As ESL Pro League Season 18 approaches, we sit down with Sico to gain insights into his team’s preparations and ambitions as they gear up to secure a coveted spot in the playoffs as well learn about an airport mishap the night before.
Grady: How’s everything out that way?
Sico: Not too bad. We actually lost all our luggage yesterday, so we’ve got no clothes at the moment, hopefully we’ll get that back today.
You got the keyboard and mice?
Yeah, we got all the peripherals. We just lost our check-in baggage, which sucks.
You guys have been playing together as a group of five since August last year. Practically unheard of in the CSGO scene. Do you think that it’s helping you guys out knowing exactly how everybody plays having been together for so long?
I think so. We’ve been a pretty rocky team over that period, like especially recently. I think after we lost our coach, it kind of revamped us a little bit. We started figuring out how we wanna play by ourselves and we had a good little run after that, but I think we’ve just been trying to find ourselves again lately.
With the coach departure, is that something that you’re looking to pull in a new person for or have you already got somebody in there to fill that role?
I think it would definitely help, to relieve a bit of pressure from Josh (INS) and the time he spends looking for things so he can focus on himself. It’s something we’re definitely open to, but it has to make sense for Grayhound to use the budget for, and then has to fit with Josh as a captain and culturally has to fit as well. All those things together.
The CSGO scene in Australia, or I guess what is left of it, not looking the most hot at the moment. How’s it been to just watch that slowly erode as organization after organization leaves, including the one that you guys were with prior to Grayhound?
It’s obviously real tough for practice. When we’re there, we pretty much play maybe one or two teams, or sometimes we don’t even play when we’re there – we just do theory, watch demos and stuff and then like make sure we’re on top of our individual level when we go to bootcamp. It’s pretty rough honestly, there’s not much you can do to improve there. Hopefully it gets better with CS2 coming out and more opportunities and that’s the only way really.
We got the announcement that IEM Sydney is returning and you guys have an invite to that one. How’s it gonna feel to get a chance potentially to jump back in front of that Aussie crowd?
It’ll be insane. I think IEM Sydney or any Auzzie event, even the Dreamhack one we had, Dreamhack Open in Melbourne recently was insane. It’s a different feeling playing at home. We feel like we’re buffed, like we play better for sure when we’re playing at home. I actually really look forward to IEM Sydney,
Do you ever hope that one of those tournaments or even a smaller LAN would find its way just over the ditch to New Zealand and you get a proper hometown tournament?
[laugh] very high doubts about that, but that would be sick. I don’t think anyone even plays from NZ, I can only name like five players maybe. I think it’ll be Auzzie for now, but maybe one day you never know.
Looking at your group for ESL Pro League, there’s some quite tough teams. How do you rate your chances going into this one, to make it to that top four and get to playoffs?
I think we’re quietly confident as usual. I think our match ups are slightly easier than some of the previous ones we’ve had, so hopefully we can do well, similar to how we did last time – we ended up beating NiP and 00Nation, so it’s all the same setup and stuff, and hopefully we can do some damage.
With the format that they use for Pro League, with three chances to qualify, do you think that’s helpful to you guys to have more chances to get through? Or do you think it’s a little bit harder, every time you you lose, you’ve gotta try and claw it back?
It works both ways. You definitely get more chances, but I think it worked against us last time because we beat, NiP and 00Nations, but NiP ended up ahead of us somehow in the bracket. I can’t remember exactly how it works, but it didn’t work in our favor last time. Hopefully it works for us this time.
You look at jks off in G2 or Dexter off in FNATIC, and there are some of these Australian or Oceanic players that are jumping over to international rosters and having good success over there. Has that thought crossed your mind rather than staying in a national team, to try and dip your toes over in the international scene?
At this point, not really, I think that’d be open to some of the other boys if they’ve got an offer. I feel like I’m at a point where I’m just happy to play here and keep improving as an Australian team. In the past, I definitely would’ve taken an offer if I got one, but as it as it stands, not really for now, I’m quite happy where I am. I just hope that we can keep doing better as a team and representing AU.