Our interview with Jonathan “EliGE” Jablonowski continues with his thoughts on the latest CS:GO update, the North American scene and more.
Hugo “TheSwedishJoker” Nilsson Meier, BLIX.GG: What do you think about the new update so far now that you guys have had some time to play it?
Jonathan “EliGE” Jablonowski: I think that it's been more fun. I like it a lot. I think Anubis is a way more complete map compared to Ancient and Vertigo when they first came in, especially Vertigo. Vertigo was not anywhere close to being good when it came in and I think the M4A1-S change was good. I think the A1-S was definitely overpowered and I think that it's cool seeing that people want to choose one or the other but there's always going to be one that's better in my opinion.
I think everyone is always going to find the most optimal and I'm enjoying playing with the A4 more. I think it's definitely more my style and I feel more confident playing with it. So overall, I've been enjoying the new update.
BLIX: Did you only play with the M4, or did you switch depending on the map and position?
EliGE: Well, when the A1-S was insane, I just swapped to it immediately and just played with it because it was just so obviously better, cheaper and killed faster. There was just no reason not to use it.
BLIX: Did it affect your playstyle at all?
EliGE: No, not really. I don't think that it's really changed anything. The only impact that it has had has been on Mirage, because on Mirage if you're peaking really close to connector towards mid, your barrel would be sticking out. So, I don't have to worry about that anymore. Also, when you were in jungle, if you were playing in that cubby and you had an A1-S and you were looking at window, for example, and they walked up connector, they could see your barrel. So, that's the two things for me because it's my spot that I'm playing. That’s what I've noticed, and I don't have to worry about these things anymore.
BLIX: Do you feel like Anubis has the potential to be a really good map for riflers?
EliGE: I mean, I think that Anubis has been super fun for me so far. I like it. There are definitely a lot of really strong AWP angles and I think when people know how to take those angles better and just get a ton of multi-kills, it's going to be hard. We'll have to see but the map definitely seems like there are a lot of options right now and we're just going to have to keep seeing how the meta develops on it.
BLIX: Would you like them to continue this way and put in new maps or would you like to see more reworked maps?
EliGE: I think a balance of both would be good. I think if you had like, three to four legacy maps, as I would call it. Where you have the ones that everyone knows, and everyone enjoys playing and then the other three are the more new ones that are getting swapped out and you're just having a good balance of swapping out the legacy maps and having a new map.
But not too many new maps and right now for the current map pool, I feel like there are just too many maps that people don't like playing and I do think that is kind of a negative. Like, for example, they took out Dust 2, which is a map that the casual player really enjoys. Everyone in the world knows about Dust 2, even if they don't play CS:GO. I think that's a problem. Not saying that Dust 2 always has to be in, but I feel like there are more maps in the map pool that most people generally dislike. I personally would prefer to see some other maps being taken out instead of Dust 2.
Maybe like Vertigo or something or I would say even Ancient, but you can't take it out that early. Just taking out maps that aren't as well received from a community standpoint, I think would have been better in my opinion.
BLIX: What do you think is the problem with the North American scene right now? How can we fix it and go back to the period when we used to have a fully American team at the top?
EliGE: Yeah, I think that it's very difficult because it's kind of like those cities that like when they're like small cities and fewer businesses start being there, so then fewer young people have an opportunity there, so they start moving away. So, then there are fewer businesses and then those start closing down and there are fewer jobs and then more people move away. So, it's like that cascading effect and no one really knows the team because no one really wants to open up a new business there because there are no job opportunities for young people to work there.
So, I feel like that's where you're comparable to the North American scene right now, where a lot of our up-and-coming talent swapped over to VALORANT. And even before then, there weren't a ton of teams outside the top three North American teams that were going to Europe consistently and people weren't getting those reps in. And because the top North American teams were traveling so much to Europe, then the other North American teams didn't get to practice against us or any other European teams. And it feels to me like it kept cascading more and more in that way. So, I think that's one problem in the same sense of cities and this, you kind of have to just open up new businesses and people have to be enticed to move there in some way.
EliGE: But it is like a lot of investment, like how the world is right now. It's very difficult for that to happen. So, it's pretty nice from the whole program that they're doing with the blueprint to try to subsidize the North American scene and get them the practice that is needed for the scene to continue because it is very important for the scene. So, I think it's kind of just got to be like that type of example where you just have to inject and subsidize and the North American players have to take advantage of that, take it seriously and not mess up the opportunity. That's pretty much it, if people are going to be putting in that money and putting in that time, then the players have to do the same and have to live up to that moment and expectation.
BLIX: Do you think that more big events in North America could also help in a way with exposure to new players and stuff?
EliGE: It seemed like it was a possibility. I think it can but it's not like I think that any big North American event is super helpful, especially in terms of travel for us as North American teams. But it's not like the saving grace for me unless there's something more consistent because there's only like one tournament every six months. It's not like the three days that European teams are going to practice against North American teams. It's going to be something crazy. So, it has to be something more consistent than just one tournament every six months, something that's in North America in my opinion. I think that something more has to be done, like whether it's having North American groups again in Pro League, whatever it is that can make sense within the tournament structure, that can get more consistent, high-level practice and teams there.
BLIX: Is Valve heading in the right direction with the new RMR ranking system that they recently released, or should they maybe have waited and see what happens at Paris?
EliGE: I'm pretty sure that they said that the ranking is like a culmination of all the events that are happening, not just the Major. So, it seems to me that they don't want to rely on third-party rankings, and they want to have their own system to determine their original qualifiers. Because now with how, the division is between, like, how many teams have made Legends and made Challengers you can't have fifty teams going to the qualifiers for Europe, so they're just trying to figure out something different and that's the path that they want to go down. And if they don't want to use third parties, that's kind of up to them.
BLIX: Do you think that's a positive or negative thing?
EliGE: Yeah, I'm really happy with it. Honestly. I have no idea. I don't really know. It's only going to be a negative thing if their ranking becomes so skewed and they don't keep up to date with it because that's, I feel like, the main concern. Whereas, you know, third parties, like HLTV, of course, are consistently the standard for the scene of people looking at the rankings and everyone looks at it and sees it as like… I don't want to say the truth of the rank of teams on how good a team is but the standard I guess I'd say the standard of, like, okay, this team is number four, so they’re the fourth best in the world and if Valve's ranking doesn't reflect that same level, then it isn't going to be a problem.
BLIX: Would you say that you would have rather had HLTV take over those rankings than maybe Valve, for example?
EliGE: I mean, I think that anything can work honestly as long as they keep up to date with it and they keep making adjustments, which, I mean, so far it seems like they have been showing that they want to do that. And I don't think the rankings were too far off from the last thing I checked from HLTV. So, I think as long as they're doing a good job, then there's no problem.
Read more about Liquid and their past performances in part one of our interview with EliGE at the BLAST Premier Spring Groups.
Feature Image: Copyright BLAST | [@jakhoward]