Jarek “DeKay” Lewis: What’s your main goal for the team?
Joshua “jdm64” Marzano: Our main goal is firstly is to develop a larger map pool, but then now we have a pretty big map pool, but our next goal is probably have a full map pool so we can play any map. Because right now there’s about two maps we’re not all that comfortable on.
JL: What two maps are those?
JM: Let’s just say we’re not comfortable with Cobble.
JL: So something I asked Twistzz about is, actually it was on Cobble I think they showed a clip, about the way you guys approached the anti-eco, anti-forcebuy situation, mulling long and playing just super tactfully. He mentioned stanislaw allows you guys to play free, but do you also kind of like to play that kind of disciplined style, especially when you’re approaching that kind of situation? Do you think that’s the right way to play?
JM: Yeah I do. If you’re talking more about freely, I just feel like that gives you so much room for error. That’s how ecos happen. One goes down, OK, now it’s a 4-v-5, it’s like a dominos effect. So that’s why I do feel like you have to be disciplined as Peter was saying. But I think it’s also situational on certain maps and stuff like that.
JL: Another thing I asked Russel about when he said that, I told him that sometimes when I’m watching some North American teams, it’s almost the same as watching someone play Rank S. I told him it was refreshing to see some discipline, and then he mentioned that he’s got everyone to stop playing Rank S. Is that true? Is he the one that sparked that?
JM: No it’s not true (laughs). I stopped playing Rank S because I don’t like playing Rank S in general. I only play Rank S whenever I stream. So I haven’t been streaming at all lately. I have more important priorities. I’m choosing to work on myself and work on what I need to work on for the team, to help the team. So I haven’t been playing Rank S. I don’t know what Nick’s (doing), because Nick was always in the running. I don’t know he was doing, why he stopped, but we all don’t enjoy it, I guess. That’s the funniest part about it. Sometimes I use Rank S when streaming. I’m trying to entertain my stream, but sometimes I focus on certain plays that I want to try out or work on that kind have been working on or practicing already. Like Mirage, for example, going window and making the cat jump. For me in the beginning I could not do that jump at all. That was a long time ago, but I’ve been working on doing that for practice and in Rank S I’ll try to do that as much as I can. Even if it’s every round I’ll do it. I don’t care if it’s not the round you’re supposed to do it, I’m just doing it to practice.
JL: I think one of the criticisms that people have for you is that they seem to think that you can only use a scoped rifle. I don’t think that you’re bad with a rifle at all actually, and I’m not saying that personally, but I actually think you’re a decent rifle. Do you put time into actually working with both?
JM: I do. That’s the thing, a lot of people don’t see what I do, how I practice. With one thing though is that a lot of people judge and criticize me for my rifle, but I never have a rifle. And the thing is that it’s not because I’m buying an AWP every round. If I have the money and say “this is my number one thing.” Think about the players I have on my team. I have Twistzz, Nitro, Elige. Peter too. Stan is fucking great too with a rifle. Whenever I have the money and they don’t I’m switching it with them. I’m always telling Twistzz to buy me an AWP, I’ll work with an AWP or a TEC-9, and I’ll give Twist an AK because he’s going to kill like three or four. That’s what their job is. My job is to be an AWPer. I’ve been working crazy on my rifle and stuff like that, it’s just I don’t have the time or whatever to actually show people the end game because I’m always giving it up or doing something else.
JL: Speaking of Russel, is there anyone in particular on the team that has been most influential on him do you think since he’s joined? Or is he kind of just come-right-in and everyone’s kind of pitched in? I know you’ve been kind of an influential person even maybe with like s1mple in the past. Is there anyone in particular, maybe even yourself, that’s kind of helped him get into the same gear as you guys?
JM: I think it’s kind of been like a team effort. Me and Zeus live with him, so it’s easier for me to work with him. My biggest thing is trying to mold him into a really good teammate and not developing an ego or anything like that. He’s 17. He is doing a really good job at not doing exactly what I just said. And he has a lot of positive energy and positive attitude. He’s a young, great kid, and he’s really talented, so I’m just really happy he’s on my team.
JL: I know you said you focused a lot on yourself. Is there any time when you sit down and watch a specific AWPer at any point?
JM: I watch AWPers all the time. I watch AWPers like no other. I always like watching different styles. I’ll watch Guardian. I’ll watch KennyS. I’ll watch Fallen, and then I’ll watch other people that are not as big names. Sometimes the ones that want to prove something, they’re going to go and find something new, find something that’s going to work. Even myself, I’ll just go to the servers and go around a map and I’ll just think of different scenarios. I’ll try different smokes, find a worm way, I try to do as much as I can to think of how I can outplay the other team and how I can get that advantage for us.
JL: I know you live in California right now while you’re playing. If you had your way would you live back up in the Northwest? Would you live at home or do you actually enjoy California? Let’s say if you for some reason stop playing at some point would you stay here or would you go back home?
JM: Oh I’d go back home. I do like Cali, though, just for the fact that it’s always nice. It’s literally sunny everyday and I’m an outdoors guy so I like that part. Being gone from home, it broke a record for worst year of weather (laughs). It was fun because every person whenever I say I’m from Seattle, that’s constantly what they think of, they instantly think of rain. I’m always the one to be like “dude it’s never like that, it’s not like how people say,” but I can’t say that this year. That’s pretty much the reason, but all my friends, all my homies, all my family, they’re all back at home and I miss them every day not seeing them because I’m barely home.
Cover photo by Bart Oerbekke/ESL, illustration by Raphie Rosen