Curse came into the scene after receiving a direct Invite to the inaugural season of CS:GO Invite in the ESEA League. Many players were upset at the notion that a former Call of Duty team with multiple backgrounds could even remotely compete with the top players form Counter-Strike 1.6 and Counter-Strike: Source. They proved everyone wrong.
The team started out the season 8-0, earning the best starting record of any current playoff team. The second seed, Area51, would be right behind them the whole time, fighting back and forth to secure the #1 seed.
The uniqueness of the team is what set them apart. Their work ethic proved strong and their willingness to learn seemed uncapped. A team who had never set foot together on de_dust2 were thrown into their hardest challenge, but prevailed together.
ESEA News had the chance to sit down with Jeff "emong" Anderson to talk about the teams background, their current success and what it was like transitioning to Counter-Strike: Global Offensive from Call of Duty and other games.
First off, please give everyone who might not know why you are a short introduction on yourself and your gaming history.
My name is Jeff “emong” Anderson and I’ve been playing Counter-Strike for 2 months. I have played a bunch of various games in the past competitively and just recently moved to CS.
You guys as a group come from multiple different game backgrounds, including Call of Duty. How did a COD team get interested in CS:GO?
The one thing many people don’t know is that we really weren't restricted to Call of Duty. We always had dipped into pretty much every game that wasn't CS for competition. Our mindset about CS at the time was that we were so far behind in years that it would be really rough to get really really good at CS. When it came to CS:GO we looked at it as an opportunity to insert ourselves into the CS community. We planned on playing open and kind of seeing where we would get but was asked ot play the Invite season of CS:GO. That kind of gave us a lot more incentive to want to constantly play the game and be good at it as we didn't want to waste the spot and go 0-16.
How did you guys come together as a team? It seems that every time you guys are seen that you are friends inside and outside of the game. Does that give you an advantage?
Truthfully we came together as a team by random. We have all at one point played with each other in the past but the team was basically formed off of who got beta keys randomly. I think being friends helps a lot. Chemistry in my opinion is just as huge as individual skill and if you have chemistry you can pretty much be successful in any game. If you’re constantly playing with people who whine and complain all the time and act like they know all, it doesn't become fun at all. So I think it may give us a slight advantage over some teams who don’t get along that much and just play to play.
In the past there have not been as many big events for COD unless you are playing on the console, was it a game you played for fun, or is it just as competitive as Counter-Strike?
Team Photo in Seattle
The early days of Call of Duty 4 were actually pretty big. It certainly wasn't CS standards but the amount of teams at the beginning of the game was more than any COD game had seen. The LANs were also constant, especially in Europe. So there was a lot to do. You even saw teams like Evil Geniuses and Pandemic in the early parts of it, as well as ours. The problem with the game was that the developers completely abandoned the idea of patching post game. They decided that it would be better to release a game every year than to constantly update the PC side of the game so after a while the game just died off and there became a mod war in COD where there was a new mod every day.
While Counter-Strike is similar to Call of Duty in some sense, it is very unique in how it’s played. How have you guys been able to adjust? What types of skill sets transferred over and which ones have you had to “re-learn”?
The real only true skill sets that transferred over was our ability to adjust and our aim. Everything else we had to start from scratch. The counter strafe concept was an absolute new thing to us. For the first week of the game I literally didn't even know what a counter strafe was and would just slide around like a monkey missing all my shots or look at my damage seeing 26 and 1. We had to get used to new movement, the fact that I can’t just run and gun all the time and get kills without being penalized. There was a lot to learn. You have to imagine that we have been playing other games besides CS for just as long as people have been playing it. The smallest things that people think are easy were hard for us at times and still at times cause us issues. Even the most insane things like throwing a grenade took us forever to master because it’s so different in other games.
When you first were invited to join ESEA did you think you’d be able to compete early on, or did you feel like you would be at a disadvantage?
When we were first invited to ESEA Invite we were pretty happy. The one thing that instantly was said on mumble was that if we take this spot we better not waste it. We did not want to come into the league and just completely tarnish our reputation and go 0-16. Plus we knew there were a bunch of other deserving teams that didn't get the invite. We were certainly at a disadvantage going in considering we had only played the game together as a team for about 5 days. Even till this day we are a massive disadvantage and we never take a win for granted. We make sure that we constantly improve, we never just settle for a win because we know we can’t afford to like other teams.
How did you guys prepare for matches in COD and how does that translate into Counter-Strike? Is it similar or do you see your team utilizing a different process in order to prepare?
In COD the only we got better was by bulk scrimming. Bulk scrimming is essentially playing just about anyone and not being picky about who you play. In CS we do the same thing but for different reasons. We play in bulk purely to learn the ins and outs of the game and to completely get rid of our bad habits. Sometimes people get angry at us for scrimming lesser teams but they don’t really understand how much we actually learn from it. We may think some random strat seems good but then we will play a sub par team and it will get shutdown and immediately we know what is wrong. That is one of the main reasons you see our team scrim just about anyone.
If a new player who had previously played COD wanted to switch to CS:GO, what advice would you give them in order for them to have the most success?
The biggest advice I could give anyone coming from COD or another game is to practice, practice, and practice. For me personally I go into a DM every day and do what I call the daily 300. I will essentially get 300 kills with the AK and 300 kills with the m4. When I first came into CS:GO you can ask my teammates, people I played against I was about as useful as a decoy grenade. Just by practicing in a DM I was able to completely turn my game play around truthfully for most new players you’re not going to be instantly good, it doesn't happen over time. But as you can see it isn't impossible to become good.
Since you do have such a wide array of games behind all of you guys, what do you think makes Counter-Strike so unique and different from games like COD and other free-to-play shooters on the market today?
Counter-Strike just screams competition. I think that is what really separates it from every other game. The game not only has the pub aspect of it, jump maps, surf maps, etc but it has a feel to that is like no other. In COD and some of the free to play games we had played it always felt kind of pubby and really wasn't meant to be played competitively. It had to be fixed up to the point where the game was stripped down so much that it was really hard to introduce new competitive players into the scene. People didn't want to change from what their used to. In CS I can go into a server with a bunch of random people and play an 8v8 pub and if I go into ESEA server in a 5v5 scrim it is almost every similar.
You guys started the season off with 8 straight victories. Many were shocked when they saw this, what do you guys think helped make you so successful early on?
I felt that we put in a lot more time than every other team. We certainly scrimmed more than any of the teams and that kind of gave us a minor advantage. I’m sure at first teams looked at us and thought instantly we were a free win, so there may have been that underestimation factor too. Overall though I think it was our teamwork that carried us through the early part of the season. We didn’t have the best of shots than so we had to make up for it with teamwork and the natural chemistry we have playing with each other.
Right now you guys are in first place for the ESEA-League and only have one loss on record. How does it feel to be one of the best teams in North America heading into the LAN Finals?
It feels good to be in the position we are at currently but there certainly are a bunch of teams who are also fighting for that top spot. If you look at the current top 6 for invite this season they are filled with great teams who could beat each other at any point. I know this seems like the politically correct answer but it’s truthfully how we feel.
You recently had your first CS:GO LAN at the ESWC NA Finals, but failed to qualify for the Grand Finals after losing to Area51. What did you learn from that event and how has it effected your preparation for the ESEA LAN Finals?
Skadoodle and emong
The ESWC LAN was a huge wake up call for us in discovering how many bad habits we had. Our money management was beyond awful. We literally would have to double save or triple save sometimes and spent almost half the rounds the whole tournament with pistols, sometimes after we won 2 rounds in a row. It was a huge mess; we couldn't even get Skadoodle the AWP. We clearly didn't know what the walk key was. Since the LAN we've worked even harder than we did prior. We try and fix up everything we do wrong and we have a completely different outlook on the game. We hope that come the next LAN we can apply everything we learned and have a better overall result.
You guys have embraced streaming to help introduce yourself to the community. You stream all of your matches and often answer questions from the community and interact with them on a personal level. Many would say this is what Counter-Strike has been missing the past few years. Have you guys always been community oriented?
Truthfully in the past we were never this community oriented. We really just got kind of sick of waiting on other people to do things so we decided to take the initiative and be that team that constantly streams and interacts with their viewers. We absolutely love streaming and we enjoy answering questions and making people laugh and have a good time. The overall experience is great and we wouldn't do it if we hated it. The one problem with streaming in CS though is that you need a good computer or it can take a huge toll on your game play. We sometimes suffer from streaming but it isn't to the point where it’s detrimental and causes us to lose rounds. One thing people don’t know is that we aren't partnered with twitch. We don’t get any revenue from people viewing our streams, we literally just stream for people to have a good time and for us to give back to the community.
Would like to give a shutout to Curse and Naznoz from Nexus gaming. Make sure to follow our own3d pages at own3d.tv/emong - own3d.tv/michael3d - own3d.tv/juv3nile - own3d.tv/skadoodle