The Elephant in the Room: mousesports' Indecision
Dating back to its creation in August 2017, the most recent five-man roster of mousesports has been no slouch in the international scene. They have had their share of both ups and downs together, but all-in-all they have seen about as much success as they could have hoped for, given the team's structure. One issue the team has run into in the recent months has been their overall indecision in what they want moving forward.
It all began with the speculation of vocal support player Martin "STYKO" Styk being benched back in January 2018, with players like Dennis "dennis" Edman being thrown into the mix of names of possible replacements. This is just one of many instances showcasing mousesports indecisive behavior. The move may not of come to fruition, especially seeing as STYKO remained on the active lineup for nearly another seven months before finally being benched. However, it does further prove the uncertainty that goes on within the decision-making of mousesports’ CS:GO roster.
Mousesports soon labeled STYKO's eventual replacement, Janusz "Snax" Pogorzelski, as their "number one priority", yet only opted to stick with him for a span of roughly four months. During this time, the team had an admittedly disappointing result at the FACEIT London Major, but managed to redeem themselves with a top four finish at both ELEAGUE Premier and DreamHack Masters Stockholm. What really gave the CS:GO community hope for the team was their flawless climb to the top at ESL One: New York. A run that ultimately ended with mousesports taking home their first trophy at a large LAN event since StarSeries i-League Season 4. Despite their victory, the results were not satisfactory enough for the team to stick together. After failing miserably at StarSeries i-League Season 6, the team admitted to having issues in the communication department, as well as the absence of another voice within the roster that STYKO once brought.
It must be said that Snax visibly struggled with the lineup, but inconsistency in the likes of Tomáš "oskar" Šťastný and an ever-so-slightly fizzling out young star Robin "ropz" Kool did not make things any better for the line-up’s ultimate dismay. Upon STYKO’s return everyone individually seemed to be getting back onto their feet, especially long time mouz AWPer Tomáš "oskar" Šťastný, who showed a level of skill similar to what we saw before the Slovakian support player’s first leave of absence from the team.
The mousesports crew were on a real roller coaster of emotions throughout this time - they had simply decided to bring STYKO back into the active lineup after his short stint with Cloud9 in North America. While, on paper, this was not an awful decision to make, it still makes the four months of time they could have spent with him as opposed to Snax seem wasted. STYKO was able to change himself as an individual for the betterment of himself, however, this may have been to the detriment to the team. “I can say this only from my personal point of view, but I was much more selfless, now I think I'm being more selfish, sometimes I'm trying to use my players around me for my benefit. So it's not completely like I'm being used by my teammates, but I'm also using them, that's what I learned in Cloud9, for example” said STYKO in an HLTV interview on the topic of his evolution as a player. Nevertheless, the team pushed on with their new, old lineup.
A slow start found uninspiring results at their first three LANs back together, with their fourth being a 3rd-4th place finish behind Astralis and Team Liquid at the ESL Pro League Season 8 Finals. The team was a clear favorite in both the Europe Minor Closed Qualifier and Minor itself, claiming the #1 seed after winning the Closed Qualifier. With that being said, the team also admitted to not having very much practice heading into things, leaving one to think there were issues occurring outside the server, behind the scenes. Unfortunately, the team would prove unable to escape the Group Stage after losing their opening match against Valiance 14-16, finding a 2-0 win in their elimination match against OpTic Gaming, then once again submitting to Valiance in a 0-2 loss in the decider.
Their instability as a team was too much for the players to handle, ultimately leading to one of the biggest moves this roster had ever seen. Mousesports once again benched STYKO, as well as the team's in-game leader and secondary AWPer Chris "chrisJ" de Jong. Not only that, but they declared that they no longer required the service of the team's long-time coach Sergey "lmbt" Bezhanov. This has left the team with primary AWP player "oskar", rifling entry-fragger Miikka "suNny" Kemppi and rifling lurker Robin "ropz" Kool.
Over the course of 2018 and early 2019, mousesports has, as far as one can tell, lost their grip on their cohesion as a team. It must be said that benching STYKO only to bring him back simply didn’t help improve team chemistry, and him being the one to sit the bench once again only shows that whatever they hoped to regain was lost in translation. With options like esteemed in-game leader Finn "karrigan" Andersen, entry-fragger Adil "ScreaM" Benrlitom, and young gun rifler Jørgen "cromen" Robertsen on the market, their options are anything but limited. Benching their two most vocal players is a move that very few could have seen coming, and it just might be the one to pull them from the slump they find themselves in now.