Cloud9 are heading into the ECS Season 4 Finals as one of just a handful of teams that didn't participate at the ESL Season 6 Finals last weekend. C9 have a lot to prove as the highest North American seed at the tournament, but they're also looking to the future, specifically what the recent changes to the CS:GO Major system means for them.
Editor's Note: The following Q and A is a transcript of a press conference ahead of the ECS Season 4 Finals, which included several members of the media, including staff from Unikrn, Dot Esports and Newsweek's esports vertical Player.One, alongside theScore esports.
What are your thoughts on the changes to the upcoming major?
Tarik "tarik" Celik: Well I think that the changes kind of suck in the sense that it doesn't include the Top 24 teams in the world, and it takes away prestige form having a secure game. So it's hard to say what Valve's plans are exactly with this change, because it kind of came out of nowhere, but I hope that there's more to come from it. But as of now I think it's hard to say whether I'm a fan of it.
Do you think you have an advantage over teams that just competed at ESL Pro League due to fatigue? Why or why not?
Tarik: I think there's a slight advantage in the sense that I like going to LANs back-to back because then I'm warmed up and I'm in form, so I think playing LANs consistently is really good. So coming from ESL Pro League I don't think is a disadvantage, I think if anything it's an advantage because they just played at a tournament and they're going to another. But at the same time, their starts are sort of out there so teams can study them more. But I personally prefer going from LAN to LAN. The thing that kind of sucks is that they might be more jet-lagged, but I don't really have a problem with that personally.
Will "Rush" Wierzba: I think ESL Pro League ended a while ago, like four or five days ago, so I think they've had ample time to recover from jet lag. So if anything it's just the stars that are out there are the only thing that could benefit other teams.
Stewie, yesterday you posted a tweet regarding the diminishing accomplishment of qualifying for a Major, Since you can only say so much in a tweet, can you please expand on your thoughts?
Jacky "Stewie2k" Yip: Yeah, I think the first thing that everyone noticed is that it's 24 teams, and it's not the 24 top teams in the world. It's kind of hard to say who are the top 24 teams in the world right now because there are so many teams that are competing right now and teams are beating each other not on a consistent basis, so it's going back and forth pretty much. I think that it's worse because, when I first started playing, professionally on Cloud9, I thought that making the Major was the biggest thing that could happen in CS:GO, but now that 24 teams can do it and it's not even the 24 teams at the top of the world, I think that devalues it a lot.
Now that they get stickers as well, I feel like stickers don't even mean anything to me anymore. I feel like when you have stickers in the game it's a symbol of yourself and a lot of fans just kind of idolize you through your stickers, and they want to be a part of the player, they're just showing appreciation for the player or that they're a fan and buy stickers now. But now I feel like since every team gets it, it's not as valuable, it's not as hype as it was before, so I hope Valve does something about that.
Jordan "n0thing" Gilbert has mentioned that the team has tried using a sports psychologist before but it didn't work out. Why was this the case?
Stewie2k: I think it didn't work out before because we didn't really see eye-to-eye when it came to in-game. Out of the game I think we were okay, but in-game, when it comes to psychologists I felt like we all knew our problems already without the psychologist, even though he can help fix the issues.But I felt like the problem it was occurring constantly so it was hard to just have anyone come in and help resolve the issue.
Stewie, you mentioned that qualifying for the major was an accomplishment, do you feel like the 24 teams devalues that? Do you believe that there are 24 teams that deserve, or are at the level to be called elite? What is the ideal number of Major teams?
Stewie2k: Personally I don't think some of those teams are a elite, but I guess you can say that my ego is speaking for me, and I think it's like another ordinary tournament now, I think, even though there's a big prize pool. It's still the Major, it's still a big tournament, but I feel like it's another ordinary tournament just because there's so many teams. It might not be the top teams in the world, I'm not saying that these teams can't beat the top teams in the world, they might, but they can't beat them at a consistent basis, so that's why I think the 24 teams was a mistake.
Without asking you to come up with a solution, do you think that maybe too many slots for some regions, and perhaps certain regions should be prioritized for Major seeding, similar to games like League of Legends?
Rush: Yeah, definitely for Europe there should be more slots, maybe one, two, I'd say one is more fair. Asia should have one slot. I don't think Asia should have two slots, definitely, because the level is simply not there. CIS as well I think should be one slot, even though I think there are a lot of good CIS teams, like Gambit and stuff like that, a lot of them are already in the Major system, they're already like at Major status, so I think that the teams that are currently qualifying aren't top-tier level teams that can compete with everyone else. So I'd say definitely give Europe, maybe even group CIS and Europe into one qualifier, instead of doing a CIS Minor and a European Minor. But basically, the consensus is Europe should have more slots.
Daniel Rosen is a social editor for theScore esports. You can follow him on Twitter.
Dennis "Tarmanydyn" Gonzales is a news editor for theScore esports who enjoys whiskey, D&D and first-picking
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