Will "Rush" Wierzba is a professional Counter-Strike player and rifler for OpTic Gaming.
OpTic is currently competing in ECS Season 3 Finals, where they are facing the likes of FaZe Clan, SK Gaming and G2 Esports. Ahead of the tournament, Rush spoke with theScore esports and other media about hazed replacing jasonR, the opponents he'll be facing in the Group of Death, and his thoughts on the Rank S system
What follows is a transcription of selected questions from ECS' round-table press conference, where questions were asked by journalists from several outlets, including theScore esports.
How is the team adjusting to the swap of jasonR for hazed? Was it hard to change leaders so abruptly?
I would say it was hard, but not as hard as it might have been if it was a different player because James was our coach. He knows all our strats, he knows how we play, and he can implement that into our game without having to worry about learning anything. If we got a new IGL for example, he would have to learn all of our strats all over again. It's a work in progress, but it's a lot easier with him.
Knowing your group has Faze, SK and G2, what is the biggest challenge for surviving this Group of Death?
Obviously it's Bo1's at the start. So I'd say that the biggest thing we have to do is win the first game versus Faze, because I think that one team that I am most concerned about is SK, because they are super strong. We played them a lot in NA, we practice against them a lot in matches, and they know how we play the most out of any of the teams here, in our group. So they're going to be able to... Fallen's going to call well versus us, he always has.
In terms of G2 and Faze, I would rather play them than I would SK. So we just got to be patient in my book.
The last time we talked was before the qualifier for ELEAGUE Season 2. We talked about how there's maybe a gap in the leadership dynamic in OpTic, that there isn't really a big motivator, a player on the team who is pumping up the squad. Does hazed fill that role, or is his leadership style different?
I'd say he's more outgoing as a leader and more vocal than stanislaw was. Tactically speaking, stanislaw was probably more intuitive overall, but I think that James brings a good vibe to the team, he does hype us up. And Jason was the same way, when Jason was on the team. Even though he wasn't an experienced leader he still had a really good mentality for winning. He always said when we were down that we could make a comeback and that we can win this. Not saying that stanislaw didn't say that, but he is a more monotone kind of player. He's a great leader, but he's really monotone.
Considering you guys lost jasonR and hazed is now your fifth coach, at least temporarily, are you guys looking to pick up another coach as well?
We are actually looking into it. I can't give any names right now, but we actually might be trialing a coach in the coming... I don know if he's coming to LANs with us. But we are definitely looking to trial someone, so we're looking forward to that.
If you were in control of a team, hypothetically, and you were coming up with a training regimen, would Rank S be included?
Right now, I would forbid it. I wouldn't say don't play it, but I would advocate against it. They can play it all they want, I'm not going to stop them, but I definitely would tell them that if it was my choice you wouldn't be playing it. If anything, just play retake, execute servers, deathmatch, watch demos, a lot more time that you could put into the game that is better used than playing Rank S right now.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Dennis "Tarmanydyn" Gonzales is a news editor for theScore esports who enjoys whiskey, D&D and first-picking
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Preston Dozsa is a news editor for theScore esports. You can follow him on Twitter.