Pre-IEM6 WC interview with zonic
Our pre-coverage for the Intel Extreme Masters season six World Championship continues, this time we talk with Danny "zonic" Sørensen from mousesports.
The debut for mousesports with Danny "zonic" Sørensen in January did not go too well, as the team went out in the group stage, not winning a single match. The team has now had over one month to improve and figure out mitakes, but has ended up in the tougher group at the IEM6 World Championship.
As the team bootcamp ahead of the biggest tournament of the year, we interviewed the former mTw member about joining mousesports, why Kiev was such a bad premiere and much more.
He also reveals that he had the opportunity to put together a new Danish team, before joining mousesports. He furthermore reveals that his contract with mousesports will expire after the World Championship.
You have played in a team with mixed nationalities before, would you say the experience from your days in NoA has helped you in anyway since joining mousesports?
Yeah of course. One thing is the communication in-game, but also to play with people with a different culture, humor is a thing you need to get used to. In this case, these two things has never been a problem though. The easier thing about playing with NoA was of course the language (Norwegian), which is a lot more similar to Danish than German is.
Four Danes now play for non-Danish teams. Do you see this trend continuing, with the possibility to create more international teams, like in soccer?
I think it is the future, but international teams has never been popular in 1.6, and I am afraid that it is a bad sign that we see more teams doing that. I think its because the talent in 1.6 is not growing as fast as it used to. So for example SK and fnatic does not have these 3-6 players they can choose and still be 100% satisfied with their team. New players decide to play Source, Battlefield, Starcraft and just newer games in general instead of 1.6, and I can only imagine it to be worse for us in the future.
You've been a pillar in Danish top teams for years, doesn't it to some extend make you a bit sad that Denmark is no longer able to put together a top team?
Definitely, and sometimes when the communication fails in mousesports I would wish they all knew Danish since it would be a lot easier for me. I also think Denmark has one of the best players in the World at the moment, and not to see them together is of course sad in some way. But again I have to refer to the lack sponsor interest in the CS scene.
Look at the Polish guys who have been jumping around for the last couple of 4 years from organization to organization. We talk about one of the best teams in the history, with the best player in the history who can barely make it sometimes. I think it is sad, even though they seemed to have found a decent organization in ESC. (Good for them!).
New York was the last event with mTw. Looking back, what do you consider as the best memories?
2008 – We brought in whimp in early 2008 and lost SEC where we lost to a Greek team and Attax. Everyone doubted our decision back then since we replaced a rifle player with one of the best AWP players in the World. No one expected Sunde to be so great with the AWP, and he sure proved himself during that year. We won our first major in May 2008 in Russia at a tournament that does not deserve to be mentioned. That was a breakthrough especially because we came so close in 2007 at ESWC against PGS and at WCG versus emuLate.
My best memory was the one-month trip where we started playing the Danish WCG qualifier and then went to Dubai, to China and then back to Germany playing ESL World Tour, World eSport Masters and WCG 2008. We lost in Dubai, but won the next two events, which were the best time of my career.
WCG 2008, one of zonic's best memories
When the team was released by mTw and decided not to continue together, how close were you to quitting?
Two days to be sure. I had been in contact with karrigan for a while since he told me ninja was thinking about retiring due to school. To be quite straight I needed to find a job since I obviously didn't get salary from mTw anymore. I was also close to joining another team but that didn't work out in the end.
Right after mTw was closed I was actually in contact with a guy from Razer who wanted me to start a new team. I contacted ave and told him about it, claiming that I thought he should re-consider his retirement if I could collect a team consisting of: zonic, trace, friis, karrigan and ave. Both ave and trace was ready even before I finished talking about it, but the rest of the story remains a secret, since it could destroy some relationships between teams and players.
So now you also got a little bit insider!
How were your offers from other teams in the period before joining mousesports?
It is obvious that the salary is becoming a bigger and bigger question in the scene between us players. We all have been used to getting paid for playing for the last 6-7 years. Now the teams are doing what they can to satisfy us of course, but they are struggling. Some offers I got was with a really low salary that made it impossible for me to play on a high level, because I needed to get a regular job.
I thought about one offer, before joining mousesports but I always wanted to play with karrigan and the way mousesports plays are similar to how we played in mTw.
The first big test with mousesports came in January, but you crashed in the group stage without a single victory. What exactly were the reasons why you didn’t make it out of the group?
Several things. No one was good individually and maybe the language played a part as well. I also think we didn't prepared enough and for me to play A on inferno was horrible, since I had to communicate a lot with the team, and in German.
It was said that you would receive German classes to improve your German. How has that been going?
We decided not to do it since it would be in the evening, so Finn is just helping me out and now I understand almost everything they say in-game. In Kiev everything was new and I had to get used to new spots, new language, new names on spots and new tactics. That was quite a lot to take in, and I regret I didn’t speak up more and said we need to change the positions.
Overall, how well have you fitted in with the team, with the communication factor in mind?
Obviously there is some problems, but if it was only the communication I think we would have done a lot better in Kiev. There was way too many factors that did we played bad. Right now I think the communication is on a level where it is acceptable, and I can't relax for 2 minutes in the game, which actually is positive since I need to pay so much attention on what is being said.
zonic with former long-time teammate MJE
Earlier this week the team suffered two losses in the German ESL Pro Series. With mousesports' history in the league, shouldn’t that be impossible?
Haha, to be honest we haven't played forge or mirage one single time. Last time I played mirage was DreamHack 2010 against SK with mTw, so I've never really played the map, since we removed it in mTw. Same story goes against Alternate, but in that match I thought we got a bad start which lost us the match, furthermore it didn't help us with all the DDOS attacks on me.
The team is currently gathered for a bootcamp in Germany, how has preparations prior to this been and what will the main focus be at the bootcamp?
It has been as good as we could. The difference between us and some of the top teams (SK, ESC, Na`Vi etc.) is that 3 of us are currently studying in University, and from what I know, the mentioned teams aren’t. So of course we can't play as much as we want to.
Safe to say you have a tough task ahead of you next week, playing in group A with Natus Vincere, ESC Gaming, SK Gaming, Anexis and TyLoo. What are your expectations going into this group?
I actually like the role of being an underdog for once. Obviously people expect NaVi, SK and ESC to proceed to the playoffs, but we "only" have to beat one of these two teams and TyLoo and Anexis of course, who we can’t underestimate. I expect us to lose a match in the groupstage, but I would also be disappointed if we didn't get through.
In mTw you never managed to win against Natus Vincere, despite some epic clashes. You did that with mousesports, despite it being online. Do you see any possible reasons why mousesports can, while mTw never could?
No idea to be honest. I think in the last couple of matches against NaVi it was in our mind that we couldn't win against them. I also believe that they played really good individually against us when we played, and sometimes you just love to play against some teams.
It has been rumored that trace was close to joining mousesports. What can you comment about this?
I don’t have any further comments to that besides I wish Martin the best of luck in SK, and he really deserves it! Will be fun to play against him and I am looking forward seeing him.
What is your opinion about the second group at the World Championship?
I think fnatic is the favorite to go to the playoffs, but all the teams can beat each other on any given day, so it is actually a really tough group even though it is nothing compared to ours. If I should pick a team to progress a long side the Swedes, it would be Moscow Five.
zonic was close to re-connect with ave after mTw demise
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is still in closed beta and receives mixed opinions from the community. Do you feel this will be the last season Intel Extreme Masters features Counter-Strike 1.6?
I think ESL is what keeps 1.6 alive. I think a lot will happen after this event, and if they decide not to continue with 1.6, you will see one CS star after another retiring from 1.6.
You've achieved wins at numerous big tournaments, yet you’ve never won the Intel Extreme Masters World Championship. What is gut feeling about going all the way to win it this week?
If we progress from the group stage I believe we have a pretty good chance. The whole tournament basically comes down to one day, and there is no room for errors. If we can manage to beat 2 of the 3 major teams in our group, I would seriously consider us as a contender. I have a good feeling, but I come into this with a great amount of respect for the other teams.
When the tournament has come to a close, where can we expect mousesports to show up next?
No idea, my contract ends after IEM, so the future is uncertain at the moment. Obviously I would like to continue playing 1.6, while I still feel I have time for it, but the game wouldn't be worth it without these amazing events, and then I would like to quit, so I can look back at this game with great memories.
The opening match for mousesports will be against ESC Gaming, starting at 09:10 on March 6. If you wish to find out when all of their matches will be played, then head on over to our viewer's guide.
If you missed our pre-coverage interviews, then click on the interview you wish to read, via the links below.