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Starting July 6, Bad News Bears will begin their adventure at the IEM Cologne Play-In. In a press session, Peter “ptr” Gurney, Jonathan “Jonji” Carey and Alan “Shakezullah” Hardeman talked about their team and European competition.

Not switching to VALORANT

During the Covid-19 pandemic, the majority of North American players switched to Riot’s VALORANT. Due to the similarity between the two games, Counter-Strike players, especially, switched and instantly found success. However, Bad News Bears’ players stuck to their roots. According to Jonji, “[VALORANT]  didn’t give me the same feeling. ” He didn’t get the “adrenaline rush” after an insane clutch or great play. Shakezullah chimed in, saying that if he “wanted to go get a paycheck, then I’d get a real job” instead of switching to VALORANT.

Approaching Mousesports and LAN at IEM Cologne

Lately, Mousesports have been performing well – most recently winning Flashpoint 3. In their opening match, BNB is playing Mousesports, and although they appear to be an underdog, they have confidence they can win. According to ptr, “the biggest thing is containing Ropz and Frozen. If we can contain them… It’ll be very beneficial.”

While most NA fans are happy that Bad News Bears qualified, Shakezullah said qualifying isn’t enough. “A lot of people view coming over to EU and coming to these events as having made it. You’ve qualified for these events. But the goal of these events is to become competitive and to become a team that’s winning.”

Just as in other esports, there are slight differences between playing online and playing on LAN at IEM Cologne. For Counter-Strike specifically, players can hold very tight angles and find more success in killing those who run through. While Bad News Bears said they won’t change their entire style, ptr said he will be “holding these tiny little one-inch cracks. And if they peek into my angle, they won’t walk past that crack without me shooting.”

Bad News Bear’s thoughts on Ancient

In one of their recent updates, Valve added Ancient to the competitive map pool and removed Train. While the decision was controversial to many, the members of Bad News Bears are loving the map. As a seasoned veteran of the game, ptr is enjoying the “many different options and (how) the map is very dynamic right now. So I’m excited to keep playing and see where it can go from there”.

Adding Madcow as a coach

Any good team has an amazing coach behind the scenes working with all of the players to improve their performance. But, Bad News Bears’ ex-coach Matthew “mCe” Elmore got an offer in VALORANT he couldn’t refuse and left the team. So, the team picked up Nathan “Madcow” Retterath a few weeks later. While he wasn’t a very known coach, ptr says that “he surprised me with how knowledgeable he actually was.”

Also, according to Jonji, Madcow has the “funniest laughs, and there are three people on our team that if you make them one of them laugh, your whole TeamSpeak is going to be laughing for the next five minutes.” In other words, Madcow grounds the team and reminds them that at the end of the day, “you’re playing a video game for money, and you should have a smile on your face.”

*Note: Josh Treadway and Grady Hooker contributed to this article.