Snax was not the fade-away shot from deep that Mouz needed to fix their roster. Upon joining the team, his presence never came at a huge hindrance to their play per se, but never felt totally in-line with the sides ideals. His role was never totally coherent amidst the looser approach of Mouz. It seemed he was trying to plug a dozen holes in a sinking ship, but with only two hands and fingers either too skinny or fat. Mouz needed to re-jig the structure of their map pool and the linear, regressive T-sides that often inhabited it. Rather than banking on carrying performances from Sunny and ChrisJ, they had to systematically overhaul how their mid-rounds were played-out and flesh-out their rolodex of strategy.
In saying that though, with Mouz, snax was able to once again lift a trophy, maybe for the last time in his career at ESL One New York 2018. Riding the form of SuNny and ChrisJ’s huge showings in the playoffs, snax to find some old form in the odd-match, beating Liquid in a Bo5 grand final. While his time on Mouz was short, largely dismissable, and likely caused more issues for their internal dynamic, it was not fruitless. Looking at the current trajectory of his peers on Virtus.pro, very well he might’ve managed to be one of the last players from that legendary line-up to lift a trophy on a big stage.
While snax may be able to rest easier knowing he at least tried to build a career outside of VP, this is no solace for Mouz. The team may have given an old dog another moment in the sun, but they are no less fixed afterwards. To try and solve their issues, STYKO is being brought back onto the active roster. A strange turn of events to say the least. After being kicked for a player that failed to do his job, Mouz have come back to the Slovakian in a bid to save face. Unfortunately for STYKO though, this will not be a case of simply picking up where they last left off.
It’s no secret that Mouz’s players have been approached by other teams, and that the low stock value of their roster makes these propositions loom larger than ever before. STYKO will be re-entering a Mouz roster with players second-guessing their place in it, and a changed dynamic as a result. ChrisJ has become noticeably more aggressive and wily in the faltering months of the line-up. Rather than look to take a step-back to tighten up certain executes and temper the late-round for the likes of ropz to close, ChrisJ has instead found yet another gear. His AWPing and CT-play has become almost novel in its absurd aggressive nature.
Likewise, his usual late-round partner in-crime ropz has been struggling to post the same ridiculous impact that we’d grown accustomed to at the start of the year. While his numbers are still in the black for the most part given his role on the team, in-game, he has struggled to as regularly bail Mouz out of big games. This can be pinned on the faltering nature of their mid-round structure in which Mouz often can leave ropz at more of a disadvantage than he’s used to. It does not explain the decline of ropz’s CT game though, with his usual comfort areas A on Mirage, and graveyard on Inferno being punished more often.
In this sense, STYKO’s characterising ‘glue’ play will have to bind together very different issues on this line-up. On one hand, the macro game of their map pool, mid-round and strategy has to be made more coherent and stable in order for them to stand a chance in series play. On the other though, the micro downwards trajectory of ropz and over-compensatory style shift of ChrisJ have to be made more centrist for a consistency across tournaments.
The realist would say that the inherent problems in mouz are likely too big to overcome with just bringing in an old flame. In this sense, STYKO gets the worst of both worlds. Given he will be the most recent addition if the roster explodes, his failed attempt to rectify their huge issues could easily be correlated to the end of the roster itself; attaching himself to a sinking ship as it were.
The optimist though, might suggest that the strength of Mouz has always been in the balance of their individual talent and cohesive nature of their early round. STYKO could definitely offer a bolstering of both these given his prior playing history, and with something to prove could even add a firepower element as well. Even if this happens though, it’s unlikely or at least, unreasonable to suggest, that we’ll see Mouz lift a trophy in the near future. Snax very well may have been able to squeeze one of the last big victories out of this roster and then replaced with someone who could take the blame for its inevitable fragmenting down the line.
Such is Counter-Strike.