I was talking to daps earlier and he seemed to think that your series against NRG had a lot of mind games being played in it. He said that he struggled to get a read on what you guys were doing and that you had prepared well. From your side of the server, was this the case?
Yeah, it is true. The last event at cs_summit we played NRG and they were the guys that knocked us out. So we kind-of knew they were counter-stratting us at cs_summit and we used that info for this event. 'They know we do this so lets play around it and stuff like that'. It feels good to have the revenge on it at the end of the day. We kind-of did expect them to do the same stuff. But, we came in like 'yo, if they switch it up, lets just play our game and forget everything that we had prepared.'
So we were ready for both situations. And the counter-stratting, or the changes we had from cs_summit to this event kind-of just worked out for us in that Bo3.
Do you have any examples of these changes?
So for example, we knew, they knew that we play 3 B-site at the start a lot on Inferno because that's what we did at cs_summit. So we kind-of tried faking it. In cs_summit I think we started 3 B at the start of every round. And we kind-of knew that they knew because at the end of the half at summit they started doing fast A plays.
So at this event because we did kind-of know that we tried faking it early on and stacking towards bracket. And it did kind-of work out for us, so we got like a couple of early rounds. Then, when we thought daps would figure out that we knew it, we started going back to our normal plays. And that's were I think the mind games worked out for us.
How important is the momentum of a series to you guys? Against NRG there was a lot of shouting from you, and especially from James, it seemed the series meant a lot and that you had the confidence to close it out.
I think it's really important, especially because there's an NA team against us. There's always that little rivalry of 'who is the best NA team right now?' 'who can compete?' and stuff like that. NRG has been doing really good in the last few events so we were really impressed with how we did against them. We always do pretty good against them... Usually. But they always get the end of the Bo3, it's always like 2:1, 2:1 to them. So the fact we were on top here, the momentum was just on our side every half. Even if they were up 11:4, 9:1, the second half we took it back and rode the momentum the entire game.
And now you've got this crazy rivalry against Na`Vi as well right? Who would've expected Ghost/Na`Vi to be a legit match-up?
The Na`Vi one I feel like is a little different. I feel like when we lose against Na`Vi is when we lose our energy. So, for example, this event it was right after our NRG Bo3 and that series was sort-of intense right? And Na`Vi, if I recall rightly against Sharks and they owned them like 16:4, 16:5, and they had time to rest and stuff like that. Those players are really high experienced, they've been to like hundreds of events, they're used to these intense games back-to-back.
They had a lot more energy, and for us, the first map was OK because we had energy. But then we crashed after that overtime on Train. We ran out of energy, we kind-of saw it at the end of train. Then on third map we were getting out-played, we were making silly mistakes. You know, when you're tired... It kind-of happened to us at Stockholm to actually. Where we were like 'we need to practice, scrim more' to get more stamina. But, it just comes with experience, you play more events you get used to that feeling. You could tell Na`Vi didn't crash at all. They were doing the same level of plays the whole Bo3 and we were like, 'next time we'll figure out a more efficient way to maintain [our level] over multiple series.'
If you look at the VOD from our POV you could tell, third map, it was done. The comms weren't there, the energy wasn't there. We could even win a round and there was no one hyped up. Compared to the NRG Bo3? Every round was big. We know we can beat Na`Vi. It's not a question of skill level, or preparation. It comes down to energy.
It's crazy that you nearly can beat someone like Na`Vi though right?
We always do good against really, really good teams because we always come with the mindset of 'there the better team, there's no pressure on us, we don't have anything to lose.' And also against the top NA teams it's kind-of the same thing, they're scared of losing to us and we come here knowing they're scared of losing to us. We get confidence off the bat. Same thing against Na`Vi, same thing if we were to play Astralis.
When we play the lower teams though it's like 'we beat Na`Vi, how are we losing to this team'.
It seems to be a pretty common thing. Many of the players I've talked to so-far have said something similar, if not word-for-word what you're saying.
I don't know if there's a way around this mentality of being scared of losing to those lower teams. It always comes down to the world ranking though. You're never scared of playing a team like Astralis cause, they should be beating you. So when you start beating them it's like 'oh, we can actually beat them?'. Then you just ride the momentum and then boom there's an upset.
Talking more about this event specifically, is this your highest rated event or close to it?
It actually is my highest rated event. I don't know what I did different. I've been playing a lot more lately. We had a boot camp right before [this tournament] and we usually do a lot better when we have a boot camp. So that's what we did at Stockholm and ZOTAC, we did pretty good at both those. So, I think that's what we're going to do moving forward - have a boot camp before every event. Also try to prepare a lot more and stuff like that. I don't know, this event, everything felt better... apart from the jet-lag. We were all pretty jet-lagged.
Because watching the game as an outsider it seemed that your performance was also linked to Koosta playing well, Neptune playing well, Wardell going big. It feels like these guys buy you space and then you're able to capitalise on it, or at least, feel comfortable in going for those more aggressive plays knowing there's a safety net.
Everything just worked out for us. Everyone had their rounds. Even if someone had a bad half, in the second half you could pick it back up. For us, in practice, it can get rough. Like, we can get mad at each other. But when it comes to match time, everything shuts down. There's no more negativity. So that's where we see people picking it up even if they're having a bad game at the start.
It feels good. And also Wardell, when he's alive he can win you any round. So any time you see him alive... He just does his thing [laughs].
How are you finding this Ghost system? Has it been harder, easier, what you expected in developing alongside some of NA's most legendary, and fastest rising talents?
I've been finding myself pretty good. You know, I'm in more of an entry role right now. I'm kind-of liking it. I feel like that's my strength. At the same time, not that I'm not used to it. I'm just like getting better every day, grinding, grinding, grinding. That's just the goal - setting up roles and a little structure. I feel like it's working out for us, or at least, is more consistent than past events.