Shakezullah is back in action with FlyQuest RED

Shakezullah: "Helping IGLs take their game to the next level is something I can help with"

Shakezullah is back in the scene with a view on the NA Impact scene.

Alan "Shakezullah" Hardeman was all but retired from Counter-Strike until the opportunity came to join FlyQuest RED as the team's assistant coach. Now with an opportunity to make a difference in the NA scene once again, Shakezullah is looking to help level up the NA Impact scene. While his team failed to make a deep run at the ESL Impact Season 5 Finals, Shakezullah is hopeful about the team's prospects for future success.

Before the team starts getting ready for Season 6, Shakezullah spoke to' Jeffrey "Mnmzzz" Moore about his return to Counter-Strike, how he hopes to help improve FlyQuest RED, what the team needs to do to make it to playoffs next season, and whether TSM Shimmer can threaten FlyQuest RED's domestic throne, among other topics.

How did you find your way onto FlyQuest RED after being essentially retired post EG?

My plan was to go to school full-time but they had a position open up and I thought it was something I'd be able to manage doing both. We don't travel as much, we have the two Impact events and maybe some bootcamps so it's very manageable with school.

Always looking from the outside looking in especially when I was playing, I always thought this was a roster that should be competing in Impact playoffs and finals. From the outside I was always interested in helping and I reached out to GooseBreeder at one point and it just worked itself out. This is a team that should be in the playoffs and hopefully we're able to make that happen.

Despite FlyQuest RED being NA's #1 Impact team they unfortunately went out of the finals without a single win. What has the focus for you and Munstur been in trying to get this team to the next level?

Mostly just being consistent. We currently play in ESEA Advanced and with a lot of Advanced teams you need to develop your idea of the game and take it to the next level. The biggest thing we are working on is not just playing the game in a way that is set, but playing in a way in which you start reading into scenarios and if you do something 70% of the time, now look at the 30%, you don't do something the 70% way always.

Helping them read the game more in depth and providing them the knowledge I have from playing. Munstur has experience as well from his time with GamerLegion and was an analyst with them when they went to the Major. We have a bunch of experience, concepts, and resources where we can reach out to players that are still playing and ask them what they think about this, or if we see something in a demo we can reach out to them too. It's nice for us to help them with resources they may not have had previously.

What do you think is the main contribution you can bring to the team based on your experiences as an IGL?

Helping IGLs take their game to the next level is something I can help with. I know that one of the things I struggled with in the scene was there weren't a lot of mentors and I had to figure out a lot of the game by myself. When I actually got to coach steel on Chaos for the first time it was "woah", a lot of the stuff he is doing makes sense.

I'm able to do that with Kaoday and even Goose because she calls on Mirage. I breakdown rounds, or ask what were you thinking here, or say how we should approach something in the future. Helping them see different aspects of the game which will hopefully help us at the next Impact.

A recent change in this squad was to have Kaoday take over as IGL. Was that based on your input at all?

No, that was decided before I came into the team. I have been working with them for about three months now but that was all before my time. Also the roster changes were before my tenure.

We saw your former BNB teammates madcow and Spongey in the crowd earlier. What does it mean for you that these guys are still coming out to support you?

I wouldn't say they came to Dallas just for me. It's definitely an event where for the past two years it's worked out well and it's something we can get together and see each other. Bad New Bears was an amazing project and we got so much support and love from the community so there's no reason we can't continue to represent that.

When we spoke to GooseBreeder she was confident about her chances of taking the sole NA Impact LAN spot next season. Do you feel confident about your team's chances as well?

No, from my time within the team their work ethic is honestly better than a lot of the players I've had from my tenure playing. It's been really impressive for me and even though the results didn't happen at this LAN, a lot of the processes are there where the team is working hard, they're very receptive to ideas, and the biggest thing is when we talk about changes they actually work to implement them.

TSM are a good team and they definitely are coming up in the scene, but if we continue to do what we're doing I trust us to come through and have that #1 spot still.

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