So this is actually pretty cool we have both of you here [USTILO and Zewsy] because when you left Immunity, USTILO (for Renegades), I believe it was you, Zewsy who actually replaced him, right?
Zewsy: It was two people, so Karlo left and Ian got kicked. So it was me and... Moey, right?
And now look at the two of you, being interviewed together on Tainted Minds...
USTILO: It's fate, mate [laughs].
So ferg was saying before how you guys have revamped roles entirely, since USTILO has come into the team. What do those roles look like right now?
Zewsy: So, currently, I'm back to the main entry with ap0c following me, being my traded. Karlo has gone to more of a wing player, a really mobile wing player, actually. So he can come and kind-of go where he wants on the map. Sico is in the pack with ap0c and myself and Ofnu is our diddy lurk, kind-of hard lurk.
Taking from your results since USTILO has joined, what's been the biggest takeaways for you personally as a player?
Zewsy: Well since USTILO has come in we've had a lot of change-ups to do in terms of the roles and base team composition. So it has been a bit hard, it's been a big change, and we have been struggling a little bit. But I think we have been improving pretty quickly. And yeah, we've just to keep grinding.
Scoping out a bit, not necessarily talking about the team itself but the teams around you in the scene in-general. What do you make the top four in-general?
Zewsy: Grayhound, I think losing grat has affected them quite a lot. I think a big thing was the gratisfaction and dexter combo. Like, they had a really good thing going, I think they played together for a very long time and were able to work off each other very well. I think sterling is just a little bit different from gratisfaction. He's a lot more passive I think. They need more time to get something... A better system going.
There's talk ever since Chiefs has gone on this LAN winning streak that they are the best team in Australia - what're your thoughts on this general idea?
Zewsy: To me, I don't think they're the best team in Australia. Obviously they've had a lot of wins and stuff like that... But to me they don't feel like the best team in Australia. I feel like our team hasn't been good, a lot of the other teams haven't been playing to their highest level for a bit. Chiefs have just been playing good when they've needed to be.
That's interesting, because texta gave an interview where he said "On paper, I think Tainted Minds have the best lineup. It’s pretty straightforward. ap0c is the best in-game leader and the list goes on", do you agree with this in-spite of the results post-OCE shuffle?
Zewsy: Yeah I agree with that. But, we just need more time to get to our highest level and perform well. We just need game time and to be on the same page with each other. We need to know what's going on better with the system.
USTILO: It's just getting practice in. Since I've come in, we've had ESEA, ESL, LPL games, all those random tournaments every night. We've literally had one prac scrim a night and that's not enough to do anything. Like, since I came in all the roles were changed, they've all changed their roles, and we've gone 'this isn't working', so now Zewsy's gone back into the pack and I'm to the side. Now I'm learning a new role. Now we just need practice.
Obviously you have a pretty unique perspective, having just come back from overseas and also playing on the top level in Australia back in 2015, how does the practice environment that we're talking about compare to before you left, to overseas, to now?
USTILO, Zewsy, ap0c: [laugh]
USTILO: Uhhh, honestly it's been pretty much the same it feels like. We haven't practiced Grayhound at all I don't think they want to practice against us. ORDER, we've prac'd them three times since I've been back. I've been back for like, a month. They're two of the big teams we aren't practicing. Chiefs, we've practiced them today, but we don't prac them much. And other than that, it's all the lower level teams. Some of those scrims can be... pretty interesting. I'm not giving them shit, but we don't learn what we're doing wrong. We know we're doing things wrong but winning anyway. So it's like, practice here... it's completely different to America.
In what sense?
USTILO: There's just way more teams to play in NA. Simple as that. You can pick and choose who you want to play, what maps you want to play and play during the day, during the night. Here, it's like only 5/6pm onwards type of thing. You're lucky to get a few day scrims.
How do you feel individually relative to the rest of the scene? Is it harder, easier, what you expected?
USTILO: It's pretty much what I expected. I knew it was going to be a little bit better, but pretty much the same. I mean, we don't play as much as teams in NA. In Renegades, we were playing six scrims a day, two hours of theory, like, a full day. Whereas here, you cannot get those scrims so you can't play as much.
Is there anything that's taken you by surprise since coming back?
USTILO: I think just the general level of the teams around us, Chiefs, ORDER, Grayhound was better when I was here 2-3 years ago. Back then, it was just Immunity and VOX - no one was even close. But now there's like four-ish teams who can compete and beat each other. So the level has gone up a bit. It's a bit of everything, from an individual level, to structure, to maps, they just know how to play the game better. There are better individual players, they have more international opportunity as well now.
What're your expectations having come back from Renegades for this roster?
USTILO: To be number one. Without a doubt. We should be number one. We just need practice. We have not practiced at all really, it feels like. This week is the first week where we're actually getting shit done.
Speaking of this week of practice, you guys are here at QUT Esports doing your boot camp for the PGL Minor Qual. It's a pretty unique environment being in the middle of a local university - what's it been like?
Zewsy: It's been really good. The computers, set-up, are all good. There's plenty of space. There's nothing really wrong with it other than we're sharing the space with some other people so there's a bit of noise. But that's not a big deal once everyone goes home. It's a pretty good place to boot camp. Heaps of food places around [laughs].
QUT also announced that they'll be offering esports scholarships which is pretty indicative of the changes that have been happening since you've been away USTILO.
USTILO: Yeah, shows esports is getting more mainstream here. I think it's still very far behind places like Europe and America. But the fact they're doing scholarships and stuff like this right now is obviously showing it's growing a lot. CS:GO teams now have liveable salaries, so it's starting to get to that level where we can maybe be like NA one day. But we're still pretty far behind.
Zewsy: I think it's still very far behind as well. But it's just there's been a big injection of money recently that's kind of made it grow just a little bit more. People aren't really doing it full-time though. Even if they're on a full-time salary, you can't do it full-time here if that makes sense - there's not enough people playing during the day. You can sit in a server and do theory all day, but still only get 3 or 4 scrims a night.
With that in mind, is it hard for you guys to play a 'proper' style of Counter-Strike?
Zewsy: I feel like we're trying to play a bit of a mixture of both [between loose and structured]. Kind of that, random stratted version of Counter-Strike. I don't know how to explain. We're sort of trying to get away from the 'organised chaos' version and trying to add a bit more structure and plan.