LMBT: “He (NiKo) was obviously the best player, but it doesn’t mean other players couldn’t progress or do their jobs.”
We interviewed the coach of Mousesports, Sergey “LMBT” Bezhanov about their big victory at StarSeries, player recruitment and the in-game leaders of Mousesports.
Mads Mygind (MM): First of all congratulations on your win at StarSeries. How does it feel to win your first event of that size? Was it a big milestone for your team?
LMBT: It wasn’t the first event of that size I’d say, but it’s a great feeling to finish 1st with such a hard list of participants at the end of day.
MM: So I want to go back to the time you joined mousesports. One of the first notable things that happened was Oskar getting benched. Why did it not work out for him on the team the first time around, and what’s different now?
LMBT: He was benched for certain reasons and he knows why. People just didn’t feel together in this lineup and it was nothing special. He came back a much stronger person and player afterwards, so I can tell it was a good thing for both sides in the end.
MM: Another player on the team during that time was NiKo. What was your relationship like with him and how was he as an in-game leader?
LMBT: I have great relations with him. We had a lot of trust and it was really hard for him to be the caller, but he was kinda forced to do it. He doesn’t like it at all, but we didn’t have any other candidate at that point. We are still really good friends and I’m happy I got to work with him.
MM: One of the narratives in the community during that time was that NiKo was “holding some of the other players back”. What are your thoughts on that narrative? Is there some degree of truth to it or is it completely ridiculous?
LMBT: I don’t think there is any truth behind it. He was obviously the best player, but it doesn’t mean other players couldn’t progress or do their jobs. I have a totally different view on this part than community or sometimes even players. If you want to progress and be successful, you will find a way and compromise to be successful together. A team is 5 players and each of them is 20% of the success
MM: So after NiKo left the team, the guy who took over as in-game leader was chrisJ. What is chrisJ like as a leader compared to NiKo?
LMBT: Chris had a lot of troubles in the beginning. He had hard times, but the team was helping him a lot at this time. We built a structure where he knew what to do if a, b, c, or d was happening. I was also calling in a lot of online matches and he was learning from it. Now he has his own view which is really good. We are just building gameplans as well as other players in the team bringing their ideas to him during the game and he can basically choose to accept them or not.
MM: What is chrisJ like now as a leader compared to a year ago? What are the main areas he improved in and what kind of things did you have to teach him?
LMBT: Most things that I taught him is about the macro game. He doesn’t need to see all of the map from above always, but he is improving in this aspect a lot as well. He has also grown as a person and became a much more calm guy who can make his calls calm way without outside things like the crowd or the score affecting him. He just learned how to make perfect calls sometimes if he is not sure he can always ask me or the team if we have any other ideas.
MM: A few months after chrisJ came back, you recruited Ropz to the team. Obviously a move like that is a big risk, considering that Ropz had never played competitively at the time. What did you see in him that made you recruit him?
LMBT: Ropz was a known guy in the community already. We were also questioning ourselves about it, but after 1 week of tryouts we clearly saw what the guy is capable of. There was no doubt when we were signing him.
MM: When it comes to roster changes like this, how much influence do you have as a coach on which players get removed and which players you add?
LMBT: It depends. I see all processes from above like who has discipline problems, who is tired of CS, who has which kind of problems in their head, etc. Now we have lineup where I don’t even want to think about it, but the lineup was changing quite a lot before. I’m not a big fan of making changes unless it’s really needed.
MM: Another question I have is about coaching in CS:GO. One of the difficult things for people is determining who is a good coach. What do you think makes a good CS:GO coach? Are there any other coaches in CS:GO that you look up to or try to do similar things as them?
LMBT: I’m not looking up to other coaches. All these guys were top players in 1.6 before and we were competitors. Coaches are unique so far and each of them have own way and own system. I respect most of them, but as soon as it’s not the top teams, the coaches aren’t super good either. Some coaches are good mental leaders, some of them have great knowledge of game, some of them are perfect managers as well. So all coaches are unique right now, but there is only 1 thing which is similar, they have 100% trust and respect from their players.
MM: Let’s jump ahead to your win at StarSeries. One of the big stories at the event aside from your own team winning was s1mple playing at a crazy level. How do you prepare your team to face a player like that? How do you handle it during the game?
LMBT: We never had some sort of preparation against a player who is on fire or who is super dangerous. It’s just a part which we sometimes remind ourselves in advantageous situations that s1mple is still alive, to not give him any chance to come back in the round. We take a step back and don’t give him a chance.
MM: How far can mousesports go as a team? Do you think you can be number 1 in the world? What are the things you need to improve on to reach that level?
LMBT: It’s too early to think about it in my opinion, but we have the correct direction. The scene is super stacked right now so being consistently top 1 is a really hard task and I don’t think any team can do it right now. But the goal is to win any tournament you attend against the best opposition.
MM: At the end of the interview, do you have anything to add or any shoutouts?
LMBT: Shoutout to all the fans around the globe, it’s really nice to be a multinational team in this aspect.
Comment below your reactions and thanks again to LMBT for the interview!