Of Mouz and men: the current state of the murine misfits
Mousesports has had Counter Strike at its core since 2002 & after six years of growing pains, they finally have a Global Offensive roster with a potential for greatness.
Sat comfortably within the top ten teams in the world, it has been a long road for Mousesports to reach the top. From humble beginnings, to roster turmoil, to losing their star, the underdog story of the organisation still lingers despite the team being in the best position it has ever been in.
Mousesports have seen many roster changes throughout their time in CS:GO. From Sam “RattlesnK” Gawn’s British squad to the multinational European roster now, the team has since seen numerous nationalities: Greek, German, Danish, Finnish, Bosnian and Spanish, pass through their ranks over the last six years, rarely spending more than a few months with each iteration.
The current squad is European with players representing the nations of the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, The Netherlands and Poland. When all of Mouz are able to play at their best, this squad can go toe to toe with any team in their path to victory with on-the-fly adaptability for all situations they face. Looking at each individual in Mousesports on paper, their potential only grows with a strong mix of veteran and rookie players with star power at their fingertips.
Mousesports IGL Chris “chrisJ” de Jong is a long-standing member of Mouz having joined the organisation in 2013 as part of an otherwise all-German lineup. ChrisJ’s brief benching in 2017 saw star player Niko ‘NiKo’ Kovac pass the mantle of leader onto Timo “Spiidi” Richter in a controversial move that only lasted 12 days as NiKo transferred to FaZe Clan and chrisJ returned to the active lineup where he has remained since. Working as leader alongside coach Sergey “lmbt” Bezhanov, chrisJ has become a worthy IGL for a top five team in relation to his calling and abilities on the server. His personal level has seen a huge surge this year, with ESL One Belo Horizonte being the most notable event that would have likely seen the Dutch player claim the MVP award had FaZe not lifted the trophy.
Oskar saw himself benched during end of 2016 due to personal reasons after only two months on the team. He stated his personal level had dipped, and he felt unable to keep up with long practice schedules which would hold the team back. Following his return in 2017, he was a rock for Mousesports, claiming the MVP at ESG Tours Mykonos and tearing down opponents with incredible performances, including against the then-defending Major champions Gambit at DreamHack Winter 2017. Mousesports took the trophy at StarSeries Season 4 and oskar claimed a second MVP medal at the V4 Future Sports Festival in 2018 and has consistently finished events with positive ratings with ESL One Cologne being the only exception at 0.99.
As well as established veterans of the game, Mouz is home to Robin “ropz” Kool, the first FPL star to make a lasting mark on the pro scene. The young Estonian won the January FPL circuit with many seeing him as the biggest rising talent while others questioned his legitimacy. Some pros had even called out ropz for not joining a team sooner than he did.
Having been flown to FACEIT HQ in London to play and prove himself as legitimate, he was signed to Mousesports, his first professional team, in April 2017 to replace Spiidi at just 17 years old. Unproven on LAN, picking up ropz has certainly paid off as he is growing into a consistent, reliable player. He has finished with positive event ratings for every event Mouz has attended in 2018, with a positive K/D in all of them other than ESL One Cologne where the entire team struggled.
Miikka “suNny” Kemppi was a player from PENTA Sports, an organisation Mousesports had multiple swaps and changes with over the years. He joined Mouz in the middle of 2017, having put up a strong performance at the PGL Major Krakow against the likes of then-SK Gaming’s coldzera and North’s k0nfig. Mousesports themselves had struggled, also going out of the event 1-3 with their only victory against an uncharacteristically weak FaZe Clan in OT. Mousesports bringing on suNny certainly helped them take their 2017 title in Greece with 95 frags in the Bo5 Final against Team Liquid for the Finn. This form has continued into 2018 and suNny has been performing incredibly well and consistently. Like ropz, he has been rated positive at the end of every event this year.
Replacing STYKO with Snax has been a widely discussed decision. STYKO had been with HellRaisers for almost two years before joining Mousesports. Playing as a support player, creating space for the other members of the team, STYKO, like TACO during his time at MiBR, faced the brunt of the criticism whenever Mouz lost. Snax, an individual who at the start of 2017 was in the running for best player of that year before falling off alongside the rest of VP, was not the first choice. Initial discussions were for benched French player Dan “apEX” Madesclaire before falling through apparently due to G2’s unwillingness to negotiate down the price of their former entry. The role and importance of Snax will be seen in the next few months as the team settle and it will be seen whether he will be the X Factor they need to push Mousesports forward by returning to his early 2017 level or a piece of Kryptonite placed within their very core.
Stare into a fire
ELEAGUE Major Boston marked the first time Mousesports made it past the group stage at a Major and was a sign of things to come. Other than failing to make the Finals of ECS Season 5 and their run with a fresh player in the form of Snax at Cologne, Mouz have made the playoffs for every LAN event they’ve been in through 2018. Online, they finished first in EPL Season 7 for Europe.
The team are now a significant threat to any team they meet even if they don’t have the reputation of Astralis, the best player in the world like Na’Vi or the big names and big money of FaZe. Reaching a level of consistency at a time where other teams are going through changes and struggles, DreamHack Masters Stockholm will set the pace for Mousesports before they have to defend their Legends status at the FACEIT Major London in September.
While in a better position than the likes of Cloud9 who have yet to find two more players before going into the player break, Mousesports battled through the New Challenger and New Legends stage at ELEAGUE Boston, going 3-2 in both portions of the Major. Performances like their 2-1 game at ELEAGUE Boston in which they choked a 13-2 lead against Quantum Bellator Fire cannot be repeated as the hungry and dangerous teams from the Minors and New Challenger stage could make an hors d’oeuvre out of Mouz compared to some less choke-prone teams at the event. On paper, Mousesports should be a contender for the title of Major champions, but every player has to perform on the server for this to be possible. No one will have Mousesports as favourites for the Major, but the underdog position is one the team are more than used to and have managed to thrive under this year.