Silent3m: "NRG got us a gaming house instantly and we could feel the overwhelming support"
Justin Galante: Well first I'd like to say thank you for giving me the chance to interview and write about you for E-frag. My first question for you is: what went on behind the scenes that led to the team’s formation?
Well a lot happened before the team formed. There were multiple different options, different ways we could have gone to make the team. Originally the line up was going to be me Justin and Davey and we were going to get some Germans or EU players or someone to fill in. We were still looking for a fifth, but then like Davey went back to Splyce. I guess he got a pretty promising contract and he wanted to go back to his old team with his old buddies. At that point we really didn't know what we wanted to do as most of the NA players were already taken. Our big thing was obviously we wanted to attend majors and that means we had to have three NA players. A big thing for Justin and I is that we wanted a good in game leader, and gob b was a no brainer for that. We decided I was gonna be the AWPing position because there are a lot more rifles to choose from, but once we got talking to PTR I got really excited because I finally had the chance to get back to rifling. Ever since I started getting into the pro scene I’ve always been the best AWPer on the team. It's not bad and it's pretty cool, but I’ve always wanted to be more of a dedicated rifler. So when PTR was open I chose to want to play with him and everyone agreed so we decided to go with him.
You kind of brushed on my next question, but what do EU players add to the team dynamic? Obviously communication is a huge deal in Counter-Strike so how did you get over this hump?
At first it was pretty rough. It wasn’t ever that bad where I was worried about a roster change, but when an IGL is first giving strats he has to communicate a lot and when he's trying to explain how things should have been played, it was really hard to process what exactly he wanted from it and what our end goals were. For like the first two weeks it was him talking and us players not really understanding. Needless to say it was rough, but now after we got into servers and went over our setups and strats now he can just call “A go” or “A strat” and it makes it so much easier for everyone.
So the next question is about practice: How often does your team practice, what goes on at your practices, and what are you guys currently preparing for the most?
It depends on the day. If we're going over a new map or new strats we get on at like 3 and gob b explains what he's thinking about this map and his philosophy. We watch demos and listen for about two hours till 5 and then we all take a break to nap, eat, or whatever we need to be ready for the rest of our night. At 6 is when we start scrimming. We try and find as many as we can until 10. We attempt to get 4-5 scrims on a daily basis. If there's a day where we don't have a new map or setups to practice we get on later like 5 or 6 and just scrim for the remainder of the day. Our practices really come down to what we need to practice, and who we can scrim against.
Awesome, well what are some of the long-term and short-term team goals?
I guess one of the goals right now is to practice for the Counter Pit League that's just under a month. We plan on boot-camping in Vegas in a few weeks. Obviously we have a team house and a solid boot-camp will help us out. Besides that it's just practice for the ESEA leagues.
So what was the roster’s initial opinion on NRG as a organization?
To be honest I didn’t have many thoughts about it originally. What's really amazing to me is that they were new to a CS team and how they’ve been able to support us so well knowing that. To me I remember maybe 6 months or a year ago when these big orgs like C9 or CLG started stepping in more and their players would talk about the salaries they’re making and how well the orgs treated them. There are so many different aspects to their orgs and you knew the support these players were getting were amazing with CLG’s gaming house and all. You know they didn’t have anything to worry about other than playing because they were treated so well. It was just full support for these players put out from the orgs. I’m in no way saying Method was a bad org, they did everything they could for us, but going from Method to NRG was a big step. NRG got us a gaming house instantly and we could feel the overwhelming support. I only have really positive things to say about NRG as they’ve been treating us so well.
Well it's great to hear that such a new organization has really got your back like that. It’s time for everyone to get to know you a bit more, so here come the personal questions. Years ago when you weren’t considered a pro player, what dreams did you have about becoming a pro?
Well I’ve always played CS. I’ve been playing for such a long time. I’ve always had the goal of becoming a pro, but for the longest time I felt like I was never given the shot to become a pro. I’m only 20 right now so back then I was really young and I always had a girly little voice. So just think about this little kid coming to you asking for a tryout… It just never went well for me. Pretty much towards the end of 1.6 I was kinda over the game because it was so frustrating. Now I’d say my dreams overall I guess have been met, but like there are still things I hope to do in CS:GO. The only thing I can think of as when I was a kid I was always that guy who went on the ESEA website and followed all the NA 1.6 scene, never the EU scene though. I’d always go to ESEA and watch the power rankings and stuff. I’d see all these players and say wow they're playing invite and matches with all these huge guys. I want to be able to play invite one day. If you look at my ESEA history I actually did play invite for 3 games. I knew a friend who played invite and needed to keep his spot alive so we played 3 matches. They were all 4v5's, but I was the happiest little kid. At the end of the day I knew they didn’t mean much because it was a 4v5 and it was irrelevant, but to me being in servers with people I look up to and playing invite was such a fun time.
I know you said you’re trying to get into rifling more now, but what made you choose the AWP over other rifles originally? It’s definitely a more elite group, so how’d you learn and practice with the AWP?
So I started playing with my brothers team we played open and intermediate and like I said earlier I was always the best shot with the AWP. So when I was on my brothers team they made me AWP for the team. When I moved onto other teams I originally got in with a rifling job which was fine because that's what I wanted to do, but they’d realize I was a better AWPer or something would happen with the roster that would force me into that role. When I joined this main team I finally had a rifling job, but the AWPer left to join a premier team and again I got the AWPing role. We won main, and I just kinda kept to the AWP role after that. It’s always been in the back of my head that I wanted to rifle, and when PTR joined this team it all just worked out because PTR is a great shot and I could finally rifle.
Well I’m happy to hear that it’s working out for you in the end. My final question for you before you have to go is for all our readers out there wondering: How do you get into the scene, into AWPing, and overall just become better at Counter-Strike?
To me it’s honestly pretty simple. Not everyone can be pro obviously, but it’s one of those frustrating things where a lot of people ask for this advice and every pro will give you a similar response. It’s that you have to work for it. It's not going to happen over night. No pro can tell you advice that will instantly make you better. You have to DM daily and practice daily. If you want to get smarter about the game you have to not just watch, but study demos. Just start playing whatever team you can is great to build that experience off it. I know there's tons of players who get really nervous playing in matches so any experience is good for you. If you look at the pros everyone's been playing for a long time. Sometimes there's the rare occasion where a player will make it playing 2-3 years, but most of us have been playing 5-10 years some even more. It’s been a long time coming for a lot of us. Lots of DMing, lots of PUGs and Demo watching. If you want to make it you gotta keep playing.
Alright well those are all the questions I have for you today. I really appreciate your time with me, and best of luck in your upcoming matches!