"Everyone loves a good underdog story": an interview with CLG before ESL One Katowice 2015

Counter Logic Gaming (CLG) joined TSM and EnVyUs in the CS:GO market by signing the former team mouseSpaz in mid January. After fighting through the North American qualifier, the team joined the offline qualifier to take one of the first spots for ESL One Katowice after two 16-14 wins over Gamers2 and Titan. We got to speak to Stephen “reltuC” Cutler, Pujan “FNS” Mehta, James “hazed” Cobb, Tarik “tarik” Celik and Peter “PTR” Gurney before they head to their first CS:GO major!

ESL: Congratulations on earning a spot at ESL One Katowice 2015 in the offline qualifier! Are you happy to be heading back to Poland in less than a month?
PTR: Thank you. Yes, we are super excited to compete in a major. Personally this has been my dream for a long time and I wouldn't wanna pass this up for the world.

ESL: With no US teams coming to ESL One Katowice 2015 as Legends, how much do you want to win one of these eight spots? Do you think your team will be able to make it that far?
PTR: We want to win more than anything, and to have a chance to make it out of the groups is what we are aiming for! I think my team can make it to the top eight - we just have to buckle down and have great comms.

ESL: With you, Cloud 9, Keyd Stars and Vox Eminor, only four out of 16 teams don’t hail from Europe. What do you see as the reason behind the European teams’ strength and how do you think you can change that?
FNS: Until recently, we - teams outside Europe - only had one or two tournaments domestically, and no real organizations backed us to go to the bigger events. Basically, we just played CS:GO online and had two tournaments to look forward to. Europe has a much larger pool of top teams because they have more events, which helps these teams gain more and more experience as well as top organizations backing them and sending them to every event all around the world. Now that bigger organizations are finally starting to pick up teams outside Europe, you're able to see exactly how much potential teams like us, Keyd Stars, Cloud 9 and Vox Eminor really have, among others.

ESL: In your group you had 16-14 wins over Gamers2 and Titan to advance to ESL One Katowice 2015. Can you describe how your team felt coming out on top of these tough matches?
FNS: As you could tell by our reactions, we were extremely happy when we won the game versus Titan to advance into the major. Before the event, we had switched in-game leaders and things were looking shaky for us online, so we didn't have much confidence. Once we got rolling in the tournament, everything clicked and we felt like a completely new team. Everybody played well. We always dreamt of having that chance to be able to prove ourselves in Europe, and I'm glad we were able to do just that.

ESL: When taking a look at the other teams who’ll be at ESL One Katowice 2015, are there any you’d love - or hate - to play in the group stage?
tarik: Although we have little experience on European soil, Fnatic is one of the teams we have struggled to play against due to their effective aggressive playstyle. I do believe we have the chance to upset them in any given match, but they are the only European team that has beat us yet. One of the teams I would love to play against would be NiP, mainly because I feel our playstyle would catch them off guard.

ESL: With Team Liquid, EnVyUs, Team SoloMid and CLG, a lot of big US-based organizations have decided to pick up CS:GO teams. Would you say that CS:GO has finally got the backing it needs in the US to reach its old heights?
tarik: There is no doubt in my mind that CS:GO is expanding exceptionally fast. Not only are larger organizations getting involved, but prize pots are also being increased appropriately with growth within the game. The North American community is slowly but surely catching up to European standards as well, although we have to continue putting in some much-needed time and effort to reach their level.

ESL: Do you already have any special boot camps or similar planned in the leadup to ESL One Katowice? How will you prepare for the event?
reltuC: No, we don't have any boot camps set up for Katowice. With Cloud 9 and the former iBUYPOWER team both going up there for a month before their major and not making it out of groups, I wanna be able to surprise teams with how we play by not letting them get used to it. We are just going to work on teamwork and strats while we are here in the US.

ESL: It’s the first CS:GO major for both you as a team as well as your organization. How much pressure are you putting on yourself and what’s CLG’s take on this big chance?
reltuC: Obviously we want to win, and I think my team as well as myself would be upset if we don't make it out of groups, but I wouldn't say there is pressure on us. I feel like the pressure is more on the other teams facing us. We are being called the most overhyped team in CS right now, and I would say most people don't expect us to go far. As for CLG’s take, they have been extremely supportive and will do whatever they can to give us the best chance on winning.

ESL: The fans at Katowice are known to very passionately support their favorite teams. Do you have anything special planned to win over the fans’ hearts?
hazed: Winning over the hearts of the fans will be impossible if we play VP! If we bring high energy with our flashy playstyle then hopefully everyone will cheer for us. Everyone loves a good underdog story.

ESL: Thank you for your time. The final words belong to you!
hazed: Thanks to everyone who has supported us through thick and thin! We have steadily improved over the last six months and we’re showing no signs of stopping! Huge thanks to CLG and our sponsors Twitch, iBuyPower, SanDisk, Razer, LoLClass, NZXT and Cellucor for believing in us!

From March the 12th to the 15th, you’ll be able to see how Counter Logic Gaming do at ESL One Katowice 2015 - follow ESL Counter-Strike on Facebook and Twitter to make sure you don’t miss any news!


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