Blog:One Tap Lan 3: Ross “eLe” Rooney Interview
One Tap Lan 3: Ross “eLe” Rooney Interview
This interview was audio recorded on the afternoon of the 10th of February.
Here with Ross.
eLe: The one and only.
Introduce yourself, what team are you with at this Lan?
Have you played any games yet.
eLe: We played against some young lads and won sixteen – eleven. Bit of faffing around but we got there in the end.
Sounds like you’re not even bothering to learn about a certain amount of the teams apart from a few of the known ones.
eLe: I don’t know any of them. I don’t know if any of them could be good or bad really. I just go off what Sean and nox and doof who would have a good idea of who’s good or bad out of the young lads.
Did they make you work at all, or was it straight forward.
eLe: It was sixteen – eleven so I can’t say it was a cakewalk but we were messing around a little bit yea.
Is this Different Gravy returned?
eLe: We got rid of kas, well we didn’t, he joined a new team. We got nox.
It’s still just a mix team that just turns up at Lans?
Oh yea, one hundred percent. Sure I don’t have time to be playing any more really.
Do you have any expectations for the event?
eLe: Hope to come second.
You would be happy to come second?
eLe: Oh, that’s the best we can do. I don’t think we can beat the boys. Too much firepower. Too much talent.
Do you think anyone has a chance?
eLe: No, no, no, no, no. No hope, no hope. Different level altogether.
If it’s a battle for second who do you think will contend?
And you’re playing them next.
eLe: Yea in the upper brackets so that should be a decent game. We’ll see how that goes. Anyone could win that. To be honest out of the shittier teams there’s no major gulf in ability between us and I don’t know… maybe kas’s team and stuff. It’s more so who has hours and who is better in squeaky bum time you know.
We’re here about five months since the last Lan which was Celtic Throwdown Lan and it feels like the scene’s not really grown at all in Ireland…
eLe: Oh no it’s going back.
What do you think the reasons for that are?
eLe: I don’t know man. Maybe it’s the really younger kids who are going to become good because it’s not anyone who has established themselves already in the last two are three years. None of them are going to be playing at any sort of a decent level. There’s no players that are worth playing with for lainNy, CINDER, conoR and Phil. They’re at a whole different level to everyone else. There’s no one that’s worthwhile for them to play with and they’re not going to play with each other so… vanity as well is another player in Ireland. He’s not here obviously but he’s another Irish player. But there’s no one at their level. Outside of that everyone is just a filthy casual.
Can you think of anything that could stimulate potential growth in the scene?
eLe: Don’t know. People just need to play more. You need young guys who just play loads of hours and practise individually. There’s no point in making an Irish team of all Irish players just for the sake of doing it. If you’re going to put together a team you need to make one that’s worthwhile man. This thing of teams from one nation is a thing of the past.
A dying breed in CS:GO.
eLe: Really yea, it really is. The future is mixed nationality where you don’t have to limit yourself in terms of what’s going on. Scandinavia is very bad for it, but they’re going to be left behind because of teams like Faze. SK obviously can still compete but outside of them boys… Look at how hampered s1mple is by playing in the CIS region. What I’d say to any young aspiring Irish players is don’t play in the Irish scene. There’s very little to be gained from it.
Do you think going down the FPL route is a better option?
eLe: Well yea if you can get into FPL. What I would say is that you won’t see a player picked out of obscurity from some team. To get a team to play together and for it to be successful you need five extremely talented individuals and you’re not just going to pick those out of your steam friends list or a forum post. If you’re going to get into a good team and you’re good enough people are going to contact you. If you’re good enough you’re going to be contacted before you have to contact other people to make a team. That’s the way it works and if you’re telling other people that you’re good, you’re not good because people will tell you that you’ve got the talent, people will be adding you on steam, people will be asking you to play. That’s how you know if you’re good and you won’t find that in Ireland.
Speaking of international compositions let’s talk about the exceL or ex-exceL project you were involved with for a while. First of all how did you actually get involved with those guys as a coach?
eLe: I was just on TeamSpeak with Phil and conoR one day and they just suggested I come on because I was talking to them about, I think it was their all-time low. They lost a qualifier for the UK Masters. I think they lost to Infused on Inferno. I was watching and I just thought God, I thought it was awful the way they were playing. So it was kind of rock bottom for them. I was talking to them after the game and they were all just disillusioned with the team. I was just making suggestions for what they could change on Inferno and they said “Oh you should come on TeamSpeak one of the days and just sit on” and I owe Phil a lot for that. I’m very grateful for him doing that for me. Me and jakem got on quite well. He was the igl for exceL. We had similar ideas about how CS should be played. Mine have drastically changed since then. So I got on well with him and we just took it one day at a time. The whole Gfinity thing kind of exploded and we all got contracts. We were over in London every weekend. It was a great party while it lasted.
Let’s talk about that. At least in season one I think it’s fair to say that your team really exceeded expectations. It was the top rated UK team at that event. It was fourth place you finished I think.
eLe: Yea we finished fourth yea. We lost two – one to Epsilon in the semi-finals. I wouldn’t say it was close. We got a map off them. We got Inferno off them which was a map that’s tailored to underdogs. You can always beat better teams that you on Inferno if you’re more drilled which we were. But yea it was a good season for us. We absolutely exceeded expectations. We were underdogs on Bet365 in every game we played, we were massive outsiders. So to qualify for top four, win the ten grand was good. It was a great achievement and we had another decent online result after that and then we reached the highest rank of sixty fourth I think it was, or sixtieth or something like that on HLTV. And after that it was kind of just downhill.
Do you think it was anything in particular that made that team do as well as it did in that period?
eLe: We worked hard. First season we worked really hard. We really put in a lot of effort, really worked hard on improving our game as a team as opposed than as individuals. It’s not to say that there weren’t super individual performances at times, there were. But we won games on the back of good teamwork and good trading and playing well, good CS, a good brand of CS. We can only be proud of our achievements in that sense. In the first season we were the worst paid team at the whole event and we were the biggest underdogs, I think it was 60/1 or something at the start. We got top four. We never lost to a UK team in the first season and we caused some upsets. It was good you know, very enjoyable, very good first season.
By the same token you didn’t have as good a result in the following season. Were there any obvious reasons for that?
eLe: All the other teams strengthened their personnel, and they changed the format. It was a combination of the two but I’d say it’s more so the changing of the format. Both were major factors. All teams improved their rosters and got international players. All the UK teams went abroad to get players. We stuck with our lineup which was fair because we got top four. You couldn’t really kick anyone after that. We massively exceeded expectations. We did a boot camp in Belfast and the week after that the rules were released and changed. We had asked Gfinity multiple times to tell us what the rules were. It was only a week before the event started that they told us that it was going to be changed from a bo2 in the group stages, the one full group stages you get at the start to get into playoffs. They changed that from a bo2 to a bo1. We lost nearly every bo1 in season one. It wasn’t just that. It was the fact that we spent our boot camp preparing two new maps, we spent a week preparing on Cobble and Cache for Gfinity and they changed the format and we only needed a map from the three maps pre-playoffs. That kind of fucked us. We wasted a whole week essentially. We could have just been refining our other maps. At the same time we lost because there’s no replacement in Counter Strike for talent. You can be the hardest working team in the world but you need the talent.
Are you guys still a roster together. Are you still coaching those guys?
eLe: Everyone kind of went their separate ways afterwards. Luzuh is in Endpoint now. I’m working with conoR and Boaster in a new team. Its conoR, Boaster, Eccles another UK player and two Danish players Nico and ReX. That’s going well at the moment I must say, so we’ll see what the future holds with them boys.
Is coaching something that you prefer doing to playing, or is it something that doesn’t require as much time or is there any reason you’re doing this?
eLe: Oh coaching requires more time. Definitely more time consuming than playing was. For a while I played intensely to see how good I could get and then I came to the realisation that I’m not good. Some people just aren’t good and you can’t be deluding and codding yourself. I was alright, I wasn’t terrible, but I was terrible in comparison to the level I thought I could play at. I thought I could play at the level that conoR and Phil are playing at. Absolutely not. The biggest thing I can tell people is stop codding yourself. Stop deluding yourself into thinking you can play at that level if you’ve been really giving it a go. That’s a serious issue. It’s kind of like poker in that sense. Everyone thinks they can just play it at the highest level. They think that you know if I’m on the server and I’m feeling it that day they can play against anyone. Absolutely not.
A lot of what the absolute bests like coldzera do, it looks actually quite simple when you’re watching them so I think a lot of people are like yea I think I could probably do that, but in reality you’re all over the place when you try and replicate it.
eLe: Oh yea. I explained to conoR and Boaster. They’re in the top 0.1% of players. There’s like twelve million concurrent players. To be in the top 0.1%, that’s like twelve hundred or something. That’s like the top two hundred and fifty teams on HLTV, which they all are, or capable of. Phil, CINDER, lainNy, they’re all capable of that. That’s a fair achievement in itself. But then to be in the next bracket up of players. That’s a real push, and it’s a really rare trait if you can play at that level. You wouldn’t think he’s good at CS if you met him in real life (to nox walking past).
Were here at an Irish Lan, One Tap Lan 3 and you’ve been coming to Lans since it must have been two thousand and six?
eLe: Two thousand and six was my first Irish Lan I think.
Is there anything that makes you keep coming back?
eLe: I love Counter Strike. Absolutely love the game, I think it’s the best. I like watching loads of esports. There was some FIFA thing in Barcelona. I was watching that a couple of weeks ago. I watch loads of DOTA. I’m really interested in DOTA, the competitive scene I find that a good one as well. But CS for me is just such a fantastic game. I love it from top to bottom. I think it’s brilliant. I think the skill ceiling is extremely high in it whereas it’s very clear in MOBAs the disparity between players. Counter Strike really creates that illusion for people thinking they can play at that level and that if I’m feeling crisp I can hit shots and I can beat anyone, but then you just get outclassed and outshone by the superior talent and I just love seeing that. The tactical side of Counter Strike is amazing. I love all that. I love the in depth side of it. Seeing teams innovate and change the meta. I enjoy it as much as watching Football, any regular sport.
You don’t see yourself stopping playing any time soon?
eLe: Well I essentially am, I have stopped playing really. I have ninety hours in the last two weeks and maybe ten of then are played. All the rest of that is just watching the guys and watching demos and sitting on servers thinking of stuff. I’m finished playing man. I come to Irish Lans because it’s a good weekend away. I think of it kind of as a holiday.
It’s like camping almost.
Yea, honestly it is. It’s like a camping trip. You just go away with the lads, out for a session and instead of fishing you’re playing CS. And as SkidZ always says, if you get a few wins here or there, that’s all you want. You want a few competitive games. You’re not under some illusion that you’re the God of the game. You don’t want to get run over. You don’t want to run over everyone, you just want a few competitive games and enjoy the session with the lads.
Any final words for whoever’s reading?
eLe: Nobody. There’ll be nobody reading this. I might read this and see if I said anything absolutely retarded.
Shoutout to yourself then.
eLe: Yea, shoutout to myself. Exactly, what’s up Ross in a weeks’ time maybe or so.