Stewie2K: "We need CeRq and Brehze to be in their comfort zone for us to succeed"
Continuing Dust2.us' interview series at the Americas RMR, Dust2.us' Dafydd Gywnn got a hold of Jake "Stewie2K" Yip for a chat after Evil Geniuses' victory over 9z. In the interview, Stewie2K opened up about his lack of confidence in himself as a player, rebuilding the team's morale after a difficult start to 2022, and the upcoming rematch against Michael "Grim" Wince, among other topics.
Obviously, you're quite a vocal leader, we usually see hollering and screaming and really enjoying the game. With this new roster there are a couple of quiet guys on there, so how does that dynamic work?
Yeah, it's a little different around this time for me in my career, joining this team on Evil Geniuses, because it is a different dynamic within the team. Usually, on every iteration of the rosters I've had, there's always that one guy that would be hyped with me, that could really share the energy. Could go from tarik, could go from coldzera, it could go to Twistzz. Joining this team, there's a lot of quiet guys, I'd say RUSH is pretty vocal, but he's not the type to get hyped either unless it's more of a playoff-type of moment, and I know CeRq, I've seen him like that. But with the state of our team right now, I think we're more focused on ourselves and trying to focus on the extras that we'll need in the future. Right now we're really honed in on the little things.
Does that mean you kinda have to be loud for everyone else on the team?
Sometimes it gets a little tough because right now it is a difficult time for us, and we wish we could show a better version of us right now but we don't really have a lot of time to do that. We also haven't spent a lot of time in Europe either, so that kind of takes a hit on our growth as a team. So right now, being the hype-man is a little tough, we've fallen into deep holes sometimes in a match so it really hits us different. But in the future, but when things come into place more I think it will be more natural.
It's funny you mentioned not really playing in EU, because in daps' TwitLonger on the state of NA, he talked about that lack of EU interaction. Does that issue of not being able to play EU teams, does that affect every NA team at the moment, not just tier 2?
I'd say it does affect the entire region, especially with the Louvre Agreement now, I know a lot of teams have to be back for a period of time. If I had to choose the best opponents to really scrim against, it's Liquid, FURIA, and Complexity. GODSENT is good as well, but aside from those teams it's hard to see what's working for us and see what's not because we can honestly just do anything and we can be winning, and it's hard to tell if you're really improving as a team, and right now we're lacking improvement. Coming to Europe, only having a week span of playing in Europe and having to adjust back to the European style, and actually trying to play perfect CS, it's tough to adapt within a week or two.
Just talking about how tough that is, how hard is it to win the mental game when you've got all of that going on as well?
Yeah, I'm not gonna lie, it's pretty obvious on my end that I don't have a lot of confidence in my own play right now, but that comes from putting my teammates first and I'm trying to become a championship team, not a championship player or trying to reach a different level individually. Right now I'm focused a lot on trying to get CeRq's confidence back, Brehze's confidence back after a tough year for them. I have two players who have been gone for nine months and six months. A lot of things that I do is not correct either, so now that I don't really have that person to say that "you're doing this wrong", it's hard to tell if what I'm really doing is right. It's taking a period of time where, I realized that in the beginning, we didn't go the right direction, so we gotta restart, especially after EPL, and that's what we decided to do, so technically we're looking at it as if we've just restarted.
You were talking about trying to get CeRq's confidence back, he just had a monster game against 9z; is his confidence building back up after this? Is this the game that maybe pushes him?
I think this is one of the first times I've seen him through my radar running around, and that's when I can really tell that's the CeRq I've played before, the CeRq I've seen in his prime. Seeing that, knowing that he is capable of doing that is a plus for us. We need CeRq and Brehze to be in their comfort zone for us to succeed, in my opinion. Just making sure RUSH and autimatic catch up as fast as possible and get back on track is gonna take a lot of time, it's a tough task, but we'll do it.
You were just talking about autimatic getting rid of the rust, but he's been quite consistent at the moment, putting up a decent amount of frags in quite a lot of games. Is that useful to have when you have that experienced player come back?
Yeah, so honestly nine months away from CS is a long time, and the meta changes so much. The tier two teams are practically able to beat you at any given moment, so there's a lot of catching up in my opinion. But it is nice having him back because there's always that one person that I know is always studying the game, and for a real purpose, and I know he's going to be absorbing it, so it's nice to have a different perspective that I know I can rely on.
Also, just talking about autimatic again, there's a lot of pressure on him, as with all the pros coming back from VALORANT. Do you see him faltering under that, or has he been able to take that in his stride?
I think it's pretty normal for every player, when it feels new again to compete, especially coming back to CS, that it's normal to get nervous every now and then, but that's for everybody. The funny thing is, I feel like he's actually not nervous most of the time, I feel like he's very levelheaded. It's almost as if the room is empty, when he speaks, I don't even know how to explain it, it's almost as if he has no emotion ever, so you can't really tell if he's nervous. It's about him finding trust in his own game first, and then that's when we'll see the real autimatic game.
Just speaking about coming back and trying to organize yourself a bit better, your CT-side looked a lot cleaner in that game than it has in the past. Is that something you've been particularly working on?
Honestly, the games that we've played, especially in EPL, that's something we just kinda brush off the table and just forget about, because even in the middle of the tournament we felt that we weren't ready yet, and we hadn't found the sweet spots yet or made drastic improvement yet. We're also five players who basically really haven't played together, and it's really hard to find the synergy and chemistry right now, so we're just trying to restart basically.
I spoke to Grim, and he said he always looks forward to playing you specifically. That's especially because you guys were teammates, and he wants to play you because you always have that trash-talk and banter between each other, shouting between the player barriers. Is that a matchup you're looking forward to if you do get that opportunity here against Complexity?
We played them in EPL, and I wouldn't say I had this feeling where the game meant more because I'm playing against Grim again. I feel like I get that usually, but specifically with Grim, I didn't feel that because of just playing with him so recently. I do hear him shouting back, and I do like that out of him because I know he does get hyped naturally.
After an unfortunate loss to paiN in their opening match, Evil Geniuses stabilized with a win over 9z. Tomorrow, the squad will look to improve their record further in their match against 00 Nation at 05:00AM.