mixwell’s explosion onto the international CS:GO scene
It all started a mere two years ago at the ESL Expo Barcelona, where a still completely unknown mixwell, then playing for gBots eSports Club, drew attention two himself with two solid series against Team Dignitas (MSL, k0nfig, Kjaerbye, RUBINO, TENZKI) and Fnatic (flusha, KRiMZ, olofmeister, dennis, JW).
The next thing you know, mixwell signs with OpTic Gaming. As we know by now, H3CZ is never one to shy away from taking risks. Still, the hiring of an internationally entirely untested youngster can only be described as a huge leap of faith that could’ve gone either way.
It didn’t, said leap turned out to be a stroke of genius, as mixwell wasted no time proving he belonged among the world’s elite. It’s not often we get to see a player adapting to top-tier CS that quickly - Stewie2k and ropz come to mind - but it is the exception in a brutal environment in which only the fiercest predators survive.
While individually mixwell proved his worth right away, it wasn’t until tarik replaced daps when OpTic as a team reached their full potential.
Right away, OpTic was in contention for #1 in NA, while regularly challenging the top European sides. Upon joining OpTic, mixwell also transitioned from rifler/secondary AWP player into full-time AWPer – a transition that went smooth as silk and turned the Spaniard into arguably NA’s best sniper at the time.
That’s when, in December of 2016 in the span of just two weeks, OpTic jumped into the top three on HTLV’s team ranking, and mixwell celebrated his biggest achievements to date.
First, a win at ELEAGUE Season 2 and a $400,000 pay-day, followed by a second place finish at the ECS Season 2 Finals. OpTic eliminated several top European sides in both of these tournaments, and met Astralis in both finals.
Everything seemed set for OpTic to become a true challenger amongst the world’s tier-one teams, but the good times rarely last in good ol’ NA, and this time was no different.
stanislaw’s announcement to team up with Team Liquid set OpTic’s downfall in motion. stan was so integral to the team’s identity, it was damaged beyond repair after his departure.
On a personal level, 2017 is a year mixwell would rather forget, as he continuously moved from bad to worse. In an interview with HLTV.org, he admitted to going through extremely difficult times. He lived in the team house outside Chicago, in the middle of nowhere, all by himself for months on end. On a weekly basis, he received offers from top European and North American orgs, but he stayed loyal to the team that enabled him to begin his international Counter-Strike career – truly a testament to his character.
Retrospectively however, he declares his loyalty a mistake. Especially after the PGL Major in Krakow. The team was already dead in the water, but mixwell decided to give his OpTic adventure another shot. Upon returning to the States he learned that tarik and RUSH, and this came as a surprise to everyone, had signed for Cloud9.
With little time before the season returned, OpTic did what they could to field a new team. friberg, Magisk, allu and HS joined mixwell. And, especially in ESL’s Pro League, the team did quite well in the beginning. But mixwell sensed early on that the lack of a real IGL leads to no clear team-identity and ultimately to immense problems when facing the top teams.
A sustainable team cohesion never developed, and when mixwell and his boys failed to qualify for ELEAGUE’s Major, it marked the end of his journey in North America, which sets us up for…
A new chapter in G2
mixwell has used the time as a free agent to recharge his batteries and feels stronger and more motivated than ever, which makes him the perfect fit for G2. The French have struggled tremendously over the past six months, not winning a single playoff series in that time span – which is simply unacceptable for G2’s star-studded lineup.
The team always missed a clear style under shox’s leadership. Their coordination seemed nonexistent at times, and frequently they force-bought their way to defeat. shox’s individual form has been on the rise after an abysmal 2017, but that didn’t translate into team success. The team reached a point where change was inevitable.
Yes, NBK also isn’t an IGL. But his and shox’s Counter-Strike philosophies are fundamentally different. We may get a more structured G2 out of this, which would also provide mixwell with the conditions under which he thrived in stanislaw’s OpTic.
mixwell certainly has big shoes to fill. shox is undoubtedly an all-time great, and mixwell’s peak is probably nowhere near shox’s. But team chemistry is chief. G2 wasn’t working, and mixwell has proven to not only be a world-class player but an even better teammate.
It’s tough to predict if mixwell is the answer to G2’s problems. But when you throw four Baguettes and one Tapa into the blender, maybe add some of that pimiento, you’re certainly getting a spicy, potentially world-class mix.
Vamos les Baguettes!