cxzi's ultimate goal for Strife is to make it to Europe

cxzi: "Shakezullah told me that I needed to change my persona in the scene"

cxzi says he is committed to becoming a pro once again after an indecisive 2021.

For Dust2.us' second interview at Fragadelphia 16: Chicago, Jeffrey "Mnmzzz" Moore had a chance to sit down with Danny "cxzi" Strzelczyk from Strife. They reflected on cxzi's career in 2021, his new mindset for 2022, and his expectations with Strife, among other topics.

Looking back at 2021, you started the year with Triumph under Shakezullah. This outing with the team only lasted for two months before you were cut in favor of cynic. What happened within the team that made this part of your career so short-lived?

I didn't even know I was being cut until the day before roster locks. There were a lot of different things that were going on. I think the main thing was role conflicts within the team and it never got changed. We had a lot of different ideas while playing the game and also we were trying to play super structured when, with the team we had, we should have been more loose and able to do what we wanted individually. It just felt like it was the best mix of positioning between me and viz. We should've changed roles completely and I would've been more in the pack and have someone by me instead of being on my own and not always having it work out. There's times where it went well and times where it didn't and that's what led to me being cut. But, I didn't really know that was even being talked about and I never heard a thing about it and it was hours before the roster lock. It wasn't fair but that's what led to me joining Rebirth.

What was your mindset when joining Rebirth? For context, prior to joining Rebirth you focused mainly on more serious teams like Positive Vibes Only, Gen.G, and Triumph so this was seemingly a large shift in your view towards the game.

There weren't many options for teams back then that were worth being serious on. I was already playing pretty well in North America. I wasn't at the top, I was the middle and showing improvement and I knew some of the guys on Rebirth and was friends with some of them. Even though it might not have been super serious with practice or anything we were still able to do well against top teams in North America. We were able to take maps off of the new Triumph roster or Chaos, or whatever team we played. It was a friends team but also we all cared about winning and tried to win the games as much as we could.

Was there any apprehension about joining Rebirth in light of the matchfixing recording?

I don't know what happened in the past with them. I can't say if retchy was involved... he got banned so he probably was involved, but when I was playing with them there was never any talk about that. I would have reported it if that was the case, but there was never any talk about that by any player.

One of the main stars of that team is probably XotiC and I had a chance to pick CLASIA's brain about him. Do you have any insights you can provide about his mindset towards the game?

I feel like the main thing was he had so much heat from his past that he didn't want to deal with it or talk online. He keeps his social group very cut off and even some of the people who are on that ChocoCheck roster are his best friends in real life. So he keeps his groups and contacts very close because he has had so much heat in the past and he doesn't want to deal with that.

After spending four months with ChocoCheck you left the team in July, why was that?

I didn't have to leave but I wanted to try and bounce back and be more serious. I wanted to practice at least a little bit and on ChocoCheck XotiC was always saying he would only practice if the team was worth it. I believe nosraC was still banned at this point and we never knew if he was going to be unbanned or whatever. Shortly after I left he did get unbanned, but it was more like I was waiting to see what happened. The idea I had was to try to build a serious team and come back to NA but it didn't go well.

Speaking of that, your next team was Secret Club with motm, hate, reck, and jitter. Despite looking like a promising lineup it folded after a few weeks. What led to that team's demise?

Honestly from what I remember we practiced a little bit and it would go well some days and then other days it was not good which is expected. But also people weren't showing up sometimes and there were a lot of things that happened that were unbelievable. People weren't paying attention to what was going on with scheduling and that was a problem.

After Secret Club folded you returned to Triumph, albeit as an orgless team. You stayed with Triumph for four months through a large number of roster changes along with mixed results with the team. What contributed to your decision to leave the team in December?

After playoffs I wasn't agreeing with a lot of things. I feel like becker had a lot of input and I like becker a lot, along with some of the guys, but there was a lot of conflict within the team between me and a couple players. We had too many stars on the team. We had enough stars where anyone could take over the round but as I was AWPing with my playstyle it was a lot harder to try to support two players who could be the star role and some people needed to adapt. I could've done better with that, but other players could've done better as well. We had some highs: taking maps off of Bad News Bears, beating Party Astronauts, and playing good series against good teams. But, our lows were unbelievable, it felt like some people didn't care. I say that, even though I know everyone cared but the mood shifted a lot. That's what ultimately ended it.

Heading into 2022, while looking for a new team you released a TwitLonger expressing regret for your past mistakes and expressing an intent to get serious about the game moving forward. What was your motivation for this mea culpa about your past?

I think I decided on it after I talked to Shakezullah about trying out for Bad News Bears when they lost junior and he told me that I needed to change my persona in the scene. What he said to me rubbed off on me and I knew I needed to fix this and I knew it might take a while to show that I actually care. That's what was behind that decision.

I know that part of your struggle and a motivating factor for that TwitLonger is the back-and-forth about whether you want to commit to CS:GO and try to go pro. What headspace are you in now and is the goal to try and be a pro again?

Currently if I could become a pro I would do it. I am going to school full-time but that's not really affecting it as much. There may be days where I may not be able to practice as long, but I still want to go pro. I still think there's a chance for it but also I'm keeping things realistic as it's going to take a lot of time to do that. It's not just going to happen overnight. That's why with the next team I join I want to grind and see what happens. If we make it to Europe and do well that's the whole goal right now.

It looks like Strife is going to be the next place where you land. Do you think Strife is the next logical step in climbing up the ladder to becoming a pro?

I've teamed up with stamina and aris before on an Advanced team seasons ago. But everyone has become better and has something to bring to the table. I always told stamina that I wanted to join them around when they first added brett. It just never happened because they ended up going down that route which was fine. He messaged me not that long ago and was asking about that. I told him I was down because there's no other team in North America who has a reliable org backing them and they are all hungry to get better and grind.

What are your goals for Strife and what do you think the upper limits are for this team?

I think this season we should finish top two in our group for sure depending on if XotiC stays with ChocoCheck. If he does it could be a little difficult but... same with Party Astronauts if they get on form it could be harder. Overall, I think we can play those teams very close or beat them consistently. I'm still young and knowledgeable in the game, stamina is a good leader, SLIGHT is a really good AWPer, and J0LZ and aris are very good young stars. Everyone is able to hold their own and play their own game. I think we could make it to Europe this season. I expect playoffs for sure, but I think with the right draw and if we don't let the pressure get to us I feel like we can win Premier this season.

#1(With 1 replies)
January 28, 2022 10:11PM
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#2(With 0 replies)
January 28, 2022 11:10PM
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January 28, 2022 11:24PM
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