• Ashlynn "Valkenn" Brady

"...going 0-3 and back to the minor was what nobody expected."

After Mousesports successful grand final victory over Liquid at ESL One New York, Rush B Media got the chance to talk to Chris 'chrisJ' de Jong about the victory and the teams mentality coming into the event.

So, you guys coming into this grand final, with obviously the major being kind of a disappointment, what were you really hoping for coming to New York? Were you really trying to look for this win to bounce back?

Yeah, honestly, I was thinking that a win is the only thing that will really make the major results kind of okay. Obviously, you can maybe not go to the semi finals of a major or even the playoffs of a major. but going 0-3 and back to the minor was what nobody expected.

Yeah, you guys had some rough draws the whole time.

Yeah, that's true, but we felt like we should be winning one of those games at least.

This grand final and watching you guys play that double AWP setup on CT is really interesting. How do you try to position oskar and yourself in the best ways that you can be effective on those CT sides. Are you more micromanaging with oskar trying to tell him each individual position or giving him more freedom?

It depends a bit. It depends on who is feeling the game with us because when I am feeling it I'll tell oskar, “I will go here” and “you will go here with the AWP and make a shot there so they maybe don't expect an AWP here”. With [oskar] doing the same with me, trying to make the opponent [have to guess] where the second AWP can be. For example, on Dust2 sometimes what we do is have one of us go long and the other going short, and teams usually don't expect two AWPs to be on A. We try to surprise the opponent with plays like that.

In your in-game leading style that you have, do you try to be a little bit more unpredictable and not show the same tendencies to keep your opponent off balance?

Yeah, especially on Mirage where we were doing some pretty random stuff on T-side to catch them off guard. During some rounds I would suddenly be run out B because I felt that I could just kill a guy there, and some of it worked. We also did that because Liquid, in the past were good at our normal rounds and our set pieces so we just tried to catch them off guard and play off our individual skill because after we won the fourth map everybody was feeling it, feeling good. Basically everyone could do what they want within a certain extent because not everyone can just rush, trying to make surprising plays.

One thing I was curious about was the Nuke pick you guys had. Liquid had been traditionally strong in it, not against Astralis, so I was wondering, what your thinking was going into that?

We felt like we could beat them on Nuke, and we certainly feel like we could've also beaten them today. I remember I made a terrible misplay on the CT-side pistol. I think we lost both pistols there, and I think we're not scared to play it next time against them because we feel like our CT-side is going to be really good and we can scrape a few T rounds together, but if you lose both pistols then it's just going to be really hard on Nuke. On T-side we didn't have that much of a chance on pistol, but on CT side we certainly should've won. Who knows, maybe you can start a comeback then, but we didn't do it and sometimes that's how it goes on Nuke.

One thing I noticed, when you guys were going through your T-sides on Nuke was that you seemed a little bit hesitant in approaching onto the bombsites. Looking at Astralis and how they approach their T-sides on Nuke, they're either doing an upper rush where they're just going out, bursting onto the site, trying not to respect the opponents in whatever positions they have. Is that something that you guys are going to try to be working on in the future and maybe adjust your own play-style?

I feel like when we're playing good we're playing similar. Obviously, we're not playing as good as Astralis, but we're playing good. When we're playing good we're decisive and everybody just starts to take areas when the opportunity shows itself and today we just didn't do that on Nuke. We had multiple opportunities, but as soon as you wait 5 seconds that opportunity can be gone and you don't know what to do anymore. That happened a couple of times so we know that's a problem and we're certainly trying to fix that.

After many months and just countless long, grueling schedules, we had the player break before the major, are you guys gonna try and do a lesser intense schedule in 2019 or how are you guys going to try and manage being competitive in a lot of events but at the same time making sure you guys don't get burned out and have worse results further on?

We felt like when we were still playing with STYKO that we went to a bit too many events at some point. I think an example of that was how good we were on Mirage for some time, but we kept going everywhere and people felt like they were tired and didn't want to practice so we didn't really improve, we only went to tournaments. People figured out our best map and suddenly everybody could just beat us there. That's certainly something we're going to try to avoid in the coming year to sometimes take just a tournament off and really only practice for a week, or maybe two, and try to be really ready for the tournaments again.

On a personal level, how are you doing? It's been a long year full of ups and downs and changes, so how are you emotionally?

Right now I feel pretty relieved because, obviously, we were not feeling good in the last few months and were not happy with how the team was going when we were playing with STYKO, even though we were still reaching playoffs and stuff. Things didn't really improve that much in the beginning with Snax and the change took more time, and I still think we need more time to integrate him and that's is emotionally draining. We were all way more frustrated at our first few events during matches and even at the beginning at this event when we were losing really hard, a couple of players, including me, were really angry and were not helping the team atmosphere. We just want to be better and things were just not working as good as we hoped. Obviously this win is gonna help, people are going to feel more confident, and it will give us some breathing room to really improve and not worry to much about reaching another final or everything else is a failure or something because now we know that we can do that again.

Awesome, thank you so much.