Written by: Richard Lewis
With Eleague’s postseason providing a variety of transfer moves thus far, there’s one move that was drowned out in the noise. Mousesports, who had already punched above their weight in order to get to our final four, decided to make a change. For me, they’ve been one of Europe’s biggest underachievers given their talent pool, and their over-reliance on Nikola "NiKo" Kovač was becoming embarrassingly pronounced. Making a change was vital, so full credit for them bringing in another player with real star potential, Czech Republic’s Tomáš "oskar" Štastný.
Before we wax lyrical about this player’s talents, it must be said that he came in to replace Johannes "nex" Maget, a player once touted as the German equivalent of Shox. For that player to find himself on the bench is crazy, especially because I think players with a lower skill ceiling remain on the roster. Still, it remains a testament to the talent of Štastný that he has come in to replace a rifler at all, given that he was the primary AWPer for Hellraisers. In Mousesports he’ll have to share that responsibility with Chris "chrisJ" De Jong depending on the map.
Also, it’s good he managed to break away from Hellraisers, who had really been petulant about the whole deal. In Oskar, they had a player who was clearly on a different level above his teammates, statistically doing more than enough to carry games, but still finding himself on the losing side. After an eight-month stint on the team, he finally had enough of the underperformance, and was vocal about wanting to move, signing a “forward contract” with mousesports. And why not? His existing contract was coming to an end and its best to have these things planned ahead of schedule. Instead of supporting his decision, the organization literally cut off their nose to spite their face. Not only did they bench him, but insisted he stick to “streamer” for the remainder of his contract. That term is rapidly becoming code for two things, either “come and get them but expect to pay top dollar” or “we are going to make them regret turning on us by enforcing the remainder of their contract.” In short, it makes a mockery of buy-out clauses.
The press release was hilariously duplicitous. Despite this being a perfectly normal occurrence in mainstream sports. Hellraisers attempted to play victim. Then, they claimed they wished the player well, while effectively demoting him and simultaneously holding him captive. “Thanks to Tomáš for the time he's been on HellRaisers. I hope he will succeed in his future esports career” said the team’s general manager, while doing all they could to hurt the player’s future esports career.
Finally getting his move in August saw him competing with a better caliber of player, as well as his new employers finding someone who could take some of the weight off their existing star player’s shoulders. That’s the theory, but the practice hasn’t quite been the spectacular turnaround the fans of Mousesports had been hoping for. Having won eight out of eighteen maps played, all against solid European opposition, it must be said, this is a slight improvement in form. The team remains hopeful that they haven’t peaked this quickly and better days are ahead.
Since Oskar’s arrival, they’ve only failed to get into double figures against their opponents on three occasions, against G2 Esports, NiP and FaZe. If we look at the eighteen games before he joined, that had happened on five occasions, twice against Flipside in their inexplicably flat performance in the Eleague group stages. If you extend it back a little further to their past twenty-eight maps, the number jumps up to nine times. These numbers need to be taken with a very liberal pinch of contextual salt, but it’s also interesting that those eighteen games also saw five 16-14 results, with mousesports winning four of them. This would lend itself to the idea of the team having a much stronger backbone than before.
On an individual level, his statistics have been as impressive as you’d expect. In those eighteen appearances, he’s only failed to hit twenty kills five times and has managed over thirty on four occasions. The level of opponent has improved drastically from the fodder he routinely destroyed in Hellraisers as well, having gone from conquering the likes of Alternate Attax, Torpedo, Metapods and Orbit to putting in huge performances against G2, GODSENT, Team Dignitas and fnatic.
While the sample size is small, I’m quietly confident that mousesports will continue to improve, even if I also don’t think we’ve necessarily seen the end of Maget, As a team, they’ve been one of the most frustrating to watch in years, becoming impossible to back against underdogs and wildly unpredictable against better opposition. Everything so far points to this iteration of the team being one that can achieve the most in the CS:GO era, and I’m excited at the prospect of seeing what Štastný can bring to Eleague next season, and you should be too.
At twenty-five years old, Oskar has been waiting for a long time to be appreciated as a star player, and to have the opportunities to shine. Hellraisers showed that he could easily be a standout among tried and tested players. The irony here is; in mousesports he may always be overshadowed by a much better player while making a contribution that might not be noticed. I doubt he’ll mind too much as long as he has something to show for it.