Playing with a Stand-in
This major we were unfortunately tasked with finding a stand-in to replace Neta “33” Shapira. Neta is from Israel and Malaysia isn’t very fond of his country. We were however FORTUNATE enough to find, likely the best stand-in possible, Ivan “Mind-Control” Ivanov from Team Liquid. We had a hell of a tournament and managed to almost break the top 3 finishing in 4th.
I’ve seen a lot of comments similar to this:
“You guys did pretty good for playing with a stand-in”
I’ve also seen a lot of comments similar to this:
“You guys got carried by your stand-in”
Both of these are true.
Playing with a stand-in doesn’t change that much for a team, especially when the replacement is relatively equal in skill. When MC joined our team one week before we flew to the Kuala Lumpur Major he was instantly welcomed as a part of the team. We had an initial conversation in which I described some of our team dynamics, who talks the most, who has the most say in strategy, etc. After that, he was one of us. He was caught up.
We practiced for a week and in that week we took our ideas about how to play the game and finessed them to become as close to muscle memory as possible. We were as ready as we could be.
The only thing I feel can be different when you play with a stand-in is hero-pool. Team-strategy, drafting, etc is unaffected by the introduction of a new player. This is why we see previously unsuccessful players join successful teams and find success. Heen talks a bit about this in the video he created about coaching.(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GCCOq--pzKE) The more you play with a player you learn their strengths and their weaknesses. Lucky for us MC hides his weaknesses quite well.
Before we went to ESL Hamburg with our original roster we were confident that we would place very well because to be quite honest we are good. Not Secret or VP level but we are capable of taking games from them and hopefully soon a series. That doesn’t change when we swap one player in/out. I’m looking forward to having Neta back and continuing to show everyone how good we can be.