lmbt: “The roster simply outlived itself”

lmbt: “The roster simply outlived itself”

After almost two years of playing together, the old mousesports roster is no more. Released team’s coach, Sergey “lmbt” Bezhanov, weighs in on the decision.

On February 4th mousesports announced its longtime members Chris “chrisJ” de Jong and Martin “STYKO” Styk, as well as team coach Sergey “lmbtBezhanov will be moving to the bench. Excluding its three-and-a-half month long experiment with Janusz “Snax” Pogorzelski, mousesports maintained this exact roster for almost two years — since Miikka “suNny” Kemppi joined the team in Summer 2017.

The team had varying results recently. Mouz finished first at ESL One: New York 2018 ahead of Team Liquid and first at StarLadder & i-League StarSeries Season 4 ahead of Natus Vincere. But many good results in 2018 wasn’t enough for the team. Recent failure at Europe Minor Championship Katowice 2019, where mousesports were eliminated in the group stage by Valiance was the last straw. It was time for a change.

The released team coach Sergey “lmbt” Bezhanov says the decision was a right one and it was time for a drastic change.

Do you agree with your transfer to the reserve? How can you comment on these changes in general?

You know, the Major is just the last drop. The composition simply outlived itself, if you can call it that. I fully agree and supported the idea that the changes should be dramatic, that you need to start from scratch. Given the important role, I agree that the coach needed to be changed in order to change the approach and vision.

Who, if not the coach, should be responsible for the failure? I was not transferred to the reserve — there is no such option. But in general, I am satisfied with the attitude of the club towards me, and I have no hard feelings. For the time being, I’ll deal with some non-game issues.

Is it possible to say that the mousesports failures started after Snax joined the team? Why he could not play in mousesports? What was the atmosphere like when you took back the STYKO?

I can not say so, there were failures before. Snax is a great player. It’s not about him, but about the team as a whole. Problems have haunted us before; it was not their immediate solution. He was not the fix for the situation in the team. In the working environment where Snax came in, he could not find his place. Both sides parted very peacefully and with the understanding of the mistake made.

Unfortunately, I cannot fully disclose the situation with STYKO, but when he returned we simply did not have time to consider other players. On the other hand, we all understood perfectly well how we would play with Martin. We knew that we would get the output due to the fact that it was the middle of the season and a huge number of matches started online. The return of STYKO helped us not to fall too far — we remained at the same level, but realized that we could hardly jump higher.

You think it was a right call by the management to leave these three players (oskar, ropz and sunny)? In your opinion, how should the team develop further? 

The leadership’s step is quite clear: they have left the core-players and want to build a team around them. This is an absolutely normal practice. So far, I have no idea who they will be able to take, but I think that until the end of the major, we will not receive answers to these questions. The team needs to finally become a team, and I think this is a key factor in the selection of both players and a coach in the future.

A potential team that is interested in your services will have to pay for the transfer? Are you ready to consider positions other than a coach?

I still have a contract, and I still work at mousesports. But the club will let me go if I wish for it. In general, we have a very good relationship with mouz.

I am ready to consider different positions, you can even dream of debuting as a player 31 years of age (laughs). But I understand perfectly well that the goals that confront me are in fact unattainable in this role. Last week I was in analysis desk — a very interesting thing, on this one I will even comment on the matches [lmbt was an analyst of WePlay! Lock and Load, and the ICE London Challenge 2019]. But I do not see myself doing that on an ongoing basis, neither an analyst nor a commentator.

Do you plan to continue working in the European region or are you open to proposals from others? Is there any chance of your return to the CIS? 

At the moment I do not plan anything, but if I train the team, I would like to work in a hungry team. Preferably with young players who want to listen, learn and win. The region in our time does not matter, because you are not a player and you do not have to move to another part of the globe as a coach.

The goals of any team are always the same — to become the best and move only forward, even if it starts from the bottom. Why go to the championship if you do not want to win it? 

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Nerf: “I couldn‘t picture myself doing anything other than playing PUBG”

Nerf: “I couldn‘t picture myself doing anything other than playing PUBG”

No stranger to competition, Benjamin “Nerf” Wheeler is a familiar name to fans of PUBG Esports, having competed seriously since 2017 and joining up with Cloud9 in August 2018.

Since then the team qualified for National PUBG League — PUBG $1 million dollar league for North America. After the first week of the competition, Cloud9 secured themselves a third place, just behind Why Tempt Fate (ex-OpTic) and Tempo Storm. 

Following their success at the opening weekend of the competition, Cloud9’s Benjamin “Nerf” Wheeler talked about PUBG esports, competing for top spots, and the future of the game.

Who are you? Give us a quick introduction.

My name is Ben Wheeler, my IGN is Nerf. I’ve PUBG since early Beta and have over 4,000 hours in the game.

Your current name, Nerf, is a shortened version of your original name, NerfMePlz. Where does that name come from, and what led to you shortening it?

My name Nerf comes from when I played MOBA games, where the term is more common.

You’ve been competing in PUBG for quite some time, playing with NOVA back in 2017 and through 2018. What was it like for you in the early days, and did you always have a goal of going pro? What is your background in competitive gaming, and what’s the first game you took seriously with the mindset of “I want to do this for a living?

Competing back in the early days of competitive was just me learning as much as I can from mentors or better players. I learned techniques and strategies through playing with many good players, and developed my own playstyle and learned from their mistakes. Ive always played games for fun and never really got competitive in them until the BR genre came out. I instantly fell in love with battle royale style games, and the sense of accomplishment from winning is what made me want to go after the competitive side of gaming.

PUBG was the first game I thought “Hey, I could go pro in this”. It was back when I played the first big qualifier for IEM Oakland and just barely missed out on qualifying. That motivated me to continue to look for a team and play in leagues.

You joined Cloud9 back in August, immediately winning the Hong Kong PUBG World Invitational a few weeks later. Was it strange to be met with so much success instantly? What has it been like for you since you joined Cloud9?

I dont think it was strange to be met with such success after such short time with the team. Ive always felt if I had the right teammates I could do so much more as a player. Ever since I joined Cloud9 it really has turned my life around completely, I am able to stream and play PUBG for them full-time, and for that I couldnt be more thankful to Cloud9 for such an amazing opportunity.

Does your team spend a lot of time together outside of the game?

When we are at LAN, we spend almost all our time together, and when we are at home, we all have friends we hang out and talk to 

How does your family feel about your decision to pursue a pro gaming career? Are they supportive? If you weren’t playing PUBG professionally, what would you be doing?

At the start of my career I wasnt making a salary, and my parents werent even aware of the potential in esports. I think when I qualified for my first LAN in Romania, it was an eye opener for them in realizing that this could be a career I can stick with. They have been supportive ever since and watch all my tournaments online. I couldnt picture myself doing anything other than playing PUBG or partaking in esports in general.

Heading into the NPL as one of the invite teams, were you confident your team would qualify? What type of expectations did you have for other teams, and what were the biggest surprises?

We were confident we would qualify, but honestly our performance should have been better. I think we expected the other invited teams to perform well and what surprised us was what some of the qualified teams could pull off at LAN.

What does it mean for you now that you’ve qualified for the NPL?

Qualifying for NPL means everything to me, every bit of practice. VOD review. and game time all come down to how we perform this phase. I have had many ups and downs as a player. The thing that motivated me to keep grinding was the constant support from friends and other pros. I strive to be the best player and I wont stop until I achieve that goal.

What are your thoughts on the new ruleset? How much do you expect to see the meta change? Do you think teams will still be adapting well after Phase 1?

The new point system and rule changes will make kills more valuable and speed up the overall pace of the game. I think it will be a while before we start to see a “normal” meta.

What is your favorite weapon + scope combination? What do you expect to see the most of in NPL phase 1?

My favorite weapon combination would have to be the Mini 14 with a 4x ACOG Scope. Expect to see some high kill games from teams due to the point changes.

Erangel or Miramar?

Erangel

What are you looking forward to most this year?

I’m most looking forward to seeing what we can achieve as a team

Anything you’d like to say to your fans?

For my fans I would like to thank you for being supportive over the past year of my journey throughout PUBG. I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon.

Credit: PUBG Esports

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Chuvash: “Everybody knows that I am the king of Sven”

Chuvash: “Everybody knows that I am the king of Sven”

NaVi’s Evgeniy “Chuvash” Makarov talked about the patch 7.21, analyzed some of the buffs and nerfs, as well as the rework of the Io.

Natus Vincere have been struggling to find their way back to victory. The last major tournament win for the Ukrainian team was back in 2017 at Adrenaline Cyber League where they triumphed over Virtus.pro. Recently, however, Chuvash’s team managed to show some worthwhile results, including a second place finishes at MegaFon Winter Clash and DreamLeague Season 10.

NaVi’s support player Evgeniy “Chuvash” Makarov sat down to discuss the recent patch 7.21 and what changes will it bring to the game.

The amount of experience required from level 7 to 12 has been increased from 640/660/680/800/820/840 to 720/750/780/810/840/870. How this will affect the gameplay? Does this mean that the life of a support player got a little difficult and the matches will be longer?

The gameplay will not change much. A little annoying that’s all.

Phase Boots and Power Treads, are you happy about the fact that Icefrog basically reverted the changes?

Yes, I like this change. I actually quite dislike Phase Boots.

Valve keeps buffing Lion’s talents. Does he have the potential to be the mid hero? Or solidify himself as a support in the patch 7.21?

You can utilize him in midlane but after his first death, it’s very hard for him to come back. As support thought not so bad.

Earth Spirit is being nerfed once again. In your opinion is that justified? How would you approach this hero and the people that are weakening one of your favorite heroes?

Well, the nerf looks quite natural, because Earth Spirit is the first pick material. I wouldn’t say that he was super strong (but it’s a pity).

Grimstroke was also nerfed. Is he balanced yet or he requires some more nerfs?

I think, in the current patch he looks quite adequately.

Enchantress’s Enchant has been reworked, she seems more powerful early- and in late-game. Is that sufficient enough to get her back to meta?

Yes, we will see this hero more than once.

Io got a complex rework. In your opinion, which changes are positive and which are not? Is the hero OP?

I didn’t understand this at all, why buff the first pick hero?

In the patch KotL got his 30% exp talent at level 10 instead of 15, will we see this hero more often in the pro scene because of this change?

The KotL lovers will still pick him, but in general, the change is insignificant.

From patch to patch, Ogre Magi gets more and more buffs, how many does he need to get to be drafted? What do you think, what is he lacking?

Ogre does not suit into this meta, he loses the lane to the main batch of heroes of this patch.

Sven who was gaining more popularity in the last patch as a support has been reworked. Did you enjoy your time while it lasted? Is he now back to the carry position?

Everybody knows that I am the king of Sven. I think we won’t see him much as a carry.

Has Tusk got a sufficient nerf or should they have nerfed it more?

Previously Earth Spirit and Tusk were stronger then the rest of the pos4 supports, now they are about the same as Tiny and Elder Titan and that’s good.

Top 3 pos4 heroes for the calibration?

As a person who got 3 wins out of 10, I shouldn’t give any advice.

How do you counter rank 3 Slark in DotA Auto Chess?

Haven’t played it for 3 weeks(hopefully, I won’t play it at all)

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Old rivalries and incredible backdoors: the third week of LEC

Old rivalries and incredible backdoors: the third week of LEC

Partial rehabilitation of Fnatic, soaz against Bwipo, the backdoor from Vitality and pentakill for Rekkles — we analyze what happened during the third week of the European League.

This week brought not only exciting and interesting moments but also patch 9.2. To find out what did that bring to the game exactly, read on.

Day 1

SK / G2: It’s not easy to play, knowing that your opponent is still the invincible G2 Esports, sweeping their enemies off the Summoner’s Rift. But SK Gaming did not succumb to the excitement and showed that they are not afraid to play against such a team. Pirean earned first blood on his Le Blanc, fighting against Jankos and Caps.

An aggressive and bloody early game from both teams, where each side responded with a kill to a kill. But only one mistake by SK in a fight at 22 minutes decided the outcome of the match. Despite the impressive performance of Werlyb on Kennen, the lack of visibility and focus of Sejuani gave G2 enough advantage to trample SK and pick up Nashor. And from there on they could see the end. 8/18 in favor of G2 in 25 minutes.
#G2WIN

SPY / S04: From the very beginning, the game went in favor of Splyce. When they took their first blood on the top, and then Norskeren on Braum caught the dragon using the Unsealed Spellbook rune. However, Humanoid could not compare with Abbedagge nor by damage dealt, nor by pressure on enemies.

But on the 15th minute of FC Schalke 04 Esports began to gradually come forward, increasing the advantage due to the passivity of rivals. As a result, in the large midfield on the midpoint of the 26th minute, S04 were able to get an ACE and immediately advance to the Baron, which brought them 2 inhibitors later. Splyce managed to defend their base for the first time, but here the second push of Schalke 04 — powered by the Nashor buff — was the last straw. A well-deserved victory for S04 in 35 minutes with a score of 7/16 in their favor.
#S04WIN

FNC / RGE: After a series of defeats in the first weeks of the split, Fnatic unanimously claimed that they could return to the pedestal again and this time they reinforced the words with a deed. Despite a shaky start, the FNCs showed how good they are in team fights. And if at first it was all “on the verge”, then with each fight Fnatic held on more and more confidently.

Due to the excellent positioning of FNC, Rogue could not get through to their main carry, Rekkles and in the final team-fight the Swedish rifleman received a well-deserved pentakill. 15/8 in favor of Fnatic and the first victory in this split.
#FNCWIN

XL / MSF: This time, exceL Esports was playing more actively than in previous weeks, and it bore fruit: after a leisurely 25 minutes, the game was in the hands of XL. On the 28th minute, Misfits Gaming decided to go to the baron, having lost the fight right before this, but Expect had to remake the enemy jungler with the help of the Unsealed Spellbook. After such a chance, MSF did not have any chance of winning, and even attempts to defend base 4 against 3 did not help them. Score 12/3 in favor of exceL.
# XLWIN

VIT / OG: With the slow but sure steps Team Vitality stepped up the advantage of the whole early game, despite the resistance of Origen. By midtime, it became clearly visible — each time OG lagged behind more and more. In a fight near Nashor on 30 minutes, they tried to stop VIT, but a wonderful ult from Mowgli’s Lee Sin immediately on three players Origen decided the retreat from this fight. One successful teamfight at the 39th minute mark could turn into a comeback point for OG, if they hadn’t been caught in the deadly Vitality ambush. 16/8 for 43 minutes in favor of VIT.
# VITWIN

Day 2

G2 / SPY: Splyce’s extremely aggressive early game, but G2 only needed a little more time for Wunder and PerkZ to collect key items. However, even with powerful carry G2 had to sweat to get another victory. On the 35th minute, SPY took Nashor and even decided on a dangerous fight in the forest, but something went wrong according to plan: Kobbe flew over the wall because of PerkZ, which hit the blast cone, right into the hands of G2. Deprived of their carry, Splyce lost their chance for a victory. Tense 40 minutes and a score of 28/14 in favor of G2.
#G2WIN

XL / S04: For most of the match, it was a game of junglers. Memento from the early levels began to invade the enemy forest, while Caedrel focused on the ganks. But closer to the midgame Schalke 04 gradually began to come forward, because by this time Upset farmed up on Kai’Sa enough items. Unfortunately, the XL could not resist the two sieges of S04 with Nashor’s buffs. The game ended in 30 minutes with a modest score of 6/9.
#S04WIN

SK / OG: From the very beginning of the game, the advantage was for SK: Pirean held onto Atrox perfectly, and Selfmade on Sejuani simply outplayed Kold in all directions. But this turned into excessive confidence, so already on the 16th minute, SK Daivili, under the T2 turret and this did not turn out very well. They took the tower, but the Patrik on Calista earned a free triple kill.

After that, Origen began to play more aggressively and confidently, which was facilitated by a successful fight for Nashor in the 25th minute, where Werlyb made a fatal mistake — he accidentally walked Zhonya’s Hourglass to teamfight, playing on Vladimir. 37 minutes and the victory is already in the OG’s piggy bank with a beautiful 11/22 score in their favor.
#OGWIN

RGE / VIT: Perhaps the most incredible game of this split so far. Rogue all match crushed opponents, not giving them a chance for a comeback. Kikis played in his own style — very aggressively, and Sencux showed a real master class on cutting enemies to Akali. Vitality’s only hope for victory was in Splitpushing, which was what Jiizuke did on his Ryze.

At 31 minutes, RGE killed Nashor and went to demolish the mid, but the leader of VIT continued his push. A slight delay and uncertainty in the decision making was the end for RGE. As long as they doubted, Vitality took advantage of two additional teleports and simply took away the enemy base. So in a blink of an eye, the game in which Rogue confidently fought 13/3 ended in a win for Vitality.
#VITWIN

MSF / FNC: If you look at the results of the first day, it may seem that the Misfits are exhausted, and Fnatic are back in service. However, as this game showed, everything is still in place. The dominant performance from MSF, where Maxlore from the very start did not let Broxah quietly farm the forest, thereby preventing Zach from skating to Leith, and Febiven to Le Blanc very quickly could oneshot almost anyone.

In addition, in the standoff at the top of Soaz, without a chance, he destroyed Bwipo. The FNC tried to stop the constant Misfits offensive and even succeeded a couple of times in this, but the defeat turned out to be inevitable. Only 30 minutes in the game and a crushing 17/2 score in favor of MSF.
#MSFWIN

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Counter-Strike meta is changing but not everyone is happy

Counter-Strike meta is changing but not everyone is happy

The M4A4 and the M4A1-S now have a strong counterpart — a rifle AUG, which is now being discussed by all. After the October update with this weapon, more and more often it is being played in pro-matches. Meta has changed significantly, but not everyone is happy.

What happened?

On October 9, Valve released a large patch for CS:GO, which added two new maps, weakened CZ75, strengthened Tec-9, and increased compensation for the lost pistol round. But, as it turned out, the key change was the price reduction for the AUG: instead of $ 3,500 the weapon now costs $ 3,150, i.e., only $50 more than the M4 series rifles.

At first, this detail of the patch did not get much attention. Yes, the community talked about the fact that AUG and SG 553 (which also dropped in price) will appear in games more often, but no one expected that the Austrian rifle could force out the M4: this has never happened in Counter-Strike history. For example, at iBUYPOWER Masters earlier this year, AUG made as many frags as AWP and M4. And in the American Minor for the IEM Katowice 2019, it had completely overtaken the M4.

Is AUG more powerful than the M4?

Not really. Judging only by the characteristics of the weapon, the M4A4 is even better: it has more damage, faster reloading and running speed. It is inferior only in armor penetration.

But the AUG has two really important advantages — a collimator sight and about the same spray pattern as the M4. That is, players almost do not need to retrain to shoot, but for ridiculous $ 50 they got a rifle, with which you can shoot your opponent faster and easier at medium and long distances.

With SG 553, the situation is somewhat different. It surpasses the AK-47 in the rate of fire and armor-piercing, but it has a key drawback — a spray pattern that is completely different from the AK-4. If you can get used to AUG after M4A4 pretty quickly, then with SG you need to completely relearn.

Is it that hard to adapt?

It’s all a habit. In fact, for 20 years, Meta in Counter-Strike remained virtually unchanged: pistol rounds were held at the default weapon, then the winning team took “farm guns ” (sub-machine guns, and sometimes even shotguns), and after that the players bought AK / M4 / AWP, which had objective advantages over its peers.

In the case of the M4 and AK — players for years honed the shooting of these rifles, and spray patterns were memorized at the level of muscle memory. Of course, no one forbade the use of other weapons, but no one was concerned about it.

In CS: GO, the situation began to change: the AWP became different, new grenades appeared as well as different ways to throw them, CZ75 was added to the game. But the assault rifles did not change.

It is easy to learn how to shoot SG 553, but it takes time to really get used to it. Most likely, the top players have not yet adapted to the update: the popular video blogger WarOwl believed that SG, and not AUG, would enter the meta, but he was wrong — the human factor came into play.

Who is protesting?

Publicly AUG got criticized by Nicola “NiKo” Kovacs and Richard “shox” Papillon: what is remarkable, some of the best shooters in the scene. The Frenchman generally called Valve to weaken the rifle before the major, and also made a reservation: the players did not know about the strength of the weapon because they did not play with it (to the question of habit).

Commentators, analysts and other members of the community rightly noted that there is nothing to criticize the weapon for, since the only thing that has changed in it is the price. Nobody prevented the athletes from using it before, but they did not do it even in those cases when they had no problems with the economy in matches.

The perturbations of NiKo and shox can be understood: AUG slightly smoothes the difference in the skill of the players, it became much easier to shoot an opponent from cover (and even more so at long distances). Vincent “Happy” Cervoni Schopenhauer, who admitted that he does not like to train his aim, is now indeed happy.

What will Valve do?

It will be clear after the major. Now AUG — just like SG, by the way — is actively used by Astralis and Team Liquid, but most likely the weapon will be included in the arsenal of other teams as well. In the past, the power of the CZ75 and Tec-9 skyrocketed in popularity just after major tournaments (thanks, Fnatic). Most likely, the same will happen with AUG.

Though belatedly, Valve always responds to the opinion of the community on the balance of the game. If everyone starts to resent, then the nerf is definitely worth the wait. And the most logical solution would be to increase the cost of rifles again. If they want to reverse the meta change, that is.

In the meantime, buy skins for AUG: they will soon get much more expensive.

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