GamerLegion may have made the Grand Final, but it was Into the Breach who were the real surprise package of the BLAST.tv Paris Major. Shocking the world by even making the RMR, no one would have ever expected them to reach the Champions Stage.
Now without their talisman Cai "CYPHER" Watson, the organisation debuted a new team feature Aurimas "bymas" Pipiras and Adam "NEOFRAG" Zouhar at IEM Cologne 2023, an event where they would bomb out in last place.
After their elimination, we sat down with honorary UK player Joey "CRUC1AL" Steussel to discuss the team’s struggles at the event, what the new players bring, and how long it will take in order for them to be able to repeat their Paris heroics.
Sam "AN1MO" McKenzie, BLIX: A disappointing experience for you guys here in Cologne, what do you think went wrong for the team?
CRUC1AL: I think we just weren't performing individually. It's hard to win rounds if we don't shoot back and I think that's what happened. We're just a new team so we're still making a lot of mistakes and we just weren't ready for this event.
BLIX: You and bymas have both said you don't think you were ready for this event yet, how long do you think it'll take for the new team to get up to speed?
CRUC1AL: I'm not sure, to be honest. We only had a ten day bootcamp before the event and I guess it wasn't enough yet.
BLIX: About the bootcamp, bymas said that one of the issues there was the fact that the work ethic was different to what he experienced with MOUZ and FaZe and players were missing start times. Can you give us more insight into that and how you fix that as a team?
CRUC1AL: Of course, everyone needs to be on time, but every team has their problems and you've just got to solve them within the team. It is what it is, you know? We're going to try and fix it and hopefully do better next time.
BLIX: What's the main differences with bymas and NEOFRAG to volt and CYPHER?
CRUC1AL: I mean, we're not a UK team anymore [laughs]. CYPHER for us was really aggressive for us, so it's a different playstyle now. We're full international now, so maybe there's a bit of a language barrier, I don't know. Playstyle is definitely different because they come from tier one teams and maybe in their old teams they're used to that style, so it's down to adapting to each other and making it work with each other. But we're trying to figure it out and we still need time for that as you can see.
BLIX: What does their tier one experience bring to the team?
CRUC1AL: It's a more 'mature' kind of CS, you know what I mean? We're trying to implement it a little bit in our playstyle. We used to play differently to try to catch off tier one teams instead of playing like them, so now we're trying to adapt to play more like it and we still need time for that to actually work.
BLIX: Do you think when you manage to integrate that more it will give the team more consistency, or was that unpredictability your x factor?
CRUC1AL: I'm not really sure, even in the previous team we had our ups and downs, we were either really good or really shit. We're trying to get more consistent, and it will take time, and hopefully we get more consistent. It's our goal, but it will take time to implement and make it work.
BLIX: What's the roadmap now in terms of where you want to be by the end of the year?
CRUC1AL: I'm not really sure. We're just going to be playing, practicing, and trying to grind. We have to see with Counter-Strike 2, we don't know when it's coming and it's a bit of a question mark of course, but we're going to try to improve.