After a third place finish during the group stage at Katowice, the team formerly known as Clan-Mystik saw some roster changes and became Epsilon, following Titan and qualifying for ESL One Cologne in a flawless manner. We sat down with Robin “GMX” Stahmer and talked about the team’s chances in Cologne as well as his view on the community funded tournaments.
ESL: Hello, Robin. Thank you for your time. Roster, name and organizational changes - the last couple of months must have been tumultuous for you guys. However, the results were good. How did you manage to get your head in the game and focus with all these outside distractions and changes?
Robin “GMX” Stahmer: When we made all these changes, we decided to play a lot (17:00 to 00:00 CEST), and everyone stepped up in terms of teamwork. I'm talking about being more serious when playing deathmatch, watching demos and so on. We were all aiming for the same goal after all these changes.
ESL: Starting with the roster change: shox came in, kennyS left. What is the main thing shox brings to the team that kennyS couldn’t provide?
GMX: I think shox has way more experience with putting the team first. He's always telling us to be focused on our matches, no matter if it’s a practice one or an online or LAN game. And I think he's helping us to bring our best possible performance in our matches as he’s helping me to call shots and sharing the in-game leader role with me.
ESL: Most recently, you replaced another player, with mistou getting replaced by fxy0. What was the main reason for that?
GMX: The main reason was that mistou needed a lot of time to progress. Time that we didn't have for ESL One as well as us being really in need of a good sniper. I remember at DreamHack Summer in the semifinal against Na'Vi, we didn't succeed or play well on the T Side because GuardiaN was simply too annoying for us.
ESL: Is there any concern about a dropoff in performance with a roster change mere weeks before one of the biggest events of this year?
GMX: Of course there is, but it’s a risk that could be worth it! We had to show our game plans and strategies to fxy0, so we lost some practice time. But now it’s time to work on new things.
ESL: Speaking of big tournaments, it’s the third major community funded tournament. How do you view these events?
GMX: I really like these events. They are always well organized, even if I don't like the GSL format for the groups - best of one is a bit random for me. DreamHack Winter and Katowice were the best events I ever played in term of scheduling and so on.
ESL: How often do you think the CS:GO scene can muster up those kinds of prize pools in a year?
GMX: I would say four times a year would be really good for us. People do enjoy watching these events - each time there is a major event there are more and more players on CS:GO.
ESL: You guys are coming off a good tournament in Sweden at DreamHack Summer with the third/fourth place, placing higher than powerhouses like Virtus.pro, Fnatic or your French rival Titan. Do you think you can repeat and improve on that performance in Cologne?
GMX: I think we had two good events in a row with DreamHack Summer and Valencia and one bad at Gfinity 3. For DreamHack Summer, I think that we had some luck with the bracket as we played the ‘weakest’ team that we could have got. In Valencia, we proved that we could win against good teams and showed some nice plays. For ESL One, I hope that we’re gonna do better than we did before!
ESL: Looking back a bit further and more to the east: in Katowice, you didn’t make it out of the group stage. As a result, you had to go through the qualifiers to even get to Cologne. How do you guys handle the pressure of a qualifier?
GMX: Hmm, I don't think we had any kind of pressure. At least my teammates didn't tell me they had any.
ESL: Now you’ve got your ticket after wins against MTW and Copenhagen Wolves - did you expect to go through the qualifier this easily?
GMX: We knew that mTw wouldn't be a big deal for us - we just had to play our game, and that’s what we did. Our next opponent was Copenhagen Wolves, and I expected us to win this game, even after the first map went 16-1 to them. I also expected them to give us a good fight, and that’s what they did. Overall, it wasn't that easy against CPH Wolves!
ESL: As you sent mTw down to the lower bracket, you guys are partially responsible for the demise of the ‘home streak’ as there are no German teams competing. Do you think the atmosphere will take a hit as a result of the missing hometown heroes?
GMX: I don't think that the atmosphere will be any different. The crowd will choose their own favorite team during the tournament.
ESL: Which team do you think will get all the crowd love as a replacement?
GMX: The crowd like underdogs and challengers, so maybe it will be team like us, CPH Wolves, or London Conspiracy. Who knows?
ESL: The crowd favorite is one thing, but which team is your favorite opponent to play against?
GMX: I would say NiP and Hellraisers - these are teams that we like to play! They're very aggressive and you don't have time to sleep ingame.
ESL: Is there any team you absolutely don’t want to face? Why?
GMX: I don't know a team that my teammates don't want to play, but in my opinion I would say Dignitas and Fnatic, as they have good players and good tactics as well.
ESL: The qualifiers have produced several highlights and upsets. Which upset do you predict for the main event?
GMX: Maybe that iBUYPOWER won’t get through the group stage, which would be very sad. This is the third major event they have got to. This is the time for them to shine. On the other hand, I'm asking myself a lot of questions about LDLC!
ESL: Where do you see Epsilon ranking after the dust has settled in Cologne? What is your goal?
GMX: I don't really know. Our main goal - and a realistic one - is to get through the group stage, as our group is quite hard with NiP and Hellraisers. Even if we won our last games against them, I think it’s another event and they'll be ready for it!
ESL: Thank you very much for your time, Robin!
More details on the tournament as well as more pre coverage can be found on the official ESL One website. You also still have a chance to pick up tickets for the now-sold-out gamescom to see Virtus.pro, Ninjas in Pyjamas, Epsilon and more teams live in action!