Interview with Chaos.steel during ESL One Cologne 2020
August 27, 2020
CS:GO

Chaos.steel: “One of the biggest things to consider when looking at younger players is maturity.”

During ESL One Cologne 2020 we caught up with Joshua “steel” Nissan from Chaos E.C. and talked to him in depth. In the first part of our interview he shares some insights into Chaos’ recent rise, the incident with mibr and how it affected the team.

Tomorrow’s second part will cover his thoughts on the NA scene, the transition to online play, his personal future in CS:GO, VALORANT and more.

Note: This interview was conducted on August 25 and has been edited for clarity.

If you prefer to listen to the interview, we have provided the raw unedited audio for you below:

Chaos’ rise in recent times

esports.com: Congratulations for reaching the semifinals at ESL One Cologne. That was quite the strong performance, surprising fans and the community. What was the secret for getting through the group stage that easily?

steel: I don’t think there was much of a secret. The biggest thing was that we closed out a lot of clutch rounds, 3vs3’s, post-plants and things like these. Previously when we played against FURIA specifically, we didn’t capitalize on that and thats why we lost to them in previous series we played against them. For FURIA specifically that was a pretty big deal.

When we moved on to 100T it was a pretty similar sentiment. On Inferno they just destroyed us and we lost many late rounds to them. They pretty much blew us out of the water for the most part. But when it came to Nuke and Mirage it was the same thing. Once we were able to close out the rounds we should have wony it was a very different story for us. And historically the rounds that we lose are rounds in which we have a big advantage but then just give it up somehow.

Moving on in the tournament you will face either Team Liquid or Cloud 9. Do you have any preferences?

I don’t really have much of a preference. I think that Cloud 9 would be an easier matchup for us. I think that Liquid is still the stronger and better team. But I don’t have a problem playing against either. However there is more validation if we play against Liquid. If we are able to beat them and move to the finals, it would look better on paper for us. It would be more of a feat. But either way, I am just happy to get to the semifinals.

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Chaos has had a very successful time recently. you just rose to rank 22 on the world rankings and you won a lot of tier 2 tournaments in the NA scene. So what got the ball rolling to start that rise?

I think the main thing was getting a roster and finding an identity. So the roster formation with us five did not happen until very recently. We had a string of events with no practice and that’s when we saw upsets of certain teams. Like we beat Liquid 2-1 in one series, that was when the team played without me, they played with our coach standing in for me.

That was also when they played against mibr and all that went down. So we didn’t really have much time to find our footing and figure out our identity. There were many questions at that time: For example, who is going to be primary awper? Is it going to be consistent throughout all maps? And we didn’t figure that out until after we met initial failure.

But once we figured out our roles and our maps we figured out everything and were then able to add in a little bit of structure and a little bit of set plays. I think that’s when we were able to find our footing. And from there our next step would be to minimize the amount of mistakes we make, make sure we close out the rounds in clutches, play the post-plant better. I think all these things will come with time.

I think the biggest hurdle at the start was that we didn’t know what we were doing or to be more precise: We didn’t properly realize, who we have on the team. and how to put each other in roles we can succeed in. Once we figured that out it was a little bit easier for us to find some success.

We already talked a bit about how finding the current lineup was quite the process. Obviously Chaos is a very young team, every player besides you is under 25 and for some player like leaf and xeppaa it’s the first “proper” tier 2 team that makes a name for itself in the scene. How difficult is it to work with young talent that is coming up?

I think the question shouldn’t be worded as young talent coming up. Saying “young talent” feels like painting a brush over everybody that is young to say: “Oh, you don’t know what you are doing yet. You don’t have a perspective, you don’t have an opinion” You don’t have any of these qualities that, you know, a professional player would possess.

I think you need to look at individuals and separate the age from their name. ‘Cause I know people that are older, that are really lazy, immature and don’t know how to put in time to work. And then I know young players, for example 16-year old leaf. While there are still childish traits to him, he is pretty mature for his age. I know 25 year olds that are less mature than him. One of the biggest things to consider when looking at younger players is maturity.

But beyond maturity you have to look at other things too: Do they talk? Do they talk back? Do they offer their opinions? If you say something to them, how are they going to respond? Positive or negative,? How do they deal with criticism, feedback or asking their opinion on something. Are they going to give their unfiltiered perspective on things or are they just going to sit there and be a yesman, agreeing with you on everything you say? Or are they going to give you pushback, if they disagree with you? If I am the in-game leader and I say something that is wrong, they need to be able to say: “No, I don’t think that’s right. I think we shold do it like this instead.” And if they are not going to respond to me like this because they are young or scared of me or for whatever reason, then it is just not going to work out.


An example of Chaos’ comms during ESL One Cologne

Why it currently works out well for us is because leaf, Xeppaa, Jonji and especially vanity will speak, they will give their perspective. They won’t just say: “Oh, that is how you want to do it, let’s do it that way then.” They will give pushback and they will offer logical reasoning for it. Sharing opinions like that and having discussions about things is how a team progresses instead of going in just one direction.

If there is logical foundation from where you are coming from, then every point should be discussed and talked out. And if you are coming from just an emotional angle, saying “I don’t like this” or “I don’t want to do this” then tell me why you don’t want to and we can work through it. These guys will say why things should be done in a certain way and they are not afraid to talk about it and that is why it works.

The incident with mibr

Since you already touched on the subject briefly you are probably expecting the following question. But I still wanted to ask about the cheating accusation incident with mibr. How bad did it affect the team?

The first week or two the outfall from the incident was probably the worst in terms of how the mood was and how it affected the performance. Though beyond that it kind of got to the point where it is almost a joke. If you follow the Chaos Twitter account for example and look at any matches we play, if you look at the comments to them it is just a constant spam. Any time we play someone we are getting called cheaters or this or that or we are getting memes posted even to our personal Instagram messages. People also send emails to my business email. It has even gone to family members. It’s a bit wild but when you realize it’s either in broken English or you have to use Google Translator because it is in Portuguese, you kind of wonder: Where do these people find the free time to go out of their way to send a Portuguese comment to a person that speaks Not-Portuguese. Do they expect you to translate it so you can read it? If someone is sending me a message in Portuguese I can pick out a few words and if I see words that look like cheater or something else I probably know what the gist of the message is. And it’s at this point, where it is so sad that it is kind of funny.

How did it affect leaf himself?

I think he shrugs it off now. There was a point in time where it did affect or change him. You have to put yourself in the shoes of a younger kid, who is relativey new to the competitive scene. You are playing against people you looked up to in the scene, when you were getting into it. You look at all these big names from when you first started playing. It’s like “Oh, we finally get to play them” and “Oh, I beat them” and you get a high off of that. Then they come in destroying what you just did by saying ” you are not good enough to do this on your own. You must have used external support or something.” And beyond that you have hordes of people sending you death threats. I think this definitely takes a little bit of a toll. But since then, I think he has learned to shrug it off.

Maybe that is not the best thing to do at this point. I can’t speak for him. I am saying this from my own viewpoint. I would feel a bit bitter towards the world and I don’t think that becoming bitter at a younger age is good. So I hope shrugging it off is more like: “These poeple don’t know what they are talking abouty so I am just going to move on with my life and not really worry about it.” I hope it is one of those kinds of things.

The second part of the interview can be found here:

Chaos.steel: “So eventually I will have to go to VALORANT.”


More Interviews from ESL One Cologne:

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ESL One Cologne 2020 Standings, Schedule, Brackets and more can be found at juked.gg!

Image Credit: Alex Maxwell/DreamHack
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