• Lukas DeWitt

jks: "We just lost confidence as a team."

The last three months you guys have a record of 7-20. That is about a third of your losses as a lineup. Is this a result of the Visa issues or is it deeper than that?

I would say that is the main cause of it. We just lost confidence as a team. Once you have a couple of - we had to use stand ins so obviously those events didn't go too well and when we did play with Gratisfaction it was at tournaments we couldn't have practiced beforehand because we didn't have a practice room or something like that. So we had those things going on and once you play a few tournaments and you don't have the best results or the results you expected, it plays on the confidence even more. So those things together make you second guess the way you play, the strategies and all that kind of stuff. So now people aren't going for the aggressive peeks they would before, or something like that. I would say that it is the main issue, for sure. On top of that, teams are watching our demos and stuff like that and we haven’t updated our playbook or anything. I mean, we have updated it but we are still doing certain things we were doing at the start of the year. Certain moves and things we do mid-round teams can just watch and they know.

Coming back from those events with stand-ins, are you guys having difficulty refining your game as a team?

Somewhat, we haven’t just been doing the things we were doing at the start of the year. We have changed a lot of our stuff, maybe 50% of our game. Our practice and stuff like that is still the same but again I think people just lost confidence. At this event, even though we lost all four maps there were certain rounds where people were doing things they would have done at the start of the year which is good to see, but overall we just didn't play that well.

Even with the drop in team performance, you have been performing at a top 20 level. How are you able to maintain that form during the adversity?

Since the end of last year I have had a pretty high confidence level in terms of the way I play and my role in the team. I have a set routine of what I do on tournament days, practice and stuff like that so I guess it’s really helping in comparison to the past where I wasn’t doing those things so I was more up and down. I guess that's the main answer for me. I found what works for me so I’m confident in my abilities.

I keep hearing “confidence.” How much of the game is dependent on confidence?

A lot because I know what to do, I have all the basics and stuff down pretty well so when you’re confident you won’t second guess yourself in the moment and you’ll be confident that you’re going to hit your next shot. Once that starts happening then you’ll play way better than what you normally would. I know people talk about it a lot but its really underrated. Like, if you’re not confident, you’re going to second guess yourself and then you’re not going to go for a certain peek you’ll die or something like that. Just little things like that. At least, individually, it is really big.

Are the recent results weighing on the team coming into the StarLadder Major? Is that a deadline for you guys?

Somewhat. At the same time you can look at it from a different perspective. We don’t really have anything to lose compared to where we were at the start of the year. We are almost at the bottom right now in comparison to being top five in the world, or at least top ten and having the legend spot. So you can look at it like that or you can look at it like we have nothing to lose and we’re going to go in and play how we want to play.

At IEM Chicago you lost to ENCE and Vitality. Are these results accurate with where you guys are as a team? Are you guys not world beaters anymore? Heading into the Major, are you confident you can be back at that form with the proper practice?

I think if you look at a lot of our results outside of this event. We have had 16-13 or 16-14 losses to these top teams. So its more about being able to close out those gaps at the end. Once we get - I think the last time we won a match was against Cloud9 at BLAST and before that I can’t really remember, so I think it would have really helped us if we would have gotten one, two or three more wins along the way against a team that wasn’t below us I think it would have helped our morale a lot but we couldn’t really pick up any of those wins. Going into those two matches against Vitality and ENCE I don’t think we really said we are going to get thrashed or anything like that. We felt we could compete with them because we have had good results against both of those teams actually in the past We played Vitality at cs_summit and the Major, as well as ENCE at the Major and I believe there was another event we took a map off of them as well. We didn’t walk in there thinking we were going to get 16-1’d or anything like that we figured we could actually compete with them.

So with the confidence waning you guys still recognize you can compete with the top teams?

Yes, right now we are just playing kind of scared. It’s like we are playing more not to lose than to win and when you do that you aren’t going for certain peeks and you aren't aggressive enough and that really affects our game play. At least for our style of the team. When we were playing really well at the start of the year we were really aggressive and we weren't afraid to take any of the duels and stuff like that, where as now it is kind of the opposite.

So this break before the Major is pretty important for you guys?

I think so. I mean we can’t really continue playing because there aren’t any tournaments and then after the break we have no breaks until December so right now is ideal to take a break. I think we just need to reset ourselves and when we get to the boot camp we have to just play our hearts out. We need to have that practice mentality where we play ten or eleven hours a day because I think that's really the only we are going to get our confidence back since we can’t play any tournament games until the Major. So, I think everyone needs to feel like they’ve done as much work as they possibly could have in the boot camp so that we are going into the tournament and everyone feels really - I don’t want to say confident, but like trusting in what we are going to run and the plays we are going to make.

Can you guys get to Legends at the Major?

Yes. I don’t know what we have to do to get back to that level but I think we are just missing a few small things and once we fix those things and we get a couple of wins then I think everyone will get a lot more confidence and will trust themselves more, which is the thing we aren't doing right now.

Photo Credit: StarLadder