It’s a frosty evening on the 17th of January in Katowice, Poland. Not too far from the famous “Spodek” arena is the ESL studio, in which the top European teams are trying to qualify to the New Challengers stage for the IEM Katowice CS:GO Major Championship. A lackluster performance against team Valiance in the deciding stages of the European Minor meant that a star-studded Mousesports team ceased to exist. That was the end for the old roster as we know it. But what lead to the fall of this team?
Overcoming Troubles On The Homefront
Mousesports were in a peculiar position. Just two months prior, they decided to bring back Styko. It’s no secret that Styko was rumoured to be sacked long before Snax joined the team. With him back in active duty, they still had 3 months before the minors could even begin.
The first event they attended was IEM Chicago. They showed some prominent results in the group stage, as they didn’t really struggle to beat Luminosity and BIG, both in a 2-0 fashion and even won a map against Liquid in a bo3. The biggest challenge came when they had to go up against Astralis in the quarter-finals. Their first map might have been a blow-out and the second map Nuke showed us a more interesting game, but it was the best team in the world they played against and Mousesports still needed some time to get back in shape.
More Events To Come
Next up was the North American event in Arlington, Texas ECS Season 6 Finals. As part of the online league, Mousesports was one of the 4 European teams that qualified to the event alongside 4 North American teams. Since it was an event with 4 teams in 2 groups, Mousesports got the short end of the stick. Their group consisted of Astralis, MiBR, and Cloud9. With MiBR upsetting Astralis in a bo3 game, Mousesports had to yet again, face the best team in the world for a chance in the playoffs. Once again, it came down to a narrow game score, but it was another victory for Astralis, who later on were crowned victors of yet another tournament.
Mouseports Last Stop Before The Minors
The last event before the minor was ESL Pro League Season 8 Finals. In the groups, it looked like the old Mousesports was back. Because of their earlier loss to MiBR they secured a quarter-final spot and their opponents would be the Renegades. Here we witnessed a very dysfunctional Mousesports roster. They played a very fearful style of Counter-Strike. It looked like nothing was working out for in the 1st map where they lost 16-4.
They finally showed up on the 2nd map. Oskar delivered a 30 bomb and clinched the victory on Mirage. On the third map, the Mousesports finally recuperated and won the bo3. Because of some twisted fate, for the 3rd time, Astralis and Mouseports met on the big stage. And like the times beforehand the Mouesports roster was a mere peddle on the triumphant road to victory for Astralis.
Congratulations. You’ve Passed The Test.
During this 2 month stint, it was still pretty clear that the return of Styko was beneficial. In their first 3 LAN appearances they were able to beat the opponents they struggled against in the Snax era and looked like a much more formidable team. The performances at the end of last year was the glimpse many needed to restore their faith in the Mousesports project.
The Dreaded Minor For Mouseports
This minor consisted of a lot of notable teams. You had the lackluster Danish teams in the form of North and Optic Gaming, the unproven Vitality roster, Ence, Valiance, Winidgo, Ex-Spacesoldier and of course, Mousesports. We can already see that these aren’t the most formidable opponents and on any given day, Mousesports should come out on top. But in a deciding game against Valiance, Mousesports weren’t looking good. Even though they got themselves the two pistol rounds victories on the first map, they really struggled in the gun rounds. In particular, the mid to late round scenarios.
The Scared Mousesports
A team like Mousesports should be cruising over a less experienced European squad like Valiance, but that was pretty much the opposite. In some of the tighter clutch scenarios, you would see Valiance succeed. Maybe the nerves were at play for Mousesports on the first map, but if anything, this was still a bo3 series and a seeing a 3rd map was not out of the question.
But on Cache, the second map, it was a similar affair. We saw Mousesports with the early start, great momentum early on, but as the first half was ending, the game was slipping out of their hands. Even worse so, on the second half, Mousesports couldn’t set a proper defensive side and only acquired 1 round on the CT side of Cache. And as anti-climactic as it might be, that was the end for the Mousesports roster as we know it.
Who’s On The Choppin’ Block?
It didn’t take the organization too long to announce changes for the roster. These were cutthroat changes. It was announced that Martin “Styko” Styk, Chris “chrisJ” de Jong and coach Sergey “lmbt” Bezhanov would all hit the bench. You can see the logic behind the bench of chrisJ. His in-game leadership was never truly identified. Under his reign, the team would get top placings and win the odd match against a better team. Whether it was his input that was important, or maybe the coach’s Imbt work in play, we can’t really tell.
On another note, it was quite baffling as to how Styko has been treated. He got kicked out the roster and didn’t give up. He continues the grind in Cloud9, then gets welcomed back to Mousesports to get, yet again, kicked from the team. It’s obvious what pieces this team needs: an IGL and someone to fill in the shoes of Styko.
Mixing The Old With The New
Enters Finn “karrigan” Andersen. The most valuable in-game leader in free agency that could be the missing piece Mouseports needed since the departure of their last proper IGL – Fatih “gob b” Dayik. It was, however, more difficult to find a replacement for a player like Styko. And as the rumors began the surface, it looked there wouldn’t be a Styko type player in the team. The finalized roster was concluded with the following players: Finn “karrigan” Andersen, Chris “chrisJ” de Jong, David “frozen” Čerňanský, Özgür “woxic” Eker and Robin “ropz” Kool
A New Journey For Mouseports
This was a true overhaul, but there are a lot of question to be raised. The two players like frozen and woxic seem to be good additions for firepower, but how well will they play in a more structural system of karrigan? Will chrisJ decide to go back to awping or will he be the one in place of Styko?
If the rosters end up clicking, this could be another Mousesports team which contends for the top. For now, the changes are welcome but only time will tell if this project surpasses previous iterations of Mousesports.