In the past few tournaments we’ve seen a new cluster of teams lift trophies in Fnatic, Liquid and mousesports. In the post-shuffle, there is a tendency for strange situations to obtain before the rosters, and consequently the results, to stabilise. As a result of this regression to the mean, it can be difficult to distinguish between legitimate and fluke results. Looking more profoundly into the results can give us an insight as the degree to which the trophy will serve as an indication of future results.
Here, we’re going to take a look at mousesports, and determine whether or not they are a contender. Out of the three teams mentioned above, I take mouz to be the most impressive in regards to their ceiling. Their ability to find opening kills is unparalleled, and their skill with force-buys is terrifying. Nevertheless, there are significant bumps in the road ahead if mousesports remain at their current level.
The most important skill mousesports must continue to develop is composure. Early on in this lineup, they threw many leads in critical series, including an important final against FaZe at ECS Cancun.
STYKO addressed this issue in an interview with HLTV: “I guess closing games is an issue because it's something you can't practice, it has to come with experience and we feel like its getting better every tournament.”
And while they seem to have overcome much of their map-closing woes, the issue of composure remains prominent. Over many series, mouz have displayed an absence of psychological durability, whereby a slow start can spell a death sentence. Consider their first series against Liquid at StarSeries, an event they won. Despite being their best map, mouz lost Mirage 16-11 to the NA Team. Liquid won the first few gun rounds, and mousesports became gun-shy, unable to apply their strong CT side AWPing. They also gave up many man-advantages due to poor coordination and trading. Meanwhile, later in the same tournament, when mouz faced Liquid again on Mirage, the former took the map handedly with a 16-7 score. That dominant showing was followed by a 16-4 victory for Liquid in which mouz once again couldn’t get going. Unlike championship caliber teams, mousesports lack the resilience to remain competitive and active in maps they struggle. When they lose pistol, when they can’t snag the first couple gun rounds in the half, mousesports start to stall. Even top teams that famously cannot close, like FaZe or Astralis, find a way to make the majority of their defeats competitive. If mousesports want to become a contender and find consistent results, they will need to find a way to play consistently well.
The second dimension of CS that requires improvement for mouz is its map pool. As of now, the team only has a single dominant map: Mirage. Now, StarSeries was a success for mousesports in large part because they found incredible success on Train, a dramatic improvement on their part. But whether or not mousesports can continue to pile up the wins once teams anti-strat their T-side remains an open question. Beyond those two maps, things look grim for mouz. Previously excellent on Cobblestone and Nuke, they went 0-4 on the former at Starseries, and the latter recently underwent an overhaul. Beyond them, mouz is a decent Inferno team but far from the best, and they’ve only played Overpass once on LAN in 2018, a 7-16 defeat to Na’vi. As teams begin to catch on to mousesports heavy reliance on Mirage and Train, they will start avoiding Train, making it difficult to see how mousesports can reliably win best-of-three’s against top teams. Significant improvement will be required of them on Cobblestone, Overpass or Inferno if they want to become a world class team.
After some strong placings in the past few months and two impressive tournament victory, mousesports now enter the conversation as a contender at world-class LANs. With such prestige comes newfound trials. Teams begin to concentrate on you, expectations are heightened. In order to continue rising through the ranks, mouz will need to develop their durability and grow their map pool. Without improvement moving forward, the team will struggle to find consistent success, and they’ll be relegated to being a dark horse. Growth is necessary; the next few months will be mousesports biggest test yet.
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