Few, if any, in CS:GO community could have missed Team SoloMids rise to power and the team cementing a place in the upper echolons of Counter-Strike.
What few might have missed though, is that team embarked on this journey – and still are aiming at the highest accolades in the esport while having a squad basically not being able to pursue their dreams on full time.
– In one shape or form there have always been one of us, or even several of us, who have been studying full time while we have been playing professional CS:GO, Peter ”dupreeh” Rasmussen of TSM told Aftonbladet Esport ahead of the upcoming major in Cologne.
Team SoloMid was often looked upon as a team who would always choke at the grandest of stages. The team fell short, often at the hands of Ninjas in Pyjamas, in the biggest tournaments that the worlds most popular FPS could offer.
But something changed as the team parted ways with Henrik ”Fetish” Christensen and recruited Finn ”Karrigan” Andersen. As the former Team Dignitas players moved on to Team SoloMid, the team slowly found their foundation, a foundation they later used to propel them selfs to become one of the best teams in the world.
All this was done during a time while one or more of the five man squad was still forced to study. At this moment, Karrigan is still finishing his master degree and the paper he is writing is due just a week after the second major of the year.
– We have been struggling with this for some time now, but it is one of the things we all need to go through in life so we haven’t spent to much energy on it. Nicolai ”device” Reedtz recently graduated from high school for example. I did that three years ago, and as soon as Karrigan turn in his paper we will for the first time be a team with no other commitments other than CS:GO, Peter ”dupreeh” Rasmussen told Aftonbladet Esport during IEM at Gamescome.
”There are so many different play styles”
Aftonbladet Esport meet up with the talented rifler just ahead of the grand finals, where TSM would face off against newly rebuilt Team EnvyUs. The French team went ahead and made the process short wit the Danish lineup and travled to their bootcamp about 40 000 dollars richer. Though still eyeing the trophy at the huge games fair in Cologne, Team SoloMid have had their mind on a much bigger prizepool in the same city.
– We played really bad the last tournament we were in, but it feels better in this one. When this tourney is over, we are going to head back home for a few days then travel back to Germany and bootcamp for as long as we can until the major. So basically we are going to bootcamp for a week. We will talk tactics and go through our overall strategies.
For an amateur, two weeks of preparation seem to be a fairly short time span in terms of changing stuff and coming up with new ideas, but how much can you professional players do during that amount of time?
– A lot. It is not only that we will practice for twelve hours a day, we will also be together for even more time than that. That means that we will be able to talk about CS:GO almost 24/7 and that will spark new ideas. We can talk about individual teams we will be facing like ‘if they push us like that, we could do this counter measure’ and so on, durpeeh elaborates and continue:
– There are so many different play styles that each team will bring to the tournament that we have to create stuff that will work against both aggressive and passive teams. At the same time, we will need to be able to change up our stuff at a moments notice. For example, if we figure out that team have a huge disadvantage against our more aggressive tactics, they will also try and account for that – so we will need to even be able to switch it up mid round.
”It is basically a huge mind game”
Team SoloMid have an employee who help the team out with demo watching and giving the information needed against each opponents ahead of each match. While that has been proven to be a winning strategy, most recently used by Fnatic during the last major, dupreeh also says that the team overall will do some demo viewing, but more specifically Karrigan.
– Thought he might get the information from our guy ahead of the game, he also feels the need to get the feel for the opponents so that he can make adjustments mid round on the spot as he see a certain set up from the enemy. If he watches the demos he get a picture in his head on how the team might be adjusting to us, which is better than just hearing their typical strategies. But all teams always have something new to show during the majors, so it is basically a huge mind game.
At the hight of their recent success, Team SoloMid famously crashed out of the ESEA/ESL Pro League finals after losing one map to Keyd Stars, and one to Fnatic. When asked whether TSM now fears the upcoming BO1-games, though the format have been slightly changed, Rasmussen says that the IEM at Gamescom is a good practice ahead of the biggest tournament of the year.
– You have to adjust your mindset in a BO1. In an usual BO3 you can become a bit sloppy at times saying stuff like ‘we still have so many rounds to play’. But in a BO1 you don’t have time for that. You need to be ultra focused at all times. The one I’m a bit pissed of about during the ESEA/ESL Pro League debacle was the game against Keyd Stars, they got the moment at the right times and won the most important rounds. We played fairly good against Fnatic and eventually lost 16-14. But Fnatic is Fnatic.
”It was huge for us”
Despite what ESL might think, it is fairly obvious for an outsider looking in that you guys along side Fnatic, to some extent Na’Vi and even Team EnvyUs now with their new lineup, who are the front runners. What are your thoughts on the opposition as the major is drawing closer?
– It is going to be really hard because there are so many good teams. Fnatic are probably favorites since they won the last major, but I think it is all about match ups. Say that we face them in the playoffs, and we have a really good record against them so we might beat them, then we face Virtus.Pro who on the other hand have a really good record against us. It will come down to the match ups and how the bracket will turn out. With that being said, I think the top four is going to be us, Fnatic, Na’Vi and Team EnvyUs.
What do you think about the new Team EnvyUs lineup?
– They have been looking shaky here and there, but they have so much talent and fire power now that the players them self can win the game for the team, Peter ”dupreeh” Rasmussen said before being losing the grand finals in three straight maps at the hands of the French team.
How big was it for you guys when Karrigan came in to the team?
– It was huge for us. He is working so hard for the team, and as he came in he tore everything we had to pieces and created all new strats for us. He made us start all over from basically scratch. He made us a really good T-side team and that gave us so much confidence.