mouz NXT’s Sycrone is fresh off a win at the WePlay Academy League Season 1.
Continuing the conversation from the first part of our interview, Dennis “sycrone” Nielsen discusses the current Mouz NXT roster and their run at the WePlay Academy League.
Arnav, Esports.gg: Historically, communication has been a limitation of international rosters that we've seen some of the good teams get over as we have started moving towards more FPL players joining teams. What was the decision-making behind making Mouz NXT an international roster, instead of a single nationality one?
Mouz NXT Sycrone: Really early on, there was also the thought of going full German because then you could play in the 99 damage league and the German Meisterschaft. And obviously, Mousesports have a very big, following Germany. But for a long time, Mousesports has been an international brand and is becoming more and more of an international organization as well. So it just made sense that the academy team would also be international.
It's very hard to find a roster that can really compete with where we want to take this in Germany alone. I mean, that would take some time to build up. And if you suddenly have all of Europe available, there is a lot more talent to pick from. The main team also speaks English so if we ever wanted to take someone from the academy team to the main team, it'd be much easier if they are already communicating in English.
When you were assembling this roster, what were some qualities that surprised you for these players?
Sycrone:I think that JDC, for example, has a really strong mindset. He is honestly way better at the mental and motivating side of the game than I am. And if we have a team huddle before the game, I might say a few words, but usually, I let Jon, say the wise words. And he always says something clever and is able to get the guys hyped up. So I would say, all this and also his approach to tilting. And if you've had a tough match, he would snap right out of it. Just look at the positives and bring the guys up.
And I think Kamil [Siuhy] surprised me a little in the way that he's just very, very clever. And I think you can see it sometimes when he's talking. He is just very smart, and it's not like, he'll try to outplay the opponent, incredibly, he just always finds the right solution. In CS there's a lot of solutions, but he just always finds the correct one. And it's the same way with his calling. So that's an amazing aspect that you couldn't see from watching demos of him or having a few interviews, obviously, I could tell that he was a sharp, sharp guy. He's also able to communicate very precisely, and briefly so that everyone is on the same page, which is very important in a game where you can't try to explain something with 15 sentences. Right? It has to be very precise words all the time. I think those two in particular, really surprised me.
How would you define the playstyle of Mouz NXT? Is it more like the Astralis/Gambit style, where the protocols are key, and the teamwork makes the whole team click? Or is it more like FaZe clan, where the individual performances carry the game?
Sycrone: I think we tried to combine a bit of everything. Mostly, I will say that we try to create for every round, as many scenarios as possible to win the round. And I don't think you can do this if you just always make a strategy instantly, that decides the round in 20-30 seconds, you need to draw it out a bit more, you need to lean towards mid-round calling. And that's something we do a lot. We like to put pressure on different points of the map at the same time. But we also recognize that fast and explosive rounds can be efficient.
I think if you have a slow style, you need to mix in some explosive rounds just to balance your gameplay. I think the beauty of CS is that sometimes you just have to play the numbers game just outnumber your opponents. With decent spacing and good trade kills, you can win the round. So I think it's a mixture of everything, mostly leaning towards mid-round calls.
Something that a lot of new IGLs and coaches struggle with is implementing new maps. Like with the recent addition of ancient, we've seen many teams shy away from playing that map. How does Mouz NXT go about adding new maps to the pool?
Sycrone: Well, from the very beginning of the team, we knew that we wanted to play all 7 maps, eventually. It's something I have done in my previous teams. It's not something the other guys have done, some of them have had different perma-bans. Also, the main roster plays all seven maps. so, it makes sense that all of our players are capable of playing all seven maps. It doesn't make sense if one day one of the guys had to play for them, and they just never played the Mirage, for example. The way we approach it, at least is that we start with two maps at a time and build from there, we just take it very slowly and go from the basic principles and the fundamentals.
So we talked about callouts, what do we call this? Oh, this is banana, this is sandbags. We're talking about the way we view the dynamic of the map. What is the meta of the map? What do we want to achieve during a round? Throughout the game? And from there, we add on to this. Add on the pistol round, add on an anti eco, add on a default, okay, let's maybe throw in a few buy rounds that we can go to, some small, AWP plays, all these things. But we just take it all the way from the bottom.
In a recent interview, mithR was asked a question about how much influence do the rosters have on each other. And mithR said that they have been trying to get similar call-outs, similar map pools, similar systems for both teams. Could you expand on this?
Sycrone: Yeah, it's true that we try to play 7 maps as they do, we try to have similar call-outs. And we also try to practice against each other from time to time. Right now, we really haven't had the time to sit down and figure out exactly what can we do with two rosters, because they have been very busy with Cologne, and EPL, while we had the Academy League. There's hasn't really been like a week-long break where we could sit down and approach it how we wanted to. I think it'll take some time for us to figure out good ways to use it. But to give you an idea of what we have already be done. We've obviously played against each other in scrims. I think we've played them maybe six times or so.
We're yet to win, for some reason, but we've been very close. And I think we have lost 3 games 14-16, even having big leads in some of them. Whenever we play against, I don't know, let's say we play against ENCE, for example, and we have a good game. Like they always had 3 guys, whenever we execute on an area, or they're always shutting us down somewhere or something. I'm not going to hear from Snappi or from their coach after the game about how they had this read on us if something was predictable, or if they felt like they were able to abuse an area very easily. But with the mithR, after the game, we always communicate back and forth. Okay, I saw this from you guys. And we're trying to give each other input in that sense. Maybe he said that was a sick pistol round? Could you tell me what, what the idea behind this was? and stuff like this.
Sharing strategies in order to make both teams better than they are?
Sycrone: Yeah, exactly. And also, both mithr and I record, the team's practice games, and for the future will share this with each other. So for example, if we play against each other, we could watch their point of view of the game and listen to their communication. And for example, if a few times a week, Kamil [Siuhy], our in-game leader wants to have a few ideas of how to play on this level, he could just listen to a few of the practice games that the main team did or even just sit with them in practice. That's part of something we're planning.
So we've talked about JDC, Siuhy, etc. One of the biggest stars, for most people in Mouz NXT, is obviously torzsi. He has been a standout talent throughout the tier two and tier three scene and many have talked about his potential. What's your take on torzsi as a player, is he just highly skilled? Or is he reading the game very well, or something like that?
Sycrone: I think he is the whole package. He's very talented, obviously but what you guys don't see is that he works so hard. I think I work hard, but whenever we're at boot camp or in Ukraine for the academy league, I would go in a few hours earlier than everyone to the boot camp area and study our opponents. Adam would come in to play deathmatch for two hours and then everyone else would come. In the evening everyone would take time to relax, calm down, do whatever they want to do. I would be back at the analysis, Adam would be playing deathmatch.
And that guy just plays so much. If I ever tell him to look at an opponent or some tendencies so that he can try and abuse their gameplay, does it instantly. He's just so hard working. Of course, he's just very talented, extremely humble, too. Like a great, great guy to be around. spends a lot of love and kindness.
What's his potential? Can he be a great player in the future?
Sycrone: For sure, for sure, I think he is already a great player, but to be one of the best, I think there's some way to go still. And I still see a lot of potential for growth. With his mindset and work ethic? I'm sure he'll get there in no time.
So let's talk about the Weplay Academy league. You guys were definitely the favorites coming into the event alongside the Young Ninjas. You guys have been playing events like the Pinnacle cup. And overall, the talent in the team inspires many people to think that you would be very good at this event. So what were your thoughts going into the event? And what was the Mouz NXT goal for the event?
Sycrone: During the season, our goal was just to qualify for the playoffs. Our team had a very good run at the Pinnacle cup. And we saw the potential there, but we also recognized that the academy league had some teams that have been together for a longer time than we have. And with the way the pick-ban system works, it's hard to predict where the map pick is going to go exactly. So we knew that we were going to be challenged. So I think one of the ambitions going into it was just that we would try to build up a map pool during the event. And we'd try to build as much Team chemistry as possible and qualify for playoffs. I think we managed all three things. One of the goals was to be in the final probably against Young Ninjas.
We knew coming into the tournament, exactly what maps we had to prepare for all three times. Some maps had more relevance than others. And I think that, once we had the Bootcamp, it seemed like everything was just clicking and coming into place. We had the feeling that we were going to win the event. But we also knew that it wouldn't be easy because as you said already, we looked kind of dominant through the season, we did go with the best record, but we also didn't have the best round difference. When you look at NIP, they dominated way more in some of the games. We had a lot of close games, and it was probably not going to be different on LAN. And it wasn't, like the Fnatic game, in the end probably could have gone either way. We could have never been in that great final that it was.
Mouz NXT had a couple of losses early on in the round robin stage, to BIG and Furia Academy. Both were very close games. Then you had a loss to young Ninjas in the group stage. And another one in the LAN finals? What made them difficult to defeat early on? And how did you overcome that for the finals?
Sycrone: I think the early loss is to BIG, and Furia were partly because they're so hard to prepare for. They're kind of the unknown piece and definitely a very different playstyle to what we're used to in practice, and also at the pinnacle cup that we played earlier. Which caught us a bit off guard I would say. But it wasn't like we were underestimating anyone, I think we put in the same amount of preparation was any team in that in the tournament.
For the Young Ninjas. I think we played one mirage game where they destroyed us 16-5 early on in the tournament. Mirage was always one of our best maps so it felt very weird that we would just get destroyed like that. But I think just like us they're a kind of momentum team. I think momentum is very important in Counter Strike in general. So if you get a few swing rounds your way, few of the rounds that are very important economically, it could look differently. Perhaps it would have been a close game so we didn't really take it that hard. But we always knew that looking at them, how they approach the game, how they play the game individually, they were a step above everyone else in the tournament, we always had in mind, we were probably going to get a rematch at the lan finals.
We did have it two times. Once in the, in the second match of the tournament, they once again beat us on the mirage, 16-5 3rd map. I think this time around, it was more of a case of us. running out of energy, and they just kept going. They had the momentum once again. When we played the second map vertigo, we were leading 15-12. It's 4v2 situation, they win it and take it to overtime. And I don't think we were really able to reset and mentally get into that third map. But we had a very good team talk about it. And changed a few of things we prepared in the game plan for the final match, because we knew that they would go from Mirage again, and probably as the first pick this time around.
Yeah, because they dominated you twice so it would make sense for them to pick it again.
Sycrone: Exactly. We always anticipated there was going to be either inferno or mirage. And a bit of a toss up, before the event I would say that they would go for Inferno first, which was also the case when we met them. In the first match, they picked it and mirage was the decider. But then in the final it was clear that they seemed way more comfortable on mirage. And they beat us once again 16-5, though.
What are some of the prospects for the future that you identified in the WePlay Academy League?
Sycrone: m0NESY obviously is absolutely crazy. I think it's a shame that he has to play in Navy Jr. Because in my mind, there's no way they're going to replace s1mple on that NaVi roster. He's the only player in the world you probably can't replace. Maybe it's can be done that s1mple would play sort of a hybrid role. And m0NESY would play the main AWP. But I would really like to see m0NESY go international at some point in time.
His English is also really good, you see it when he plays fpl, he is very capable of communicating in English and very smart as well. I think from some of the other teams, Aqua from big strikes me as a promising player. Nilo from NIP too, he's looked like the best player on the team. He really surprised me, playing against him at the at the tournament, he seemed like the player gave us the most trouble.
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In the long term, what is the vision for Mouz NXT? And what's the goal for it?
Sycrone: I think long term, just continue what we've started here. If we can manage to keep up this work ethic we have right now, the same team chemistry and continue to have a good collaboration with the Mouz management, the staff around the team. We're in a good spot to to do great things. And I don't know if there's some specific goals result wise, obviously, continuing to be the best Academy team there is. And maybe even at some point, breaking out of that mold, so to speak, and becoming a top 30 team, maybe moving up the ranks.
I think the goal for every Academy team is to replicate what Gambit has done. And that's probably also the case here. I think this team, truthfully could do that. I know that xertioN said that after we won the final, that when we play like we did that day, we could probably beat tier one teams, and I see it in practice all the time, we sometimes demolish some of the best teams out there. And I think it's a matter of time and experience if we can keep the team spirit up.
So the goal would be to make Mouz NXT a tier one team instead of just passing on the talent for the future?
Sycrone: I mean, that would be great if we could do that. But we also have to be realistic. There could be someone who approaches us with a lot of money at a time where it makes sense for one of our players to accept a good offer. Could be the reality, probably is going to be the case. And then at that time, it's up to if the player wants to take that step, and if it makes sense for for him to.
Sycrone, along with the rest of Mouz NXT, look to continue their strong season as they particpate in the Malta Vibes Knockout Series #2 going up against teams like Furia, Sinners and Gorillaz.