One week ago our CS:GO team secured the qualification for the Americas Minor – Starladder Major! July 17-21, they will be playing for one of the three spots at the Major in Berlin. Ever since joining the team in March,
Alan “Shakezullah” Hardeman has been working on growing and developing the team, both inside and outside the game. Here is what he had to say about the preparation for the Qualifier.
“Living in the gaming house has done a ton for our practices by making then more efficient and reducing distractions. When we sit down for the day, I can make sure that everyone is at their 100%, not on their phone or having a bad attitude. Being in such close proximity essentially creates an environment where if your goal is to improve, you can do so with maximum efficiency. If there is a hard talk that needs to be had, we can do it. There is no running away from it or pretending to fix an issue. We are all right there, and everyone knows whether you are doing what you are supposed to. At the end of the day, we all share the vision to go pro and make it as far as we can in this game. We go through tough times and get mad at each other like any other team, but we get past those obstacles because we must.
Ever since we have moved into the house, we have really just worked on creating better practices and expanding our map pool. When we moved in, we only had four maps we could play. I’ve been with the team since about late March, which is only a short time. Three months to most would seem like a lot, but as a team trying to grow and develop, there are so many things to you need to touch and improve on. Having six pro ready maps in three months is not easy, and still something we are working hard for each day. Overall, we spend about three hours each day doing demos and server time, with the rest of the time dedicated to scrims. This schedule has noticeably helped us, and we can feel our improvement.
Regarding the minor qualifier, we went in expecting to make it. Before the tournament, I went through and created vetoes for each of the opponents I thought we would be facing. That helped me prepare in terms of what maps to focus on in our practice as well as watching the demos. We also knew that by having Vertigo and Nuke as our go to maps, we should get at least one map in any of the bo3’s we played which is a huge advantage.
Bad News Bears were a difficult opponent in the first round, as they had beaten us in the last two matches. Regardless, we went in and played confidently. We knew our map pool was strong against them though, and as I mentioned, we knew Nuke was going to be good for us. When we won overpass, we knew we were going to take home the series.
NRG was a bit odd because it was hard to prepare for them. Since they just brought in a new IGL, we did not prepare for them, just how we thought the veto would go. Even with a Stanislaw, they outclassed us on both Train and Mirage. It was hard to play against them, and we are going to look at the demos to see what we can do better in the future. We did manage to take Nuke however and doing so only fortified our confidence in the map going forward.
The ATK series was a bit unfortunate for them, as they had to use Hiko in place of Tenz. Tenz and Hiko share completely different roles, so we knew they were not at 100%. Regardless, they surprised us with how well they played on Vertigo. They are one of the better teams we have played thus far on the map and it was a close series.
Alan “Shakezullah ” Hardeman
The Envy series was interesting because we had a few ways to go about the veto. We knew they would ban Vertigo, which left Nuke in. However, it is a strong map for them and they had picked it every chance they had. We thought about picking Overpass, hoping that they would let Nuke through for a third map, but at the end of the day we decided it is best to be confident in ourselves as the better team. Therefore, we Picked Nuke and went to Mirage as the third map. We knew their tendencies and go to plays on all three maps from the demos. Even after losing Inferno, we felt confident in the final two maps. We followed the game plan on Nuke to perfection and everyone on the team played extremely well. Mirage was another slow start for us, but we brought it back from 0-5 to 9-6. We played a fast T side and were able to close it out 16-9.”
During the tournament, Ricky “Floppy” Kemery stood out as a key performer in the team, having a great performance in all the series. Here is what he had to say about the experience of living in the gaming house and the tournament itself.
“Living in the Singularity gaming house has been one hell of an experience. Enjoying the company of my team in and out of the game makes living together a lot easier and I think we’ve learned a lot about each other and our personalities have meshed really well together. Making top 6 in the Germany minor qualifier has definitely been the highlight of the past month and us meshing impacted the ability to win in a positive manner. We have our ups and downs as all teams do but we are all capable of critical thinking so we resolve our differences in and out of game accordingly.”Ricky “Floppy” Kemery