Gabriele “DauD” Mantovani at BLIX.GG had the chance to speak with Aurimas “Bymas” Pipiras after the Lithuanian rifler entered free agency on February 2.
Bymas had been on MOUZ’s bench since August when the German organization announced Israeli rifler Dorian “xertioN” Berman as his replacement in an unexpected move. Due to the decision coming after the Open Qualifiers for the IEM Rio Major, Bymas was unable to feature for other teams during the event or its qualification process, leading to a period of inactivity. Reflecting on his time in the organization and his growth as a player, Bymas spoke to BLIX.GG about the ups and downs of MOUZ’s 2022.
Bymas, now a free agent, can be contacted by any interested party on Twitter or Instagram at @bymascs.
Gabriele “DauD” Mantovani, BLIX.GG: Right at the start of 2022, MOUZ revolutionized their lineup by signing torzsi and NBK and promoted sycrone as the new head coach. What was the team’s atmosphere like coming into the competitive season, considering the struggles MOUZ had at the end of 2021?
Aurimas “Bymas” Pipiras: Starting the season with a fresh roster always brings extra motivation to everyone, and getting a very talented AWPer like torzsi, plus a legend with so much experience like NBK, was a very exciting start to the season.
BLIX: Unfortunately, you then had to miss IEM Katowice, which would have been the new lineup’s first appearance due to COVID-19.
Bymas: Sadly, I tested positive for COVID during the first day of our boot camp before Katowice, and I wasn't able to attend the event. It was really sad having to miss one of the most prestigious tournaments on the calendar.
BLIX: A couple of weeks later, however, you bounced back at ESL Pro League Season 15, finishing as the third highest-rated player in the event despite a group-stage elimination. In a tweet right before the event, you mentioned you were given lurk roles, and that seemed to work quite well.
Bymas: In EPL we finished with a 2-3 record but had a very close game against NiP and beat G2 2-0, which wasn't the worst way to exit a tournament. Before the event, we swapped some roles, so I became a lurker and I really enjoyed it. Back in FaZe, I was put into olofmeister's lurk role and it was really hard to lurk without having any experience at all playing in professional CS. But I found it way easier in MOUZ since now I know how to learn from demos, how anti-stratting works, and how people rotate and play the game. It was easier for me to become a lurker now and my T-side stats on LAN in 2022 prove that.
BLIX: Right after the event, however, NBK was replaced by JDC, with the French player calling it “an unfair and rushed decision”. Did you expect changes to be made after a single event at full strength?
Bymas: I personally enjoyed playing with NBK as he brought a lot of experience and ideas into the team, but sadly after two events the team decided to bench him. I didn't expect us to make roster changes after we had just played our first event, excluding IEM Katowice since it was with a stand-in. A few days after EPL, I was just informed that we would be bringing JDC in and that's all.
BLIX: Did your role in the team change after JDC joined?
Bymas: My role in the team didn't change that much when JDC joined, as he just filled the positions that NBK was playing.
BLIX: The changes brought mixed results, with MOUZ narrowly missing out on the PGL Major in Antwerp and going out in groups at IEM Dallas and the Roobet Cup. IEM Cologne was a big step in the right direction: you convincingly eliminated Heroic, Vitality and NiP to qualify for the Playoffs. Did the team make any changes in style before this run, or was it just a case of getting used to playing with JDC?
Bymas: The IEM Cologne run was amazing. We had a very rough period before it, we failed to qualify for the Major in Antwerp after losing to Vitality in the 2-2 match. We had won the first map and were leading 8-1 on the CT side of Dust2, the second map, but managed to lose it. It was probably the most painful loss I had in my career so far. Besides that, we didn't do well in Dallas, after getting knocked out we had a huge talk that our psychologist suggested. We just had a very emotional talk that lasted a few hours and changed how we approached our practice, and how we would practice. We spoke about what our goals were and about each other's weaknesses and strengths. It felt like we were a new team. After this, our Cologne run was amazing, it was the best tournament I played in and the most memorable one in my career.
BLIX: You helped the team qualify for the IEM Rio RMR in August, after which MOUZ suddenly announced xertioN as your replacement. You shared your feelings on Twitter, saying the move was so unexpected “I joined the TeamSpeak for a practice day and was told that I am getting replaced”.
Bymas: The benching was very unexpected, as we had just qualified for the RMR, everyone was happy and we took a few days off. I turned up for the practice after the weekend and I only found sycrone in our TeamSpeak, where he told me that I was getting benched. It was a really sad moment. That's how it is in any sport though, and it’s understandable, but I didn't like how this move only happened after qualifying for the RMR, which meant that I was not allowed to play the Major for any other team and couldn't join anyone for a while.
BLIX: According to sycrone, the main reason for the move was a necessary change to the team’s roles, as MOUZ needed a player with more playmaking ability. Were these issues ever discussed before your benching, and if so did they lead to any changes in your playstyle?
Bymas: There were no issues regarding my playstyle discussed before I was benched.
BLIX: Looking back at your time in MOUZ now, how do you feel about it? Are you happy with your progress and your growth as a player?
Bymas: I am very happy about my progress, especially in 2022. I communicate more frequently, I started trying to take more initiative and I kept getting better and better in-game. Being benched has of course slowed me down a bit, but I’m sure that I have so much more potential to unlock.
BLIX: Who’s the player or coach you learned the most from?
Bymas: In MOUZ I learned the most from ropz. I really enjoyed playing with him and he has been my inspiration since the days I was still playing in matchmaking. We also got along very well when we met outside the server in our first boot camp after COVID. I really like his approach to the game, his calmness, and the way he thinks in the game is on another level. Besides him, Rejin and karrigan helped me a lot at the start when I first joined MOUZ.
BLIX: It’s now been almost five months since your removal from MOUZ’s active roster. What have the past few months been like? Have you received any offers?
Bymas: Life has been really boring after getting benched, CS is what makes me happy in life, and competing against the best teams and traveling around the world is pure joy. I had a few offers, and I was also offered to be a stand-in for a Tier-1 team, but I still had a contract with MOUZ at the time.
BLIX: And last but not least, is there anything you want to say to your fans and/or organizations potentially interested in signing you?
Bymas: I want to thank everyone who supports me, I get so many messages from people saying that they can't wait to see me play again and I am very grateful for that. I hope I get a new team and get back on the server as soon as possible!