Slingshot’s Vince Nairn caught up with OpTic Gaming’s Óscar “Mixwell” Cañellas before ELEAGUE Group D play to talk about OpTic’s outlook, moving away from Spain and looking ahead to his next year.
Vince Nairn: First of all, what do you see in your ELEAGUE group this week?
Óscar “Mixwell” Cañellas: I think that our group is one of the toughest groups. Dignitas has been on the rise, they are a top team, and Envy as well. They came back from their slump and are very strong. Fnatic is lacking Dennis, their best player, so we are expecting we could match up well with them. We think we have a good shot of making it to playoffs.
VN: How would you describe your team’s form right now? You’re obviously coming off the win (at Northern Arena) last week.
OC: I think we are at our best level right now. We had problems with our communication, and we had tilting problems as well. When things went bad, the mood on the team was really bad. We’ve solved those problems and right now are at our best.
VN: You had a good showing at ESL New York last month, which seemed like it kickstarted you guys a little bit. What went well there, and how have you tried to hone it since then?
OC: I think ESL New York was really important to see what do we have to work on. We saw that I have to go back to AWPing, sniping. We have to improve. But it’s really good for the confidence to show we can play with some of the best teams in the world.
VN: What kind of a change is it for you to have to go “back” to AWPing as you just mentioned?
OC: In previous teams, I was secondary AWPing. I always had a primary over me. My roles on teams have been I can do whatever I want. I’m a player that needs space, but I am the best AWPer on the team right now, so that’s what I have to do.
VN: How do you have to adjust your game to do that?
OC: I have to always play a bit more defensive. I don’t know how to explain it. The AWP is a role where you are limited because of your gun, but you can also do special things (because of that). I still have the freedom to do whatever I want, but I have to be a little more controlled.
VN: What has this year meant for your career?
OC: From playing in Spain to going to OpTic Gaming, that was an insane jump. Playing only national teams to playing international teams. I had no salary before, so right now it’s insane.
VN: Did you envision this all happening to you as fast as it did?
OC: I didn’t, but I knew I could play for a really good team. I knew my level, and I was waiting for an opportunity. It was faster than I thought, but I’m happy I have been able to do it.
Your perspective on this is interesting considering the region you came from: There’s a lot of talk about the number of tournaments and whether there are too many. Where do you fall in that debate?
OC: I think that there is too many, for sure. For example, we had to choose ELEAGUE over IEM Oakland, and after ELEAGUE we will travel to DreamHack Winter in Sweden two days after. Every weekend there’s a tournament. It’s pretty…it’s too much for the players. You get tired. You have to travel too much. You don’t have holidays. I don’t know if I will be able to go to Spain for Christmas and that. It’s just a lot.
VN: Where’s the balance gotta come from in this situation? Because there are a lot of factors pulling the players in a lot of directions.
OC: I think the problem is that every league gets to choose their dates and they don’t talk to each other. There’s enough days for every league in my opinion. Maybe the most important leagues have preference, and the other league adapt to the bigger ones.
Cover photo by Helena Kristiansson/ESL, eslgaming.com