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mTw's strat caller ave talks about his craft

By Michal 'Carmac' Blicharz
Nov 4, 2008 20:15


ImageOne of the most under interviewed and perhaps even underrated strat callers in Counter-Strike, mTw's Alexander "ave" Holdt, talks to SK Gaming about calling strats, reading opponents and the WCG Grand Finals.

mTw will be representing Denmark at the World Cyber Games Grand Final this week. Runners up in 2007 (under the name of Team NoA), the Danes will be the favourites of the competition as one of the most stable CS teams this year.

Holdt has won the Kode5 Global Final and the ESWC Masters of Paris earlier this year. After hiccups at the Extreme Masters in LA and Dubai, mTw went to China and won the World e sports Masters. Right now they should be considered the top contenders for gold in Cologne.

"We all feel we could've done some things better, but I believe we had to go through it to make us prepare harder."
Congratulations on winning WEM. Should your fans think that everything is back on track with mTw?

Yeah, I believe they should! Not that it really went that much off track. Despite our poor performance at the Extreme Masters Global Challenge in L.A. I think we've been doing okay the last few months. Even though we all feel we could've done some things better, I believe we had to go through it to make us prepare harder.

Why were the past few months "okay" and not "fantastic"?

I think we had some preparation issues. We might have taken too much vacation after ESWC Masters in Paris, which brought our shape and momentum down quite a bit. But looking back, I also believe we lost to some good opponents that you can't expect to win against every time.

ImageDid the fact that you became the team to beat influence that as well?

I certainly believe so. Every time a team wins a tournament they kind of make a blueprint of what it takes to win. Teams will start to copy the best attributes or come up with ways to beat it. It's really fun to see how the strategic elements of the game have evolved since the days of teams like The Titans and Complexity, and SK, for that matter.

How does the strat caller's world change in a number one team?

You just try to keep coming up with new tricks that keep you unpredictable. I might be the one on my team who's most afraid of the opponents knowing what we're going to do, so I try to make a great effort of disguising our playing
"Sometimes it's smart to go back to something you used to do since the opponents wouldn't remember this strat."
style.

We usually go through all of our tactics before major tournaments and either remove or tweak our old tactics and apply a few new ones. Sometimes it's also smart to go back to something you used to do, since the opponents wouldn't remember what you did a year ago.

What makes you a good strat caller?

I think my greatest quality is my desire to always improve. In this game it's really hard to play many rounds without making mistakes as an in-game caller. So I think my will to making as few mistakes as possible is one of my greater attributes. Also, I believe I listen to my team mates quite a lot. Both in terms of tactical input and in-game calling, I have great faith in my team mates to step up during a match.

ImageDo you prefer to dictate how the game goes or adapt?

That's a good question. I believe it has to do with different factors: the opponent, the map and the side you're playing. Most people would think that it's the terrorist side which is dictating and the counter-terrorist adapting.

Against some opponents - and on certain maps, we try to swap it around since some opponents play with such great tactics that you have to do something dictating in order to mess up their round. But I guess that would put it under adapting since we change the general idea of the side/map balance.

For the generel spectator it might look like we're dictating sometimes, but in reality we adapt since we won't let them get to execute their strats.

"It might look like we're dictating sometimes, but in reality we adapt since we won't let them get to execute their strats"
What about anti-stratting? How do you find a fine balance between countering someone and getting paranoid trying to do so?

We seldom come up with new tactics made for a certain opponent. The way we handle it is that we sense the opponents' habits and style of play, and we move on to pick out which of our tactics should do well against it.

How do you rate your read-the-other caller skills?

I think I have a great feel for some certain opponents, but that's mainly because they play in a certain predictable way. Other opponents play without a pattern and just rely on individual efforts, which makes it impossible for anyone to read anything - in this case I think of MYM, especially when they were Pentagram, as they were unreadable.

ImageFrom a theoretical point of view how far is mTw from the perfect team in terms of its composition?

I think it's theoretically impossible to have such thing as a perfect team. As long as you don't work with five clones with the exact same mindset, you will have a team with individuals who read and react differently.

At the level we play everyone has close to the same individual level, so it's mostly just about reacting in the same way to different situations in order to be successful.

With that said, I do believe we manage to be on the same page most of the time. Also, we socialise quite well in the team, which makes it a lot easier to complement each other without pissing each other off all the time.

"If you don't work with five clones with the exact same mindset, you will have a team with individuals who read and react differently."
Should we treat you as the number one favourites of the WCG?

Haha, well, I don't believe there's a number one favourite for the WCG since there's so many good teams attending. I do believe we should be considered a serious contender, though.

Of all top teams this year you have the greatest number of first places in major tournaments and you've just recently won an event. Would it really be that ludicrous to say "mTw is number one"?

ImageYes, I believe it's better to stay humble since your game can differ a lot from day-to-day. Of course we would get disappointed if we fail to make the top 5, but you can't ask for more with all this great competition. With that said, I do believe it would take a great opponent to stop us if we get our game going!

Fill this out: I will not be disappointed after WCG if...

I will not be disappointed after WCG if... we do our best.


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