Last month, the Counter-Strike community was thrown a curve ball when ESEA announced that Call of Duty based team hold mouse1
was invited to the CS:GO Invite division. Not surprisingly, the announcement was followed by doubt and confusion from the CS faithful.
Now after just a few weeks, hold mouse1 is one of the hottest teams in North American CS:GO and a front-runner at the ESWC Qualifiers taking place this weekend at PAX.
With an undefeated ESEA Invite record which includes wins over Dynamic and Murder Inc, and an ESWC Online Qualifier victory against the famed zomblerz, hold mouse1 has been nothing short of impressive. But who is this team? Where'd they come from and where will they go from here?
In advance of their Counter-Strike LAN debut, ESEA News sat down with hold mouse1 to answer these questions and more in the latest edition of our Team Spotlight series.
How and when were you approached about joining CS:GO Invite? What was your initial reaction?
: We were contacted by Shooter around early July asking us if we would like to participate in the Invite league as the Call of Duty team. At the time we were already currently attempting to switch to CS:GO and getting the invite into CS:GO Invite was icing on the cake. We also wanted to make sure that we didn't waste the spot as there were plenty of deserving teams. We didn't want to take the invite and go 0-16 and just waste everyone’s time. We knew right away that we had to put in a lot of time in order to compete with the other invite teams. It was an absolute honor to be invited and seeing us involved with some of these old school CS players has been pretty surreal.
: Once we got the news that we were heading straight into invite league we knew we had to play a lot and we really had to step it up, because we are new to a game like this, and we didn't have any chemistry and we were really behind on the competitive aspects of the game. I was personally surprised that they had invited a team like us, with no prior counter-strike experience together. It definitely shocked the community and we took it as challenge and big step forward for us.
: When we found the group of players that we knew would be dedicated we started instantly scrimming. After actually beating and/or coming close to beating top teams we noticed we have a lot of potential. So, in a way the word spread that we were doing good and we accepted the offer of giving ESEA:Invite a go.
: We were approached through email, asking if we were interested in playing in invite and if we knew any other CoD teams interested in playing. We obviously had no expectations of playing in invite and we were pretty sure there was no chance we were going to. We were content in competing in open this season. After we started playing CSGO for bit we started to get some attention from some of the top teams. They started asking where we came from and all that jazz. A few of them said they thought we were good and they were going to put in a word for us about playing invite. That’s pretty much how it all went down.
: Initially I think we were all a little shocked to be considered into a invite division that would basically be comprised of top level 1.6 and CS:S teams. Being completely new to the CS series for most of us we took to playing as much as possible, and over a few weeks I think we made a couple friends who saw that we had some potential.
For those not familiar, tell us a little about your competitive gaming history?
: My gaming history has been that of a journeyman. I have switched from game to game for almost 6 years now trying to win tournaments in various games. Some of these games include Call of Duty, Alliance of Valiant Arms, Battlefield 3 and Brink.
- AVA - 1st place IESF 2009 Qualifiers (All expense paid trip to Korea and an ipod)
- AVA - 1st place 10k Tourney ($5k for 1st)
- AVA - 1st place IESF 2011 Qualifiers (All expense paid trip to Korea + $600 each)
- AVA - 3rd place IESF 2011 ($4k for 3rd)
- Brink - 1st place Quakecon Intel Championship 2011 ($3750 for 1st + GTX 560's)
- Call of Duty 4 - Nerv 1 Champions ($3600 for 1st)
- Call of Duty 4 - Cevo-P 14-2
: To lay it out straight, I was a free game all-star player, I used to jump to games that were offering money tournaments and even trips to Korea to compete at the world championships. People most know me from A.V.A (Alliance of Valiant Arms). We took a team to Korea in 2010 to IeSF and claimed USA as world champions.
: Well, I will skip the boring stuff and move right into my CoD4 history. I started playing CoD4 the day of release and immediately played hours upon hours because I knew I had potential to be on a good team. This was hard for me considering I didn’t play CoD2 so no one knew who I was. My very first team was CEVO-Professional and from then on out I played Cevo-P every season minus one. I have anywhere from first place finishes to third. But I was always on a top team. I have played CoD:BlackOps and was competing on the best team and won every tournament until its death. I have dabbled in other games such as Brink where I won Quakecon 2011 with Micheal3D and emong.
: For me personally, I started gaming in MoH(vs frozt!!), moved onto CoD1, then CoD2 and I really had my "big" break in CoD4 with Nexus gaming, where me, miked and gnome all played together for the first time. We have played multiple games together and compete in quite a few. Cod/ava/brink/bf3 we pretty much all played in some capacity. For accomplishments:
- 1st Place Alliance of Valliant Arms North American IESF Qualifiers 2009(All expense paid Trip to South Korea to compete in World Championships $9k)
- 2009 3rd Place @ World Championships $15k Total Prize Winnings
- 1st Place Call of Duty 4 Nerv1 Lan 2008 Pennsylvania 5v5 Search and Destroy $4k Cash Prize(neXus gaming)
- 1st Place Call of Duty 4 Nerv4 Lan 2010(Loaded gaming)
- 3rd Place Call of Duty 4 Ignite Lan 2011
- 3rd Place Call of Duty 4 i35(U.K) Lan 2009(Evil Geniuses)
- 5th-8th Call of Duty 4 OOF3 lan(Antwerp, Belgium) 2009(Pure gaming)
- 5th-8th Call of Duty 4 TEX09 lan(Denmark)(Pure gaming)
- 5th-8th Call of Duty 4 Crossfire Intel Challenge lan (Enschede, Holland) 2010 (Loaded gaming)
- 1st Place Call of Duty 4 multiple cevo seasons
- 1st Place TGL Call of Duty 4 Tournament
- 1st Place Alienware Call of Duty 4 Tournament
: I have played multiple games over the years (All the BF Series, COD , AVA, Wolfenstein/Quakewars) but I started competitive gaming late 2005 in the Battlefield series when I purchased my first pc (I was late to the party). We won a live televised event in 2006 called Gamecaster's BF 2142 Invitational filmed in Hollywood, which happened to be my first lan event.
How long have you competed together as a team?
: As a team believe it or not we have only been together with this roster since about July of this year. Prior to that though most of us have played on a team with each other at one point. I have known Michael3D, Juv3nile and TM since early 2008 from Call of Duty 4. Mike and I both had met skadoodle around 2010 in AVA and have continued to team with him off and on in various games. It was really easy for us to transition into a team even though we hadn't actually all played together with this set roster.
: Like I stated earlier, 3 of us have played together on and off since the release of cod4 going back to 2008. For CSGO, about a month and half ago, we ended up getting keys. tm and I decided we wanted to play for fun. We got mike to play. We pugged a bit then got skadoodle to come play, who we knew from AVA. Soon after we got gnome to come back from console hell, to come back to his roots PC gaming. I don’t think any of us had been playing FPS games super seriously in quite some time.
How have you been preparing for PAX/ESWC? Any differently from past LAN events?
: We've been preparing the only way we know how and that is through bulk gameplay. We usually try and scrim just about anyone because we're new to CS. We have so much to learn and have so many bad habits that we have to iron them out through constant gameplay and dedication. Even in prior games that we were used to we always scrimmed in bulk because it kept us on our toes and it allows for us to develop play styles we may not develop by not playing all the time.
: We are definitely putting in all the time we can to prepare for PAX/ESWC. Unlike other games, CS:GO is amongst one of the most popular FPS games and ESEA has plenty of registered teams that scrim us and help us get better everyday.
: We take every event we attend 200% serious. We have been scrimming probably more than any other team in this game. We go over nades, adjustments, and strats everyday as best we can to keep fresh and focused. Our goal is to win and win BIG!
: We have just been playing CSGO alot. Thats pretty much how we have prepared. Nothing out of the ordinary, just practicing each map as it comes in the ESEA season. It’s pretty much no secret that we play more then any other team in the game, but I mean, lets be honest, we are CoD players, we need all the help we can get!
: Pretty much practice as usual. We have been pretty busy with Esea Matches though, its a nice change of pace being able to practice a single map each week. Being new to CS it has allowed us to refine some of our strategies and work on some more complicated setups.
Heading into the ESWC Online Qualifiers, how'd you think your team would do?
: Going into the ESWC Online Qualifiers it was really hard to gage how we would do. We thought we could do well but winning it we really didn't know. As most people know scrims and matches are completely different. Up until those qualifiers we had never ever played any sort of Counter Strike match. We didn't know what to expect, we hadn't played against teams who put 100% effort into what they were doing. As we progressed through the bracket we started to really come together as a team chemistry wise and noticed that if we put in a bunch of time we had a chance at possibly making it out of the Online Qualifiers.
: To be honest we had no idea... Our biggest strength is and WAS our teamwork, so we played our game and not the other teams'. We always knew we have the skill to out shoot anyone, so we focused on our practice to overcome the odds.
: I knew we had a chance to win. We actually had been going through a little rough patch, we were doing pretty badly in scrims and getting frustrated with eachother haha. Skadoodle had been going to a faire, literally a faire, for a entire week. Early on we knew we had to play wat?, who is a fairly good team in open right now, so we knew they were no pushover. That was our first test. Then we played hellsgamers. They had received FFW's all the way to our match so we weren’t sure what to expect. They turned out to be pretty decent and then the big match we knew was going to be the hardest, our match against zomblerz. We were confident going in. We almost always played well against them. It was obvious they were really really good, just by looking at how they did vs other invite teams. Obviously the match was insanely close but ended up going in our favor thankfully.
: Our goal for ESWC was to beat a few good teams and try to make it as far as we could. We thought we stood a good chance at beating a few teams in the open bracket, although we weren't really sure how well we would perform with some of the teams that have histories in Counter Strike. We were pleasantly surprised with our win against the Zomblers in the Invite bracket. It was such a close match and honestly could have gone either way.
What can we expect from hold mouse1 in the future? Is CS:GO the focus or still playing some COD? Any other LAN events planned?
: Pending any random issues we are here to stay as a team. CS:GO will always be the main focus for now on and I hope that myself and my teammates are able to finally settle in on a game. As sad as it is there was never really constant competition in COD. By 2009 Call of Duty was pretty much dead in North America and the only thing that we could do was switch from game to game and play in these minor tournaments. When it comes to LANs we are going to try and go to as many LANs as possible. We absolutely love going to them so if there is an event that is worth attending we generally should be there.
: We're putting all our focus onto CS:GO because the game is only going to get bigger from here and with the early success that we are already having, I can see our team being a top competitor for many seasons to come. As for LAN's I'm not very sure.
: Call of Duty is dead to us. We will never touch the game again and our focus has been and will be CS:GO. We love everything about the game and feel its our game to play.
: You can expect us putting in the same amount of time we have been putting in. We all really enjoy the game and we don’t believe we are near as good as we could/should be. We still have a lot of improving to do and to improve you have to play a lot. CSGO is 100% the focus. The game is just so fun and hopefully has a really bright future. There is nothing out of the ordinary planned, we just want to do well at ESWC, we want to make ESEA lan and that’s basically it. If things pop up or we get opportunities for other lans, that’s going to be amazing. We just aren't expecting anything but ESEA lan at this point. Hopefully some big tournaments can start picking up the game.
: I think as a team we have found a new home in a game that has a long history of having competitive leagues and lans. Over the years that has been the one thing that has plagued the games I have competed in, the lack of support over the course of time. We are extremely happy to be apart of a game that has a long time functioning league and lan.
Tune in to ESEA News throughout the weekend to watch hold mouse1 compete in the team’s first Counter-Strike LAN; the ESWC North American Finals.