While you didn't walk away with a win against Ghost Gaming, the last map on Train was quite close. I believe you had a 13:9 lead at one point and then you koosta got an insane 4k on a low-buy round. Watching, it felt like that was the turning point when things started to slip away and get out of control. Did it feel like that standing behind the boys?

I don't think it was totally out of control at that point. We still had a few rounds to spare. It was obviously rough I think they were on an eco or something at that point... Was pretty rough he got those kills. I think someone actually quick-switched or something [laughs] pulled out their knife as they pushed ramp... hit the wrong key or something. Just unlucky those things happen. I don't think it was out of control at that point though. Those things happen, we still had a few rounds to play with. But we still couldn't close it out.

This was the second 16:14 loss for you guys, with the first I'd say being a bit more of a 'brighter' loss being against Na`Vi. Was it a bit of a bitter-sweet moment for you guys being able to put so many rounds up against such a good team but still falling short?

We always knew our T-side was pretty good. We were pretty confident on it. We had a good game plan coming in and that we could get a lead. But even in scrims and in prac we knew our CT-side was a little bit rough. Mirage is our middle-of-the-pack map because we have that good T-side but our CT is something we know we need to work on. So we knew we needed a lot of T-rounds. So we got to 10 and we thought 'this could be enough'. So, we always knew even with 10 T-rounds it was still going to be close.

Definitely bittersweet because you always want to beat Na`Vi in the big leagues. But I mean, electronic popped off and when that happens...

emagine ESL Pro League Finals

It happens.

Yeah, it's hard to stop. No one can stop that really.

How has it been managing the inexperience of a player like Zeph against a side like Na`Vi? He's quite an important piece in your T-side given how forward he is. Has it been tough keeping his nerves down while also being inexperienced yourself in the coaching role?

Like you said, obviously I've got a lot to learn as well, this is my first big event. But I think Zeph, he has high expectations of himself. So he will get a little bit emotional at times but I mean, that's expected. He's young. It's good that he's here. It's a great achievement just for him to be at this event at such a young age. I think he's a really talented player.

As far as managing him... Just talk to him, tell him he's good. Like, there's not a whole lot to it [laughs]. I mean, in all fairness that's something I personally have to learn. Player management is something I'm not really into, obviously I come more from a pure analytical, making content type thing. So player management is something I hope to learn a little bit about.

As I said I just go 'are you alright mate?' that's about all I can do. It's definitely something I have to learn a bit more about [laughs].

So speaking about it, how has this event been for yourself? Obviously a big deal being your first event as well.

Well this is a great event. I mean, everything is such high quality. I've heard about how good events they run and it's lived up to expectations. I've been really enjoying it despite exiting early. Keen to enjoy Denmark.

Speaking to Bravado at Dreamhack Winter, they were saying how it was almost easier to play against the EU teams because of their structure. Is it similar for you, especially on a coaching side of things given how many Na`Vi games you've probably watched for content from before you started coaching ORDER?

I mean, I don't know if I'd say it's easier. It's always hard to try and say 'where's s1mple going to be?' it's almost impossible. I mean I always go through Tainted Minds and Grayhound demos back home. I like to do a bit of anti-stratting there. But I mean I have stuff in the back of my mind where even before watching demos I have already seen, made videos about 'oh, electronic plays here', 's1mple likes to do this'.

I'll still watch the demos again, but I've already got an idea in the back of my head. I don't know if I'd say they're easier to play these teams. They are definitely more structured. There's a little bit less 'why has done that?' coming from the players. It's good though, you also learn a lot. They punish you more for mistakes. In Australia, you can over-step or you do something wrong...

A good example was our mid control on Mirage actually, we were missing a flash. We had it set originally with this specific flash and then somehow it disappeared from the strat at one point back home. And we didn't even realise! We were running it back in Australia for the quals and getting away with it. We got here, and in our first couple of scrims were like 'our mid control is just being punished.' And we had to actually adjust and fix the mistake. That's something in Australia we didn't even notice because no one was punishing us for it.

hatz at ESL Pro League Finals 2018

Speaking of the scrims who have you guys scrimmed so-far? Find it very interesting the nature of the competition you run up against outside of officials.

We've had a couple of really good scrims. Have scrimmed Astralis a few times. Played MIBR a couple of times; North; Optic, the other Danish team. Bit of everyone really. Renegades, a couple of times - the other Australian boys.

The MIBR and Astralis scrims, they were... rough. They were hard. We didn't get too many rounds but we definitely learnt a lot. We're like 'what are they up to?'. Both teams are looking really good at this event as well. Wasn't too much of a surprise.

But some of the other teams we did pretty well against like North and Optic. Forgetting others but we definitely kept up, wasn't just getting dumpstered every game.

In these scrims were there any other examples of mistakes you had to fix like the mid-control flash? At least, anything you're able to talk about?

That was the big one. We've made a few tweaks to other things... A lot of individual stuff was big for the boys. Not repeeking. Again, coming back to Australia. That's a little bit of a bad habit amongst Australian teams in particular. There's a big drop off in Australian teams past the big four names and you can always get away with repeeking like that.

Most of the games we play, you can just go 'ah, I'll double peek this because I'm just better'. Whereas here, the boys learnt, 'if I double peek, I'm gone.' You can't be doing these type of things. You learn more individually and become a lot more disciplined.

aliStair ESL Pro League Finals

Looking more at home, there's been a bit of parity amongst the top teams and there results recently. Being at this big LAN, taking big teams so close, yet not being able to dominate domestically, how do you see the state of the scene?

I think there's definitely heaps of growth room in that sense. When these qualifiers are coming up... I mean, we've had back-to-back qualifiers towards the end of the year, just before we came here. Us, Tainted Minds, Chiefs, and Grayhound, we don't really want to play each other in scrims. So we're kind of all scrimming these lower levelled teams because we don't want to play each other. And then when we do play each other and we're both throwing stuff that doesn't work because they've worked against these lower levelled teams.

So I think just more teams, or in-general, more players... It's really weird. You're trying to avoid each other but then also trying to get the best practice... There's almost not enough teams. It's a complex problem.