As ESL Pro League Season 18 approaches, we sit down with stavn to talk about Heroic's plans for securing a playoff spot, getting back to the number one spot, and give a shoutout to content creator NartOutHere.
Grady: You guys have been together for quite a while now, those long-term contracts have been signed, everything looks nice and solid. Do you think that helps the team mentally, knowing that you guys are gonna be together for awhile?
stavn: Yeah, for sure. I think that's one of our strong forces as well, that we are so socially linked, as a group we are just friends, everyone. As you say as well, we've been together for a very long time, especially me and Casper (cadiaN), I think four years now. It's been very long time and it's a pleasure to have a team that you can trust in.
As a player in the esports scene, nothing is locked in or 100%. Do those long-term contracts make you feel comfortable?
I don't know about that, you can't really feel too comfortable. It's unhealthy to have that kind of view. If people feel too comfortable like "oh yeah, we're just gonna play with this team forever and it's gonna be good" then you won't do as well. You need to have that kind of feeling like "if I don't do good and I underperform or don't do the thing I'm supposed to do, then there's a chance that I'm not going to be on this team anymore." I think that's a good mentality to have as well.
In terms of innovation, is it harder to innovate without having those new minds or new players coming in? Or is it easier because you know exactly what roles everybody plays?
I don't think it's harder, I actually think it's easier. Especially for me and Casper (cadiaN), we've always been on the same side of how to approach CS, in that way, it's kind of easy to develop new things. Everyone knows there's NartOutHere, he's really good at the content he's doing, it's been very appreciated by us and I think many other top teams as well. I don't have to open a new demo every time and he just finds all the stuff and puts it into a long video, which has been beneficial to all teams. In general, you can always theory craft yourself as well with your teammates and not having new players is not a big deal.
You currently have that number two slot, what do you think is that little bit of x-factor that's gonna be the difference maker with getting back to that number one spot?
I think the difference maker is just getting more consistent in playoff games. It's no secret, both ourselves have higher expectations and the community as well, which is fair. We also feel bad not winning games that we, and the community, feel like we're supposed to win, it's very hard. I think the x-factor is going to be if we can find those extra percentage that make us more consistent in those games, that will be the big deal.
Last time I talked to Heroic, probably would've been a year or two ago, since then Troels has gone to NiP and Kasper's gone to Astralis. How important is that performance team outside of the game to Heroic?
I definitely think it's important to have some staff behind the team who's also focusing a lot on the performance and what kind of things that we can improve on, so it's not just us and Xizt who has to do that. Xizt is doing a really good job with that as well at the moment. He's taking more responsibility ever since we've lost some people in that regard, and I think he's doing a really good job at that.
You talk about group stage games that you are meant to win, as much as I should be supporting Rooster coming from this side of the world with New Zealand and Australian players on that team, how difficult is it to prepare for a first round matchup like that where you can't overlook them, but you kind of want to a little bit?
It's no secret that it's not a top team,. But I think what I've always, and what we've always been been saying and preaching in our team is that we don't underestimate any opponent. I think it's the same mindset that we are gonna go in into this game, we are going to prepare as we usually do and do our best to to win the match.
Looking at the rest of group B, is there anyone there that you see as a big favorite to make it out of the groups or maybe someone you might want to dodge?
For me, I want to dodge anyone actually. I think that playing either ENCE or MOUZ for us would be good, we really want revenge against both of them, to be honest. We've lost last time against MOUZ in Dallas and the last couple of times we've lost to ENCE as well. I think that ENCE is a really strong force right now, they've been playing on a very high level the last few months and I think they're at a good spot at the moment.
Looking at MOUZ, I think it's still hard to say what we can expect from them with siuhy coming in as in-game leader. I think he's very promising and he also has shown a lot of good stuff in the past as well, but it's a bit unknown territory for them as well, they have potential for sure.