He replaced one of the most beloved players in the game when he joined Ninjas in Pyjamas, and less than a month later he played his first ever major finals in CS:GO.
Looking back, Mikail ”Maikelele” Bill thinks his team was only a few days of preparation more away from winning DreamHack Winter.
– The end result was good but we said after that if we had two more weeks to prepare, we would’ve won the whole thing, the AWP star says.
Only three weeks before the last major of 2014, Robin ”Fifflaren” Johansson announced his retirement from professional CS:GO and by leaving he left a hole in the most successful lineup of all time. The slot was quickly filled by coach Faruk Pitas former teammate Mikail ”Maikelele” Bill who was thrown straight into an intense month of trying to catch up with strategies and getting to know his new teammates.
And when talking about him joining Ninjas in Pyjamas one month after the fact, Maikelele says that he didn’t really know what kind of reactions would come from the news.
– It’s a bit scary when popular teams change players, because there can be a lot of hate and negativity. But I feel it’s been mostly positive and I believe the guys think that as well, he says.
”Always been good at managing pressure”
If someone doubted that Maikelele would fit in the NiP lineup, he proved them wrong during DreamHack Winter where he ended up with a +30 K/D difference, where +20 was from the finals against LDLC alone showing his clutch potential in high pressure situations. Even more remarkable, the performance was the first time he’s ever even been close to a finals of that magnitude.
– I’ve always been good at managing pressure and I didn’t feel nervous. A lot of people would’ve probably choked with so many watching the game but I think I handled the situation well, he says.
He even mentions a detail that sheds some light on how he seemingly raised his game to a whole new level during the last games of the tournament.
– During the finals, in the first game on Dust2, I wasn’t hitting my shots the way I should. Pita sat down at my computer and discovered that I had been playing with the wrong settings the whole tournament. My cl_interp was set to online settings. He changed it and then I played really well on Inferno and Overpass, so that was pretty funny.
Got multiple highlight in the finals
With the correct settings in place, he treated the audience to a couple of extremely highlight-worthy moments like the quad kill on Inferno and the flick shot on Overpass, proving what kind of damage the new NiP AWP:er can inflict on a team.
– It’s always great when you’re hitting your shots, to get some deciding moments and kills.
After that flick shot, you couldn’t close the round as Happy took you down. It was 16-16 in the deciding overtime. How many times have you thought about that situation since then?
– I knew he was gonna push me so I had to do something so I challenged him instead of getting closed in. The CZ is always good when you’re facing it but when I’m using it it’s not the best gun. I should’ve killed him.
So you haven’t practiced the CZ as much as, say, JW has?
– No, I haven’t. I’ve mostly whined about it, haha!
Noticeable change in the tactics
For long time fans of NiP and CS:GO, there was a noticeable change in the team play as Maikelele was free to roam for entry frags. And according to him that’s something they will try to evolve in the future.
– The main idea is that I’ll come in and be aggressive to get those entry frags. That’s something we’re gonna try to build on when we keep playing. In a way we are where we wanna be, they tell me to take initiative and push but at DreamHack with so much at stake you end up thinking twice and that’s no good because it can cause you to play defensively instead. You have to use your gut feeling, but that’s something that’ll come with time, me making my own decisions when everything’s at stake.
During the games, Fifflaren was wondering why NiP was using you as if you were him. Was that because of the lack of preparation, that you had to just rely on their old tactics in some cases?
– Yeah, when you get a new player with such short notice you have to use the old playing style a bit more, and I just had to take over some positions. But we’ll see what happens now before X-Games in Aspen.
Wanted to give it all in the finals
While this wasn’t Maikeleles first major appearance, since he played at DHW 2013 with LGB Esports, he had never experiences this kind of support from the fans. Something he thoroughly enjoyd throughout the finals.
– It was great. As soon as I started thinking of the situation we were in I just enjoyed the crowd. Before the game HeatoN said that our goal had been to finish 3/4 and we had already reached that, so it took some of the pressure off. We just figured we’d give it all we had in the finals, but that it wasn’t life or death so to speak.
And looking back on your results now, even though you lost the finals, how do you feel?
– I think we played great even though we’re a ”new” team. As a unit, we’re still fresh and it’s hard for the other guys to have a new player in the team and still be confident after only three weeks. The end result was good but we think we should’ve won the finals. We said after that if we had two more weeks to prepare, we would’ve won the whole thing.
”Don’t wanna call someone a cheater”
Before DreamHack Winter had even started, the VAC bans of Tovik ”KQLY” Hovmassian and Gordon ”Sf” Giry sparked a massive paranoia in the whole CS:GO community. DreamHack and Valve acted, ensuring that there would be no cheaters playing at their tournament. According to Maikelele, he didn’t think about wether or not his opponents were cheating even after the news broke.
– I’ve always thought things about people, both positive and negative, but I keep those thoughts to myself until they’re proven. Even after the VAC bans, I didn’t think about it much when I was playing. Time will tell what happens, I don’t wanna call someone a cheater and then get flamed when it turns out they’re not.
After the tournament, the whole cheating debate has cooled off. Do you think Valves and DreamHacks involvement helped rectify some of CS:GO:s reputation?
– It’s hard to say. There will always be cheaters and it’s the same in every sport. Wether you like it or not there are cheaters in every game. But I think it’s great that Valve says they’re working on the situation. It proves to the community that there’s a company trying to do something about it, and it might help bring the community together so that’s positive.
”I’m in NiP to stay”
For NiP, most of the players are on a vacation during the off season. Maikelele will start streaming on monday ”just doing his thing” as he expresses it. And even though he’s still officially just a temporary replacement in the team, he’s looking to make things permanent.
– I like every player in the team and the whole organization. They’re really friendly and have shown me how easy it is to become a part of the group. Socially, I get along great with everyone so of course I wanna join. I’m there to stay.