Team Liquid almost weren’t here at Cologne because you guys have had a packed schedule and were having to consider which events you really wanted to attend. When you have such a busy schedule, how do you find any downtime to do things like relax?
I don’t think it’s about relaxing, it’s more about not feeling stale in your tactics and keeping a good sanity because sometimes it’s very hard when you travel a lot. You just get overwhelmed by all the travel constantly every weekend sleeping in a different bed, on planes for multiple hours every week. It takes a toll on the mental aspect of life but recently, we’re doing really well and we have also found gaps between tournaments where we can actually fix our tactics and our strats and whatnot.
We qualified for Cologne and then after that had a week of practice so we really took the time to fix our mistakes from the last tournaments. It’s really not as bad as it seems and in hindsight, I think we should have accepted the tournament back then obviously, but we still made it so nothing really changed. We just had to play a couple of online matches. Everything is going really well right now.
TL are straight through to the semifinals against the winner of Na’Vi/NiP and it is likely you will face Astralis in the grandfinal if you win that. You beat them at EPL and have taken their throne at the top of the rankings, so do you feel more confident facing them in a final now?
We definitely feel more confident knowing that we beat them at the last tournament and it’s exciting because at [EPL], we had the AUG pre-nerf but now there’s no AUG so I think that they think they have the upper hand again because we were really using the AUGs when they were really overpowered but I think our teamwork is actually on point now and I think that’s what makes us better than most teams right now.
I don’t think it was any kind of weapon that we were using, I just think we are playing really well as a team and a unit in the servers so we are confident against them right now.
IGLs tend to be praised when teams are successful and criticised when the team struggles. Do you think that is because from the outside, people tend to only see results and stats with no insight to a team’s inner workings?
In-game leaders usually have the worst role on a team because they’re constantly supporting and then if your teammates don’t get the entries then you’re left in a 2v4 or 1v3 and whether the trades were down or not, they’re usually in more difficult positions across most of the maps. Obviously when you lose, people look to scapegoat someone so they look to the in-game leader or a single person not performing at their best. Everyone can’t perform at their 100% every match so whenever a team loses, people just tend to blame whoever had bad stats or blame the leader.
I think for in-game leaders it is difficult to get good stats because they’re usually supporting or they’re in clutch situations. I am very thankful for the IGLs that I have played with and I have respect for all the in-game leaders in the game too because I now have experience in it.
Would you say that for most in-game leaders, while playing difficult positions, that isn’t an excuse for consistently having poor stats? You had a very solid individual performance yourself in Cologne.
Obviously people have freedom within a team, like if I want to call a strat based around me I would probably call it because my team respects and listens to me. Most in-game leaders call a strat based around their star players and what they think will give them the best chance of winning the rounds. They’re not going to call a selfish strat because they’re playing badly, you know what I mean?
You should just practice as an in-game leader supporting in scrims, you should then definitely support in your matches and you should find some consistency between those two and if you have a good match, then the good stats will come. Generally speaking though, stats don’t really mean anything.
You have Twistzz and Stewie, who were both young NA stars who rose the ranks, what do you think about Cloud9 picking up TenZ and Complexity picking up oBo and is it a sign orgs are more willing to invest in the future?
It’s awesome to see these younger kids playing nowadays. Brollan is like 16 or something, oBo is 15 or 16, TenZ is maybe 17 or 18, it’s really cool to see the young talents finally get their chance on big teams. I really hope to see them perform and it’s a good thing for the scene, better than just recycling old washed-up players that join a team and get cut like a couple of months later.
It’s better to take a chance on a younger talent and hope for the best like Stewie or Twistzz.
You have had a successful run recently and are on course to win the Intel Grand Slam as a result, what is the plan for the team after Cologne and the IGS win?
We’re not really trying to think of the Intel Grand Slam as a goal because we don’t want to set any expectations. We’re just trying to win tournament-by-tournament and if the Grand Slam comes then it comes.
Obviously the goal of any team is to win the Major so that’s our number one goal right now. A secondary goal is just to win as many tournaments as we can coming up to the Major. We’re just trying to stay focused, not get complacent, and that’s where we’re at right now.