Note: This interview has been edited for clarity
I’m here in Tours with Sean Gares, from Misfits, who had to exit the tournament in the semifinals against HellRaisers. First of all, can you walk me through your run? It must have been quite an emotional rollercoaster, after pulling off two upsets and making it to the playoffs, but losing there in a disappointing fashion.
We started off against Na’Vi and I think we played a little bit below our expectations. We lost many clutch rounds in the first game and the score didn’t really represent how I believe we played. Then we played Heroic the next day and it was kinda crazy because we won only a single pistol round in the entire series. We got eco’d several times so we never had a good economy but I thought that on the gun rounds we were the better team.
In order to win, get the third map, we had to pull off some heroics to be honest, no pun intended [laughs]. We were down 15 - 11 [E/N: on the first map] and we made a good comeback. AmaNEk’s 1v2 clutch in overtime with a 0.008 seconds left when he defuses the bomb… yeah it was a total rollercoaster of emotions. Especially in that game where we’re down 0-1 against Na’Vi, the way we performed on the last two maps, just pushing them out. It just felt so good to be able to beat a team like Na’Vi, who has been having success online recently. To upset them like that was huge for us.
We came in today very confident against HellRaisers. We did some research into them so we knew exactly how the vetoes would play out. Our match against them on Cobble was, in my opinion, quite similar to the first one against Na’Vi. We lost every key rounds. They constantly had us on the backfoot with our economy. They were just the better team today.
Going back to your match against Na’Vi, the losers’ match, when you see that the last map of the series is Mirage, and you consider what happened to them during this tournament on that very map against Mousesports, do you think that if you manage to make it to the third map you’ll actually overcome them?
Yeah so in the bootcamp Mirage was one of our best map in my opinion. One of our top three maps. We only bootcamped for five days, practiced as a team for ten days, five days in Europe, five days in NA and Mirage was one of our best maps. We’re very confident. We don’t want to pick it because it’s probably Na’Vi’s favorite map to play, the most of any maps. So we thought it would be dangerous to pick it. It still turned out pretty well for us. We had a really good feel for the game. It felt like we’re always one step ahead of them, always in the right bombsite and keeping their economy low. I think they even won an eco round or something, and we just immediately won the next round. It looks like losing eco rounds was just a thing for us the whole tournament.
Speaking of the recent roster change, which saw Relyks and Twistzz moving out of the roster and devoduvek and AmaNEk coming in. What was the chain of events that led to that pickup of european players, which is still quite rare for a North American team?
Well losing Twistzz was definitely a huge blow in my opinion, I think he’s an incredibly talented person, he has like a high in-game IQ when making plays, and to an extent when supporting teammates even. So losing him was definitely a huge blow. Then as far as benching Relyks I don’t think there’s anything wrong with Relyks as a player but it’s just that we went through such a hard time for a little bit online, not qualifying for ECS and dropping a couple of matches. I can’t remember exactly what matches it was for, maybe just a qualifier but we lost to a team that we shouldn’t have. There was just these small mistakes that kept happening. It kept coming back to weird, inexperience mistakes that you can’t really go over. There’s a million different scenarios that can happen in CS and you kinda have to... I have to have faith in my team to be able to not make these mistakes and it wasn’t only Relyks’ fault, everyone on the team was making these mistakes. I guess there’s a point where you need new blood in the team, where you need to try something new. So it was a team decision to do that.
When it came to picking up devoduvek and AmaNEk… I actually found devoduvek from HLTV statistics in the last three months. He had really good stats, so I downloaded a few of his demos before I even talked to him. He had a very consistent and poised style of playing. He’s very calm, will never jump through smokes, has good teamwork and good aim. He just plays consistent Counter-Strike which is hard to find in lower tiers of American CS. You usually find very aggressive players. Kind of like how Stewie2k came up, going through smokes and stuff like that. We didn’t need that in the team. That’s what the problem was in my opinion so I tried to pick up more reserved players that wasn’t going to make that kind of play. Devoduvek does also have an aggressive side to him where if he sees a gap he’s going to take it, every time. So I think that’s how we found him.
devoduvek just plays consistent Counter-Strike which is hard to find in lower tiers of American CS
Then when it came to AmaNEk, we didn’t know what to do as far as the fifth man. We were looking at all kind of options, experienced players like Hiko, people like… I mean we really looked at everyone, and peacemaker actually saw that AmaNEk was teammate with devoduvek and thought it would be a really good idea to bring in two french players. And I didn’t even realize this but I think AmaNEk had even better stats than devoduvek. I don’t know how I didn’t realize and didn’t have him as an option. So I looked into AmaNEk as well and it turned out to be a great option. And then we have kennyS’ brother, Cyril, who works for Misfits, so he got us in touch, and from there that’s all snowballed.
Moving on to that bootcamp you had in Berlin a short while before the tournament. The new players are in the team since mid-April, so what specific stuff did you focus on during the bootcamp considering the very short practice time you had before your first offline tournament?
We actually only got to play online in North America for five days. During those five days we had ESL Pro League matches, we had several issues. I mean these two guys had just moved across the world, they can’t necessarily play full time, they’re adjusting to the move, they have to do things like getting visas, getting their flight tickets etc. So these five days of practice weren’t good. Before we got to Berlin, we noticed the teams in this tournament… most of them seemed to be very strong on Overpass. Heroic, G2, HellRaisers, Na’Vi, all these teams seemed to like to play Overpass. So we guessed we had to have a permaban for this event and we made it to be Overpass. Even though most of us want to play the map, it was a smart thing to do because we had five days of practice.
It’s kind of insane the amount of practice that we had in that short of a time span and I don’t think I’ve ever done something like that in any team I’ve been on
In the five days of bootcamp, oh my god we did so much stuff. We were playing over ten hours a day. We would also have two hours of theory. We entered this tournament with a six maps map pool in five days. It’s kind of insane the amount of practice that we had in that short of a time span and I don’t think I’ve ever done something like that in any team I’ve been on. I’m trying to think of the maps we didn’t get to play, but we were ready to play on every map besides Overpass in this tournament, which really speaks to our practice. peacemaker made sure we were on a strict practice schedule. He’s definitely really good about that. And yeah everything just kinda clicked.
peacemaker became famous for how he brought Team Liquid to the forefront alongside S1mple. So he looks to be a very impactful coach but at the same time, since he left Liquid, he’s been switching teams a lot, do you think you can actually keep him?
I can definitely see why. Like myself Luis [T/N: peacemaker] is a very strong minded individual and he’s going to critique people if they make mistakes. He’s going to speak his opinion. He’s much like me, we have conversations and we actually understand each other really well. We talk very level-headed with each other. Like myself I think he also… like when we talk to each other our tone suck. We know our tone suck, even though we don’t mean it. So that’s the thing. We have very aggressive tones, sometimes when we get mad in game. It’s funny because I can see how certain people take that bad but the thing is the players that I’ve played with understand how I talk, so I think they’re more accepting of Luis for that reason. I think he’s a great coach, I really do. I think he’s brought so much to this team when it comes to our CT sides and T side executions. We definitely couldn’t have played that well without him on the team.
We have very aggressive tones [but] the players that I’ve played with understand how I talk, so I think they’re more accepting of peacemaker for that reason
Moving on to a different topic. You played in France with two french players. The french crowd is well known for cheering really really hard for the french teams. As an american on Misfits alongside two french players, did you feel like you were on home soil kind of, with the whole crowd cheering for you?
It’s funny I definitely felt a lot of love from the crowd outside of the game, but I don’t think there’s ever a time… I’m very bad at this, I think it’s kind of a positive thing that I’m bad at this but I never notice the crowd, I never notice anything outside of my screen when I’m playing. It’s very rare that I look up and focus on something out of the game because I’m constantly talking with my team, I’m constantly thinking about how the game is progressing, or looking at the screen when I’m dead to see how the other team is playing, to come up with something to call the next round. So it didn’t really affect me much but the people here were super friendly to us. It was ridiculous the love we got from the fans outside the game.
Together with ShaZhaM you’re an experienced duo in that team, and then you have three very young players, impressive when it comes to their individual skills but not as experienced especially in high stakes matches. Was there any pressure on the young trio?
I don’t know I don’t think any of them felt much pressure. I know that SicK mentioned that he didn’t think he played as well as he wanted to but I thought he played great. He has very high expectations for himself, which is great when you have star players that expect themselves to be the best and are not comfortable doing anything worse. I thought literally all of them played fantastic throughout the tournament.
So now that you’ve completed your first run where you sent Heroic and Na’Vi packing and made it to the semifinals, what’s next for Misfits?
When we get home, the first thing we want to do is definitely shape up our T side Cobble, and even our CT. I felt like we were constantly in a weird economy situation the entire event. It didn’t really pan out the way it did in practice. I felt like some of our execute were extremely sloppy, people missed roles, which is understandable considering we only had five days of practice. Yeah, fix some of that stuff, add Overpass to our map pool like we wanted to originally. I think then we have the american minor qualifier coming up. So that’s the next objective.
Alright! That’s all for me, anything to add?
I just want to thank all the fans that supported us throughout the entire event, with all the positive reinforcement tweets we got, even after we departed from the tournament. Thanks to Ben, the owner of Misfits, and Cyril for showing us a great time in Tours. And really, anyone that made this DreamHack happen.
Photo credit: DreamHack