Prior to the DreamHack Open Cluj-Napoca group draw, theScore eSports spoke with G2 Esports' Mikail "Maikelele" Bill about his time with NiP, recent roster changes and preparation for the Major.
You entered into the spotlight for new fans when you started playing with NiP, but what was your CS career like before that? Where were your roots and when did you decide you would go pro?
My roots date back a long time ago, from when I was playing on decent Swedish teams like Begrip, wCrea, etc... I first noticed I would have the skills to become a CS:GO Pro player when LGB was created for the first time. We had some insane games against some of the best teams in Europe which made me wanna go pro and I ended up doing so.
Even though you played well for NiP, you were dropped from their roster after a short while. What was it like to play with them and how did the experience impact you?
To play with them was the best thing to happen in my life. I was extremely happy and I loved and really enjoyed my life. They’re such skilled players with so much experience, so just playing scrims gave me some insane experience that I carry with me even today.
I really miss those sometimes because it was when NiP recruited me that I actually became a true pro player.
As someone who has had an inside look, why do you think NiP are struggling to live up to their former glory?
I think once in awhile you need a change in your life. In relationships you might need a new house or apartment to get that little thing going. But in CS:GO in most of the times you need some kind of change in-game. NiP tried for a really long time to find the right path, but never really found it. I think they kind of were on the way when they recruited me because, if you ask me, I was the perfect fit for them. Unfortunately, some roadblocks were in the way and they decided to cut me off. But I would say a change in someway.
At DreamHack Valencia, your former teammate, ScreaM, stated that the team environment was great, but upon his departure to Titan he stated that communication had disappeared and that he was no longer having fun playing with the rest of the team. What is your take on ScreaM’s opinion and how do you feel the team is doing currently?
When we created this team and a longtime forward we had super fun as a team. We all were happy and the environment was superb. But after a while when we traveled around people wanted to do other stuff than hang out with the team. With this happening, I think people lost motivation to play with each other and ScreaM was one of them. You could feel in-game that something was missing and something had to happen. I’m not saying release someone, which we ended up doing, but I think we had to sit down and talk, maybe go for a vacation or whatever. Right now we have super fun together, even though we are four people speaking the same language and one who’s not, we’re still speaking English in-game and outside of it when fox is with us.
The player you decided to bring in to replace ScreaM was jkaem. Were there other options and why did you decide to go with him in the end?
When you’re going to add a new player to you line-up, you discuss who. We had some people in mind, but the call we thought was the best for the future was jkaem.
How is the team currently handling in-game leadership? You were one of the first teams to use a coach as a true shotcaller. Do you have plans for a coach to direct the team in Cluj-Napoca?
In Cluj-Napoca we’re not going to have a coach as a shotcaller, we’re helping with all five players but on the paper, rain is the in-game leader because he said he could do it.
We discussed bringing a new strat-calling coach to the team, but we decided we will probably do that after the major. We didn’t have that much time after bringing jkaem to the team.
How have you been practicing for the Major?
Since jkaem joined, we’ve been practicing a lot online and playing a lot of official games.
Now we have almost a week of bootcamp and all of this is only to prepare to the major. It’s gonna be a super tournament.
Are there any teams you would like to avoid being paired with in groups and why?
Well before the groups were announced, I would say TSM (which we ended up with) because they have been our kryptonite. I don’t know why, but now we will have a small revenge in the groups if everything goes according to the plans and revenge wins are the best wins.
This interview was edited and condensed for clarity.
Jacob Juillet writes about Counter-Strike for theScore eSports. Follow him on Twitter.