in our team huddle. He said "It's time to stop playing around" and "treat it more like a FACEIT game. We need to pull out our big balls. We had so many young players on the team and we need to show our background, we all come from FACEIT and we need to treat it more like a FACEIT game." We went into the game with that mentality and I think it helped a lot, because early on against ENCE there was a lot of jitters, a lot of nerves, and here we just stepped up massively.
As you said earlier, on T side we didn't get too many rounds, but I think it's like that when you start on T, especially these days and Ancient is quite heavily CT sided. So we were happy getting seven rounds, even without the T pistol. We knew we were going to get it home on CT side, the last time we played them we also just got a few T rounds and we had nine on CT side and destroyed them, so we were quite comfortable.
The Mirage game seemed to be a lot more in your control for most of that game, I noticed also Bymas got 30 kills there. Do you think once you guys made that comeback, the motivation and momentum was there?
For sure, the mentality shifted between the two games we had and also just being up 1-0, the pressure is suddenly gone from you and you can just play your game. This time we also started CT side, which makes it a little bit easier.
A month or so ago, you spoke with us at the RMR about the addition of JDC and your reasoning behind it. Looking back over the two to three months that you've had him so far, how do you think that move has panned out so far?
I think team chemistry-wise we are at a really good spot. I think Jon (JDC) provides a lot in that aspect as well, especially because he is getting along very well with everyone on the team. He is connecting well with David (frozen) and Auri (Bymas), we just have a bunch of youngsters that are gelling well together. In that aspect, socially, we are getting along really well and we are getting to know each other a bit more. I'll say that it's a process, right? We went home after the RMR and we talked about "ok we need here 15-20%, that's what we're looking for."
I think if you look at your results as well recently, we play a lot of close games. And we still played some good games - we beat BIG, Copenhagen Flames, and other opponents to get here - and I think Jon is a big contribution to that. I'm not going to hide the fact that obviously recently Jon has had a few rough games, there are some things in the background that we are looking at and working on. We also for this event have our sports psychologist with us, it's something he's supporting in.
Since you made the move up to the main team, you've been working with dexter for a while. How do you compare dexter as an in-game leader versus a lot of the in-game leaders you would find in Denmark or maybe yourself when you were an in-game leader? How does his style compare to the Danish style?
I think Chris (dexter) is in general very calm and collected. He is always super chill and I think in a lot of other Danish in-game leaders you'll find that they will get way more hyped and run a lot more on momentum. For example gla1ve, you can often see him getting excited. In the case of karrigan or cadiaN they are even more excited, but dexter is always super calm and chill and collected. If you ask him "how are you doing? how are you feeling after that 3K?" "eh, I'm just chilling, I'm just vibing." That's always the response.
Talking about NXT as well, I wanted to ask about the creation of that original lineup. I don't know how involved you were with the original creation, because I think you came on at the same time as JDC and xertioN. How involved were you in the creation of the academy side?
I was probably the guy with the most influence on how the roster shaped out. When I was in talks with MOUZ, they said they were originally looking at getting a German roster because it's a big German fanbase, but we quickly came to the conclusion that MOUZ is more and more an international brand. Also, the main team is English speaking and international, so it makes sense if you want to take players, they go there.
They already had JDC in the scope and had a good view of him, so I started talking to him about how he viewed the team and some players. xertioN was also a guy that I was a little bit in touch with - I actually wanted to maybe make a team with him and NaToSaphiX as well, before I made the final decision to commit to being a coach. Those two were kind of in the scope and I did a lot of player interviews, also player interviews with JDC of course, he wasn't a guarantee. I also talked to xertioN to see how he is, then interviewed a lot of different players. We thought of how it could shape out and talked closely with Jon, JDC, because he was in the picture, but especially also with Kamil, siuhy, who was the in-game leader, because I knew if he was going to be the in-game leader it's important for me that he views the roster in a good way, he sees it playing out with all the roles and chemistry.
Early on it was me and then Jon, and then Kamil came on board in figuring out the different pieces. For example, he suggested Szejn, Hubert, for the team. But before then there were a lot of players, we did maybe like 15 different player interviews and looked at a lot of different players. We talked to coaches and high profile personalities in different regions, because I don't know who's good in Spain, I don't know who's good in Sweden, so I just took the word of people who were recognized "Who's on the come up, who's good in these roles?"
You also spoke about siuhy and bringing him on as the IGL. I don't believe he was in-game leading before on Izako Boars, so how was that transition for him to becoming more of a captain figure?
Honestly, very natural for him. Watching his game in Izako Boars it was clear he was a playmaker, he likes to take space. I think it's also the meta for in-game leaders to be that kind of guy. Talking to him, I instantly knew he was super sharp, very clever around the game and also in Izako Boars he did a lot of the calling on some maps, and he was mid-round calling a lot. He is Polish, but he lived in Ireland since he was six years old, and now recently he moved back to Poland, but he speaks fluent English, and that's a big help when you have to call in an international team.
Looking at the results in the past couple months, with the disappointment at the RMR, even though you guys did have an admittedly pretty hard route, and then also with the Valencia qualifier, what do you think is preventing you guys from breaking through to that next level?
As I said, we're a young team and we're looking at 15-20% right now. If you look at our results, we have a lot of close games - the game against Vitality at the RMR was very close, perhaps we could have won that. Yeah we didn't make it through the Valencia qualifier, but you have to remember there was also six other teams that didn't make it, and we beat a lot of good teams on the way there. We made it to Dallas, beating a lot of good teams - Flames and BIG for example. It's not that the results have been piss poor, but they for sure have not been what we want. I would say it is a building process right now.
Looking forward to tomorrow, you'll either be playing FaZe or Vitality. I imagine you're preparing more for Vitality in that game, what are the expectations going into that match and what are you looking to do for the rest of this event?
Preparation is going to be as usual, but I think what is most important is that mentally, we are in touch with the game. Just like at the RMR, I think the pressure is going to be on Vitality or FaZe, I mean they are big favorites and we are underdogs, and we're going to into it like that. We know we can easily beat them, in practice and in other scenarios we've had really good results so it's just a matter of time and I think this event we'll make a good statement.