RUSH: "In EPL […] it felt like we were just kind of waiting to lose"
Evil Geniuses came into the Americas RMR as a question mark, and with an opening loss to paiN, it looked like a repeat of the disappointment they've come to expect. However, we caught William "RUSH" Wierzba after his team's second victory of the tournament, seeing them now sit 2-1 and just a single best-of-three from making the Major.
Your first game yesterday didn’t go exactly the way you guys wanted but you came out today and last night and just really improved and have shown a different side to EG than we've seen. What's been the big difference maker?
I think we're just playing with a lot more confidence and trusting each other; not saying we didn't have trust in each other in the first game, but I think that we were just very disjointed and I don't think we were in the best mood. We had a huge reset after that, like a wake-up call for us. Even in EPL, we were just not in the best spirits and it felt like we were just kind of waiting to lose and just “let’s get this over with” even though we practiced so hard. All these results are definitely not a reflection of the practice we've been having, so I think it's nice to show that the practice is translating now, in these current matches, but at the same time it's still versus tier 2 competition. These teams are good, but not the best in the world so if we inevitably make the Major, we're going to have to prove that we can actually hang with the tier 1 teams.
What do you think the biggest thing you would need to improve for you guys to compete in the Major we have today?
I think the biggest thing we have to do is just all be comfortable in our roles because I think we're still finding it. We all know what we're good at, but it's hard to make every single person on this team comfortable, so some people have to make sacrifices, playing spots they might not normally play, and then that player has to win in that spot to a tee and that takes time. I think that's slowly but surely happening in this team, people are getting more comfortable in the roles they might not have played in the past. It's a work in progress but like I said, the results we've had are not a good gauge of where we're at actually.
Speaking about sacrifices, you're a player that in the past people have said is willing to sacrifice for his team. So, you know how that mentality is. On this kind of team, are you the one making the sacrifices?
I feel like it's everyone sacrificing. In Complexity I was the only one really sacrificing pretty much everything and it really showed in my gameplay but I think on this team I have a lot more room. I'm not saying that I'm set up by any means but I definitely have more space; if I want to do a play, I can do a play, which is really nice. Ideally, Brehze, CeRq, and autimatic are going to be hard-hitters in this team, but at the same time me and Stewie have the opportunities to pop off, we get armor and pistols sometimes. In Complexity, I think probably for a year straight I had nades on pistol rounds, maybe even longer, and I actually do get armor sometimes on this team which is really nice.
You were talking about confidence, which is obviously a big thing that everybody likes to talk about, confidence and experience, but the spotlight has been on you guys constantly at the moment, how does that affect you?
It's definitely affected me a little bit in terms that I've really taken a step back from social media. Not that we're getting necessarily a lot of hate. I just want to avoid it until we get to a good spot because right now it's very like, honestly, it's pretty embarrassing the way we're playing in matches and I want to get to a point where we translate what we're doing in practice to matches. Then I might start coming back online, but right now I'm just really head down and grinding, for example, I haven't gone to the gym in like 9 to 10 days. If anyone knows me, they know that's pretty crazy, that's the longest I've gone without it for years and it's because I'm just playing non-stop and just making sure I'm at my best, no matter what. We are here only for a few days and I want to make sure that going forward, after this event, I don't regret that I didn't give it my all these few days.
Is this the most committed roster that maybe we've ever seen?
Yeah, I'd say there are a few more, maybe on par a little less, but right now I think I'm definitely I'm putting the most time and the most efficient time in right now for sure.
I just want to speak broadly about the competition you have here. Is there a team that you really want to play or that you were looking forward to?
I don't think there's a team that I have a rivalry with here. It would be nice to beat like one of the good teams because that actually solidifies you a spot easier because of the system they have here. So, beating a Liquid or a FURIA. Not saying like I want to play them necessarily, but if we end up matching up versus them, it’d be hard but beating them would almost like guarantee a spot because they're so high seeded. I don't have anyone I necessarily want to play, but I'll just say I want to beat high seeded teams.
There's no former teammates that you want to compete against?
I mean who else is here, NAF? There's no one else here really besides that; me and NAF are friends, so I have no beef against that man, he's a great human.
There's a lot of experienced people here. One of the biggest teams that everyone is talking about other than you guys is Imperial. What do you expect to see from them going forward?
I talked to fer actually because we have a very similar trajectory in our careers right now. We had a downswing, and we reunited with teammates from the past, even like the same era, you know, 2018, 2017. And we said, we both just have to give it our all here in this team because this could be our last chance to really make it in tier 1 CS. I think that imperial has improved drastically since they first made the roster. I remember I saw they beat, for example, MOUZ NXT. I know it seems like a little win but I think that team is actually insane online, not that they're onliners, but just that we played them in scrims and they're so good. So, the fact that Imperial actually destroyed them was really impressive to me; that instantly showed me they've improved a lot and here they’re currently 2-0. It just shows that they're really improving at a fast rate and honestly beyond my expectations because I'm not sure if fnx has played in a while, competitively speaking, so I'm not sure how he's going to do, but he seems like he's fitting in well. I'm happy for them.
There are a lot of discussions about how long you guys are going to play together, do you have a comment on that?
We want to play together as long as we're improving and if we feel like at a point in time, we’re not improving whether it be not winning matches or in practice. I mean, obviously it has to translate at some point, but I say the player break this month or this summer? Say we dissect the roster and really get nitty-gritty and say “hey, we haven't improved really at all since we made the team”, at that point I think it’s obvious we have to make changes. It doesn't have to be any specific player, could be coaching staff, could be a player, doesn't matter. But at that point, it's obvious it’s not working. I think if we just really sit down and say “no improvements have been made”, we'll make a change.
Is there a goal you guys really want to achieve?
I don't think we have a team goal necessarily, but my personal goal is to make Legend status again at the Major. I know it's maybe a very small goal but I think we're a very new team, so having an aspiration of “oh, I want to win the Major” is like kind of far-fetched I think right now for us, but just making top eight and playoffs at the Major. It's been a long time since I've been there in Boston, so I would love that honestly, just playing in front of a crowd. It's been a long time so I would really hope for that.
Is that this specific major or does that include Rio?
This Major, but obviously any Major. I'm really focusing all my efforts in life now on this team.
There's been a lot of discussion about mental game and how difficult that is to kind of achieve. You obviously are very experienced roster. Is that something you guys excel at or can be very good at?
I actually think the mental game is our hardest thing right now. Honestly, we really struggle at staying in the game and I think it spreads across everybody, and it’s not anyone's individual fault, it's just across the board. I think it stems from if we have a bad start or if there’s a bad round, it snowballs and it's something we really have honed in on at this event; it even happened in the first game. I think going forward, we're really going to try to, no matter what happens, reset and just play the game no matter what happens, whether it's if we lose an eco-round or we're down 15-0, just focus on the game until it's over. Just focus on winning really because the moment you have that doubt or that lack of confidence, you’ve already lost the game, even if it's not 16 rounds.
Evil Geniuses currently post a solid 2-1 record, but they'll have their most difficult challenge in this event tomorrow, with the team slated to play against domestic rivals Liquid.