Will “RUSH” Wierzba doesn’t sugarcoat any of OpTic Gaming’s problems.
OpTic was on top of the Counter-Strike world toward the end of last year after winning ELEAGUE Season 2 and reaching the final of ECS Season 2 the following week. But after missing the playoffs in the ELEAGUE Major, RUSH and the rest of the team was stunned with Peter “stanislaw” Jarguz left the team to go to Team Liquid.
The resulting search for an in-game leader sent the team into a bit of a downward spiral, as multiple players, including the recently exited Jason “JasonR” Ruchelski, were among the candidates. James “Hazed” Cobb will play with the team for now as it heads to the PGL Major Qualifier this weekend. Slingshot’s Vince Nairn caught up with RUSH during the ESL Pro League Season 5 Finals in Dallas to talk about his team’s form and how they’ve tried to find an in-game leader.
Vince Nairn: The idea of IGLs in North America has become a topic of conversation lately. What are the qualities that people are lacking in terms of making a good IGL in this region?
Will “RUSH” Wierzba: I think it would be dedication and effort. Quality. Nobody wants to put in the effort. Even me, I could probably call. I think I have the brains for it. I could just put time in and become an IGL, and I would call. But I’m too nervous that it would take away from my personal performance. But what people don’t know about me who don’t play on my team is I’m a pretty emotional player. If I do something wrong, I won’t necessarily get toxic, but I’ll get upset. And if I were to be the leader and people didn’t listen to me or tried to tell me I’m wrong, I don’t know if I could handle that. Right now, as an emotional player, (being an IGL doesn’t fit). Maybe down the line when I get more mature, I’ll try it. But right now I don’t think I could do it.
VN: What’s one thing about CS or in the esports scene that you think should be changed?
WW: I think overall the game mechanics themselves. Right now there are so many more bugs for random things. They’ve been in the game for years and they’re not changed, like the smoke bug. Throwing a smoke on the ground and it pops right out of the (molotov). How is that still a thing? There’s a lot of things Valve isn’t always eye-to-eye on us about. They don’t communicate to us as much as other games do, like Overwatch for example. Overwatch is not as big as CS:GO, but their devs are constantly giving blogs every month about how they fix the game. What the big fixes are. What they’re gonna plan to do the next month. We’ve never gotten that ever. We get like two operations in one year, which is pretty crazy.
VN: What do you think about Operation Hydra, by the way?
WW: I didn’t play that many of the missions, but DAPS and NAF played like all night when it first came out. They played for like eight hours and told me it’s pretty fun. I like the moments where you have like scout’s knives and stuff like that. The taser and knife.
VN: Over-saturation talk has gone down, but it is there anything you’re doing to prepare knowing when it hits the summer and fall that it’s going to get pretty crazy again?
WW: As a team, we’re definitely gonna look into a boot camp in Spain, probably. I think boot camping in NA is pointless, honestly. You get the same thing you do at home. Just the same teams and nothing more. You’re together, which is important, obviously, but in Europe you can play against the European teams. In NA, you can’t get practice from midday to the end of the night. You get two scrims a night, maybe four. In Europe, you can get scrims all day. Ten hours if you want. And they’re all teams looking to get better. That’s what’s amazing about it.”
VN: Going forward what do you think you guys need to do the most?
WW: Just practice, honestly. We just have to grind. I think we’ve proven we have that individual skill that can still compete, but we’re not getting the form we were before. We have to be at our best individual level. I think we can do that. The teamwork needs to get better, especially on CT-side lately. It’s completely teamwork. It’s not individual skill at all. I think we need to play together a lot, and that will improve it. That’s why we got better at the end of 2016. We got stanislaw and we played like eight tournaments in a row, and each one we kept getting better to the end of the year and ELEAGUE.
VN: Losing Peter, did that have any emotional impact on you guys? You went from having that build up and success to all of the sudden you’re starting from scratch again
WW: Yeah, it put us in a really bad spot. I don’t hold it against Peter, though. He has his own reasons, and I’m never gonna hold a grudge against him for that. I respect his decision overall. It’s just the fact that he did it so abruptly and right before a bunch of tournaments like Vegas and Katowice (that sucks). It kind of put us in a rough spot, but what can you do? That’s life.
VN: And how did you guys try to rebound from that? As you said, you kind of just have to accept it and move on, right?
WW: It’s not like we’re harping on it every day going, “Man, I wish we had stan.” We just looked at it as “OK, he’s gone. We have to figure out what to do.” We tried out Hiko, and it didn’t work out too well. He did his best with the role he was given, but he didn’t fit in too well with us. We tried out freakazoid for a day or two. And then we went to JasonR.
VN: What’s your take on trash talk and its purpose and why maybe there isn’t a whole lot?
WW: I think trash talk is good, but if it’s in good taste. I think sometimes the way K0nfig does it, it comes out as he’s being serious about it, which I’m sure he doesn’t actually mean it. I think trash talk is good if it’s in good taste. It’s for entertainment and the show, and you’re not actually shit-talking someone.
VN: What’s the key to a good dig?
WW: You gotta find the most vulnerable point. Going by memes, for example, there was Astralis and choking or Liquid choking. I’m not gonna say something like that, but if you wanna get to someone, that’s the kind of thing you gotta say.
VN: Away from the game, what’s the last book you’ve read or TV show you watched? How do you unwind?
WW: I’m watching two series right now: Fargo and Better Call Saul. That’s what I’m watching right now, and they’re both great shows.
Cover photo by Adela Sznajder/DreamHack