As part of our series of pre-ESWC interviews, we caught up with fm-eSports TOXiC member Brandon "weber" Weber and enquired him about the preparations of the UK-based team for the tournament in Paris.
We began our coverage of the first major international event with CS:GO on Wednesday, with an interview with Kory "semphis" Friesen from Area51, who will be the only North American representative in Paris.
Next up on our list is Weber, a former member of the highly-successful mTw CS:Source division, who has gone back to his roots to represent the UK at the ESWC with fm.TOXiC - who recently added 1.6 ace André "BARBARR" Möller as a stand-in for the tournament.
How have you prepared for ESWC 2012? Have you bootcamped or only practiced online? Do you feel ready for the competition?
We have prepared for ESWC by purely playing online. We did inquire about bootcamping but the last suitable place closed its doors in January, so we have had to resort to playing online. We would have preferred to have bootcamped, we could have got three weeks of playing down in only three days and it would have benefited us so much with this new line-up. I feel that we are prepared on every single map, we are completely confident and we are going to try to prove we are as good as we know we can be!
How many hours have you played CS:GO overall? How about your team-mates?
Me and Neil both have 190 hours each, Zed and BARBARR are both sitting on 300 hours, with Whindanski on 270. I do not think hours are a great indication as to whether a team will be superior to another, I think experience will count a great deal towards whether a team places well.
What are you thoughts on CS:GO? What do you like and dislike? If you could change one thing, what would it be?
I tried really hard to find something I noticeably liked but I cannot put my finger on a single aspect of the game. I suppose if anything, it would be the new feel to it, but it is still lacking hugely in comparison to Source and 1.6. Now onto the dislikes, I feel as if the AK is not as strong as it should be, tapping wise, the movement feels very heavy and sluggish, the maps are not suitable for spectators and I could probably go on a lot more. The right angle peaking always gives an advantage to the person facing, it does not reward you for getting into a good position, it more or less punishes you for trying to play smart when someone can just run sideways and see half of your body before you can see their head.
What do you expect from ESWC 2012? If your life depended on guessing your final placing, what would you guess?
If my life were to depend on it, I would definitely see us getting out of the groups. I can see us winning against either NiP or VERYGAMES if we have our A game. I would realistically place us 3rd, but anything could happen on the day. We are the underdogs and hopefully teams that like to bad manner us in Practice will realise we're more than capable of being at the top.
What can you tell us about your competition based on seeing them play and practicing against them? Who do you consider the strongest three teams going into the event?
We tend not to face teams that we may more than likely face at ESWC right now, I believe we have something that other teams do not and we should not reveal that before we have even attended.
Can you talk about your team-mates and explain to our readers what everyone's role on the team is in-game?
Neil is our in-game leader, he is calm and keeps a level head regardless of the situation. He is a superb In-game leader and is always open to suggestions. Whindanski is our mad fragger, if you were to take that literally. He is the guy we send to get some kills in a certain part of the map (and then eventually die..) He can change a round within seconds and is always willing to learn. Zed is our hybrid player, he awps, he rifles and he gives input when needed. He is a valuable player and always consistent. BARBARR is obviously BARBARR as you all know, he is primarily an awper but rifles when needed. He gives us insight into what 1.6 teams are like and gives us so much information when it comes to controlling an area of the map, he is also very consistent and can make big plays in important games.
Weber playing with mTw
Many say CS:S players had an advantage in switching to CS:GO. Do you agree? Has the game been out long enough for it to even out?
I would not say we have had an advantage when it comes to switching, the game differs greatly to source and we have all had to adapt to play-styles and the mechanics. The only slight advantage we have are knowing the maps in this form, which is not really a great deal when most maps are 90% similar to 1.6 apart from a few plant pots here and there. 1.6 players will obviously have to change how they play, which will differ from how we have had to change, but I don't think there's been a huge advantage.
Do you believe it is necessary or advantageous to mix players from different games, or do you think it does not help?
At first I didn't believe it was necessary to mix players, 1.6 players are used to a good standard of playing, whether it be salary or an organisation with luxury perks which they would no doubt expect in GO (Getting a salary for doing nothing in this game whilst being relatively mediocre). I objected at first to get Barbarr, with no dis-respect to him, I just believed that we would be better off with a Source player, or someone that had the same understanding of us when it comes to playing. Barbarr is an exception to this, regardless of him being salaried he understood our situation and doesn't expect more than what he has given so far. He knuckles down and is improving day by day, he listens to criticism and takes everything on board. I am in no doubt sure he will be a stand-out player at ESWC.
With CS:GO still being a relatively new game, do you believe simply playing more hours still gives players a clear advantage?
As I said above, I think with hours you get to know little tiny things about each map, where to boost, what flashes to throw and no doubt they are an integral and a big part of the game. I just believe experience will pull through, whether it be playing in a high pressured match or just being at a LAN with spectators crowded around you, I think the teams with the greater experience will pull through.
Do you expect TORNADOTONI to participate in LAN events at some point after having dodged tourneys in CS:S as well? How many more events can he miss until he will be replaced?
TORNADOTONI, contrary to belief, attended multiple LANs in Source. He went to DSRACK #2, an IFNG with the now defunct SK CS:S Lineup and I-43 with me in mTw. There is no doubt he is a lot better online than on LAN, it's only natural for a player with next to none LAN experience to be superior online. He was never a core fifth and was simply standing in for us in the ESEA ESWC qualifiers.
Weber, nEiLZiNHo and Whindanski at XLParty last year
Why did you pick BARBARR out of all possibilities as his replacements and how does he compare in terms of playing style to TORNADOTONI? Is there a chance of him becoming a permanent member or will TORNADOTONI return after ESWC?
Me and BARBARR had played together in the recent EPS qualifiers along with Troubley, strux1 and stavros. We had a good laugh together back then, we spoke quite a bit and always kept in touch after that team disbanded. We were thinking about a new fifth player for ESWC and potentially the future and his name was brought up. After a lengthy discussion we decided we should give it a shot and we have not looked back. We have no idea what the future holds, it could ultimately depend on how well we play at ESWC and whether we can sort out the business side of things. We all enjoy playing with BARBARR and hopefully the future is bright for us.
Were you surprised that your team was able to come out on top in the ESWC qualifier, defeating in the final mouz, who had been such a household name in the CS:S scene?
I was not exactly surprised, mousesports have not practiced for God knows how long and despite us being a relatively new line-up, we had a ton of confidence going into the game. It was widely known in Source that mousesports only practiced if they had something to play for that was worth winning. We knew they had not been playing and we tried to use that to our advantage.
Some of the teams who will be at the ESWC finals have faced early exits in the online tournaments in which they have played, like THOR Open. Do you agree with the notion that CS:GO is a little bit random right now, especially online?
I do completely agree that it is random, it is exactly like source in that regard. Me and BARBARR tried to compare 1.6 online teams to Source online teams and I could go on and on about the teams that were unbeatable online and failed miserably on LAN, whereas in 1.6 he said there were only three or four, max. I think the game itself is random and if you have full confidence whilst playing you can pull off almost anything in any situation, whereas I would assume it was different in 1.6.
You were part of mTw for some time. Are you surprised that the team is struggling right now?
I am not surprised in the slightest, I will try to remain professional but I do not believe they have the right mix of players to form a solid team. They all have ulterior motives when it come to playing (Salary) and if they were not to receive that you would not see them team up in the darkest of CS:GO days. Hopefully they can recover and finally give the mTw name some respect it deserves, because quite frankly it's shattered as of now.
Pretty much the only UK team who managed to make an impact on the 1.6 scene (4Kings) had Scandinavian players on it, but mousesports were very successful in CS:Source. What do you think that the differences between the UK teams in these two games were? Do you think that you will be able to take this successful formula to CS:GO?
I think it all depends on what you receive from playing, and possibly cultural reasons. In the UK, and in no doubt many other countries, it is frowned upon to play videogames for a considerable amount of time (by the general public). No team is willing to play the amount needed to be the best without receiving a salary and unfortunately in the UK there are no organisations that do this, hence why the best Source team was salaried for a lengthy period of time (in the CGS) and now in mousesports. If you look at the 1.6 UK scene, on the other hand, I would assume no teams were being salaried, hence why they made no dent in the scene. I would like to think we can take reign as the best UK GO team, but that will all have to be decided when we face each other with equal practice.
Keep checking our website for interviews with the other teams and all the latest info about the ESWC finals, which will take place from November 2-4 in Paris.