cxzi ended Fragadelphia 13 as the fifth highest-rated player of the event
Danish "Nohte" Allana had the chance to chat with an upcoming name in the scene Danny "cxzi" Strzelczyk about his view on how his career is evolving, the Rank S and FPL environments, as well as some players he feels we should keep our eyes on moving forward.
Let's start out with your run at Frag so far, you're in the lower bracket right now - tell me a bit about how the tournament started for you, and how you feel about where you are.
We finished our group 2-0 pretty easily. We lost our first map in the playoffs and came back to win 2-1. The side of the bracket we were on was kind of rough, it was Monstars and then the team with neptune and WARDELL, so it was the bad side of the bracket. We ended up losing to Monstars 2-0. Now we're just riding the loser's bracket, 3-0 for the day, and have a chance to make it to the finals.
Let's talk a bit about your own experiences recently. Right now you're on Dogs of War, was that a last-minute decision to join that team, or did you just want to play out the season somewhere?
Last season we almost made MDL when we were just pugging it out, that's probably how it will be this season too. Just to play.
You're pretty well known for your time in Rank S and FPL - or the brief time you were there. Tell me about the experience of playing Rank S and making a name for yourself through that rather than league play.
In Rank S, when I first got in I was really nervous. Everybody was like, a lot of people just messed around - I don't really play that much now because I'm in school. It just really depends who is on your team and if you are going to have fun or not, and if people want to play. A lot of people have huge egos and they don't like the new people that come in.
For example, I was winning a lot of money, and that was what people lived on for some time. So the new kid comes in, starts winning all the money, and they get mad. That's how everything is. So it was kind of rough at first, now it has kind of died down, but at points, it was so unenjoyable to play.
As someone who plays those platforms a lot, are there any improvements that you think could be made that would facilitate positive changes?
Well, I feel like that the difference between FACEIT and ESEA is that the admins in FACEIT are more hands-on, they handle reports a lot better, they do hub cleanups and actively take care of the hub. On the other hand, Rank S and Rank G, sadly, it wasn't supposed to be like that, it was just forced on the admins for league play. They are doing a cleanup now, but it took a long time for that.
Let's talk a bit about ESEA leagues in general, what do you think the state of ESEA leagues are as it is now, and do you think there's anything they could add to it? For example, they recently added double-elimination playoffs.
That was a really good move. Even though MDL is going to get easier and easier to make no matter what. Some of the teams that get in there from Advanced just shouldn't be in there, and Advanced has been turning more and more into Main. Every division is getting worse and worse, at least from Open to Advanced. There's a lot of bottom tier Advanced teams that shouldn't be in there, and it's just random, but that's what happens when you open a new league.
Why do you think that's the case?
For the most part, the people that relegated from MDL, obviously they won't have pay, won't stay as a team, or they'll move around. The top Advanced teams that should be there are never there, there's the normal ones that are just always playoffs teams, and then you have the new teams that come up from Main that will usually lose to the top Advanced teams.
Do you think the other teams who come to North America, like Sharks, FURIA, or oNe, did they help to alleviate that level a little bit?
Yeah, it actually has. I haven't really watched Sharks, but when oNe first came in, I believe they came in Advanced, it's like when LG came in and they just dominated. It's just a whole different type of CS.
What are your thoughts on Frag and NSG expanding the way they have been, such as moving this event to California?
This is my first Frag event. Obviously, it's really hot in the building because of AC stuff, but it's run pretty well, I like the whole setup of it. I've been to one N3rd Street LAN in Chicago a couple of months ago, it was nicely run. Every LAN has its delays, everybody has their issues, it's not a big shock. It's unlucky that stuff happens. The one thing from Chicago that my team for that tournament held on to for a while was the playoffs seeding.
We didn't drop a map the whole tournament, we had the number three seed, we beat Big Frames in a best-of-one, and the only other team that didn't drop a map there was Singularity. We had to play them first round, which is weird because we were the number three seed and they were number one, and we had to play them. That was probably the worst time we had, that was the moment I was like, "Oh, this sucks". We still finished top four, so it's not the worst, but it's sort of unlucky.
Do you think these sorts of LANs that are coming up are something that North America needs more of, to stop players from only experiencing things like Rank G or Rank S?
Honestly, a lot of teams here at this Frag are PUG teams. I'm on a pug team, J Money Crew is a PUG team. There’s only two full teams here, and that's New Identity and Monstars - they have a stand-in, but it's still four out of the five. It’s just the timing of everything.
And it doesn’t help that ECS was overlapping with it.
I know there was a team that had something paid for but couldn't come.
It was the Bushido Boyz who had entry paid.
Yeah, I feel like it was just unlucky with that whole thing going on, but obviously you can't delay the event, and I don’t know what was scheduled first, but obviously they don’t care about this. It’s just unlucky stuff.
You were mentioning that a lot of people in Rank S and these sorts of PUG platforms have egos or they’re a little big-headed, so do you think that’s a cultural thing or do you think it’s because of something specific to those certain platforms?
I mean once you have so much experience with so many years of Pro League, for example, sometimes people that played at a high level and haven’t really done anything after there time and then there’s the people in the bottom of Pro League that don’t stop talking, always have something to say, and they always just have something to complain about with someone.
Obviously, in EU for example, when people qualify [for FPL] it’s a lot different because EU is bigger with more players and the skill gap is way different than NA’s. FPL-C compared to FPL in North America has the aim being mostly the same, but decision making and positioning are the only difference. Comms are way better in FPL and everything’s just a little bit better, that’s the main difference.
I don’t know if you saw that clip that was tweeted out from a Mirage game where comms were super hectic from EliGE’s point-of-view.
That just depends on who you get on your team, for example, if you get the people that only queue when some other people play just to “have fun”, then that’s their whole point. It’s great that they have money behind it and that’s why everybody’s playing it, but it’s just stupid when people won’t try or want to play.
In FPL-C, the admin had to make a rule recently saying that you can’t say ‘I don’t want to play with this player, don’t pick me,’ and that’s just stupid to play with whoever you want. Obviously there’s some bad players in there sometimes but you still have to deal with them, they qualified and have a grace period so you just have to deal with it.
NA Counter-Strike has improved a lot compared to EU the recent years, but this shit in NA FPL is too god damn funny 😂 pic.twitter.com/00HcXumcka— Ismail Ali (@refrezhCS) September 11, 2019
As someone who plays those platforms a lot is there any other names that people should have their eyes on that aren’t really talked about yet?
A lot of the players in FPL-C a month or two ago got moved up to FPL. leaf is probably one of the top players who was in FPL-C and actually won Advanced a couple seasons ago so that’s the first name that comes to mind.
Bwills has been in MDL for a couple of seasons and no one really knows him, but he’s really good. He PUGs a lot, he’s a quiet guy, and he’s playing on Rap Gang. He’s going to be dangerous out there because I know when he played on Thunder Logic he dropped like 40 [kills] on oNe. I don’t remember the map, but he hard carried against an MDL team.
Lastly, in terms of CS:GO coverage, what do you think would help grow the North American scene in terms of news coverage or podcasts? Or do you think there’s something that could help integrate the players with journalists or players with fans a little bit better, like mid-tier players?
I feel like it’s kind of hard for that because a lot of the journalists have a big following, like Thorin, who always talks to the pro players and you always see arguments between him and players, so it’s hard for journalists to want to reach out to a semi-professional or a lower-tier player because when you see that out of the pro players, what do you expect from the people under them?
What I’m trying to ask more towards is, for example, for Dust2.us, what could we bring to help players sort of get themselves more out there; what could we do to help grow and build both of our brands?
I’m not really too sure how you guys would do this, and I don’t know if you guys have any deal with ESEA, but ESEA has a clip thing and they download players’ clips and people can type in the chat or record clips to make fragmovies on them. They can talk to a player and say “Hey, we might do this” to get clips from them because 90 percent of the players record their clips if they do something cool.
I don’t because my PC just isn’t the best so I put all my FPS towards the game, but I know that RenZ always does cool stuff in the game. Even though he might troll in the game sometimes, he always has insane clips, ULTRA always has insane clips. So the people that actually record their clips, hit them up and see if you guys could do a fragmovie and just tweet it out or put it on YouTube to get a following on it.
cxzi and Thunder Logic would place fourth in the event after losing to the Monstars in their lower bracket semifinals rematch 16-5 on Nuke.