Despite all expectations, MOUZ made their way to the IEM Dallas 2023 grand finals after taking down the likes of Heroic and Astralis during the Playoffs. That put them in a position where they could win their first S-Tier event since July 2019, where they won the Starladder Europe Minor Championship - Berlin.
Unfortunately, a 0-2 loss to ENCE in the Grand-final continued their search for more silverware in CS. Even so, the team managed to leave the event on a high note as the 2023 calendar year reaches the halfway point.
Following the series against ENCE, BLIX spoke with MOUZ IGL Christopher "dexter" Nong on how they performed in the Final, what led to their upswing in IEM Dallas 2023, and much more.
Pedro Romero, BLIX: Commiserations on the series against ENCE. A tough way to go out, but it's one in which MOUZ managed to get to the finals against all odds. What's going through your mind right now?
Christopher "dexter" Nong: I think we could have done better, but other than that, I'm proud of everyone. It's always going to be surprising that you're in a Grand-final. It's always going to be tough getting here. We've done a lot of good things just to be here, so I'm reminding myself of those things.
BLIX: Going over what went wrong for the teams in the finals against ENCE, for them to put up this kind of performance against MOUZ even after outlasting FaZe in the multi-overtime semifinal series, what do you think went wrong for the team?
dexter: With our T-side, we just fell flat. That's all. We didn't win pistols, we couldn't get any first gun rounds, and we couldn't win any important rounds against them. They shut us down every time on CT-side on those important rounds, and when you don't win those rounds, you can't really get good T-sides going.
dexter on the grand finals: "[Ence] shut us down every time on CT-side on those important rounds, and when you don't win those rounds, you can't really get good T-sides going".
BLIX: Even so, as I mentioned earlier, the team managed to get to this point for the first time in a while, and that goes on top of you guys not doing well in the Paris Major. What enabled this team to do so well and turn it up a level from Paris up until now?
dexter: Less pressure, I guess. Things happened, and then that's it. We had less pressure going into this game. That's all.
BLIX: As an IGL, you came up against pretty incredible teams which featured equally well-regarded IGLs. What does this showing say about the development of your IGLing for this tournament?
dexter: It's been good. I've been playing a little looser and letting everyone do whatever they like. That was just the biggest thing, and other than that, we were just trying to keep the mood happy and everything like that. Nothing really crazy. When you're focused on having fun, it makes it easy on everyone
BLIX: One individual that performed particularly well was frozen [David Čerňanský]. He ranked within the top two when it came to rating coming into this finals. What do you make of frozen's individual level? How has he improved so much for this event?
dexter: In general, he's been pretty great. He's been pretty amazing this entire year. He's been working hard himself, so there's nothing really that changed from my side. He's been doing it all himself, and he's here to play.
BLIX: For MOUZ to do so well and take down well-regarded teams en route to the finals, what does it say about MOUZ's improvement in relation to the rest of the other teams in this scene?
dexter: Pretty crazy. I'm not really sure if everyone is gaining a little more confidence in themselves. We're going through many hurdles to get there, and, yeah, we'll see how it goes in the future. We're not really sure what's going to happen after the player break, but other than that, we're just going to give our best and just enjoy it.