Sonic: "I was just stuck in one place so I kind of made of a decision for myself to branch out"
Our last interview from IEM Chicago was with Aran "Sonic" Groesbeek who opened up to Lukas DeWitt about joining Envy, their performance in Chicago and his potential as an AWPer.
You joined Envy in June. Talk about the transition.
Dating back when we did this whole thing with Bravado, that was Project Destiny. We moved out to America just to make a name for ourselves, five South African players as a team. It was going very well until the end at our DreamHack run where we did very well at DreamHack Winter. Coming up to the Minor, we ran into some issues with our organization. Just financial issues and stuff. This led to the team eventually breaking apart, which was a big tearing point for us, a real kick in the balls. We then joined up with Denial for a short stint. Then we found ATK who picked up the core of myself, JT and Fadey. We filled out the roster with Domsterr and BlackpoisoN. We tried that team for a while, they are good players, but eventually it was at a point where I was so up and down as a player that I was getting annoyed at where I was. I was just stuck in one place so I kind of made of a decision for myself to branch out. I needed a change of space, a change of environment, new goals, new challenges for myself as a player. I came to the decision for myself that I need to find my own way. I was contacted by Nifty and he offered me the spot. I thought long and hard about it. I have been playing for three years with the ATK core, so it wasn’t easy. I’m living with them as well, I have known them my whole life, so we are kind of like, brothers. They took it very well and were very supportive of it. Now I’m in Envy to hopefully achieve bigger things.
You mentioned Denial, how was your experience with them?
Same old, same old.
In one month, you qualified for Chicago. How did this lineup manage such a fast turnaround?
First things first, to build a CS team, you need time. It takes a lot of time and dedication from the players. You need the players to be on the same page. There are a lot of behind the scenes stuff. We had a short amount of time with the team to do what we needed to do so we could be as prepared for the qualifiers and events leading up. Unfortunately, we did not make the Minor, but then a team dropped out, so we were offered a play-in vs Luminosity. We had already qualified for IEM Chicago and we thought we would rather attend Chicago since it was a better event for us anyway because of our sponsorships and stuff like that. Not to mention Chicago is a tier one event. We thought it would be good to come here. We felt like we could beat these teams and put up good fights. With Nifty falling ill, we weren’t able to practice, and we played Liquid in the first game of Counter-Strike since we got here. It was really our warm-up game and it was against the best team in the world.
Focusing on the MiBR match, performed against this team as the No. 2 guy, is that the level you are as a player or do you have more to offer?
We put up a good fight, but it was not my best performance. Usually, I have a good performance, but it was my first tier one LAN. It was also difficult for my role. I am the AWPer, so I rely on our IGL and the structure as a team. Our IGL was sick so we were playing loose and out of structure, so it was difficult for me. It's strange, it was hard. I was trying to group the team and I was focusing a lot on the team and what was happening, trying to keep everything together. So, I wasn’t as focused on performing my role to the fullest.
Where do you see your role going and what does having respectable performances under those conditions say to you as a player? Where do you go from here as a player?
I am very performance driven. If I noticed myself having bad performances, it bothers me, and I want to perform better. So, I will push myself harder. I go back to training and I push myself. I force myself to play better and harder the next game. After LANs I go back and do a lot of work in terms of demos, review and individual stuff so I can up my game to the point where I feel it should be.
So, we haven’t seen what your game should be then? You have more to show?
For sure, you can see it online, I just have to transition it to LAN.
Can you compete with the best AWPers in the region?
I feel like I can. I have always been a rifler. I only picked up AWPing about five months ago. I am really new to the AWPing and I feel I put up good numbers. I did consider myself a better rifler than AWPer but I am working hard on building myself as an AWPer. I do feel like I am at that level already, but I want to put myself in a position to be better than them.
In this Envy roster, can you be a top North American AWPer?
Final question, who is a South African player no one knows about that they should?
Gareth ‘MisteM’ Ries from Energy.