Swisher says ATK's next goal is to make the Rio Major

Swisher: "There's nothing like European scrims"

Swisher touched on the value of being able to scrim Apeks in NA.

Following the conclusion of the group stage at Fragadelphia 17, Jeffrey "Mnmzzz" Moore sat down with Michael "Swisher" Schmid of ATK, who came out on top of Group C. Their 2-0 GSL score was secured after they defeated both BLVKHVND and EG.CD in dominating fashions, with neither team reaching double digits on any of the maps.

The interview starts off focusing on the fact that ATK had previously lost the last six times they were matched up versus the roster of EG.CD, never quite being able to put up enough of a performance to overcome them. Moving on, the focus then shifted on how Swisher joined ATK, as well as the current state of the team as well as what's in store for them in the near future.

To start, how did it feel to finally beat EG.CD after months of coming up short against them?

It felt good. We've played them a few times, the last time I remember playing them super noticeably was on the Bad News Bears lineup with ptr and alter. We beat them in the lower bracket to go to face Triumph in the final of ESEA Premier Season 36. I think we 16-2'd them on their map pick of Overpass. That was the last time I beat them.

Your group stage match here seemed fairly one-sided in ATK's favor. What allowed you guys to click against them so well?

We were just doing our own thing. We've had a couple hiccups coming back from the player break, been delayed and stuff. We didn't get as much practice as we wanted to. All the NA teams here got two or three weeks of practice and we were super far behind so we've been trying to catch up.

With our recent RMR matches and scrims, we've been making a lot of mistakes that have taken us to the next step. Mistakes that we've even been making against lower skilled teams that we're just able to get away with. But, as we're slowly playing better and better teams in these qualifiers we're getting abused for it. We're getting destroyed on the map and we're trying to start from the basics. We're starting from the start and doing everything and fix it.

So it all comes down to ATK coming fresh into this season?


Do you think that EG.CD are a degraded squad with RUSH and stanislaw in place of CLASIA and HexT or what do you think their issues are?

CLASIA and HexT were their best two players. They were some of the best firepower in NA, they are incredibly skilled. I don't know why CLASIA was dropped per se but that was a big hit to begin with, and then with stanislaw that's a very heavy shift in firepower. That does get into more basics of teamplay and team knowledge so you could see that switch there. But with losing HexT and getting RUSH they didn't really play the same roles so that messes the roles up a bit as well as another firepower hit. HexT was their other top performer. They have a new IGL on top of a firepower dip which can be really hard to improve on.

How do you rate stanislaw's calling compared to Walco's?

It seems like he's calling more of a tier-one level. That's not saying that Walco wasn't calling on a tier-one level, wiz and chop need to catch up to that style of calling and there's nothing wrong with that, it just takes time. That's the same thing when I was playing on Orgless under daps. It took time because he was calling on a completely different level some of us had ever seen.

Speaking about Orgless, how did you find your way to ATK after that team folded?

MisteM messaged me three times, that was the third time. He messaged me two times prior over three or four months if I wanted to try out. I told him I appreciated it but couldn't because I was in a better place at the time. Then Orgless wasn't going very good and there was a discussion if we were going to even stay in the game or take options in VALORANT. So when MisteM messaged me again, and at that point they were playing with b0denmaster and truth, if I wanted to try out again. We really had no idea what was happening with Orgless and we weren't practicing at all. Everyone was over and it was a really good shot for me.

How has it been working with MisteM and sprayxd and how do you rate them as a pairing?

Pretty good, it sucks that sprayxd isn't here. He's staying up until six or seven in the morning every night while we're practicing. You can tell some days he's just physically and mentally exhausted. I feel like it's making him sick to a point where his immune system isn't as good because his hours are so messed up having to deal with this.

Besides that they are on the same page and work together a lot which is the most important thing.

How does MisteM compare to previous IGLs you've worked with?

MisteM is very good at remaining calm and not letting things affect him. Even when he's having a really tough time, he's really good at remaining calm and still pushing. In some of our bigger losses I've expressed concern to him that we do something similar to Complexity. I think that JT helped teach MisteM a bit and that JT was MisteM's mentor. We get in the same thing of if things aren't working and our lead starts to slowly slip, we call strat, strat, strat and then we lose fast.

When we played Mythic for example, the first overtime we were 15-15 and we ended three full rounds in 2:20. We got completely swept and I was like "this can't be happening." That's the great thing thing about MisteM, he's very understanding and he agrees with that. He is open to all viewpoints.

ATK are very highly rated by the Europeans, what do you think helps set you apart in their esteem?

I would partially put that to b0denmaster being on the team. Just having a European player. When I joined the team I was excited for that because he has a different mind for the game. He has that European mindset to a sense and that helps us switch between the NA and European style when its needed. Yes, the European style is good but sometimes the NA style of playing super fast, super aggressive it can work if a team will let you do it.

That's why we're playing really well recently because we know when to switch our style and we know when things are working. Its like flipping a light switch and we're good.

Is there anyone in your way in the run to the trophy or is everyone beatable?

We feel like the only competition is Apeks and BIG Academy. They are the two big question marks. We've played against PA, we've played against CD, and we've played against Homeless. We know how they play and we know we can beat them. Those are the only two question marks, but seeing that Homeless kind of upset Apeks was a surprise to all of us and everyone in the venue.

We're going to look into playing tomorrow, we don't know who we're going to play yet, it's either Apeks or Homeless. We're excited for that tomorrow.

After FRAG you have the IEM Rio American RMR. What would it mean for you to qualify after coming close last time with BNB?

That would mean the world to me. The way I picture myself in the whole big scheme is that it's not my goal right now to win a Major. My goal is is to make the Major. I am one step at a time and once I make the Major its now this. It's making the Challenger's Stage and then going further and eventually making playoffs. Saying that ATK is going to win the Major right now is ridiculous. It doesn't like a good goal to set when it's so far to reach. I like to put goals that are reachable because it helps me strive to be better.

Have you started your prep for the RMR? Is it hard to prepare for all of the Brazilian teams that you don't get to compete against normally?

We're watching a lot of demos and we're restructuring a lot of our maps and defaults right now on every map. We're preparing on an overall basis and going a little bit early to Stockholm to be able to get some practice days in and get our sleep schedules switched. That's our hope because there's nothing like European scrims. We scrimmed Apeks two days while they were here and it was literally night and day. Scrimming them we're able to actually run our strats and executes, we're not constantly getting pushed. It's honestly ridiculous. We scrim them and then we scrim an ECL team and we're in shock at the difference. It almost makes us not even want to play because there's such a huge difference.

Since this interview was conducted, ATK were drawn against Apeks in the quarterfinals of the playoffs. Unfortunately for them, they were defeated in a 2-0 fashion with the first map being 22-19 and the second 16-7. Their next event, apart from the ongoing ECL season, is the North American qualifier for ESL Challenger Rotterdam which runs across the 17th and 18th of September.

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