Catching up on CSGO with EliGE

May 06 2016
Unknown to many EliGE began his progaming quest not in CS:GO but in StarCraft II. He was part of a few smaller teams such as Deimos Esports and Clarity Gaming. He also came close to qualifying for WCS Challenger League in 2014, and had things gone differently, EliGE could have found fame and fortune in another game. He even has a 55% winrate in pro sc2 as far as TLPD is concerned.

As we know by now, that didn't happen, and EliGE eventually joined Team Liquid to form arguably the best entry frag duo in North America. We sat down with Jonathan to reminisce about his StarCraft origins and talk about Liquid's bootcamp heading into DreamHack: Austin.

Walk us through the progression from StarCraft II to CS:GO. Was there one major event which triggered the switch? Or was it just a gradual waning of interest?

In the WCS America Season 2 Qualifier 4, I played vs SeleCT when he had just come back and I was very prepared to win in the finals and get into WCS. But the night before the finals they patched the game and completely changed TvT (this was the end of the hellbat era). I played a whole qualifier up until the last day of the qualifier on a different patch, and then the last day, they completely changed the matchup I was prepared for and when I lost, I was so angry that their awful patch timing made me miss out on WCS. After that I quit and started on the CS:GO grind.

StarCraft and CS are dramatically different games (correct me if I’m wrong). How was the transition? Were there any transferable skills?

I have played CS for a while so I knew the basics and nothing was really transferable besides all of the practice and studying that came from SC2. I had to study a lot of players and replays in SC2 to get good builds and to get better in general, and that has helped me a lot.

Semi-related, is your high sensitivity a carryover from your SC2 days?

Yeah, I have just always had high sensitivity, but it was mainly because I was on a pullout desk. So, the desk mainly caused me to have high sensitivity because I did not have much room.

Beyond mechanical skills, do you feel you gained anything in terms of strategic thinking in SC2
(managing economy, dealing with incomplete economy etc.)?

I don’t really think so. The games are pretty different in terms of economy, harassment, micro, macro etc. There’s not really any similarities I can think of.

Do you believe that Valve is keeping ping to Korea high in order to protect us?

Haha, if Valve made CS free to play so they can play in the PC Bangs, then I would expect a bigger Korean scene to come. Of course, they would have to up their marketing game and make official servers so people want to play there, but for now we are safe.

But Enough About StarCraft...

Starting broadly, how’s the bootcamp coming? What’s the atmosphere like now that all of the roster-dust has settled?

The bootcamp has mainly been about solving internal issues that are never addressed, strengthening our overall map pool, and getting more out of our practice. I think that it overall went well and, even though our results won’t be the best at the start, like it was with s1mple as well, I think it could be good in the future.

You mentioned in an interview post-Malmo that the team’s limited map pool was one of your weaknesses. How are you feeling now about it heading to Austin?

I think we are confident on about 2 or 3 more maps, but it isn’t super strong confidence. They are not our home maps or anything yet, but we are much more comfortable on the maps themselves. With s1mple and after he left, our map pool was consistently made up of Dust2 and Cache and I think that was mainly caused by our practice regiment and our mentality. Moving on, if we are able to continue the mentality Loco and others helped build into us during the bootcamp, then we can be much better.

This weekend will be your first LAN in the US since Columbus, are you guys expecting similar crowd intensity when you roll out? If so, how does it (if at all) help?

I don’t think it will be as big as Columbus, but I am expecting a similar vibe. It really does feel great when the whole crowd is on your side and wants you to win matches.

People mention being “hyped” by the crowd. Does this provide a noticeable benefit in a game which requires you be very precise?

When you get rolling in the game and start doing well, or even when you are losing and any little positive thing that happens for the team gets the crowd cheering, it is a great feeling. I would say we feel empowered by the crowd and want to make them happy with us.

There’s always a lot of talk about you and nitr0 being a great entry duo. Was this a chemistry that worked itself out naturally or did you need to sit down and hash out roles?

I think it is more of a natural thing. We are the only aggressive riflers on the team that will ever go into a site, so we know the importance of the entry kills, especially on our team. We both switch off who goes in first, it is mainly Nick these days, but on some positions I will. It just kind of depends on who is where on a strat when it is called. We are both comfortable with it and do what needs to be done.

There’s been some talk of event over-saturation in the community lately. Is this something that worries you personally? Do you feel close to having to turn down events to gain time off?

I think it is worrisome personally. In 2015 it was much worse with how many events there were, but even in 2016 it might be too much as well. I see a lot more teams, like Na`Vi, dropping out of tournaments and/or leagues to help get more practice times.

Do you have anywhere specific on your Texas-BBQ hitlist?

Franklins apparently is pretty insane, but I heard the wait times are as well. I am down for whatever people recommend as far as BBQs go so, besides that not much.

Interviewer: Hayl_Storm
Editor: lichter
Photo Credit: Ken Serra
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