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Liquid.oSee Interview: new team, NA CS state, pathfinding, and more

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By Arseny Kuzminsky, CS.MONEY

Joshua oSee Ohm reveals Team Liquid‘s short-term plans, names himself a skin-nerd, and speaks about becoming a pro player.

At 22 years old, Joshua oSee Ohm is the youngest member of the updated Team Liquid CS:GO roster. Extra Salt‘s shiny star joined the international organization quite recently, but deservedly so: oSee was outstanding in the North American scene and the question of his signing by a large team was open for a long time.

And now he plays in the lineup along with the French CS legend (shox), the returned prodigal son (Nitr0), and two org’s old-schoolers (NAF and EliGE). Joshua took over the AWPer’s seat that had been vacant since FalleN left, and those are pretty huge shoes to fit into.

At the same time, oSee himself immediately notes that at the moment, their line-up is working on themselves, using BLAST Premier Spring Groups 2022 as a test. The team is interested in playing at full strength, but at the same time, they understand that now it is more about learning.

“It’s definitely an exciting experience, but it’s not something that I’m dreading or being nervous about. I’m just super excited to be able to play finally with the new team and just wanna see how we do. It’ll definitely be nice to do really well at BLAST and see where we can place. But also, we understand that we have a completely different core. Now we only have EliGE and NAF from the old roster, new IGL coming in. So we still wanna do really well, but it’s gonna be also a learning experience: after the matches, even if we do lose, we can still watch back and learn about what we messed up and try and fix it for the next game. I’m doing good. The team’s feeling pretty good. We can see the improvements every day. We’ve been just working hard trying to get to that level that we want to be at”.

Speaking about rivalries and anyone oSee‘s hoping to play against, he obviously mentions another NA team.

“I really wanna play against EG. I just wanna see what other NA rosters are like, and we haven’t really practiced against them because they’re in our group. So yeah, it’ll definitely be interesting to see how they are and how we play against them”.

Team Liquid won 19:17. Match statistics — HLTV Source

Joshua joined Team Liquid just at the end of 2021, leaving Extra Salt, a mix of friends who were scaring the hell out of the whole NA scene. 

“To be honest, transitioning to Liquid was a little hard because I really enjoyed playing with my last team. We were like a family where even outside of the game we were just always hanging out and talking to each other. I really enjoyed playing with everyone on that team. So it was hard in the beginning, but I finally decided it was what was best for me to take a step forward into tier-1 CS. I had to make a decision and it wasn’t too easy like people assume”.

Looking back at Extra Salt times, oSee explained how the team managed to be co successful and says that being a family-like mix had an impact on it.

“You gotta enjoy doing what you do, you know? Grinding every day, you’re around five other people constantly, including the coach. Every single day, hours and hours practicing. So you gotta enjoy them as people as well. So being a family is definitely important, but also I think we were pretty blessed to be able to play in a new organization like that in NA, especially during those hard times where they were supporting us with apartments and a salary. It really helps with the motivation factor. We just had all the tools we needed to perform at that level”. 

But as always in life, when there are ups, there are downs.

“We lost the major qualifiers. We played about five Bo1s, and we thought that we were gonna do pretty well. I personally didn’t perform my best in that tournament and we ended up falling short and didn’t qualify for the major. And I think that was probably the biggest loss that we had. We had to take a break for a couple of days after that, because we were really, really practicing hard for that tournament and seeing if we can make it to the major… Obviously, every player’s dream is to play at a major. And it was tough.”

Playing in such a team always means that one day a player can be picked off by a bigger fish. Asked if this fact wasn’t distracting, oSee says that they understood it from the very first moment.

“JT would always joke with me saying, ‘When is Liquid gonna pick you up? When is EG gonna pick you up?’ We knew it was possible. So it didn’t really affect us. We were just focused on just improving as a team and whatever happens, happens. If one of us gets poached or two of us gets poached, whatever. That happens in the future. But for now, we’re in the present, we’re trying to improve, be the best team we can be. And when it happened,  they were all very happy for me as expected, and there were no hard feelings.”

Still, oSee wasn’t afraid that his game would fade when poached by a bigger team. 

“I have a lot of confidence in myself to be able to perform at this level. But obviously, I wouldn’t be able to do all the stuff that I was doing on Extra Salt without my teammates. Also, I think it would just take some time to get used to Liquid, but once I get or find my footing and get comfortable with everyone, I think I can do the same thing as I did on Extra Salt. Still, everyone on Extra Salt, JT especially, was very selfless, was always trying to set me up. So obviously the player that’s getting set up is more in the spotlight. So I definitely think they helped out a lot, but I also have confidence in myself to be able to do the same thing”.

It’s not oSee‘s first time in Europe: previously, he visited the Old World with Extra Salt, bootcamping for a couple of tournaments. Joshua admits that traveling a lot is not new, but something he has to get used to, as he knew what he signed up for. Currently, Team Liquid is based at the Alienware Training Facility. 

“We have everything we need, so the bootcamp has been pretty good. You can see the improvement every day, we’ve been just practicing, trying to fix our mistakes. We brought in three new players so we don’t have the highest expectations, but we still want to do really well.” 

Even though he already had scrimmed against the European teams, Joshua underlines the difference between practicing here and in NA. 

“It’s nothing new for me personally, because at Extra Salt we came to bootcamp in Europe as well. It’s not too different, but it’s definitely a good experience to have as there are a lot of different play styles in Europe. They just force you to adapt and they don’t make as many mistakes. And they’ll punish you for your mistakes. So just practicing in Europe for the past week has been really fun because I see my weaknesses as a player and my strengths, using these scrims as efficiently as possible because we’re not gonna be in Europe forever. We’re trying to take as much as we can from these scrims to improve as a team.” 

Joshua also highlights his teammates’ efforts to become better.

“Everyone’s really working hard. You can see that they not just want to do well at BLAST, but they want to prove that we can be a top contender. So everyone’s been working super hard. We’ve been reviewing every day just to see what mistakes we’re making, how we can fix them, theorycrafting, and stuff. It’s been a great experience. We all get along outside of the game. Which is really important. Like I said before with the Extra Salt thing, it really helps. If we just keep going on down this road, I think we’ll be pretty good.”

oSee‘s FPS experience started when he was around seven years old. He played Soldier Front, an old shooter with a CS-like concept. Together with his friends, he formed some kind of a team and played for the good. After tons of hours there, Joshua decided to switch to Xbox games, and then came back and played League of Legends for a little bit. And then those people he made friends with on League of Legends showed him CS:GO

So ever since around 2014 he was introduced to CS, he started grinding. Even though his friends stopped playing it after a while, oSee just kept playing. And eventually, he joined an open team, grinding his way up to premier. 

Still, oSee‘s list of teams includes Ben’s Anime Team, a squad he has been playing with for a long period while trying a hand in other teams. 

“The name was just a huge troll. I don’t think any of us even watched anime, I don’t know who came up with the name honestly. One of my teammates was Ben1337 who’s on Party Astronauts now. I played with him on my first open team, so I’ve known him for a long time. He was part of my journey up to being premier and just hovering around that level for a long time. And so him and Vanity, Hydrex, Ryan, and a couple of other people, we were just really good friends and we meshed together pretty well in the game. So we just decided to make a team and we actually did pretty well. I think we had really good upsets and that was my first true competitive experience. We were grinding really hard and practicing, trying to get better. I’m still really good friends with all of those people.” 

Asked about the state of CS in North America, oSee says that it’s way better nowadays than it was a couple of years before. He sees potential and believes that they’re going up.

“It’s definitely better now, especially with all the new pickups from complexity, autimatic coming back, Nitr0, obviously. So I think it’s gotten a little better, but there was a time period where it looked really rough for the NA scene. Even now, being in NA, the practice isn’t the best. Europe just has way better practice. So most teams in NA when they want to bootcamp or practice right before tournaments, they’re gonna come to Europe so they get the best practice. It’s still a little rough over there for the players who don’t have the opportunity to bootcamp in Europe or are just stuck with NA practice. You’re not gonna learn as much there as you will in Europe. I think this year for NA CS is gonna be really good and I’m hoping for big things.

It’s not like you can’t improve in North America. It’s more like the rate that you’re improving, which is way slower than when you are in Europe. In NA, a lot of the things that are working against local teams won’t work in Europe. So when you’re in Europe and you start trying same things and they’re not working out, it makes you think, find solutions to what they’re countering you with. It’s different, you’re learning, but not as quick as in NA.”

But is it financially profitable to become a CS:GO professional player? All things considered, there are lots of potentially easier and more advantageous crafts in the world. 

“I think if it’s something that you really want to do, you should go for it. But at, at the same time, you don’t want to just give up everything and pursue it. To be brutally honest, [being a  pro player] is not a career that most people will be able to get into. You have to perform at the top percent. It’s super hard to get to that level, but if it’s something that you really want to do at a young age… It was something that I really wanted to do since I was a kid, but I never gave up on school. I even went to the university for my first year and tried to balance it with CS. Obviously, it didn’t work out because I was super stressed out.

But it’s really important that you do school. But you also have to pursue CS at the same time as much as you can, and just see where it takes you. If it’s something that you realize you can really make a career out of, you could do what I did. Just take a break from school and pursue it, go a hundred percent on CS and see where it takes you. If it doesn’t take you anywhere, if it doesn’t work out, you can always go back. But my opinion, get at least up to high school, finish it. And at that point, see what your options are. What’s your CS level? Can you compete against these other players? Do you have the drive to get better? 

Live your dream. You don’t wanna end up doing something you don’t enjoy for the rest of your life. We are blessed. Especially during the pandemic. At least I get to still play and do my job. It’s nothing more I could ask for.”

There is considerable competition between the FPS titles in the world. With VALORANT hyping here and there, CS:GO has to fight for its audience in NA. But oSee thinks it’s all a matter of people’s choice in the end. 

“I don’t think it’s gonna be that big of a deal in the future. Both of them are FPS with the same concept: 5v5, bomb plants, two sites, sometimes three for VALORANT. CS is always gonna be around. But I still think the difference between the abilities and grenade usage is just so big. Having set characters with set roles because of the abilities that you have kind of limits what you can do. In CS anyone can do whatever: run around, someone can pick up the AWP one round and go for a pick, and then the next round they can be rifling somewhere.

It’s still the same concept, but I think people will realize CS and VALORANT still have a lot of differences. And I do definitely agree that the newcomers to FPS games will definitely lean towards VALORANT. But like I said, they’re different games, so I think it’s just whatever people find more entertaining. I think VAL is a lot better in introducing the game. They have a lot of media presence, a lot of streamers are playing it, it’s one of the most viewed games on Twitch. So it’s just really easy to get sucked into that game. But I think CS is one of those games where once you start learning and trying to get to a good level, and you start understanding the game, it’s a lot more entertaining. But it’s a preference for everyone in the end. I can’t speak for everyone ” .

One last thing I discovered about oSee is that he’s a big CS:GO skins nerd. Well, he calls that himself. 

“I really look into skins, I used to trade every week just because I was bored and I wanted to test out everything. I know all the skin patterns, I can look at a skin and see what pattern it is and stuff like that. I’m very interested in it, skins are really fun for me. 

But I’m not lucky with cases. Do you know the M4 X-Ray skin? It came out years and years ago. And it was the last thing I opened that was red in a case. To be fair, I don’t open cases too often, but my luck is really, really bad. We even did a little video segment here at Liquid where we’re opening cases and I got nothing. I think Valve just hates me or something, but I see people on Twitter open three cases and get two knives. It doesn’t make sense to me. I’ve never opened a knife, never opened gloves. But maybe one day, man, hopefully [laughs].

I’m one of those people: if I want like a skin, I’d rather just spend my money on it than take the chance of opening a case”. [laughs]

Liquid.oSee’s Top 3 Favorite Skins

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