pronax on GODSENT’s first year: ‘2016 was probably the hardest year, personally, in CS’

Esports Asia News
Markus “pronax” Wallsten is the in-game leader and co-owner of GODSENT. Though he and his team have been able to qualify for the ELEAGUE Major 2017, the team’s inaugural year was fraught with inconsistency.Ahead of his games in Atlanta, pronax spoke with theScore esports and reflected on GODSENT’s 2016 and the team’s mindset heading into the Major. Did you happen to do anything special for the holidays? Me personally, I didn’t do anything special. I was with my family every Christmas and besides that I have just been at home, taking it easy. Last year was a big one for you. You parted ways with Fnatic near the end of 2015 and then the first half of 2016 is when you formed GODSENT, your own organization. Since then, you’ve run into some speedbumps. What’s your perspective on 2016? How would you sum it up? I would say that 2016 was probably the hardest year, personally, in CS. Like you said, we started our own organization but we definitely didn’t expect it to be as hard as it was in the beginning. We thought that we would get some invites to at least some tournaments but we basically had to start over from scratch, we had to qualify for everything. There was a lot of stuff in a very short amount of time, we didn’t really have a lot of time to focus and prepare and get going immediately, but overall I would say for the whole year… I don’t even know, it’s esports, it’s CS. In 2017, do you think you guys have gotten into a rhythm? Have you hit your stride or is it still chaotic for you? We just had our break during the holidays, but we finished 2016 very good actually. We managed to qualify for the Major and that’s something that’s very important for us. I hope that we can continue like this and our vision is definitely to be the number one Swedish team and the best team in the world, so we will work hard in 2017. Regarding WESG and you guys not attending, Jesper “JW” Wecksell posted a comment on Reddit, I’m not sure if you read it, but he had some pretty harsh words about the team. He said the team was “playing like dogshit” and hasn’t made any progress. What are your thoughts on him saying that? I actually haven’t read the comment but I can understand his frustration. I think it’s how everyone on the team has felt from time to time. We can make some progression, but it’s like we make progression in something and then we get worse at something else. We have had a lot of problems getting our game to the next level, for sure, and that’s something we’ll need to work on. What are you doing differently or how much more are you guys training in order to make those changes possible? Well during the holidays they haven’t played basically anything. The reason that we wouldn’t have a lot of time to practice before the Major was because we let Lekr0 [Jonas “Lekr0” Olofsson] have a vacation, which was planned for a long time with his family. I think he came home like two days ago, so we’re just about to start practice for the Major and that’s actually also the reason for us skipping WESG so late. We just wanted to be 100 percent at the Major, so that we can feel that we have a shot at winning the tournament when we go into it. Do you think this Major is too close to the holidays? Yes and no. I think it’s such an important tournament so I think that it’s up to the teams to prepare as much as they want to be comfortable playing it even if it’s close to the holidays, but I would prefer if it wasn’t as close to the holidays. But it is what it is. Going back to JW’s comment, you can get a sense of his frustration. I’m not sure how the rest of the team feels but if at least one of your players are that down on themselves, down on the team, how do you as a leader keep the team motivated? It’s hard sometimes. I just try to get everyone to see the bigger picture and like, don’t get caught in the small moments. It doesn’t matter if you lose or win but you should always try to focus on the end goal, so to speak. And you find that doing that is effective? It can be. Sometimes, sometimes not. It’s also, like, I handle different people very differently. Every player is not the same and I guess with [JW] I’ll say that apart from that, it doesn’t matter how mad he is, how frustrated he is, he will always play good and do what he can to win. But the frustration is normal even in sports, especially when you lose a lot. Switching gears a little, I kinda want to talk about RFRSH, the talent agency. It was revealed pretty recently that GODSENT, Heroic, Astralis and Norse, are all part of that agency. What I wanted to ask about is the recent pushes for exclusivity from WESA and PEA, is there maybe a discussing among the RFRSH teams to form its own player association for the betterment of the players? I know that it’s something they’re very supportive of, but I don’t know how directly involved they will be in anything like that. You would have to ask them for a comment for that
As a team owner of GODSENT, are you concerned that you guys would be excluded from future ESL events? I think WESA is pushing for some exclusivity. I’m not worried from our side that RFRSH will restrict us from participating in anything, so that would be if ESL decides that only WESA teams can play in ESL, or stuff like that, but from our side I’m not afraid of it. We have a pretty crystal clear contract that the players have the right to choose what tournaments they attend. Transitioning to the Major, I know the RFRSH teams, Heroic and Astralis, are bootcamping at the RFRSH HQ. Are you going to be joining them there? We’re probably not going to join them for the Major but we’re definitely going to start using the facilities in the future. How are you going to be preparing for the Major? We’re definitely going to play a lot individually. We normally have been, we play seven to eight hours a day, but we will probably be playing a bit more than that. We just try to play as much as possible, watch demos and the usual things. At the Major, it’s notably going to be the first Major to not use GSL-style group stage, instead using the Swiss format. Do you have any thoughts about that? I actually like the Swiss format. I liked it for the qualifiers as well even before I tried it out. There has been a lot of discussion about this system, some people think the GSL system is better but other people think the Swiss system is better. I actually think the Swiss system is the better system because you get more matches, more chances, which should mean that the better team goes through. And then there’s also the advantage of all the teams essentially being in the same group. Yeah, exactly. The other thing about the Majors is the in-game coaching ban. Will that have an effect considering you have Alexander “rdl” Redl coaching the team? I don’t think so. Normally, we discuss a few hours before the game, all six of us discuss together what maps we can ban and what we should pick and stuff like that. So it’s not just me or rdl that decides what to ban, so I think we’ll do okay. How would you describe rdl’s role, then? Is he more of an analyst for the team? So far, I would describe it as he has been doing a bit of everything. He’s been part-time manager, part-time coach, he’s been kind of all over the place. But now, with RFRSH taking over the management stuff, rdl will start focusing on being our full-time coach. Your first match up in the group stages is going to be against Astralis. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think you guys have only faced off in two series and you have a split record, so 1-1. What are your thoughts on the match up? What’s your read on that? It’s going to be a fun match. I don’t really have any thoughts on the game actually, it’s the first game of the tournament. We want to win, they want to win, and who knows. We’re going to win, that’s all. That’s another thing the Swiss format brings up, is that you know who your first match up is but as the group stage progresses you don’t know who your next opponent is. Is that kind of a big concern for you? Not really. I think it worked fine at the qualifier so I guess it depends on how we play our first match. I would say, depends on how many, how much time we will have until we play the second match or the third match. I kind of want to go back to [JW]’s WESG statement. He said something that was kind of, that kind of grabbed me. He said that, and I’m quoting here, “For everyone’s sake we simply had to put the mental state and the well-being of the players in focus here and simply go all in for the Major. It’s our last shot, we don’t know how to move on.” Those are pretty strong words, it seems to imply that if he doesn’t do well at the Major then he’s just done. Is that the same sense that you’re getting? We aren’t happy with how we have been performing in 2016. We didn’t even feel confident in going to China, even though it’s like such a big prize pool, we didn’t see that we could win the tournament even if we would have gone there. I guess that’s the reason for his statement. We also feel that every tournament we go into we want to win, we want to know that we can win the tournament, and when we don’t have that feeling, that’s not a good mental state for the team. What results at the Major would you be satisfied with? That’s a hard question actually. Honestly, I would say that I can live with getting top half in the group stage to acquire a Legend spot. To actually be happy and satisfied I would say Top 3 or even maybe the finals. If the worst happens, if you guys don’t achieve that Legend status, do you feel worried about the future of the GODSENT lineup? I mean, it’s not even something that’s in my head right now. Right now I am focused on the tournament and then in the back of my head, it’s a yes, you see players switching teams almost every day. At this point I’m pretty used to it, so I don’t go around worrying about it or worrying someone is going to leave or anything like that, because that’s happened to me and my team so many times now. You just don’t think about it, you just try to focus on the tournament. [hkes_show_google_ad]

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